Author: Charlie Dickinson
A VERY GOOD DAY AT THE RELAYS, TWO TEAMS AND A RECORD EQUALING 7TH PLACE FOR THE BELLES
The forecast promised 8 degrees and rain and it was certainly a miserable journey up to Birmingham for the Autumn Road Relays. However, by the time the race started in the afternoon, thankfully the rain had stopped and it was a lot brighter.
Saron Haileselase took the first stage for the Belgrave A team hoping for around a top eight finish. Content to sit back in the chasing group from the two GB international leaders, she went past the memorial stone in 7th then flew down the hill overtaking four very good runners and finishing strongly up the final hill brought the team home in 3rd for the overall eight fastest time of the day. Jojo Rhodes used her experience to cope with the frenetic start and brought the B team round very safely.
There is no one more reliable than Sam Amend and although suffering somewhat from lack of speed after her epic GB 100km race in Croatia in September, she gave everything as usual just losing a few places handing over in 8th. Katie-Ellen French had been injured and a little short of fitness but nevertheless ran well and passed 13 runners for the B team.
Jane Vong is always a great addition to the team when she runs for Belgrave and ran almost exactly the time she had done a year earlier. Although losing another place she did remain in contact with the teams just ahead. Jurgita Levertaviciute took over for the B team and although somewhat regretting a rather long warm up with marathon runner Jane, she held the Belles position finishing in about the same time a JoJo.
Our two fourth leg runners Sophie Harris and Lizzie Gold-Scott had a nightmare journey up to Sutton Coldfield having to change trains and then missing their connection at Litchfield and so having to get a taxi to get to the venue on time. They did thankfully arrive in enough time but it was not the best way to prepare for a big race. Sophie set off just a few seconds behind the Swansea athlete and they battled all the way round both overtaking two teams. Sophie produced a very strong leg to finish just three seconds behind Swansea in 7th position.
This performance by the Belles equalled their best ever in the national relay, a terrific performance by all.
Lizzie Goldie-Scott took over for the B team and it was good to see her fitness improving as she gained several places bringing the team home in 44th place out of 62 complete teams who finished. A very creditable result.
Teams; 1. AFD 57;56, 2. Leeds 59;29, 3. Tonbridge 59;56, …. 7. Belgrave A 61;21, (S. Haileselase (3) 14;39, S. Amend (8) 16;15, Jane Vong (9) 15;41, S. Harris (7) 14;46), …. 44. Belgrave B 70;21, (J. Rhodes (62) 17;44, K-E French (49) 16;34, J. Levertaviciute (49) 17;45, L. Goldie-Scot (44) 18;18.
Fastest Legs; I. E, Hosker-Thornhill (AFD) 13;58, 2. J. Judd (Blackburn) 14;07, 3. L. Howarth (Leigh) 14;12, …. 8. S. Haileselase (Belgrave) 14;39, … 12. S. Harris (Belgrave) 14;46.