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National 12 Stage Road Relays, Sutton Park, 13 April 2013

Hillingdon Ac’s Senior Mens team triumphed against adversity to finish 58th out of 80 clubs in the National 12 Stage Road Relays on a wet and windy day at Sutton Park.

With many athletes either injured or unavailable to compete due to other commitments, the team was already down to the bare bones before the start of the race with six athletes missing from the team that was due to compete in the cancelled South of England 12 Stage Road Relays on 24 March.

However, things got even worse on race day as Tony Grant was forced to withdraw from the team lineup with a sore hip just two hours before he was due to run, resulting in 61 year old John Bignell, who had travelled upto Birmingham to support the team, being called upon to run at short notice. The subsequent reconfiguration of the lineup also meant that Simon Connell, who himself was suffering from a calf injury was required to run a 5.4 mile “long” leg rather than the 3 mile “short” leg he was originally scheduled to do.

There were some positives to draw from the team’s performance as Robert Thompson, James Laing, Martin Bateman and James Manley all ran strongly over long legs whist Joe Carton also performed well on his first experience of racing in the National 12 Stage as he ran the team’s fastest short leg. The other big plus to take away from the experience was the spirit displayed by all the members of the team who were determined to test themselves against the course and the opposition and put in the best race performance that they could on behalf of the club.

My thanks and appreciation to everyone who gave up their time to compete for the club in this race and ensure that Hillingdon AC once again had representation in a National Championship.

Full results may be found here: http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/nat1213.htm

Photos of the race (when published) may be found here: http://www.racephotos.org.uk/