Strong in all areas
County Road Relay Championships, 14 April.
A chilly afternoon
These championships were once again held at Abingdon rugby club, with us as the home club. County officials and marshals from other clubs combined with a small army from Abingdon AC to put on a thoroughly enjoyable event on what was a chilly afternoon. The largely traffic-free circuit was back in use, the one change being that for the first time the senior women's race involved four legs.
Young athletes U15
Proceedings started with the young athletes (under-15) race, where boys and girls run together over a 2 km out and back course. A clash with the first Oxfordshire junior track league may have affected entries somewhat, but nevertheless, it was disappointing to see that no clubs apart from Abingdon toed the line – it is a championship after all.
The three girls in our A team (Georgie Halfhead, and Olivia and Izzy Martin) have all been in great form of late and ran out clear winners overall, followed in by our girls B team.
For the lads, it was good to see several athletes from the Transition Group in action, many making their competitive debut. And as for the clash of fixtures, Connor Morgan ran a strong opening leg having raced over 1500m earlier in the day.
On to the senior events and in the men's race Les Newell got our senior A team off to a solid start before a well-judged performance from Adam Ede brought us within striking distance of the leaders. Alex Wall Clarke was taking no prisoners on Leg 3, handing over to Alex Pennington with a very clear lead. Alex and Jack Shayler built on that before Kie Francis (another who had raced over 1500m that morning) took the final leg, bringing us home in with minutes in hand.
The senior women's race was dominated by a strong quartet from Didcot Runners with Eynsham taking the silver medals. There was a tight tussle for the bronze medals between Witney, White Horse and ourselves. Mieke Bedlington ran a sound opening leg for Abingdon, and some hard running from Cordy Halfhead and Rosie Mullins left us a close-up 5th at the final changeover. White Horse fell back and by the end, Beth Darwent had prised open a narrow but significant gap on Witney.
Full results are not yet to hand but it was great to see so many teams, (YAs, seniors and vets), clad in the yellow and burgundy getting stuck in. Relays are always good fun, and while they are not as plentiful as they once were they still have an important part to play in enhancing team spirit. They are also ideal springtime fodder in the transition from cross country to track and summer road racing (and back again next autumn).
A big well done to all of our athletes and a massive vote to thanks to all those who made the event happen. A great job all round from AAC.
Update - the full results are available on the OAA website (pdf).