Weekend Report - 24th/25th September 2016
Tonbridge Men Take Silver in South of England Road Relays
Alongside a Win for the Over 50 men
Despite achieving the Club’s highest ever position in the South of England Road Relay Championships, on Sunday, a strong Tonbridge men’s team could not hold Aldershot, who included Rio Olympic 10,000 metre finalist, Andy Vernon.
Tonbridge not only picked up silver medals in the men’s race, but their over 50 team emerged victorious, whilst the under 17 men finished third. The championships relocated this year to what was a very windy Bedford Autodrome, that tested every runner to the full.
The men’s team was led off by James West, who stuck with the lead pack, throughout the 5.7 kilometre lap. He took the lead near the finish, but came home in second with a 17.24 split. At the handover he was two seconds down on Aldershot and ran the fourth fastest lap overall of the day. Kieran Reilly ran a superb 17.42 for the B-team, to finish 7th, of the total 72 teams that started.
Corey De’Ath went second for the A-team, briefly taking the lead, but then struggled and lost momentum, being overtaken by a few teams to place 8th, with a 18.41 time. Alex Howard took the B-team into 4th with an excellent 17.59.
Alasdair Kinloch was soon into his stride on leg three and ran the 10th fastest lap of the day in 17.41 to move Tonbridge into 2nd, whilst Stuart Brown’s 18.57 kept the B-team high up in 6th.
Ben Cole ran 18.28 and Tom Holden 18.11, as Tonbridge remained behind Aldershot, with significant gaps beginning to appear between the lead clubs. George Duggan then anchored the team with a 17.46 split, whilst Andy Vernon extended Aldershot’s lead with the quickest split of 16.48.
The B-team finished a superb 9th to qualify for next weekend’s National Championships, whilst the club showed its great strength in depth as the C team placed 22nd.
The Tonbridge ladies’ team finished 20th in their race, which comprised of four legs of 4.5 kilometres. Nicole Taylor ran 16.17, Lucy Thompson 18.14, Alice Ralph 18.40 and Shauna Paice 19.07.
The surprise performance of the day came from the over 50 veteran men’s team that won their category through Graeme Saker (20.39), Phil Coleman (22.47), Mark Pitcairn-Knowles (22.31) and Andy Wood (23.46). Saker’s time was the quickest of the race.
The under 17 men’s team were the third medalists for the club, as they competed over four legs of the 4.5km lap. James Puxty came home in second with 14.10 and was followed up by Simon Coppard (15.19), Charlie Lindsay (15.24) and Bede Pitcairn-Knowles (15.08). The B team’s 7th place showed another age group with a good number of quality runners.
The youngest teams all performed superbly, but just outside the medal positions. The under 13 girls were 7th, under 13 boys 5th, under 15 girls 4th and under 15 boys 6th, whilst the veteran ladies team finished 9th in their category.
Tonbridge aim to have teams in almost all of the races at the National Road Relay Championships, at Sutton Coldfield on 8th October.
On Sunday afternoon, 2nd October, the first of the monthly junior one mile races, promoted by the club, will take place at Tonbridge School fields. Race entry is at 2pm and there will be races for both boys and girls, who are 12 years old or younger. There is a medal awarded to every finisher, with the runs aimed particularly at those wishing to give the distance a try. Details can be found here.