Weekend Report - 8th October 2016

Tonbridge Continue to Challenge at National Level

Tonbridge Athletic Club’s men’s distance runners showed that they have firmly established themselves amongst the UK’s top teams, when they placed a close fourth in Saturday’s National Road Relay Championships, at Sutton Coldfield. In addition to the senior men’s results, all three of the club’s male young athlete teams came away with a set of bronze medals each.

The Tonbridge men’s team were the defending title holders, but knew that a lot had gone their way with last year’s victory and this year would offer a new challenge. They were also fielding an extremely young squad, with the oldest of the six runners just twenty years old.

The team was led off by Corey De’Ath, who for half of this opening leg was tucked nicely behind the leaders. However, he then hit a bad patch and struggled home in 30th place of the 82 starters, running 18.23 for the 5867 metre course. He handed over to James West, who set about making inroads towards those ahead. West ran 17.32 and pulled the team up eighteen places to 12th to hand over to the youngest team member, Alasdair Kinloch.

Kinloch, in his first national senior championships, ran a solid 18.01 to move into the top ten. Tom Holden then had his best run for the club so far, moving to 6th with 17.37, before George Duggan had one of his best ever performances, on stage five. Duggan ran the fastest Tonbridge time on this course, that has been used since 2001, as he moved to 4th with 17.27.

With international Chris Olley on the anchor leg there was still hope that the team could get amongst the medals. However, the top three teams were not to be denied with Cardiff winning in 1.45.52 by just three seconds from Swansea. Liverpool Harriers hung on for third, just nine seconds ahead of Tonbridge, who ran 1.46.29, almost a minute quicker than their winning time from a year ago.

The Tonbridge ladies team finished 30th of the 78 starters, with Nicole Taylor coming home 11th on the opening leg with a 14.55 split for the 4,315 metre loop. Alice Ralph (17.31), Hannah Czarnowski (17.55) and Lucy Pitcairn-Knowles (18.32) brought the team home.

U13 Boys Team

The three team bronze medals came in the under 13, under 15 and under 17 male races, all running three stages of the 3,861 metre course. James Puxty ran the fastest lap of the entire under 17 men’s race with 11.42, as he put Tonbridge into a slight lead after two legs. Simon Coppard had run an outstanding 12.06 to come home 9th on leg 1 and Bede Pitcairn-Knowles secured bronze medals for the team with an anchor leg in 12.24.

U17 Mens Team

The third place for the under 15 boys was the biggest surprise of the day for the club as all three raced at their very best. James Kingston’s 13.03 placed then 13th, before Toby Emm took them up to 4th with 12.54. It was then left to Fraser Gordon, who moved into the medal position with a 13.00 split.

U15 Boys Team

The under 15 girls team equaled the highest ever Tonbridge position in this race, from the last fifteen years, as they finished 11th, of 80 starting teams.  Katie Goodge ran an excellent 14.06, with Luciana Anderson (15.14) and Stephanie Puxty (15.17) completing the team.

The under 13 girls also had a solid performance to place 16th of 70 teams, through Alex Evans (15.27), Maddie Wise (15.04) and Lizzie Wooff (16.35).

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