Leeds City won the 6 stage crown and Lincoln Wellington the 12 stage title at the Northern Road Relay Championships on Sunday (March 25).

In sunshine and warm, breezy conditions, the Northern 12 & 6 stage road relays championships at Birkenhead Park could not have been more different to the Midlands last week in snow and biting winds, while the Southerns were postponed at Milton Keynes due to the severe weather.

Leeds City AC’s A team took full advantage of the near perfect climate to claim the fastest women’s 6 stage prize on the day, ahead of Rotherham Harriers and Salford Harriers’ A teams. The margins were significant though, with nearly two minutes separating first and second, and a further near-four minute gap to third.

It was Rotherham’s B team first leg athlete, Hayley Carruthers, who led her club home in what was to be the fastest long leg of the day in an impressive 26:42 clocking for the 8.5km course.

Carruthers’ time helped her club’s B squad finish 9th overall, and, with the Birmingham-based athlete still relatively new to competitive racing, the Gary Warhurst-coached athlete’s goal for a sub-3 hour result at the forthcoming London marathon looks to be a significant underestimate!

Leeds City’s A team were nevertheless victorious after the six legs, with Lucy Crookes (26:45), Alice Leake (13:24), Claire Duck (12:33 and the fastest short leg of the day for the 4.3km course), Heather Sellars (28:12), Harriet Buswell (13:41) and Georgia Malir (13:14) completing the winning team’s gold medal roll of honour.

Photo: Charlotte Wills

Interestingly, Stockport AC’s Elle Vernon (Baker) helped her club to the 10th overall position on the day, running the second fastest short leg, less than 24 hours after winning the previous day’s Home Countries International in her England vest!

Lincoln Wellington AC’s A team fought hard to take the lead on the 5th leg through Shane Robinson’s 24:23 clocking in the senior men’s 12 stage event after James Straw (23:26), William Strangeway (11:27), Aaron Scott (23:42) and Ronny Wilson (11:52) kept the squad within the top quartet on the first four legs.

The ultimately victorious Lincoln dozen were up against stiff competition in Salford Harriers and Stockport Harriers’ experienced athletes, while Sale Harriers and Leeds City’s A teams were never far behind.

Phillip Williams (12:26), Matt Bowser (24:04), Joshua Stone (12:27), Jake Richardson (12:01), Harry Baxter (12:05), Ryan Page (12:01) and Thomas Trimble brought the Lincoln outfit home to gold medals all round.

Their winning margin was less than a minute over Salford, and only Strangeway’s and Straw’s legs made the top ten of the respective short and long legs tables.

Stockport’s GB regular Ross Millington took the fastest long leg of the day with 22:27, while Trafford AC’s James Bowness’s 11:04 was enough to clinch the shortest leg title ahead of seasoned international Tom Lancashire of Bolton.

Women’s top 10 teams

1) Leeds City AC ‘A’ – 1:47:49
2) Rotherham Harriers & AC ‘A’ – 1:49:37
3) Salford Harriers & AC ‘A’ – 1:53:13
4) Ribble Valley Harriers – 1:54:03
5) Liverpool Harriers & AC ‘A’ – 1:54:29
6) Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield – 1:54:49
7) Leigh Harriers & AC – 1:54:58
8) City Of Hull AC ‘A’ – 1:56:25
9) Rotherham Harriers & AC ‘B’ – 1:58:10
10) Stockport Harriers & AC ‘A’ – 1:58:35

Men’s top 10 teams

1) Lincoln Wellington AC ‘A’ – 3:11:31
2) Salford Harriers & AC ‘A’ – 3:12:15
3) Stockport Harriers & AC – 3:13:58
4) Sale Harriers Manchester ‘A’ – 3:14:36
5) Leeds City AC ‘A’ – 3:14:40
6) Liverpool Harriers & AC ‘A’ – 3:15:00
7) Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield – 3:17:36
8) Blackburn Harriers & AC ‘A’ – 3:17:49
9) Morpeth Harriers & AC – 3:18:40
10) Trafford AC ‘A’ – 3:20:03