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Horsenden Relays – Saturday 03 March 2012

Hillingdon AC’s men’s team took full advantage of a poor turnout at the Horsenden Relays to fly the flag for the club by finishing third team behind Harrow and Highgate.

Martin Bateman ran first leg over the 2.25 mile course. Recording 11.50 he finished in third place just behind Highgate’s Henry Dodwell and Steve Brooks of London Heathside. Martin handed over to Rob Poulter (13.46) who ran well, dropping back to fourth but keeping the team in contention for a medal with just 13 seconds separating the 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams at this point.

Next up was Dan Thompson (11.47) who passed both Harrow and Highgate to put us in second place behind Reading. Dan handed over to James Manley who matched his training partners’ times (11.48) to close the gap on the leaders and increase our lead over the chasing pack. James handed over to Paul Leppard (13.43) who held second place for the duration of his leg but conceeded time to both Highgate and Harrow in the chase for a top three finish.

The honour of last leg fell to John Bignell who had celebrated his 60th Birthday the day before. John was soon passed by Highgate and Harrow but was rapidly closing on the last leg runner for Reading. Cheered on by his team mates, John passed the Reading athlete with 800m of the race remaining to secure team bronze.

Steve Thompson (17:28) and Martin Searle (15:12) also competed.

Full results may be found here.

As team manager, it was extremely disappointing to have such a poor turnout for a race we could have easily have won. I repeatedly hear of athletes training on Saturday mornings rather than competing on a Saturday afternoon and I have to question what they are doing. Training is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I want to see more athletes racing and competing for the club.

This race was promoted as a selection race for the upcoming Southern and National 12 Stage Road Relays. On the basis of Saturday’s result, Martin Bateman, Dan Thompson and James Manley have secured their place in the team. Any other athletes that wish to be selected need to put in a race performance at either the Teddy Hall Relays on 07 March or the Black Park 5k on 10 March.