Competing at National Level

Hermitage Harriers competed against some of the top running clubs in the country this weekend at the National Road Relays Final in Sutton Park.

The club qualified for a place in the prestigious event after the men’s A team finished the regional relays in 14th position. This is an amazing achievement for the village club who had never previously entered the 12 stage event.

Tony Woodward was first to take to the course which alternated a longer leg of 5.5 miles with a shorter leg of 3.1 miles. Woodward flew around the course in an impressive time of 29.26 before handing over to teammate Craig Hinds who delivered a fantastic performance and crossed the line in 18.42. The next two harriers to take on the alternated course were Shaun Coulton and James Willoughby who clocked up competitive times of 33.06 and 18.15 respectively. Hermitage maintained good form throughout the finals with super racing from Kristian Bravin (32.45), Fraser Harris (19.26), Darren Wilson (35.36), Matthew Moore (20.55), Gavin McDermott (31.52), Neil Doherty (19.06), Ryan Twigg (32.54) and Paul Gregory (19.04). A total time of 5 hours 11 minutes and 7 seconds secured the team 51st position and put them in the company of some extremely established and successful clubs: such as South London Harriers which was founded in 1871 and Kent AC, who had two of their members compete for Team GB in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Hermitage also fielded a ladies team at the event but sadly did not have a complete team and therefore weren’t able to place. That said, the three ladies ran amazingly and were in 41st place in the competition when they had to bow out. Bonita Robinson kicked off the impressive performances by covering the longer leg of the course in 39.32 which was matched by the efforts of her teammates: Katie Wright (23.18) and Zoe Sewter (40.52). Zoe Sewter thoroughly enjoyed the experience and later posted a message to her fellow harriers "Brilliant day, brilliant atmosphere, brilliant weather, brilliant team mates!"

Race captain Darren Wilson said "the teamwork and spirit of our club is fantastic! It is always a pleasure to race alongside such amazing individuals. We are looking forward to the 6 stage relays in the autumn now; we qualified for the 6 stage finals for the first time in 2014 and I am confident we can do well again this year."

In the meantime, the club will be turning their thoughts towards the Livingstone Relays at Braunstone Park on 3rd May and hoping they can build on their current success