National Road Relay Champions!
Its official. The Womens National Road Relay Championships will no longer take place over two miles in October, but will be incorporated with the mens six stage event in March. The women will run over four stages, alternating short (3.15 miles) and long (5.8 miles). The same trophy will be used for this event as for the former 3 x 2 mile event.
At the inaugural event held at Livingston on Saturday 28th March, Shettleston Harriers Ladies took the championship title, so for the fourth time our team gets to share the trophy for a year. To be honest, this event probably suits our members better than the old distance which was ideal for middle distance/track specialists, but the longer event brings out the best in our distance specialists. And best they were!!!
We had two teams in the event. The A team consisted of Eileen Reid, Frances Florence, Hsu Min Chung and Anne-Marie Hughes. Eileen ran the first leg of 3.15 miles, which it was agreed after discussion amongst the teams appeared to contain most of the hills! There was also a strong wind blowing in some of the more exposed places but Eileen battled through to hand over to Frances in second place. Frances, running the longer 5.8 mile distance, managed to overtake the Livingston A team who had come home in first place, but was then herself overtaken by a superb run from Falkirk Victorias Janette Stevenson. Out went Hsu in second place 37 seconds down, to run a stormer of a short leg in the second fastest time of the day and hand over to Anne-Marie in first place with a one and a half minute lead over Falkirk Victoria. Anne-Marie, who had worried the socks off us all mid-week with a threatening illness, ran a terrific solo run (3rd fastest long leg) to lead the way home 4 minutes, 19 seconds ahead of Falkirk Victoria. The cumulative team time was 1.55.20.
What about our B team? Where did they finish? A superb start from seasoned relay runner, Susan Carter saw a hand over to Laura Ann Tedford in fifth place. Laura Ann, making a fantastic relay debut, overtook the fourth placed runner within the first 100 yards and held that position to hand over to Margaret Daly (I got a row for calling myself the club donkey!) in fourth. That place was held for the third leg and another relay debut from Lara Halliday, who ran superbly well, brought the team home third and claim the bronze medals. The cumulative team time was 2.09.08.
Eileen, Frances, Hsu, Anne-Marie and Susan have all got a few championship medals to their credit. For Laura Ann and Lara, it was, I believe, the first of many more to come in the future. For Margaret, it was also a first time SAF medal and - realistically - probably a one-off, but nevertheless, a dream come true.
They issued a top twelve finishing times for each of the long and short legs. Seven of our eight runners featured in it. Hsu (2nd); Eileen (3rd) and Susan (7th) in the short leg, Frances (2nd); Anne Marie (3rd); Laura Ann (4th) and Lara (8th) in the longer stage.
All in all a tremendous day when all of the pre-race trauma of call-offs and reluctant reserves being pressed into service was cast aside and forgotten in the post-race euphoria.