Rumours of summer's arrival began to circulate throughout the country towards the end of last week, which came as a relief to those of us heading to Birmingham for the National Road Relay Championships. Following the cold and miserable winter which resulted in the cancellation of the Southern 12 Stage, we were invited to send a team to the National Championships and finished off a solid day's work in 28th place. The overall title was retained by Tonbridge's ever-impressive youthful squad, proving Alan Hanson ('you never win anything with kids') wrong. They were closely followed home by Met League rivals Highgate with Swansea finishing off the podium places. The event came under some criticism following a mass start on stage 12 for all but the three teams in the medal positions at that time, potentially scuppering chances of the 4th and 5th placed teams from chasing down clubs ahead of them. There was some movement in positions during the 12th stage although the medal places were not affected, to the relief of the (since apologetic) organisers.
We are extremely sad to report the passing of former member Steve Sear.
He came to the sport in his late 30s but made a substantial impact on the local racing scene. He raced frequently, particularly over 5-10 miles, and would regularly clock low 31 minutes for 10K and 51 minutes for 10 miles. Just prior to his retirement from the sport aged 44 he ran 31.07 for 10,000m. Steve's brother John, some years younger, was equally talented and ran sub9 for 3000m steeplechase.
Woodford won their opening fixture in division 3N of the Southern Athletics League on a fine day at Lee Valley. A strong start helped set up a comfortable win ahead of hosts Harlow. Ilford came through for third ahead of Huntingdonshire and Newham & Essex Beagles with Loughton 6th.
Six of our Under 15s made the trip to Sutton Park, Birmingham, for the England Under 15 5k Road Race Champs being staged for the first time before the famous Men's 12-Stage and Women's 6-Stage National Relays.
On this occasion, the weather was kind to our athletes, with it being slightly warmer than of late and the sun shining.