Monday, 11 April 2011


  My association with the NATIONAL ROAD RELAY  championships is a long one.  I was selected for SALE HARRIERS  to compete in the
1968 event which took place in Leicester.  Same format at last Saturday. 6 long legs and 6 short legs.  I was somewhat surprised when I looked back at my records to see I had run a long leg rather than a short one as is usually the case with junior men.  We finished 16th of 25 teams. The winners, Coventry ran 4:14 the last team, Blackpool & Fylde, ran 4:36.  Only 8 of those 25 teams were present on Saturday but the absence of those 17 was more than compensated as 59 teams finished this year at the now regular venue of Sutton Park, Birmingham. The last team taking 5:35 was a long day!
  TIPTON HARRIERS were 5th in 1968; won the event when I ran in the BINGLEY team in 1978 and won again last Saturday.  But it was a close run thing and never "in the bag" until the last leg as Tipton,
NEWHAM and Northern champions , MORPETH fought out the 12th short leg.  Newham just nudging out Morpeth to take second.  Still the Morpeth lads were all smiles after,  proudly wearing their medals and their FASTRAX jackets which we had supplied in recognition of their Northern win at Catterick.
  So Tipton's traditional support of this event was maintained.  Looking into the ages of the team I had expected to find at least a few "youngsters". Several around 20 perhaps running the fast short legs.
But not the case;  several late 20's and five well into the '30s.  Maturity and experience prevailed.
 Both  SALE  mens and womens teams suffered the usual last week withdrawals and consequently were somewhat understrength, as many others will have been , and we only managed a middle order 32nd place. Similarly with our ladies who fell away from 6th after 3 legs to 16th.  But our 18 runners are to be commended for devoting a day to representing the club and all seemed to enjoy the great  atmosphere of this national event with the area around the start and finish surrounded by the multicoloured club tents and banners. All adding  to the festive mood on gloriously hot and sunny spring day.  My 4 mile "easy day" run of 4 miles around the Midlands park was just enough. 

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