The Northern 6 Stage Road Relay (and 12 Stage for men) is a high profile event in the athletics calendar important for the club and individual athletes and will feature in Athletics Weekly the national news ‘oracle’ for Road, T&F and XC running.
Serious competition from the Easter holidays and other events limited us to one ladies team of 6. Early plans were for two teams giving us space for a competitive team and a ‘come and try this out, earn yourself points for the Bingley Road Championship, and have a great day out’.
With the venue switch from Stockport to Silksworth, Sunderland, families, kids, dogs, partners etc were all packed into cars for a race start at 11.35 five minutes after the men’s 12 stage. We had 3 running partner pairs –Natalie & Adam Madgett, Becky Holmes & Tom Hooper and Jo & Alan Buckley. At the Silksworth Sports Complex the start and finish was on the running track with club tents in the centre of the track. Thanks to Tony Kingham and the gents (as usual) for getting the tent and flags up. Despite the general wet of recent months it wasn’t muddy and with a good amount of grass kids and dogs had a great time.
The ladies relay was 6 stages with 2 x 4m legs and 4 x 2.2m legs giving 16.8ms of running in total (doubled up for the mens 12 stage – 33.6 miles). The race started round the track before climbing out of the track basin and turning back onto tarmac paths and a 2m loop around the Silksworth Park, a rolling hilly park with trees and a lake. A flat section was followed by a long fast descent to the lake, out round the lake, a sharp climb up the hill near the track, before a racing descent and finish on the track. The 4m legs were two loops without dropping to the track in the middle. Great for spectators – at the track watching the changeovers and starting climb out of the track basin, and fast descents and finishes, or over the hill watching fast progress around the lake, hard efforts on the sharp climb or the last push before dropping to the finish. It was cloudy, cool and still so good conditions for running and spectating.
Back to the team in running order Jo, Becky H, Lesley, Vicky, Natalie and Lana. Natalie and Vicky, were new to this style of event. Natalie had to wait for the 5th leg, but had plenty of company with dog, friends, husband and team mates, and commented :
‘The Road Relays were another first for me, I hadn’t entered a race like this before so wasn’t sure what to expect. I was glad to see everyone arrived in great spirits all smiling and supporting one another – that goes for the male and female teams, a proper club event. The weather could have been a bit nicer but it didn’t dampen our spirits and I was excited and nervous waiting for my turn. Cheeky hill on the last stretch was hard work, but I had a great day and was pleased with our result.‘
Jo has lots of experience in club team events, and was on the first leg, a 4miler. Around and abouts she kept in light touch with 2 children, a dog, a husband, the Bingley team, and all sorts of other running friends that you bump into at events like this, handed out deliciously moist fruit tea cake, and fitted in a family visit to nearby friends after the event. She commented :
‘Manic week and a bit virusey yukky so foolishly dragged myself round. So pleased I did as we made history getting a team out. Highlight was cheering tony k on….true team spirit! The girls and boys did Bingley proud. Onwards and upwards!!’
Lesley had successfully juggled to get daughter Katie a lift to a Junior Champs event at Pendle on the same day and her youngest Lily (9) travelled with us. Lily had a great day with Jo’s two and was ultimately scooped up by the Buckley family to visit friends and travel home with them.
Waiting their turn – Natalie, Jo, Lana, Becky, Lesley, Natalie, Lana & Vicky
With the relay format and all the Bingley men around for their 12 Stage relay there was lots of support on the course and the ladies commented how good it was to get encouragement on their leg.
We were 24th team out of 33 in 1hr 55.55. The first thing to say is that this is a serious athletics competition frequented by the top clubs, fielding national athletes, on a very visible and watched athletics stage so you are running against the best (the North being the best of course!). Leeds City won the ladies in 1.35.41 one to two minutes clear of Rotherham and Morpeth all in under 1.40. The next 12 were 1.40 upto 1.50, and Bingley, with an average speed of 6.9m/mile was amongst the next 11 in the 1.50 to 2.00 bracket. We were the top Bradford area club.
24 Bingley Harriers & Ac 1:55:55
Jo Buckley (17) 25:22 (4ms)
Rebecca Holmes (24) 15:41 (2.2ms)
Lesley Watson (21) 13:49
Vicky Omelanowkz (23) 28:53
Natalie Madgett (24) 15:49
Alana Gill (24) 16:21
On the move and ‘finished’ smiles. – Lana, Becky, Vicky, Jo, Natalie, team, Lesley, Lana
Thanks to Katie Phillips (Road Manager) and Jo Buckley (Championship Manager) for getting the team to the start line. I (Becky Weight) as reserve had left the day free and went for a day out with the team; with the Baildon Boundary Way booked for Sunday I was happy not to run!
Great to be part of a big team day out at a high profile athletics event with a great result for individual athletes and the club.