Despite pre-race rain, sleet and snow, this unseasonal weather stayed away for the duration of the ladies race, with the sun turning up on occasion. The usual fantastic team spirit was still clearly on show as TVH’s athletes had their best ever team finish, improving on their 5th place finish from the previous year.
The National road relays are the main event in terms of club endurance running in England, with the ladies competing across 6-stages over a testing course in Sutton Park. The 1st and 4th legs were ‘long’ (5.4 miles) and the other 4 legs ‘short’ (3.2 miles).
On a fierce opening leg, Sarah Johnson, made a strong relay debut for TVH. Battling it out with international athletes over the tough 5.4miles course to finish strongly and bring the team home in a solid 13th place out of 50 first leg runners in a time of 31:40. Also on first leg was Victoria Carter, who ran in an incomplete B team due to a late spate of injuries. Victoria had a fantastic run despite her Manchester marathon the week before, to finish just outside the top half and 3rd B team, in a good time of 33:42. Victoria will again be running the London Marathon next weekend and will be looking to set another Guinness World record, this time for the fastest three legged finish. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=three-legged&isTeam=true
Taking over from Sarah and Victoria were the Kate/Katie’s. Final year medical student Katie Mellor paced her 3.2 miles effort well to take 33 seconds off her time from last year to finish in 19:50, losing just four places as many of the clubs front loaded their teams. It was also great to also see Kate Nunn back running the National road relays with her usual great smile in a good time of 21:26 in 30th (3rd B team). There were no more B team athletes on the day but with TVH’s fantastic crop of U17s we will be looking at having two complete teams in 2017.
Leg 3 runner Irish international Ann-Marie McGylnn decided to catch everyone in sight as quickly as possible to set up the race for the rest of the team. Ann-Marie did just that and within the first mile the team were already up in the top 10. Ann-Marie continued her fantastic effort all the way to the line to move the team up from 17th to 6th place as none of the ladies she ran past could respond to her tremendous pace – an exceptional effort! In fact Ann-Marie’s time of 17:16 was the 4th quickest short leg of the day.
Next off was Tracy Barlow who was looking in great form for the London marathon next weekend, Tracy continued the chase for a medal by overtaking two more teams, moving the team up to 4th place with the 11th fastest long leg of the day – another great run rom one of our TVH star athletes (time of 30:49).
Lisa da Silva who has had a terrible time with injuries over the last year and had only been able to do a minimal amount of training over the last month went out on leg 5. Lisa had gutsy run, toing a froing with 5th place team Rotherham, but maintaining the team in 4th place by winning a sprint finish (time of 19:41).
And finally, leg 6 was taken on by Scottish international, Fiona Thompson. The Cambridge and Coleridge athlete in 3rd place started a huge 2 minutes and 37 seconds ahead, however Fiona did her best to pull away from the chasing group and close the team within a minute of the medals with a fantastic time of 18:17 – 10th fastest short leg of the day out of 177 athletes.
4th place is the best ever finish for TVH’s ladies at the National 6-stage relays and everyone is looking forward to at least going one better next year!