A Team And A Bit Make The Startline….
Author: Charlie Dickinson
The Southern relays for most are one of the highlighted events clubs look forward to showcasing their best teams. It’s an opportunity for road, track and cross country runners to come together and race in an exciting team event. On this course at Gravesend, the short stage is only about the length of our own Bridges course, and the long stage nothing like the brutal one at Sutton Park. Running multi laps, two at 2.2km for the short stage and 3 for the long, makes it unfortunately confusing to follow the race. Although it was a nice sunny day, there was a very sharp East wind blowing throughout the afternoon which made this undulating course much tougher than last year.
The Belles team has been badly affected by illness and injury but we still put a very positive team together with a special mention of Claire Stokes and Mhairi MacDonald who came to support the club and run for the B team. Mhairi had let it slip that she has entered the Edinburgh half marathon. ‘In that case, you ought to do the long leg’. Claire had battled the South London traffic and a cold, but still gave her best.
Lizzie Goldie-Scott has been running very well this year since overcoming injuries which began just over a year ago. She was entrusted with the frenetic first leg and ran a very sensible race bringing the team home in 19th place. Becky O’Kill took over for the first of the two long stages, running very even splits over the three laps and maintained our position. She did, however say afterward’s say although the wind was strong, it was nothing like she experienced at Reading the week before.
It was nice to see Saron Haileselase back running in the team. She had been ill with a chest infection most of the winter and hadn’t raced since October, being a very light runner she also found the strong wind very difficult. However running one of our quickest short stages brought the Belles up a couple of places.
Then on leg four came a remarkably strong run by Sam Amend. Still shrugging off the effects of Glandular fever and another horrific journey round the M25, she just set off very positively and clocked three laps at just over eight minutes each. By this time the gaps were huge but Sammi brought the team up another place to 16th.
Helen White and Megan Bailey took the final two legs with the team finishing in 17th position. Helen and Megan have both been hugely instrumental in helping the team with their positive attitude, both having turned out well over ten times this season. These two have dominated the newly formed B team competition and although Megan was secretly hoping for a B team place in the relay, she readily agreed to step into the A team at short notice.
1. Winchester 1. 47;16, 2. TVH 1;47.32, 3. AFD 1;48.14, 17. Belgrave 2;00.26 (L. Goldie-Scot 17.11, R. O’Kill 25.39, S. Haileselase 16.53, S. Amend 24.17, H. White 17.56, M. Bailey 18.30)
Short; 1. I. Lee (Winchester) 14.23, 2. A. Gibson (Tonbridge) 14.48, 3. J. Judd (Chelmsford) 15.01
Long; 1. N. Taschimowitz (SBH) 22.02, 2. A-M McGlynn (TVH) 22.08, 3. A. Griffiths (AFD) 22.20.
Pic: Megan Bailey ( bracing the wind)