British Masters XC Relays 2018

Glenn Savage

Saturday 27/10/2018, Long Eaton

West Park Leisure Centre, Long Eaton was again the venue for the British Masters Cross Country Relays, with a flat and fast 3k circuit for the runners to whizz round.

The recent unseasonal mild temperatures gave way to a bitingly cold wind as winter announced its arrival, but the races were as hot as ever.

First up were the ladies races.  Our W35 team got off to a fine start, with Harriet Hamilton coming home in 3rd place with an excellent 11:53 leg (7th fastest V35 of the day).  It was never going to be easy to remain in medal contention against the cream of the country’s veterans despite the fine efforts of Sinead Roche (13:24) and Tracey Taylor (14:07), but the final placing of 12th was a very creditable result with such a high standard field on show.

We managed to field 2 teams in the W45 race, and there were high hopes for our A team, led off by team manager Anne Chinoy, fresh from her selection to represent England Masters over 10k in Birmingham next year.  Improving on last year's time, Anne's 12:17 was good enough for 4th place (8th fastest V45 of the day). Further excellent runs from the evergreen Jackie Cordingley (13:22 for 5th fastest on her leg even though a W55!) and Helen Reagan (13:53) resulted in a great 8th place! 

The B team consisted of Carla Ousey (13:52), Lynda Rowlinson (14:13) and Marinda Breddy (16:24); all three girls putting in a great performance to finish 13th

It was a great turnout by the ladies, but they again were left to lament the lack of a 3rd W55 runner to complement Jackie and Lynda, which would almost certainly have ensured medals for a complete trio. However, this would have left the W45 teams short, which does highlight the difficulty in selecting Masters’ relay teams and the need to juggle with athletes from different age categories to put out the strongest teams possible.

At the same time as our ladies were running, our M65 team were trying to improve on their fine 6th place from last year, and it was a determined effort from the same trio.

Mike Curley has proved himself to be one of the quickest M65 runners in the country, but found himself in an incredibly competitive first leg, with Salford’s Stanley Owen setting a blistering pace.  Mike’s 12:38 was nevertheless a superb effort.  Further great runs from Mike Dunne (14:35) and Geoff Beattie (14:38) helped secure the team a fine 5th place.

Our M35 team were next up.  Matt Oldham had the misfortune of falling at the start of the first leg, but recovered well enough to run an excellent 10:40 in 17th place.  Rob Fairbanks, who along with Matt was using this as a warm-up for the following day’s Oldham Half Marathon, also had a great run with 11:05, continuing his great form.  Rob Marsden, hindered by a recent glute injury, ran gamely to record 13:28.  Another recent recruit, Richard Clancy, showed he is recovering well from recent illness problems with a brilliant 10:44.  The team was completed by M55 runner, Glenn Savage, running a solid 11:42 following an injury hit few months as he brought the team home in 14th place.

Our M55 team was decimated by withdrawals and Glenn having to make up the M35 team, so it was left to club stalwart Frank Cordingley to run as our sole runner in an incomplete team.  Another one blighted by recent injury/illness problems, Frank’s 13:11 was a fine effort indeed.  It is worth mentioning that Frank made himself available to run in younger age group teams if needed, typifying the kind of spirit we need.  So take a bow Frank!

In summary; no medals, but good solid team performances all round, and certainly something to build on for next year.  Maybe we will acquire the medals our veteran runners are capable of in the spring road relays.

Regardless of results, a great time was had by all who made the journey to Long Eaton; and the team spirit and camaraderie was there for all to see.  Roll on next year!