Competitive and quality races at Birkenhead, Sutton Park and Aldershot show British road relay running at its finest
MIDLANDS ROAD RELAYS, Sutton Park, September 23
Birchfield Harriers came from behind to win the senior men’s race, while Western Tempo were convincing women’s winners, Martin Duff reports.
On a bright day that began in glorious autumn sunshine, the young athletes were away first and the Wreake & Soar Valley club took all three girls’ events.
In an effort to bolster participation, Midland Counties reduced the distance for the two youngest age groups but uptake was on a par with recent years.
The final event of the day had been the senior and veteran men’s event and Bristol & West looked to be heading for victory as they led for the first four 5.88km laps. However, word spread that Birchfield were finishing with Omah Ahmed and Kadar Omar and the pair duly delivered, with the two fastest men’s race laps.
Ahmed, who has been on good form all summer, took over in fifth spot on stage five and, after just 16:52, brought them home narrowly ahead of the Birmingham Running and Triathlon (BRAT) outfit.
He said: “I wasn’t feeling well as my back was in pain,” but this did not seem to hamper his performance.
Ahmed added, about his citizenship status: “I have been here nearly 10 years but need three more to qualify.”
The 26-year-old said that he is running 100 miles a week and will probably contest the Great South Run on the weekend of the National 6-stage.
Omar then finished the job with a 17:12 clocking and victory went to the Stags by 57 seconds.
Earlier Jack Millar had ‘won’ the opening stage with 17:34, ahead of Rugby & Northampton’s Josh Lay in a time that stayed as the fourth best of the afternoon, as Birchfield were back in 11th spot before moving up to fifth with Dominic Smith on the second stage.
After Telford’s Dan Galloway had made an early bid for glory by breaking clear and then still leading after the opening 800-metre loop, Millar said: “I was near the front and accelerated going out up the hill, then I pushed it on the dog-leg.”
Then, it was Daniel Studley’s 18:12, for Bristol, again with Rugby snapping at his heels who led, before Max Davis, with a third best of the race 17:30, gave the west-country team a 36 second lead at the half-distance ahead of BRAT’s Charlie Davis.
Bristol then wheeled out veteran John Thewlis but lost ground to BRAT’s Jethro McGraw and Western…