Midland Counties Autumn Road Relays

Saturday 23rd September 2023

Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, B73 6BT

This is a competetive relay race along tarmac roads within Sutton Park (Birmingham), men’s team consist of 6 competitors running the Long Course, while the Ladies teams are made up from 4 on the Short course. We will have a Minibus taking us up there and are looking to get at least 1 men’s and 2 Ladies teams, if you’re interested then contact Dave Britton or Lynnette Porter (captains@bittonroadrunners.org).  For a thorough insight into this event, you can read the Race Report from April 2023 at the bottom of this page.

Autumn Teams

13 A – Rob Farley
13 B – Matthew Wood
13 C – Philip Barker
13 D – Patrick Searle
13 E – Charles Hann
13 F – Hossein Pirooz

153 A – Arwel Roberts
153 B – Mathew Spear
153 C – Steve Grimston-Down
153 D – Chris Whiteford
153 E – Wayne Ellis
153 F – Ant Burn

154 A – John Bond
154 B – Peter Clark
154 C – Neil Brown
154 D – Daniel Savory
154 E – James Wade
154 F – 

1 A – Lucy Wallace
1 B – Liz Sanigar
1 C – Fiona Blackmore
1 D – Rachel Stowell

2 A – Helen Clark
2 B – Anna Avery
2 C – Clare Reeve
2 D – Lynette Porter

3 A – Robyn Hinsley
3 B – Felicity March
3 C – Julie Matthews
3 D – 

April 2023 Team

All athletes must wear their Bitton Vest.

The first Men will have a mass start at ~1:20pm followed 10min. later by the first Ladies.
The next runner can then enter the waiting pen and will be called forward ~minute before the previous runner arrives. They will need to wait on the start line until the marshal sets them off on their lap.

Midlands Road Relays Race Report…Sutton Park 1st April 2023

Some 20 years on from last participating at the prestigious Midland Road Relays I was intrigued to see if anything had changed in those intervening years. I’m pleased to say the answer was absolutely nothing…it was still as big an event with the same wonderful vibe (helped by the weather), great atmosphere and, as always, some amazing athletes, and thus, it always feels such a privilege to be a part of

On the day we had 2 women’s teams (6 in each) and one men’s team (12 ) which, in itself is an amazingly achievement for a club like Bitton. We also had a wonderful support crew of our captain Lynette, Tina, Shelley, Amanda, Nigel and of course, Danny the dog proudly wearing his Bitton vest! Lynette and Nigel were also on the reserve list so ready to step in at a moment’s notice.

1. Lucy Wallace (Long)
2. Rachel Stowell (Short)
3. Liz Sanigar (Long)
4. Chloe Parsons (Short)
5. Helen Clark (Short)
6. Lisa Newing (Short)

The Ladies A Team put on an impressive performance with each member contributing their best effort.

Lucy Wallace set the tone for the team with her unwavering commitment to the race motto “Go hard or go home.” Her fast start and tough competition on the first long leg propelled the team to a flying start, finishing in 16th position with an impressive time of 35.22.

Rachel Stowell’s endurance and mental toughness proved to be a valuable asset as she stormed around the course in a remarkable time of 19.46, securing the team’s position in the top ten.

Liz Sanigar recent hamstring injury certainly didn’t affect her form and she delivered a strong performance on the next long leg and held the team’s position, with another impressive finishing time of 35.35

Next up was Chloe Parsons and after such a strong start it was always going to be difficult to hold position so far up the field but her cool and calm approached served her well and she finished in a very respectable 23.58

The team’s experienced runners, Helen Clarke and Lisa Newing, brought their A-game on the last two legs. Helen’s marathon training paid off as she ran an impressive time of 21.32, followed by Lisa who rose to the occasion and ran the competitive last leg, bringing the team home in 12th position with a finishing time of 22.05.

Overall, the Ladies A Team’s collective efforts were commendable, and their performances were a true reflection of their dedication and hard work. Their impressive finish has certainly created a buzz and secured them a place in the National relays on 15th April. Good luck girls.

1. Robert Farley 2. Jacob Hayes 3. Kyle Simmons 4. Richard Kershaw (Long)
5. Patrick Searle 6. Arwel Roberts 7. Tom Kenwright 8. Chris Martey 9. Ricky O’callaghan 10. Dan Savory 11. Rob Kingdon 12. Dave Britton (Short)

A little over three weeks ago it was decided to enter one men’s team consisting of twelve runners and two ladies team’s of six runners In The Midlands relay, held at Sutton Park. To say it was short notice for such an event was an understatement. However ,members of BRR sprung into action ,finding out who was available , how to enter and how we would overcome all the logistical problems to make sure that everybody would arrive in the midlands on the correct date and on time. After cobbling together twelve runners plus reserves, everything seemed remarkably simple. Little did we know of the EA iceberg that we were steaming full speed towards. Upon attempting to register the team it looked like non EA members would not be able to compete, and we had several runners who were not members. Tracy Ward and Helen Clark made frenzied phone calls and emails to EA and the race organisers promising them the world and , miraculously we were in !

Meeting at The Dolphin on race day it was absolutely pouring with rain and it looked like it was going to be very difficult conditions for running , however when the minibus, expertly driven by Tracy arrived in the midlands the rain had stopped and it was dry but cold ,perfect running conditions.

The men’s race consisted of twelve legs, the first four being 5.3 miles and the rest 3.2 miles. At 1200hrs it was race time and first away for the men’s team was in form Rob Farley who went round in 29:19 on an undulating course, knocking off a full minute from last year when competing for B+W. The evergreen Jake Hayes was next away with a eye catching time of 31:26, who then handed over to Kyle Simmons who powered round in 35:56 . The last long leg was run by Rich Kershaw in 35:50, who put in a strong performance in the middle of his marathon training .

Now it was time for the shorter legs and leading the charge was Pat Searle with an impressive time of 18:52, making his recent warm weather training pay dividends. Club Chairman Arwel Roberts maintained his recent good form posting a time of 21:07, handing over to Tom Kenwright , the quiet man of the team let his running do the talking with a time of 22:20 . New member to the club Chris Martey was next away, showing good pace on his way round and dipping under 20:00 in 19:56. With his work commitments limiting the number of races that he can enter, Ricky Ocallaghan made this one count with a strong run in 23:27, another new member Dan Savory, gave a glimpse of his potential with a solid 23:01. Club stalwart Rob Kingdon stepped up after a late withdrawal and shrugged off a recent injury to produce a gritty performance of 21:44. Last away for the club was Dave Britton in 26:15 , another step on the way back to full fitness. Traveling reserve and Club Vice Chairman Nigel Cox was not required but his enthusiasm and support was much appreciated .

Travelling back to Bristol on the minibus, the post run rehydration was being taken very seriously, with the ladies showing the men how it’s done !!!

Finishing in 45th position out of 56 of the best teams in the country represents a solid performance, and shows that BRR is holding it’s own and progressing well. Next year we will aim to improve on this years standing .

Many thanks to everybody who competed ,supported and made this possible.

Dave.

1. Helen Hinsley (Long)
2. Tracy Ward (Short)
3. Brooklyn Clarke (Long)
4. Elena Taylor (Short)
5. Leah Tuohy (Short)
6. Felicity March (Short)

I (Helen), was 1st leg runner for the B team on the long leg which is a rather arbitrary 5.45 (ish) miles. The lead off leg is also the only leg where there is a mass start and thus the only chance to race. It’s quite intimidating to be amongst some very young (and not so young) speedy women but, like in any race, you can only control the controllables, so I just started at the back and did my best to work through the field finishing in 41.46 and handing over to Tracy in 44th place (70 women’s teams started). The course is undulating but interesting and lovely running around Sutton Park (although the dog leg to make up the extra 2 miles not quite so much!).

So….as I was running up the final climb to the finish line I could see our vice-captain (and mini bus driver) Tracy, raring to go on the start line and I gave her a big encouraging shout as I finished and she started (but I don’t think she heard me!). Tracy was running the first of the short legs (5k) and finished in a very strong and credible time of 27.31.

Brook had drawn the short straw for the other long leg (leg 3) and, as she started, I had every sympathy for her knowing what she had ahead of her! However, she was not fazed by the course or expectation and looked strong and comfortable all the way round and powering up to the finish line in a time of 44.34 with us in 46th place.

The final 3 legs were all short legs and all 3 places were filled by relatively new members to the club…Elena, Leah and Felicity. It is to their absolute credit that they put themselves forward (although I imagine they didn’t really know what they had signed up for!). However, these opportunities are very few and far between in anyone’s running career and if they run for another 20 or 30 years, I bet they will struggle to replicate the atmosphere and experience of Saturday and I know for certain they absolutely loved every minute of it.

Unfortunately, we have been somewhat let down by the Midlands chip timing system which seems to have merged Elena’s and Leah’s times together and completely missed Felicity out of the results which has led to us (as it stands) being declared an incomplete team which is desperately disappointing after all our hard work and effort. Hoped it can be sorted out.

That of course does not take away from the resilience, enthusiasm and effort put in by all 3 women. Whilst I have no official results, I believe Elena came home in 24.49 having taken over from Brook. Leg 5 was run by Leah who, unfortunately, didn’t start her Garmin straight away but came home in about 26 mins (close to…if not a P.B). Leah handed over to Felicity who had been waiting for ever to run but did get to do the prestigious glory leg in just over 27 mins. Fantastic running girls…even if we never actually see those times in the official results.

So…in conclusion an absolutely brilliant day where, whilst the running was an important factor, the enjoyment and fun of supporting your fellow runners…male or female…and the joy you take in watching them do so well is what really makes the day. I can only hope we can make this a permanent fixture on our Bitton calendar and that next year we have people fighting for places! Well done everyone 👏👏👏