Double Whammy

It was a bumper weekend of racing for Hermitage Harriers as the club tackled not one but two events!

First up, on Saturday afternoon, was the Midland Road Relays in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield. The club took 23 athletes to the event which enabled them to field three strong teams - a men’s A and B team and a ladies team.

The ladies kicked off proceedings at the relays which attract some of the best clubs in the midlands. Bonita Robinson, Katie Wright, Zoe Sewter, Hannah Wheeler, Sarah Maynard and Jane Tebbatt each ran a 3.1 mile lap before handing over to their next team-mate. The ladies logged a time of 2 hours, 28 minutes and 16 seconds overall and finished in a very strong 41st place.

Later in the afternoon, the men’s relays got underway. Laps alternated between a longer 5.5 mile route and a shorter 3.1 mile leg. The men’s B team consisted of just 5 runners: Matthew Moore, Darren Wilson, Alan Percival, Darryl Johnson and Edward Quinn, all of whom ran a fantastic race. The men’s A team consisted of Matt Adcock, Gavin McDermott, Tony Woodward, Craig Hinds, Jason Williams, James Willoughby, Shaun Coulton, Kristian Bravin, Joe Henson, Fraser Harris, Pete Armstrong and Paul Gregory. An overall time of 4 hours, 30 minutes and 32 seconds secured the team 14th position and earned them a place in the finals on 11th April 2015.

Hermitage Harriers have gone from strength to strength in the Midland Road Relays.

Historically, the club have entered the 6 stage relays in the autumn but struggled to secure a place in the finals. Then, last September, the club climbed into the top 25 and claimed their spot in the finals. On the back of this success, the club decided to enter the 12 stages and comfortably bagged a finals place after an outstanding team effort. What’s more, they were the only village-based running club to do so – quite an accolade for a local club competing against city and county teams!

Hot on the heels of their success at Sutton Park, the Hermitage Harriers delivered another amazing performance in the Leicestershire Road Running League. Sunday 29th March, saw the fourth fixture in the league calendar get underway with 516 athletes lacing up their running shoes in Desford.

The weather on the day was far from ideal with strong winds and driving rain for the majority of the morning but that didn’t stop 40 Harriers from crossing the start mat of Desford 6. It didn’t seem to stop the club from dominating the race either; the first four runners over the finish line included three Harriers. Matt Adcock, Jason Williams and Tony Woodward finished in times of 32.51, 33.09 and 33.25 respectively with Williams also claiming first place in the vet40 category. The speedy threesome soon became six with fantastic performances by Gavin McDermott who finished in 13th place (34.38), Ryan Twigg in 21st position (35.25) and Kristian Bravin in 25th (35.41). Paul Gregory and Craig Hinds completed the men’s team with times of 36.07 and 37.32 and gave the club seven men inside the top 50 finishers.

The ladies didn’t disappoint either, with Bonita Robinson flying home in 41.52. She was quickly joined by club new girl Vicky Macqueen in 42.39 and Zoe Sewter in 45.16. Fourth lady home to complete the ladies A team came in the form of Katie Wright who finished in 46.04. For the first time ever, the club fielded three women’s teams. Team B was made up of Hannah Wheeler, Jodi Nicholson, Melanie Bunkle and Kate Reeves, who made an impressive return to league-racing after a three year break. Sarah Kendrick, Debbie Nicholson, Tracey Richardson-Lyne and Abi Crane completed team C after some exceptional racing.

As always, there were success stories across the club. A number of new faces pinned on their LRRL numbers for the first time. Charlotte Pollard, Ian Waterfall, Craig Ogilvie, Vicky Macqueen and Lisa Collins all braved the horrible weather and thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the process. Craig Ogilvie said "it was a fantastic atmosphere and I am really proud to have represented the club". A more familiar face came in the shape of Fiona Townsend, who recently moved to Australia. Fiona is home for a family visit but made time to see her running family too and was very happy with her time of 68.04. A number of personal bests were also set during the race. Rob Wells set a new 6 mile PB of 55.49; Tracey Richardson-Lyne smashed her previous PB by almost five minutes with her new best of 52.48; Jodi Nicholson reduced her fastest 6 mile time to 49.05, as did her mum, Debbie Nicholson, who now has a 6 mile PB of 51.33. Finally, course PBs were also beaten by a number of runners. Kelly Garrigan-Cooper took almost a minute off her 2014 time alongside Zoe Sewter who set a new course best of 45.16 and Pete Armstrong who beat his 2014 time by exactly five minutes!