Reading Athletic Club fielded a ladies team in the 45–54 age category of the British Masters Road Relay Championships on a cold and wet day at Sutton Park, Birmingham, finishing in an excellent 6th place out of 20 teams. The three-stage relay took place on a challenging undulating 5K course and, with two long hills to climb, sensible pacing was key. With more teams entered this year, it was always going to be a tough job to beat the 4th place finish they achieved in 2017.
The team was led off on stage 1 by Sue Francis, who ran strongly and raced well against those around her to clock a pleasing 21:13 to hand over in 8th position. But such was the strength of the field, that the leading three teams had already opened a large gap on the chasing teams. Sarah Urwin-Mann made a welcome return to the team after a long recovery from injury, to take on stage 2. This was her first race for 6 months, but she clearly relished the return to competition and showed great form, gaining three places and recording 20:33 to hand over to Julie Rayfield for the final stage. Julie set a strong and consistent pace, holding her place well and setting a lap time of 21:58, to bring the team home in 6th place, in a total time of 1:03:44. The individual lap times of Reading’s three ladies were all within the fastest 20 of the 60 runners on the day.
The race was won by Winchester & District AC (1:00:28) ahead of Tonbridge AC (1:00:35). Reading’s ladies can be very proud of their performance in such a strong and competitive field.