Author: Charlie Dickinson

The Priory Relays have become one of the club’s favorite events over the past few years. Set in the beautiful location of the Priory Park with the backdrop of the trees on the hill with their golden Autumn leaves, the shortish but challenging course always offers the chance of medals for our team. In fact, the Belles had won here the last three years.

                     Start of the race  with Saron taking the lead for the females

This year, the overnight rain and damp atmosphere made the course a lot more challenging than in recent years, in fact, it was quite muddy in places which proved a big problem for some of our runners without spikes or trail shoes. The temperature was a little cool too so the runners were very glad to have the tent kindly brought by Aidan Grace and Rose O’Brien.
There was excellent support too from President Carl Lawton, Bill Laws, Alan Black, the injured Lizzie Goldie-Scot, Matt Welsh and Sophie Harris taking photos with Sam’s friend Trevor. Saron’s little boy Simon was there too being very good as usual. We only hope that Sally’s new puppy will be as well behaved.

Three Belle’s teams completed the race. On the first stage starting together with the men’s race, Saron Haileselase immediately went ahead of all the other women mixing it with the leading men. Saron is now getting stronger with every race, tackling the hills with confidence and beginning to show her full potential. She finished a long way clear of the second team with the overall second fastest time of the afternoon. The B team was led off by Mhairi Hall who joined the group last Summer and gets stronger with every race. She ran a very good time trial in the week and complimented this with her best race so far.  Megan James kicked off for the C team finished strongly as usual and brought the team home well up in the strong field.

Katie-Ellen French took over from Saron for the A team and although as a specialist track athlete struggled with the mud and hills, she did maintain the team’s position and justified her selection. For the B team, another very keen new recruit, Maddy Shott ran the second leg, enjoyed her first experience at this level, and ran very well. It was unusual to see Jojo Rhodes running for the C team but she has been battling with an ankle injury for what seems like ages and is still short of training. This was a very encouraging run from Jojo and we are bound to see her back at her best in the New Year.

On the final leg, Samantha Amend set off with a lead for the A team, but she is still not back in full training especially on hills after her illness and had the worrying thought of the in-form Isobel Brinsdon of Epsom and Ewell chasing hard on her tail. Sammi did her very best as she always does but the conditions and lack of Cross Country fitness proved just a bit too much and the Belles had to settle for second place.  After twisting her ankle on tree roots in this event last year Rose O’ Brien ran a little warily particularly on the steep downhill section, but she ran a strong leg bringing the B team home in an excellent 7th place. Busy playing with Simon, Mhairi McDonald very nearly missed the change over for the C team but she just about made it and enjoyed her run. With her cheerful personality, she is a great addition to the team. The C team finished in12 place out of a total of 45 teams who completed all three legs.
Team Photo

L:R  Charlie, Saron, Maddy, Carl, Mhari, Katie-Ellen, Megan, Mhari D, Sam, (Simon) Lizzie, Rose, JoJo, Andy, Nick, Aiden, Robert


1.Epsom and Ewell;  48.53,  2.  Belgrave  A;  49.26, (Saron Haileselase 15.29, Katie-Ellen French 17.22, Samantha Amend 16.35) 3.  Guildford and Godalming, 50.39; ….  7. Belgrave B; 53.40,  (Mhairi Hall 17.37, Maddy Shott 17.52, Rose O’Brien 18.11), … 12.  Belgrave  C; 57.45, (Megan James 18.30, Jojo Rhodes 18.05, Mhairi McDonald 21.11).


1. Isobel Brinsden, (E & E), 15.20,  2.  Saron Haileselase, (Belgrave Harriers) 15.29,  Fiona Clark, (Reigate Priory)  16.04.

Here are the Belle’s results from recent years;

2013  1st;  51.12.  (Rose O’Brien 17.35,  Catherine Lovegrove 17.13,  Keri MacKenzie  16.35).

2014  1st;  51.43.  (Lizzie Goldie-Scott  18.25,  Jojo Rhodes 16.46,  Zoe Smith 16.32).

2015  1st;  48.19.  (Sam Amend 15.46,  Becky O’Kill 16.47,  Zoe Smith 15.46).

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