A pleasant late summer evening saw a large Striders team descend on Stewarts Park. We were joined by familiar faces from other local running clubs. The purpose of this gathering? The biannual NYMAC Tom Wall relays – teams of four, with each person running a mile around the park, handing the baton to a team-mate after each leg.
9 Striders teams were entered – 4 ladies, 4 men and 1 mixed. With the warm-ups and loo visits complete there were nervous glances at expensive running watches. Conditions were good and most people had a target time. A few minutes before 7pm the throng was cleared from the starting area and the first leg runners lined up… then we were off.
Our mixed team was led off by me old pal Dave Fender. He ran a great leg before handing over to Lee C – who recorded a pb of 5 mins 36 secs. Johnathon’s pb of 5.33 put the team in prime position. The evergreen Caroline anchored the team home for a finish time of 23 mins 14 secs – 4th position in category and 27th overall. A fantastic effort.
Lucy was first away for Ladies ‘A’. Katie ran 6.24 in leg 2 – but you knew what your time would be before even starting, didn’t you Katie… Liz S followed, and then a speedy 6.36 from Rachel Hall saw the team home in 26.39. That achieved a brilliant 4th in the ladies only category and 52nd overall.
Ladies ‘B’ had the reliable duo of Liz J and Angela in legs 1 and 2. First timer Rachel Carr clocked 7.29 in leg 3. With a summer of middle distance on the athletics track, Rachel now has a good mile time to add to her portfolio. Debbie – with Helen J guiding – ran the quickest leg for team B – 7.19 – helping lower their overall time to 30.31 and 13th in category. Nice one ladies.
Gail and Fran ran consistent times in legs 1 and 2 for Ladies ‘C’. Julia, a regular at the relays, clocked a good 7.41 before handing on to Paula to see the team home. A time of 33.11 was posted, and 20th in category was achieved.
Now…Ladies team ‘D’. Jackie, Judith, Stella and Fiona. I must apologize because I can’t see your results ladies. On a slightly darker note there are rumours that you were disqualified. Fighting, foul and abusive language, bribing the officials and selling illegal moonshine are alleged reasons. I hope this is untrue ladies – but you know what they say – there’s no smoke without fire. I fear the good name of Striders may have been tarnished forever.
Men’s ‘A’ had the task of trying to replicate the top 10 finish achieved in May. Me and Mathew Carling got the team off to a strong start. Phil S then ran a scintillating 5.14 pb in leg 3 to put us in a great position. Michael B anchored us home to post 21.24 and 9th overall. Mission accomplished.
A big pb of 5.49 from Matty Clarkson saw Men’s ‘C’ get off to a flyer. Chris N ran well in leg 2 before Steve K’s 5.57 pb moved them further up the field. The experienced Mick led them home for a time of 24.04 and 37th overall.
Tom R’s speedy 5.39 pb gave Men’s ‘B’ another flying start. Darren followed before Sam’s 6.13 and Finlay’s 6.06 pb achieved a time of 24.41 and 41st overall.
John C started things off for Men’s ‘D’ with a good 6.31. The ever consistent Dave E and Antony H – 6.44 pb – followed in legs 2 and 3. Lee H’s pb of 7.12 on the final leg ensured they finished with a time of 27.18 and 62nd overall.
I hope you all enjoyed it – although the short distance does make it a bit nerve-racking – you’re glad when your leg is over! There was the usual good team spirit (apart from the Ladies ‘D’ team of course), and some excellent placings and performances. Hopefully some of the club speed sessions have helped.
There will be a follow up to this report. Dave Fender is going to do a 40 part series of essays on the history of the NYMAC relays for the website – starting with the first relay he took part in back in 1978 – which promises to be a real treat, doesn’t it.