Leamington Athletes battle the spring snow
An amber weather warning didn’t deter Leamington athletes taking part in the promotion of this years Midland Counties Spring Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park last Saturday. Winter returned to much of the country with snow and freezing temperatures, and made worse with easterly winds.
The event was brought forward a week which affect the number of teams due to the spring marathon training but Leamington C & A C managed to confirm their growing strength in numbers to field both a mens 12 stage team and ladies 6 stage team.
First off for the men, running a long stage of 5.38 miles was Paul Andrew. This stage is where all the clubs put in their fastest runners. Paul was always in contention bringing the team home in 29:06 for 11th place. Continuing his recent improvements this Cross Country season, Callum Hanlon ran the 14th fastest long stage of the day. Setting a time of 28:01 he moved the club up to 4th position. Jamie Langley, who lives out of the region again showed that he can compete with the best. He set a time of 31:12 (7th). Finally Bill Andreoulakis completed the last long stage in 32:10 keeping the club high up in 11th.
The top 25 clubs from this event qualify for the National Relays next month. Team Manager Alex Montgomery was confident after this excellent start that this would not pose a problem. The following 8 stages run over a shorter distance of 3.165 miles with the two Charlies next up. Charlie Eastaugh, who now lives in London made his comeback in the red white and blue. He had the 19th fastest short stage time of 16:37. This moved the team back into the top 10 with 9th place. Charlie Staveley came next with 18:22 (8th) followed by a strong run from Dean Mawby 18:18 to maintain the high position.
Kevin Walpole made his first appearance for the club and should be satisfied with his 20:27 timing (12th). Training partners Paolo Foglino 20:40 (13th) and Simon Perkin 20:21 (16th) both knocked off over half a minute from their best times. The team finished with John Knibb’s 19:40 (16th) and Craig Bower 20:26 placing them in 18th postition. The final team total ended in 4 hours 35:20. The men’s event was won by Bristol & West AC IN 4.02:05.
The ladies run 6 stages with the first and third being over the longer distance. Led off by International Masters Monica Williamson they produced the club best showing on the “longer” event by over 3 and half minutes with 2 hours 40:06. Monica judged her run to perfection with 35:04 in 9th place before handing over to Jade Holt to complete the shorter stage in 20:43 (10th). Club regular, despite having to drive nearly 2 hours to get to the venue, was Zara Blower with 36:28 (9th) handing to Eve Walpole’s 22:56 (9th), Saffia Del Torre making her first appearance at the relays ran strongly for 21:43 (9th) and the team brought home by marathoner Courtney Thornberry’s 23:12 for a final position of 8th. Birchfield Harriers won the ladies race in 2.14:27.
Special thanks must go to the officials of the Midland Counties who stood out in extremely difficult conditions for over 6 hours including Leamington’s Mary Hodges, Alan Edwards and Chris Hitchman.