Lords of the Relay – A Masters Road Relay Tale – By Richard Gray
Hello BRAT mates.
Another pleasant day out at the park; with a purpose. Historically at The Masters we have won two national individual medals, but never a team medal. Given the opportunity, which colour would be preferable ?
Well gold of course I hear you shout !
Personally I find it a bit too shiny and slightly tacky, where bronze has a more subtle tone. That said, let’s talk racing.
M35 A Team
Dan was in his usual seat at the office, and the intent was there for all to see. The first three opened a gap on the chasing pack, Dan pushing the pace, neck and neck with Birchfield, and Tipton not too far behind. Finishing only a few seconds behind Birchfield; Karl on leg two was soon back in the lead, storming ahead with a sizeable lead and delivering a big PB (I think).
Johnny at first must have wondered where the other teams were, making it difficult to settle to the right pace. A hard charging Tipton ran a very quick leg, catching us half way round, but Johnny made sure chasing Leeds were not coming past. Ben took over, dropping only a few seconds to Tipton and maintaining the gap over Leeds, but Salford ran easily the fastest leg of the day; overtaking Leeds and us. We were still in a medal place, and confident of our two remaining legs.
Mark Ince back on form had a blinder with a course pb, and opening the gap on Leeds, however Tipton and Salford were even quicker and were now too far ahead having their own race.
Gold and silver were no longer an option, so was it to be bronze?
James was on the last leg for a reason, once a 400 runner, always……
At about half way we had a 35s gap; dropping to 25s with only about a mile from the finish. Surely that was enough, but the Leeds runner was flying and as they passed me I and he could sense James legs were going. By the final uphill pull we had been caught. They must have thought the medal was theirs; but a race takes more than one and James was a contender. Somehow he stayed in touch for the final tight bend, but was there anything left for the afterburner up the final 150 ?
Oh yes; victory was James‘ and BRAT’s by a mighty two seconds !
Two seconds over 1hr 40m is all that was needed to take bronze.
The victory was a great team performance, everyone should be pleased and proud; very well done.
Dan secured 5th fastest time of the day, missing another national medal by only five seconds. Karl ran second fastest 2nd leg time; Johnny 6th fastest 3rd leg; Ben also 6th fastest on leg 4th leg; Mark 4th fastest 5th leg; as was James on last leg.
Read on; as the B team shot through the field over four legs, finishing the top B team; and M45 finishing in the top ten.
M35 B Team
Selection for M35 was not obvious for the final slot, and the B team did their very best to demonstrate why they should have been selected.
Thanos went on the first fast leg following Dan. A solid performance placing us in 25thand the opportunity was there for Abayomi. He did not hesitate with a storming performance, taking the fastest team performance by one second and gaining eleven places !
Game on, and another A team contender Steve Dunsby suitably followed the trend, only one second slower; and now we were in 10th.
Was there any more to come. Of course there was. Nathan kept up the pace gaining a further three places into 7th. We had lost a couple of athletes late on, so thanks to Russell Williams and Nick Seagrave for standing in so late. No disasters and we finished 16th and first B team; Nick Seagrave with a good finish just beating Salford B team.
I thinks first B is a first for us for any relay. Potentially it could have been 7th, which would have been amazing, but some other clubs might also say “if only”.
One thing is for sure, it demonstrates strength in depth.
Abayomi ran 8th fastest 2nd leg; Steve was 7thfastest 3rd leg, and Nathan 8th fastest 4th leg.
M45 A Team
We had a strong M45 team, and great to see a couple of old boys(take that as you like).
Super vet Jon Jennings put the team in a strong 10th, handing onto blast from the past: Paddy Allaway who ran well. We had dropped to 13th and Adam needed to hold our position, which indeed he did.
My target was top ten, and Robin was on the last leg as a former 800 athlete for the same reason as James Marshall. Robin ran the fastest leg for the team, and my target was surpassed: finishing in 9th.
Brilliant, well done team.
Robin ran 8th fastest last leg time.
Don’t miss the M55 team report at the end.
M35 C Team
For BRAT final M35 team, Sandeep headed it out into 41st. Handing onto our venerable leader Chris; who I think it can be said, enjoyed his leg less than the socializing. He did however, overtook three !
Thanks to Nigel Miller and Tim Dixon who joined the team late on to try and complete a C team. Nigel gained another place, and Tim held this 37th position.
Alas, that was it, so the team was incomplete.
The BRAT turnout was fantastic. Along with Bournville, we were the only club to enter a C team.
In total we had almost as many athletes as the three 12 stage teams, and our best Masters representation.
M45 B Team
Now for the M45 B team.
Huw Jones was lead man taking them into 35th. Damian took over and had shook off his hill climb legs to gain eight places and the fastest team leg. Andy Piddington, who was still dizzy from the volume of medical advice over the week ran well and maintained 47th. David Sansom had ventured down an age group to finish the team, only dropping one place to finish 48th and beating quite a few A teams.
Well done team.
M55 A Team
And finally to the elder statesmen.
Our M55 team was lead off by Brian McEvoy, running the same tarmac (literally but with a lot more holes in it) we have raced for over 35 years. Although not finding form he would have liked over this distance, we were in 8thplace. Harry “H the kit man” Fowler took over and although he ran well, we doubled our score (not in a good way) and into 16th. Glory or bust was XC boss Martin, who held his place and so 16th it was.
Well done team.
Still trying to get back and join you.
A great day. Thanks to many supporters. Results below(M55 fastest times are impressive).
1) Tipton Harriers M35 ‘A’ 1:38:44
1 Martin Williams (3) 16:01; 2 Gary Whitehouse (2) 17:07; 3 Ben Gamble (1) 16:28; 4 Richard White (1) 17:01;
5 Phillip Nicholls (1) 15:59; 6 Jonathon Carter (1) 16:08
2) Salford Harriers & Ac M35 ‘A’ 1:38:47
1 Tony Taylor (14) 17:15; 2 John Lloyd (9) 17:29; 3 Stuart Robinson (4) 16:25; 4 Karl Darcy (2) 15:29 5;
Bruno Lima (2) 16:18; 6 Chris Livesey (2) 15:51
3) Birmingham Running A&T M35 ‘A’ 1:40:38.
1 Daniel Robinson (2) 15:55; 2 Karl Welborn (1) 16:31; 3 Johnny Cullen (2) 17:28; 4 Ben Carrington (3) 17:19;
5 Mark Ince (3) 16:38; 6 James Marshall (3) 16:47.
4) Leeds City AC M35 1:40:40.
1 Adam Osborne (10) 16:53; 2 Michael Burrett (3) 16:23; 3 Liam O’brien (3) 17:05; 4 Alan Buckley (4) 17:17; 5 Adam Stacey (4) 16:56; 6 Mick Hill (4) 16:06
16) Birmingham Running A&T M35 ‘B’ 1:52:39.
1 A Tsolakis (25) 17:44; 2 Abayomi Adedimeji (14) 17:29; 3 Steve Dunsby (10) 17:30; 4 Nathan Warren (7) 17:46; 5 Russell Williams (17) 21:51; 6 Nick Seagrave (16) 20:19
(Incomplete) Birmingham Running A&T M35 ‘C’.
1 Sandeep Dhami (41) 25:58; 2 Chris Davy (38) 28:26; 3 Nigel Miller (37) 21:49; 4 Tim Dixon (37) 25:1
Fastest of all legs:
1 Karl Darcy SalfordH35 A 15:29; 2 Andrew Peat Birchfld35 A 15:48; 3 Chris Livesey SalfordH35 A 15:51; 4 James Connor Havering35 15:53; 5 Daniel Robinson BRAT 35 A 15:55
1) Leicester Coritanian Ac M45 ‘A’ 1:08:37.
1 Gordon Lee (6) 17:09; 2 Gavin McDermott (2) 17:05; 3 Chris Southam (1) 17:46; 4 Mark Johnson (1) 16:37.
9) Birmingham Running A&T M45 ‘A’ 1:13:44.
1 Jonathan Jennings (10) 18:03; 2 Paddy Allaway (13) 18:48; 3 Adam Western (13) 18:57; 4 Robin Biles (9) 17:56.
28) Birmingham Running A&T M45 ‘B’ 1:24:50.
1 Huw Jones (35) 20:00; 2 Damian Cartland (27) 19:30; 3 Andy Piddington (27) 20:40; 4 David Sansom (28) 24:40.
Fastest of all legs;
1 Mark Johnson Leiceste45 A 16:37; 2 Jonathan Walton LeedsCit45 A 16:44; 3 Simon Coombes HerneHil45 B 16:47.
1) Leicester Coritanian M55 54:38.
1 Tommy Hughes (1) 17:40; 2 Rob Sheen (2) 19:39; 3 Phil Makepeace (1) 17:19
16) Birmingham Running A&t M55 1:02:54.
1 Brian McEvoy (8) 18:57; 2 Harry Fowler (16) 21:47; 3 Martin Ludford (16) 22:10
Fastest of all legs:
1 Phil Makepeace Leiceste55 17:19; 2 Philip Parry Bristol&55 A 17:26; 3 Tommy Hughes Leiceste55 17:40.
As previously said, really chuffed with a medal for all the team. Yes, it would have been wonderful to win, but winning a National Champs should never be easy, and as far as I am concerned you all nailed it.
I was confident you would bring bronze home. No “if only”.
Nothing like a bit of drama and a finale(thanks James, I was worried your legs had gone going down to Keepers Pool,….. once a 400 runner,..)
My only regret is not running Johnny 2ndand Karl 3rd, which would not have left Johnny isolated.
Great B team and M45 performance.
Thanks to all athletes and supporters. Well done to the girls team, hope they were happy with their result.