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Women Relay The Foundations

WomensRR2014On Saturday 20th September 2014 Hillingdon AC women’s teams competed at the Southern 4 Stage Road Relay championships for the first time since 2009. The squad was a mix of old and new faces with only Michaela Mayor and Jemma Weekes having any experience of this fixture and the pressure and nerves this format of racing places on the team members. Excitement was also high for the upcoming challenge of the course and taking on some of the best female athletes in the land. Steph Twell, Jessica Judd and Beth Potter to name a few have all recently graced the international scene and it is great for normal club athletes to be in the same competition as them. Michaela Mayor had the responsibility of leading out our A team amongst a rampaging scrum of women on the 1st leg around the undulating and deceptively tough and hard to pace 3.8km course. Having spent the summer focusing on 800m times she did very well to hand over to Hannah Wells in 24th place. Hannah is the youngster of the team but has competed for the club for a number of years and was very pleased to be part of this event finally. Hannah showed great commitment and desire leading up to the race to be part of the A team and compete at her best. During the race her nervous energy meant she run out of steam a bit in the last few hundred metres having started faster than she had planned but still ran a strong time of 14.51 and handed to Stephanie Wigram in 26th place. Stephanie is new to HAC and this was her debut race in our club colours. Steph handled the occasion well and actually finished very fast to show there is plenty of potential for the upcoming races. Her time of 14.41 moved the team up to 20th spot and set Eva Mack up to chase down the competition ahead of her. Eva did get passed by 2 very rapid athletes but raced very well and picked off 5 others to complete the A teams efforts in 17th spot and finish as our fastest of the day in 14.17. My target for the A team was top 15 and in the early legs it looked a pipe dream but the depth of our team shone through and 17th was very respectable and just 21 secs of 15th and 50 off 10th.

For the first time in seven years we started this race with a B team and Jemma Weekes had the task of battling it out on the 1st leg where most of the teams stack their fastest athletes. It is a tough place to race and 16.45 was a decent start for the other women to follow. Zoe Dobbs (v45) competed on the track once this summer, however this was her first road race for us. Like all the others the toughness of the terrain tested her pacing skills as well as being adrift of the main race ahead so 17.50 was about right. Another debutant in the white and red was Andrea Taylor. Ultra distance mad-cap events seem to be her thing so 3.8km is somewhat short for her. By now the B Team was right towards the lower end of the race so the opportunities to feel like you are in a race where dwindling. Andrea bobbed around the course in 17.37 which more than justified her place in the team. Melanie Spencer who many of you will know has been extremely busy racing this year during the summer series events and is an avid park runner on Saturdays. This was a different challenge for her without running in a group or pretty much anyone around other than supporters. Mel competed with her usual gusto and cheerfulness to record 18.20 mins and make sure a full B team was in the results for HAC women since 2004.

Well done to them all and the team spirit amongst the women showed the future looks bright.

The womens’s results are here.