SOME fantastic performances in round one of the England Athletics Virtual Road Relays meant Reading Roadrunners have clinched a place in next month’s National Round, writes Sam Whalley.
The competition, which required entrants to run a five-mile road leg, was initially scheduled to take place from Boxing Day to January 10th but was extended to January 13th to allow more time for those clubs whose local areas had been affected by adverse weather conditions to participate.
Club members aged 15 and over were invited to enter, and asked to run either out-and-back courses or lapped courses of no less than 1km per lap. Track laps were not permitted, and competitors were reminded to comply fully with government guidelines regarding exercise.
Team numbers were uncapped, and scoring teams were made up of the fastest four men and four women from each club, with the top 50 teams to progress to round two. With a total time of 4hrs 5mins and 51secs our eight scorers bagged a provisional 47th place in a competition which attracted 128 teams.
As usual the standard was exceptionally high, with the fastest times overall being 23:57 for the men and 27:36 for the women.
21 Roadrunners – 12 men and 9 women – rose to the challenge during the competition period.
Scoring for the men were Jack Gregory (26:01 – 54th overall), Mark Worringham (26:10 – third MV40), Brendan Morris (28:26) and Tony Page (28:49). Mark’s time was over a minute faster than the club MV40 record of 27:25, set by Lance Nortcliff at Overton in 2016, while Tony’s was a PB by more than four minutes.
Counting for the women’s score were Katherine Sargeant (fourth FV50) 31:51), Sarah Dooley (33:53), Mel Shaw (34:41) and Liz Johnson (36:00). Katherine’s time was almost two minutes faster than the club FV50 record of 33:45, which was set by Lesley Whiley at Peasemore, and has stood since 2011.
Other notable performances were recorded by Rob Cannings (31:19) — a brave competitive comeback after he was hospitalised during the first wave of Covid — and Jane Davies (36:13), who was third FV60. Jane, Katherine and Mark all achieved an age grading of 87 per cent for their performances.
Here’s confirmation of the results, which means we can now prepare for the National Round, which will take place between and February 10th and 15th: