January 12, 2014
UPDATE Results now available here.
Match report by Brian Bailes
It must be six or seven years now since the club had so many people running in these relays. That was in the days when it was all the seniors running, and none of the teenagers. Last year’s run saw the introduction of the young’uns, when Adrian made a team with his mates Tom and Chris. Now with the increase in confidence that success brings in the young athletes, they are now challenging established seniors, making A- team selection something that is competed for not granted as a right. Today’s race had almost three ladies’ teams, three vet men’s teams and four senior men’s teams.
My alarm went at 8:00 but I managed to doze off again ’til Linda sent me out. I was tired and when I looked out the window there was a canny frost so I wasn’t too keen, but hey ho…it was either that or lie in a warm bed for another hour waiting for Linda to bring my breakfast. But no, relays are good so off I went.
The course was white and crisp, and the teams all arrived in dribs and drabs; then came the “can anybody get another runner” that always seems to precede relays for some reason (Team manager is a tricky job at the best of times, and the club would like to thank Lee Millmore for his efforts, despite being sabotaged in his task by the ineptitude of the club secretary – Note from the Editor (and secretary)) . Two drop outs, one with man flu and one with a poorly daughter, so the teams were quickly rearranged, and Tracy Millmore’s sister (Sue) came along to bolster the numbers.
The vets were the first to run, and I did query myself being on the A-team, but it didn’t matter cos the B-team beat us anyway, so technically I suppose I was in the B-team. The A and B teams were actually quite well matched although they didn’t finish the way I had hoped. Dave Kelly gave them a slight lead over Peter Gill which Dave Cleugh extended, and it was just too much a lead for Dave Coulson to overhaul, and although he closed the gap, Mark Bell managed to maintain the lead to take the glory for the Birtley AC “inner competition”. I have to say on a personal note, I always like to win (oh the memories) but I was actually happy with my run, I do feel like I am getting better. The other vets team saw Ian Goulding running his third, or maybe fourth race for the club, who teamed up with Alan Burnett who still smiles all the way round the course and someone who hasn’t been to the club much lately due to work commitments, but still enjoys turning out for the odd race – Dave Lamond.
The next race was the ladies, this race was for the vets and seniors combined (the lads and owld fellers were separate races). A last minute text last night informed the team captain we had an ineligible athlete (too young) so the teams were rejigged and this was the point when Tracy’s sister stepped in, although they still ended up in an incomplete team There were three teams started and the first leg runners were all close together on the first lap. Paige Gilhespy took pole position and started well, Robyn Waugh was the second runner for the A-team, and she managed to open a bigger gap, and bring the team up a couple of places or so, then handed over to Tracy Millmore. Tracy ran a cracking leg, and unofficially brought the ladies home in 8th place. She tore down the finishing straight, and although she did say Aly Dixon was closing her down, there was no way she was going to be caught. The B-team ran well, competing as vets; Ruth Dadswell ran her first relay for the club, along with Lisa Short also in her debut race, then Maria Smailes coming from her death bed, complete with bad foot to make her team complete……happy new year Maria, first time we have seen you in 2014. Sue Ramage (you may know her as Sue Laws) followed Lorna Blyth in the incomplete team, both runners doing very well, shame they were short of a final leg runner.
Now the main event…….the big young lads race!!! Again there was swapping around on the teams. Adrian had withdrawn due to injury, but still came along to watch his mates. There were some of the young lads of yesteryear running in the form of Gerard Sharp and Chris Tiffin, lining up alongside the new breed, Conna, Shaun, Tom and Greg, with those names already performing well, hopefully the 12stage is a possibility in March. Anyway, we had four teams out there, and a cameo role by Mr Sharp, our last secretary who came along to support.
New member Greg Ritchie set the stall of the A-team with a good first leg handing over to Gerard, who is finding some good form that goes with consistent training, who handed over to Tom who, following a disappointing run yesterday, put in a sterling performance to bring them home in unofficially 8th place. The B-team was also a very competitive team, no results yet though, but a rare appearance now for Neil Allen, who is training for a marathon…..in Windermere. I bet that will be a flat course…not!! Conna and Shaun were running the previous legs.
Michael Keenan, who I suspect is a closet train spotter, cos he seems to get the train to most events instead of asking for a lift, somehow arrived in time but was delayed, and when he arrived at the start, he realised the rest of the pack were already 50 metres away taking the first bend. Chris Tiffin ran second leg and Jamie Graham got the glory leg to finish in style. Chris Blyth set the D team away with Lee running second leg and a familiar figure (Dave Cleugh again) making up the final leg to enable the team to get their times.
After the race there was a pitiful rendition of Happy Birthday almost sung for Dave Coulson who has just collected another V in his category, and we all tucked in to birthday cakes supplied by Lee and Tracy. As a thanks Dave has agreed to bring Xmas cake to the next Harrier league. (Don’t know if he has told Jackie mind….)
Back home for a warm, and to watch the futbaaaaal and a nice hot bath, it is something I have earned. I am glad I didnt lie in bed all morning now 😉
Generally speaking a great atmosphere and lots of good running on a cold frosty morning. Looking forward to the next race!!!