Northern Counties Road Relays

Silver Medal winners.

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Leeds won the men’s race with Sale Harriers only a couple of minutes behind. Matt Barnes managed to hold off Carl Hardman in an exciting race for the silver medal. Nigel Martin posted the 4th fastest time of the day with Phil Robertson’s time not far off (9th fastest). Our B team were 22nd and C team 32nd still ahead of many A teams. Unfortunately this year we had no other men’s teams. Salford managed 8 teams, something to work on for next year.

I have to say the N.O.E.A.A. must be commended for the way they organise this and the medals are always well worth the effort if you reach the podium. Many local heroes have been around that long as well, Dave Norman was back after a frustrating injury ravaged couple of years, as was Matt Barnes fresh from his vet European 1500m victory; well done. Relative youngsters Carl Hardman and ever improving Nigel Martin were to the fore. All the latter are coached by the incomparable Norman Poole. Conspicuous by their absence were the quality runners of Stockport, apart from Jack Morris who needed more quality around him. Morpeth also didn't seem to have their strongest team out. Victorious Leeds have recruited well as half their team are Dossers; Alumni of Leeds University led by Phil Sessman who recorded fastest lap.

This is the third year the Road Relays have been hosted at Sport City and apart from the inadequacy of the main spectator entrance gate it has been a good venue. The main thing to commend it is the ample parking and transport links, as you could get there by tram if a Manchester resident. The stadium is a covered venue with a 5000 capacity; more than enough for this. If you wish you can watch the change overs, start and finish from the comfort of sheltered seats long as the wind doesn't blow. Out on the course it is easy to move around and see the person or team you are following on multiple occasions. The commentary by Dean Hardman was very clear and informative.

The backdrop of the City stadium in one direction and the old Gasometer gave a contrasting reminder of old and new Manchester.

The opening race is always the Under 13 teams excitedly giving their all in what for them is their first big event. Clever course design, with age groups and genders overlapping sometimes, allows a lot of racing in a short space of time. However, later in the day it can become hard to follow especially as Seniors do two laps and some clubs enter a lot of teams; Salford in particular like this event because they don't do track and they stand to do well in it as their runners support the event. The main contenders will have strong runners to call upon but it varies from year to year how well the athletes support it; some may have just returned from a rest in training so will not be race fit. The big three locally are likely to be Salford, Stockport and Sale with the over the hill challenge coming from Leeds, Morpeth and Lincoln Wellington who have previously excelled at this event.

In the Ladies event the women of Rotherham are big players, being regular podium contenders. This year was no different. The Sale ladies managed just 2 teams but had a great camaraderie despite their lack of numbers. Lydia Briggs and Harriet Hamilton were joined by mother and daughter Jackie and Beatrice Cordingley for 31st place. Club stalwart Lynda Rowlinson came in at the last minute to complete a full B team along with Sarah Goulden, Gill Edmundson and Beth-Louise Newton.

The U17 men managed to get out 1 complete team needing 1 more runner to complete a full B team. Zack Gailemin was the fastest Sale runner of the day. The U17 ladies got 2 full teams out for 15th and 18th place with the B team in front of the A team by over a minute. Ros Therim was our fastest runner.

The U15 boys did really well with the A team finishing in 4th place but failing to make a full B team. The U15 girls A team came 8th with Issy Burke getting the team to a great start. The B team were 22nd out of 46 teams.

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The only gold medals of the day were won by the U13 boys who beat Trawlden AC by just 2 seconds. The B team were 19th. We did have a C team but they were disqualified and so upholding the great British reputation for relay running. The U13 girls Ava and Sara Clough were joined by Eva Karalius to take the bronze medal behind Rotherham and Stockport. The B team were 13th, C team 20th and we nearly had a complete D team too. See full results here.



Our young athletes also competed in the Northern Counties Road Relays at Sportcity and the North-West Road Relays (incorporating various County Championships) at Ormskirk.

Our most successful team was the U13 boys’ team of MATTHEW GARDNER, FREDDIE MEREDITH and OSCAR SCHOFIELD who won the Northern title. The previous week Matthew and Oscar teamed up with TOM HOBSON to win the Gtr. Manchester title.

Our most successful girls’ team was the U13 girls who’ve won five sets of road relay medals. EVA KARALIUS and twins AVA & SARA CLOUGH finished 3rd in the northern championship whilst IZZY APPLEBY, ELLIE GILDART and HOLLY NOLAN were awarded medals for first ‘B’ team. The previous week Ava, Sara and Izzy finished runners up in both the North-West and Gtr. Manchester Championships whilst Eva team up with LIZ SINCLAIR and BETH TITTENSOR to finish runners-up in the Cheshire County Relay.

Our U15 girls have been in great form with OLIVIA BROWN, IZZY BROWN and JASMINE REED winning the Gtr. Manchester Championships with OLIVIA NOLAN, LIBBY HILL and TAYLOR EDWARDS in bronze medal position. Our U15 boys’ team of JACK SPARK, JAMES KNOCKTON and WILL PARKER ran extremely well to finish just outside the medals in 4th place in a highly competitive northern championship.

Our U11’s were in great form at Ormskirk with LIAM O’BRIEN, ED SPARK and BEN KEELEY winning the U11 boy’s Cheshire relay and finishing runners up in the North-West relays. Our ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams were comfortable winners of their categories. Well done to DANIEL OAKES, JAKE ROYLE, ALEX FRASER, BEN GARDNER, ANDREW SMITH and MATTY CULLEN-BROWN. Our U11 girl’s showed great depth of performances with four teams taking part. Well done to IMOGEN HILL, IZZY HALL, AVA BYGRAVE, KATIE ROBERTSON, GRACE HILL, OONAGH Mc MANUS, HANNAH SQUIBBS, SIENNA JONES, CAREY SULLIVAN, ROXY Mc HUGH and MOLLY IRWIN.

Special mention to ISAAC REED, IZZY HALL, SARA CLOUGH and IZZY BURKE who all ran fastest legs of the day in the County Road Relay Championships whilst Sara was also awarded a trophy for the fastest leg in the NW Road Relays.


See some photos from the day at Darkstar Photos. Click here.