Heanor Running Club successfully defended the Livingston Relay title in dramatic fashion at Braunstone Park, Leicestershire, last weekend.
They sealed the win after the quartet of Tim Holling, Joe Rainsford, James Mee and Chris Rainsford combined to snatch victory in the final half-mile.
Eight teams turned out in a typically strong yellow and blue showing, including three women’s teams, four men’s and one U15 girls trio, which also saw Lily Winfield record the fourth-fastest female time of the day overall.
Lily led the U15 girls to fourth place in the junior race, with Mollie O’Hanlon (21:14) and Harriett Bull (23:50) concluding the promising young trio’s efforts among the five complete teams.
The prestigious event has seen such names as Tipton Harriers, OWLS AC and Coventry Godiva take the men’s title over the course of its 87 year history.
2014 saw Heanor RC etch their name on the trophy for the first time.
Hopes of a repeat last Sunday were high, albeit less confident than 12 months ago.
Tim Holling set the ball rolling on leg one and clocked 16:31 over the three mile parkland course to come home 8th.
Joe Rainsford gobbled up the field and charged his way through to second by the end of leg two. Joe’s time of 15:09 finished the day fifth-fastest overall.
With the team still almost one minute off Charnwood AC in first, James Mee (15:35) closed the gap on the long-time leaders to just sixteen seconds at the end of leg three.
Handing over to Chris Rainsford on final leg, the gap remained the same approaching the final hill just one kilometre from the finish.
Chris hauled himself onto the shoulder of the leader with half a mile to go, however, and kicked for the finish to secure a hard-fought victory by seven seconds.
Chris’ time of 14:41 was also the second-fastest of the day and one of only three inside fifteen minutes.
The women’s “A” trio of Claire Smith, Louise Insley and Jill Burke improved on the club’s fifth-place finish last year to claim bronze as Charnwood AC reversed the order to secure gold.
Kicking proceedings off on first leg, Claire clocked 18:24 to hand over to Louise in second. The team remained in the silver-medal winning position with just the final leg to run following Louise’s 18:22 effort. The HRC opening pair were split by just two seconds and finished the day sixth- and fifth-fastest of the day respectively.
Jill Burke (19:52) anchored the side home but was pipped to the post by the Barrow Runners lady on leg three as the trio finished third by a mere five seconds.