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SEAA Road Relays – Senior And Veteran Men 21 September 2014

Hillingdon AC had complete teams in each of the veteran age groups (vet 40, vet 50 and vet 60) and two senior teams at the South of England Relays at Aldershot on 21 September.

In the Vet 40 race, Hillingdon AC finished 12th of 32 complete teams with strong runs from Mike Dooley, Simon Connell and Scott Farley. In the Vet 50 race, the club finished 18th of 18 complete teams thanks to Stevan Dokic, Bob Burton, Barry Brown and John Doyle, whilst in the Vet 60 race Ted Hamilton, John Myall, Brian Leach and Graham Wood finished 5th of eight complete teams.

The senior men’s A team had the challenge of finishing in the top 25 teams to secure a place at the National Six Stage Road Relays in October and they got off to a strong start with Rob Thompson, clocking 18:36 for the 6km course to finish in 14th place after leg one. Rob passed over to James Laing, who ran well with a 19:24 timing to take the club up to its highest position in the race of 12th.

Dan Thompson had the difficult task of following Rob and James and whilst he was always likely to lose places, he had to keep his focus on running a good time. Dan did an excellent job of this, recording 20:38 but losing ten places. Mark Speight has recently come back into form and he ran a well judged race, recording consistent splits over the two lap course with a time of 20:28.

Sam Blanshard rejoined the club in April after a stint working abroad and despite lacking full race fitness, he put in a gutsy performance to clock 21:19 on leg 5. Martin Bateman was on the last leg and with the team in 31st place, it looked like the chance of qualification had gone. None the less, Martin didn’t let this phase him as he chased down the athletes in front of him and critically passed Cambridge & Coleridge in the last few hundred metres, recording 19:45 to bring the team home in 29th place with a combined time of two hours and ten seconds.

However, there was to be a twist as the race organisers announced that the first 25 clubs, rather than the first 25 teams would qualify and with 4 B teams in front of the Hillingdon AC A team, this meant that the team claimed the final qualification place.

The B team just missed their target of a top 60 placing as they finished 61st. Dean Clark was the fastest athlete in the B team with a time of 21.04 and there were senior club debuts for Ruben Vos and Tadhg Grant. Chris Ingram and Chris Woolley were back competing for the club whilst V40 Mike Dooley raced a second leg of the day to ensure the club completed a B team.

All in all, a strong club performance by both the veterans and seniors that bodes well for the rest of the road and cross country season.

Full results may be found here: http://www.afd.org.uk/2013-results/