National Road Relay Championships success for Harriers

Herne Hill Harriers celebrated their most successful all-round performance on a very windy day at the National Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday, writes Geoff Jerwood.

The men travelled to the Midlands with two full teams of 12 runners on the first occasion the club’s men’s B team has ever qualified for the nationals via their position in the southern road relays last month.

The men’s A team’s position of 16th was their highest ever, also finishing 14th team in the English Championship held in conjunction with the overall UK Championships. The B team finishing 31st overall and fifth among all B teams. The women’s 10th place was their second best ever, only surpassed by their silver medal-winning result five years earlier.

The men’s teams featured a number of very good runs. The strongest A team performers on the 8.6km long stages were Sam Bramwell clocking 26:34 for sixth best on a strong seventh stage, while Morgan Roberts’ time of 27:28 was 10th fastest on the ninth leg which saw Paris Olympics-bound marathon man Phil Sesemann stretch out the lead for the gold medal Leeds team.

The quickest 5.1km short stage among the red and black vests was run by Ronan Tanguy on leg four with 16:21. Stars of the B team were Alex Russell on long leg one with 28:41 and Ross Brown on short leg 10 with 16:58.

In the women’s relay Lucy Jones (31:41) brought her team in 11th at the end of the always tough and long first leg, then on the next two short stages Sarah Grover (19:19) held 12th and Liv Stillman (19:04) moved up to 11th at halfway. Jenny Nandi (33:21) ran the other long stage and handed over in 12th, then Helena Keenan (19:41) battled 13th. Anchor leg runner Sophie Tooley (18:34) produced the fastest short stage among her team members to move up to a coveted top-10 finish.

The full men’s A team roll call was Lewis Laylee (36th 28:14), Tom O’Mahoney (31st 16:27), Daniel Shaw (31st 28:00), Tanguy (27th 16:21), Brandon Dewar (25th 28:56), Ben Warren (25th 16:37), Bramwell (20th 26:34), Tom Patterson (20th 16:55), Roberts (17th 27:28), Joe Elliott (17th 16:42), Andrew Clarke (17th 28:11) and Sam Brashaw (16th 16:48).

The B team lined up as Russell (40th 28:41), Alex Jack (39th 17:11), Jack Brotchie (38th 28:57), Scott Morrison (35th 17:23), Alex Gutteridge (36th 30:05), Alex Lee (34th 17:28), Max Rose (36th 29:26), Robin Bebbington (34th 17:54), Simon Coombes (32nd 29:58), Brown (31st 16:58), Jeff Cunningham (31st 29:16) and Stephen McLeod closing right up on the Hercules Wimbledon B team towards the finish (31st 17:22).

Geoff Jerwood