Reading AC’s ladies joined the men’s team at Milton Keynes for the SEAA Road Relay Championships on Sunday 24 March. The ladies’ race is a 6-stage relay, comprising four ‘short’ stages of 5.05 km (stages 1, 3, 5 and 6), and two long stages of 7.66 km (stages 2 and 4). Each stage started and finished on the athletics track, taking a surprisingly undulating route via tarmac paths around the edge of woods and housing estates.
Conditions were good for racing; dry and sunny with a light breeze. The team was ably led off on the first short stage by Hayleigh Wood, who paced herself well to clock 21:01, handing over in 24th place to Sophie Crumly for stage 2. Sophie put in a very solid performance on this long stage, recording a time of 29:16 and gaining 3 places to hand over in 21st place to Sue Francis for stage 3. Sue had three runners to chase, and had a pleasing run, gaining two places and clocking 20:48 as she handed over in 19th place to Sarah Urwin-Mann for stage 4. Sarah gave a strong and determined effort on this long stage, recording 30:57 as she passed over in 20th place to Lucy Daniells for the penultimate short stage. Lucy had one of her best runs of the winter season, chasing hard and putting in her trademark sprint finish to clock 21:22 and maintain the team’s 20th position. Claire Mills, taking part in this event for the first time, had the honour of running the final stage. Working hard and holding her form well on this short stage, Claire recorded 22:52 and kept the team in 20th place as she crossed the finish line in a total team time of 2:26:16, a very pleasing team effort.
Report by Sue Francis
Photos by Malcolm Francis