RECORD TURNOUT FOR THE NORTHERN ATHLETICS ANNIVERSARY RELAYS
THE popularity of the Northern Athletics’ Cross-Country Relays continues to grow at a pace resulting in a record number of teams closing in in what was the 10th anniversary of the event after NA linked up with the Cutlers Relays back in 2010.
The competition has changed very little in that time giving competitors a nice opening stint leading into the arduous cross-country season ahead.
SENIOR MEN (4×2 mile)
Lincoln Wellington missed out on a podium place in last year’s championships after claiming top spot in 2016 and 2017 but they were not to be denied this time round once they hit the front on leg two.
Middlesbrough AC led at the first changeover thanks to junior international Josh Cowperthwaite whose clocking of 10min 23secs proved to be the fastest time of the day. Rotherham were in second place followed by City of Sheffield and Dearne and Roundhay Runners with the eventual winners just over 20 seconds adrift of the Teeside outfit.
On stage two Lincoln moved into pole position thanks to Thomas Trimble whose 10:32 was the fourth fastest overall. Lincoln now had a 13 seconds lead over Middlesbrough (Ben Bergstrand) as Salford moved through to third from fifth and Sale, who were now in fourth place after passing on in eighth at the end of the opening leg.
Jake Richardson consolidated Lincoln’s position on the penultimate stage as Sale moved into second place ahead of Hallamshire who had started off in 10th position in the early stages. Middlesbrough were now back in fourth place followed by Liverpool and Rotherham. Joe Wilkinson, a regular in Lincoln’s previous victories, had the honour of contesting the glory leg and though he had a comfortable cushion he managed to push on regardless resulting in recording the second fastest overall time of the day, just four seconds adrift of Cowperthwaite’s figures.
Hallamshire, thanks to Cameron Bell’s 10:41 on the final leg, came home in second place 47 seconds behind Lincoln with a delighted Middlesbrough finishing in third place, a superb all-round performance considering their quartet were all under-20! Sale followed Middlesbrough home then came Liverpool, City of Sheffield and Dearne, Rotherham, City of York, Sunderland with Birtley completing the top 10.
Unfortunately, however, Hallamshire were denied the silver medals due to a registration technicality on one of their athletes and were eventually disqualified meaning Middlesbrough were awarded second place and Sale moving up into bronze medal position.
UNDER-17 MEN (3×2.3k)
The action-packed programme saw a superb battle in the early stages of the contest with track specialist Ethan Hussey (Leeds City) and Middlesbrough’s Archie Lowe quickly gaining an advantage over their rivals. As the stage unfolded it was Lowe who proved the strongest in the closing stages to come to the changeover point with a four-seconds cushion over Hussey with Houghton (Henry Johnson) in third place a further 15 seconds adrift. Not surprisingly, the three athletes were accredited with the fastest overall times of the day.
Hallamshire, who were in sixth place, moved into pole position on leg two with Middlesbrough now in second spot ahead of Derby AC, Houghton and Leeds City.
Unfortunately, Hallamshire were denied going on to claim victory as they didn’t field a third athlete so it left Daniel Payne, with the fourth fastest overall time, to bring Middlesbrough home to top the podium ahead of Leeds City with Salford completing the one-two-three as Chesterfield just edged out Derby for fourth place.