The England Road Running Association (ERRA) road relay championship is an annual litmus test of the strength in depth of running clubs and the latest event at Sutton Park, Birmingham on Saturday 8 April was well supported and highly competitive. After four and a quarter hours of intense action it was Swansea Harriers who lifted the men's 12-stage trophy and Leeds City AC claimed the women's 6-stage title.
Swansea And Leeds Dominate National Relays
The men's relay alternates long (5.38mls) and short (3.16mls) stages for a race distance of 51.24 miles and the women complete 23.4 miles, with the first and fourth legs being of the longer distance. Qualification to compete is through Area Championships held last month.
Swansea's men improved from sixth last year to celebrate victory (4:15:06) by almost five minutes after only being ninth on the first leg. The athletic Swans hit the front at halfway and were thereafter never headed. The top six was completed by Bristol & West (4:19:55); Liverpool Harriers (4:20:51); Notts AC (4:21:29); Lincoln Wellington (4:23:07) and Tonbridge AC (4:23:23).
Dewi Griffiths (Swansea, 25:10) retained his fastest long stage award of 2016, followed by Alex Yee (Kent AC, 25:37) and Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers, 25:47). The short stage leader was Douglas Musson (Notts AC, 14:46) from Tom Marshall (Cardiff, 15:01) and Jonny Hay (Aldershot, 15:09).
The women’s relay saw last year's silver medallists Leeds City upgrade to gold (2:12:44) followed by Swansea (2:16:21); Winchester (2:16:35); Cambridge & Coleridge (2:17:14); Bristol & West (2:17:26) and Rotherham Harriers (2:18:03) in close order.
The long stage leaders were Swansea's Verity Ockenden (29:45) from Tracy Barlow (Thames Valley Harriers) and Susan Partridge (Leeds), who shared 30:03. Fastest short stages were by Kate Maltby (Bristol & West, 16:38); Laura Weightman (Morpeth Harriers, 16:44) and Emma Clayton (Leeds, 17:19).
Full details and results are available at the England Athletics website.
Image courtesy British Athletics press