By Jamie Arrowsmith 17/04 Updated: 24/04 14:41
THE BROMSGROVE & REDDITCH Athletic Club women's team clinched their best finish for years and the strengthened men's team improved for the second year in a row at the 2012 Midlands AA Road Relays held at Sutton Park in Birmingham on Saturday.
Our local athletes had their best result in the Women's 6 Stage since 2005 as a relatively young squad was led out by team captain Tamara Ball who finished the first of the six, three-mile legs at about halfway in the field.
Sally Hogan - running her first Midland Six Stage relay for the senior women - had a good run and gained 9 places.
Katy Anderson, who has recently joined the club from Stratford AC, dipped under 19 minutes by one second to be the club's fastest woman and moved up one place.
Gemma Clay got the team up to its highest place on the day, 10th, and the club's more experienced runners Charlotte Ball and Merissa James covered the last fifth and sixth legs in times that were just a few seconds apart, for the team to finish 12th.
It was good to see B&R enter a full team and to finish 7 places ahead of where they finished the last time they were able to enter a full team in 2010. Westbury Harriers were the winners.
B&R women's performances: 1 Tamara Ball (24) 19:42; 2 Sally Hogan (15) 19:17; 3 Katy Anderson (11) 18:59; 4 Gemma Clay (10) 20:46; 5 Charlotte Ball (12) 21:36; 6 Merissa James (12) 21:29.
In the Men's 12 Stage Relay team manager Len Quartly had to do some late shuffling with Rich Lomas and Dave Gemmell absent from the original line-up due to injury.
Kevin Lanckham switched from the veterans team to run the first long leg. On the back of training for the track season Andy Freeman ran his best time for a short leg and Sean Bowden continued the team's climb through the field.
The fifth leg saw the very welcome return of Rich Malin after being injured over the last year. The future for the squad is promising with the next four legs being filled by athletes who did not race in the equivalent event in 2011.
Ashley Ross had a great run to move up two places and Adam Lloyd, who had been the club's best placed finisher in the Droitwich Half-Marathon earlier in the month, ran the club's fastest short leg (16:19) to leave the club in 21st at halfway.
There were six veterans (over 35) in the team and all four long legs were taken by them with Steve Williams opening the second half and nudging the team to 20th for the first time over his 5.4 miles.
The youngsters took over for the next two short legs and James Hood and Mark Appleton (who knocked 9 seconds off his time from last year) consolidated the team's position.
Steve Beddoe's improvement during the cross-country season saw him gain a place in the team and he used his stamina over a long leg.
Damian Lewis had also got faster over the course of the winter and was pleased at his sub-6 minute pace over the hilly course.
Robert Mole started the last leg in the mass start and, without realising it in the confusion of runners on different legs, moved the team up one place to finish 20th just ahead of local rivals Halesowen in 21st.
The team finished 2 places higher than 2011 and well within the qualifying places for the National Relays, knocking about 4 minutes off last year's time. Bristol & West AC were the victors.
B&R men's performances: 1 Kevin Lanckham (41) 32:38; 2 Andrew Freeman (35) 17:23; 3 Sean Bowden (31) 16:37; 4 Richard Malin (26) 30:40; 5 Ashley Ross (23) 17:18; 6 Adam Lloyd (21) 16:18; 7 Steve Williams (20) 32:07; 8 James Hood (20) 16:46; 9 Mark Appleton (20) 17:30; 10 Stephen Beddoe (21) 35:33; 11 Damian Lewis (21) 17:42; 12 Robert Mole (20) 17:58.
B&R entered a Men's Masters team for the first time since 2009 for the 6 Stage event and the Vets race started at the same time as the 12-stage relay and Andy Notley had the difficult first long leg after Kevin had switched to the senior team.
Phil Anderson and Alan Elsmere ran the next two short (3 mile) legs. Reserve Ian Nutter moved into the team to fill the gap left by Kevin and took on the long undulating road all the way past the Jamboree Stone all the way to Streetly Gate before turning.
Undaunted, he did not lose any Vets places. Next Clive Dent ran the fastest short leg for the Vets to get the club up to 10th handing over to Paul Atkins who maintained that position on the last short leg. The Masters winners were Leicester Coritanians.
B&R Masters performances: 1 Andrew Notley (14) 38:02; 2 P Anderson (12) 18:39; 3 Alan Elsmere (12) 20:14; 4 Ian Nutter (12) 38:21; 5 Clive Dent (10) 18:06; 6 Paul Atkins (10) 18:41.
MEANWHILE, Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club juniors Kitty Luscombe and Nicol Green won gold in the British Schools Biathlon (part of the GB Pentathlon) involving a 500m sprint and a 50m swim, representing Bromsgrove School.
After qualifying, the girls went to Macclesfield for the semi-finals where Kitty won the event and Nicol achieved 4th place.
This qualified them for the GB National Schools Final which took place at Crystal Palace on Sunday, March 25 and individually they finished 13th and 22nd, but in the team competition scored enough points to win gold and qualification for the GB National Event in May.
The team consists of Nicol, Kitty and Kate Morrice, who all attend Bromsgrove School.
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