Thirty-five Heanor Running Club runners tackled the Midland 12 and 6 Stage Road Relays at Sutton Park on Saturday with high hopes.
The senior men’s race consisted of four long stages of 5.6 miles and eight stages of 3.1 miles, whilst each stage for the senior women’s race comprised the same 3.1 mile distance.
Stuart King, the British indoor 1500m finalist, kicked things off for the men’s ‘A’ team by running an excellent race to come back third.
The returning James Mee ran 16:22 on leg two to maintain the medal position as Dale Annable brought the team home fourth on the second long leg at the quarter-way point.
Daniel Heathcote (18:07) handed over to Joe Rainsford in fifth position and Joe went on to hold the position, whilst closing the gap on Tipton and Wolves and Bilston in third and fourth respectively.
Tim Holling clocked the exact same time as Heathcote on leg six before Matt Bickerstaff took over to complete the final long leg for the Heanor ‘A’ team. Matt ran strongly to come home seventh.
Impressive performances from Tom Roethenbaugh, Shane Rice and relay debutant Cory Parker saw Heanor lying in sixth with two legs remaining.
Another Heanor debutante, Gordon Smith, and stalwart Steve Ashmore finished the job off excellently to pull away from Birchfield Harriers and brought the men’s ‘A’ team home sixth.
Veteran Tony Weatherson, who is in his best shape for a number of years, got the ball rolling for the ‘B’ team and ran a well-judged race on first leg. Chris Dale (18:22) returned to action after a lengthy spell out on leg two, before Gary Mellors brought the team into 45th position with three legs down.
Fresh from his 1:29 at the Wilmslow Half Marathon the week before, Rob Page gained another position before handing over to Carl Hughes and Ian Mellors.
Both ran strong legs to set up debutante Matt Govan, who, fresh to competitive racing, ran 38:02 over the 5.6 mile course.
Scott Wigman and Paul Mercer brought the team back into a top-50 position before debutante Eamon O’Hanlon, Steve Wardle and Jeff Everitt took to the line for the mass start to round off a superb senior men’s race for HRC.
Eleven ladies turned out for the senior women’s event, with the ‘A’ team securing another top-ten spot in the competition and the incomplete ‘B’ team sat in 50th after the fifth leg.
Midland Masters 5k champion Lisa Palmer kicked things off for the ‘A’ sextet.
Despite a seriously disrupted last six weeks of training through illness and injury, Lisa went sub-19 minutes to finish 13th.
Louise Insley (19:45) and relay debutante Claire Smith (20:04) consolidated the team’s finish in 11th, before Wendy Mullineux brought the team home in eigth – their highest position of the race.
Jill Burke (21:43) and Wendy Roethenbaugh (20:58) rounded off the team’s efforts and all eyes are now fixed on the National event at the same venue on April 11th.
Sisters, Rose and Abbie Leivers, placed the women’s ‘B’ team inside the top-50 from the off. Rita Fisher, Kirsty Hessey and Heather Wesson rounded off the day’s efforts.