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National 12 Stage Road Relays, 14 April 2012

Hillingdon AC’s mens team finished a strong 34th place at the National 12 Stage Road Relays at Sutton Park Birmingham. With six athletes unavailable from the team that finished 19th at the Southern Road Relays, putting a team together for this event was something of a challenge but I was really pleased with the levels of performance and effort that everyone in the team displayed.

The team were on the front foot from the off with Martin Bateman, Dean Clark, Robert Thompson and Anupam Das all having good runs, moving the team up from an initial position of 46th to 34th and setting the level of expectation for the rest of the team. Carl Yates had a much better race than at the Southern Road Relays, conceeding a couple of places but running a very good leg, clocking the 3rd fastest long leg time for the club behind Robert and Martin.

Rob Poulter was a relatively late addition to the team as I struggled to put together a competitive 12 from the athletes I had to choose from. Although he ran the slowest short leg time for the club by almost a minute, he made himself available to compete for the club when others didn’t and so deserves credit for trying his best and filling a place in the team when asked to do so.

Richard Mann, Jason Burke, Sam Blanshard and Ed Campbell all ran quicker legs than I expected as they moved the team back up from 43rd to 38th position. Daniel Thompson was suffering from a cold but still ran a strong leg to complete the 5.4 mile course in under 30 minutes and Paul Leppard was pleased with his run as he chased down Shaftesbury Barnet and Bourneville Harriers to bring the team home in 34th place.

Full results may be found here. Race photos when published may be found here.

This was a very good team performance and all those that competed should be pleased with what they have achieved. With Harrow and Ealing failing to qualify for the National 12 Stage, TVH failing to raise a team and Shaftsbury Barnet Harriers finishing behind us, Hillingdon AC can lay claim to being the best mens road relay club in North West London.

This was a great way to finish what has been a successful road and cross country season. This club has tremendous potential and next season I want to see us start to realise it – I can list at least ten athletes who had they been available, could have come into this team and run quicker than myself and Rob Poulter.

Have a good summer. Get fit, get fast, get focused and get ready to do it all again next season. The South of England Six Stage Road Relays are at Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot on 23rd September. Be there.

Paul Leppard