English National six-stage road relays - a report by Fiona Bunn.

A testing course

Abingdon AC Ladies put in a strong performance in the English National 6-stage road relays, finishing a fine 26th out of 57 starting teams. The six-strong team competed over a testing undulating course at Sutton Park (some might even call it hilly), completing two long legs and four short legs (5.38 miles and 3.16 miles respectively) in a cumulative time of 2:34:57.

First leg (long)

The team was set off by myself on the first long leg. It was hard not to get too carried away in the start when racing against many of the top names on both the domestic and international scene! I set off fast (perhaps too fast) but came back in 15th in a time of 31:28, a full 2:30 mins down on Anna Möller from AFD (who has recently returned from finishing as the top European in the World XC championships in Denmark!).

Second and third legs (short)

I was followed by Katharine Harris (22:51 in her debut as a Senior) and Katy Adams (24:24) on the next two short legs, both of whom ran well to bring the team into the start of the next Long leg in 33rd position. At this point we were locked in close battle with the eventual 24th placed team from Serpentine AC, just a few seconds separating the teams at each changeover.

Fourth leg (long)

The first of the two Cordy’s (Cordy Parker) just about had time to run a speedy long leg, catching three places in a time of 34:01 before catching the train to the airport where she is off to her next adventures in snowy Font Romeu (which might possibly make Sutton Park seem a little less mountainous…) and handing over to the second Cordy, Cordy Halfhead.

Fifth and sixth legs (short)

Cordy ran a fantastic short leg in a time of 21:31 to hold 30th; a strong debut to the senior team in her first year as an U20. Rachael Ayerst then brought the team home in style, catching four positions in her first race back since November due to injury problems over the winter and crossing the line in 20:42.

High-quality competition

Congratulations to the whole team, it was great to see Abingdon AC being represented in such a high-quality competition and we shaved a full 89 seconds off the team time from 2018! Luckily the weather also brightened up for the day, so it was sunshine and smiles all around.

Elsewhere in the action, second-claimer Alex Wall-Clarke brought Southampton AC home in 39th on the first leg of the men's 12 stage in a time of 28:22 with a solid run.