TVH ladies produced their best ever performance in the National (English and UKA) 6-stage Road Relays Championships on Saturday 15th April in Birmingham’s Sutton Park, coming a fantastic second place.
Fresh off the back of winning the Southern road relays, the team were determined to medal on a National stage for the first time. They’d been here before, a dream team on paper but never quite enough to be in the top three. But 2023 was the Valley’s time to shine!
For those unfamiliar with Sutton Park, the course is no easy feat, including a predominantly uphill first 2km. However, a carefully selected team order ensured that individual strengths were brought out. Yvie Lock and Tracy Barlow took on the gruelling long legs of 8.6km (legs 1 and 4 respectively), with Alex Mundell (leg 2), Lisa da Silva (leg 3), Emily Carroll (leg 5) and Kate Olding (leg 6) taking on the four shorter 5.05km legs. Each athlete placed within the top 10 fastest in their respective legs demonstrating the strength of the team.
First up was Yvie Lock who ran the opening long leg of 8.6km in an amazing time of 29.43 to come home in 6th place amongst a stacked field. Yvie also sliced 40 seconds off of her time from last year to record the 7th quickest time of the day.
With top clubs including Charnwood AC, Herne Hill Harriers, Birchfield Harriers, Hallamshire Harriers and Salford Harriers to chase down, and Leeds City AC on our tail, Alex Mundell dug deep on leg 2 to clock an excellent time of 18.12 over the tough 5.05km course. Alex picked off two teams whilst eventual winners Leeds City moved through. However, leaders Charnwood AC did not have a third leg runner to hand over to, so Alex handed over to Lisa da Silva in 4th place. Despite men on their respective legs whizzing past, Lisa remained focused on getting the job done, opening up over the last 2km to finish in a course pb of 19.00, holding 4th place and narrowing the gap on Salford Harriers.
With excitement quietly boiling, it was over to the ever reliable and super speedy Tracy Barlow to draw in the teams ahead. Could she get us into a medal spot? Of course! Tracy worked hard over her 8.6km leg moving the ladies up into 3rd in a brilliant time of 29.50, the 8th quickest long leg of the day (2nd quickest on leg 4).
Leg 5 was run by Emily Carroll, a 35 min 10km runner. With teams tiring ahead, Emily looked smooth as she picked off another team, to shift the Valley up into a fabulous 2nd place in a cracking time of 18.22.
Finally, it was over to Kate Olding to bring the team home. Stakes were high and Kate was nervous but given her current form she was the perfect choice for last leg. Kate smashed it, holding on to 2nd place behind Leeds City AC and maintaining a 1 minute gap on Salford Harriers. Kate’s run earned her the 3rd quickest short leg of the day in a fabulous time of 17.30.
The B team were also out in force, made up of Lydia Blythe (leg 1 in 35.05) Amelia Casey (leg 2 in 21.02), Helen Mallison-King (leg 3 in 21.11) and Nathalie Podder (leg 4 in 46.04). A fine effort by all four athletes and they were unlucky to have an incomplete team due to illness and injuries.
A huge congratulations to the TVH ladies for this amazing and historic achievement! Pictured above from left Yvie, Tracy, Emily, Kate and Alex.
Report by Lisa da Silva – Team Manager and Athlete
The TVH men’s team managed by Phil Wetton also performed very well with their best performance for many years, finishing in 13th place. The men’s teams have 12 athletes with alternating between the long course and the shorter course, 6 athletes running 8.6km and 6 running 5.05km.
Dan Mulryan got the team off to a strong start in 9th place on the 1st leg our quickest long leg time of the day in 26:09 and was followed on the 2nd leg by Niki Faulkner taking the team up two places with our quickest short leg time of the day in 15:45.
Myles Edwards, Rob Vallance, Ollie Barbaresi, Hugo Cayssials, Michael Cameron and the youngest member of the team Basil Rock kept us in the top 10 after 8 legs before the team fell back slightly over the final 4 legs run by Chris Thomas, Alex Goodall, Conor Kissane-Wood and Oli Newton on the final leg for a total time of 4 hrs 19 mins 36 secs.