Here is a short report on our superb performance. It is short without the banter as I do not know some of the athletes well enough, and performances are limited. There are so many teams that I have only reported in any detail for A,B; so apologies for this and any errors.

It was wonderful to gather again at Sutton after being locked away for so long. A lovely day greeted us, perhaps a bit warm, but the same for everyone. With all the juniors, the women’s teams, and 8 men’s teams, it was quite a gathering. Just needed a barbie to set the day up. On the other hand, perhaps too much temptation for late leg athletes.  This is our biggest turnout for any relay, easily surpassing all our rivals.

There were quite a few last minute changes, necessitating swapping same legs between teams for safety of avoiding a DNF for the teams. Sorry if I placed you in a team below your performance. Also a big sorry to Mark Ince, as I did not enter his name in the squad. Not a good start by me!

Off we went in the usual safe first leg legs of Dan “the running man” Robinson. First leg is quick, and is an easy leg in which to get carried away, but Dan knows how to pace it. Arriving in 17th, Owen Jones continued with a fantastic leap of 6 places into 11th. Looking for a quick 3rd leg, Karl Welborn did not disappoint, copying Owen with another 6 places gain into 5th. Perfect at this point; hopefully the plan not to front load the team would see us home. William McKemey had to follow a quick time, and he brought us close to Western Tempo, holding 5th place with two legs remaining.

Henry Brocklehurst needed to leave Adam in a good position, and he did just that, overtaking Western Tempo into 4th and opening a safety barrier to rivals Tipton and others. Very satisfying to be ahead of Tipton.

Some of the athletes in the A team were disappointed with their performances, but it gave us 5th place, best ever finishing position. Encouragingly, instead of being 3-4 minutes behind a medal, we finished only 1m28s behind Notts Ac. Never been that close to either a medal or Notts before.

5th. 1:51:44. Fantastic result. We should be proud, so very well done.

We had hope of qualifying two teams, only achieved once before. We had to finish in the top 25, and we were confident.

Chris Pickering followed Dan out and stayed on his heels with a great run in 19th place. This would have justified an A team place. Dan Shepherd came into the B team late, and did not disappoint. We were in 21st and needed not to drop further. Again we had not front loaded. John “JP” Stolberg took up the mantle (a bit dramatic I know), running well to gain a further two places back into 19th. But there were 6 teams very close on our heels, including Coventry Godiva A & B. Jake Williamson followed, holding them off and only losing one place to Coventry A, but gaining on the others. Hopefully all was well. Ben Carrington needed to leave James in a good place which he certainly did, gaining 2 and 16th was ours. Knowle & Dorridge A team had a storming leg and were now only 12 seconds behind. James Marshall was last leg. A fate pre-determined by his stunning home straight finish. James decided to show off finishing in 14th.

A finish of 14th in the Midlands, beating the talented Bristol B by 11 seconds and only 28 seconds behind Coventry A is a great achievement. Easily our highest ever B team position.

14th. 1:58:42.  Very well done.

Our C team of Paul Jolliffe; Abayomi Adedimeji; Dan Dalmedo; Thanos Tsolakis; Martin Matthews and Matthew Pollard gave a great performance.  Both Dan D and Abayomi deserving B team places.

They finished in 2:04:28 was 33rd, only 2min 10 sec behind 25th and qualification.

Our D team of Lewis Carr; Michael Burgess; Colin Bailey; Damian Cartland; Conor Farrell and Omar Saeed also a great performance. Both Lewis Carr and Michael Burgess deserving C team places.

Finishing in 36th in 2:06:44. Only 2min 16sec behind the C team.

Our E team was Nathan Smith; Jamie Abbiss; Adam Western; Matthew Eyre; Ben Beaumont and Stuart Pearson. I know I keep saying gave a great performance, but it’s a fact. Only a few other teams could even muster an E team !  Matthew Eyre deserving a D team place.

They finished in 49th in 2:14:09.

Our F team of Toby Close; Richard Stringfellow; Chris Burrows; Andy Piddington; Andrew Hall and Paul Falkiner had some excellent times. Richard Stringfellow and Andy Piddington deserving an E team place.

They finished in 59th in 2:19:56.

Our G team of Jose Casella; Harry “H” Fowler; Joe Preece; me; Paul Cannon and Martin “XC” Ludford finished in 86th in 2:35:32.  Joe Preece deserving an F team place. Well done us !

Finally was our H team of Sandeep Dhami; Jort van Mourik; Richard Carney and Ansar Ali. Unfortunately we could not complete this team. But 8 teams; honestly how good is that.

Welcome to all new boys. Our strength is depth is superb, but we should strive for better.

Thanks to all the athletes; supporters; Jort and Dan for bringing the tent and sails; thanks to whoever I missed; apologies for any mistakes which I there will inevitably be.

National report to follow, with yet another first and great achievement.

By: Richard Gray

Links to results: https://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2021/m64rel21r.php

Links to photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/birmingham_rowheath_ac/albums/72157719922777292/with/51522638066/ & https://mickhall.zenfolio.com/f914014280

1    Birchfield Harriers  'A'  1:47:49         

        A Tovey          (7) 18:15,

        E Banks          (3) 18:12,

        S Evans          (1) 18:02,

        W Richardson     (1) 17:27,

        O Ahmed          (1) 16:50,

        J Rossiter       (1) 19:03

2  Bristol & West AC  ‘A’  1:49:37        

        J Moody          (5) 18:03,

        F Mcgrath        (1) 18:03,

        B Westhenry      (2) 18:41,

        J Millar         (2) 18:04,

        A Stokes         (2) 18:42,

        K Taylor         (2) 18:04

3  Notts Ac  ‘A’  1:50:16         

        C Smith          (1) 17:50,

        M Campion        (2) 18:26,

        P Townsend       (3) 18:33,

        S King           (3) 18:58,

        S Spencer        (3) 18:46,

        A Watson         (3) 17:43

4  Western Tempo  ‘A’  1:51:25 (               

        E Taylor         (20) 19:02,

        D James          (5) 17:50,

        C Jones          (4) 18:16,

        A Jones          (4) 19:24,

        R Park           (5) 18:45,

        P Wylie          (4) 18:08

5  Birmingham Running Athletics &  ‘A’  1:51:44 (       

        D Robinson       (17) 18:43, 

        O Jones          (11) 18:49,

        K Welborn        (5) 18:12,

        W Mckemey        (5) 19:06,

        H Brocklehurst   (4) 18:18,

        A Peacock        (5) 18:36

Fastest Legs

1  Omar Ahmed         Birchfield A    16:50 (5)       

2  Thomas Mortimer    Stroud&Dis      17:17 (2)             

3  Will Richardson    Birchfield A    17:27 (4)         

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