Sutton Park, 6th April
Belgrave’s women finished a highly creditable 8th at the National 6-stage road relays in Sutton Park in what is probably the Belles’ best showing at the competition this decade.
This was even more impressive considering the majority of the team had never run on this tricky undulating course before.
The team were certainly boosted by the presence of Tish Jones, back in the Belgrave team for the first time in several years. Tish now lives and trains in Cape Town and is over in London to take part in the marathon next month. She happily supported the team in the relay instead of opting for the Brighton 10km the following week.
This was Tish’s first race for some time, making her first leg performance even more impressive: she finished a close 5th place with 6th overall fastest long stage of the day.
It couldn’t have been an easy task for Alice Reed to take over from Tish, but she handled the pressure very well, didn’t set off too fast and did very well to lose only a couple of places. Alice has really strengthened the team since joining in the New Year.
Keri MacKenzie set off on the third stage, happy to support the team but fearful of a repeat of those painful diaphragm spasms that had affected her in the past. The problem did start on the long hill up to the Memorial Stone where Keri briefly had to stop, she then continued all the way to the finish despite the excruciating pain. Keri was upset to lose time but in the end it was a very good run and important that she managed to finish.
Georgie Fenn took over on the fourth leg, the second of the two long stages. Georgie has raced very well for the team since Christmas, overcoming several injury problems and here she found the tough course suited her strength and she produced a very solid run. By this time the gaps between the team had grown sometimes to minutes so running a stage could be a lonely business.
Another Belle to have overcome frequent injuries is Jess Reed, Alice’s sister. Jess has been able to train consistently since Christmas and here we saw the benefit with her running far nearer to her potential with an excellent strong finish. Jess brought the team back up to 8th place.
Rachel Brown has been another important addition to the squad and despite another lonely leg, Rachel produced the fastest short stage of the team, maintaining their position to the finish.
So overall it was a very good day for the Belles with wonderful team spirit and a better than expected result. It was only a very strong Herne Hill team of the local clubs who finished ahead, with many not even able to muster enough to compete in the most prestigious event of the season.
Belles team, 2019
Top 10 teams, 2019
|1||Leeds City AC ‘A’ 2:10:40|
|2||Herne Hill Harriers ‘A’ 2:11:31|
|3||BirchfieldHarriers ‘A’ 2:12:06|
|4||Aldershot Farnham & District ‘A’ 2:12:31|
|5||Rotherham Harriers & Ac ‘A’ 2:14:34|
|6||Swansea Harriers 2:14:51|
|7||Highgate Harriers 2:18:10|
|8||Belgrave Harriers 2:21:05|
|9||Tonbridge AC 2:22:51|
|10||Bristol &West AC ‘A’ 2:23:40|
Belles’ National 6-stage performances since 2010
|2018||15th after leg 5, incomplete team||N/A|