Sefton Park is an ideal location for fast road relays, and with a mild cloudy day everything was set for a terrific competition. Chester Le Street, long domination has been eclipsed last year, and holders Wakefield. Salford, Leeds, and Liverpool all had strong team, amongst the 39 starting.
However, it was Trafford that crossed the line first . J Fairchild ran 13.03, just 3 seconds ahead of Rotherham, with the Northern Athletics 10k champion Tessa Walker a further 7 seconds back, and closely followed by Liverpool, Border, and Stockport. Holders Wakefield finished back in 11th, some 50 seconds down.
Eleanor Baker produced the fastest lap of the day. 12.25, on the 2nd leg to put Stockport in the lead, almost 1 minute ahead of Rotherham, Leeds, and Bingley, with Trafford down to 5th.and Wakefield at their lowest point 12th. Leg 3 had the red Salford top of Haley Kuter at the front 13.08, so that was 3 different teams in front in each leg so far. Rotherham were 2nd ,30 seconds back and holders Wakefield menacing moved up 4 places as the relay got towards the business stage
Leg 4 had Stockport at the front again with Jessica Coulson,13.10 , Rotherham remained in 2nd place a position they held on every leg so far, and Salford went down to 4th Leg 5 sorted out 2 of the 3 podium positions, as Rotherham, with excellent team selection, hit the front and Salford moved into third behind Stockport.
It was just left to Rotherham to show what a consistent team performance, 5 fast athletes all within 20 seconds of each other, as they remained at the front, away from the fireworks that Charlene Thomas was producing behind her. Charlene ran the 2nd fastest time, of the day. 12.26, as she sped round that glory leg, passing 4 teams and landing Wakefield that silver medal.
Behind her, Salford, as always, had entrusted the last lap to the ever reliable Bev Jenkins. Bev remained focussed on her performance to maintain the bronze medal position, exactly where they finished in 2011.
1st Rotherham 1 hour 21.25
2nd Wakefield 1hour 22.11
3rd Salford 1 hour 22.25
4th Liverpool Harriers 1hour 22.58
Eleanor Baker 12.25 Stockport
Charlene Thomas 12.26 Wakefield.
Report Ken Smith,
Photo Eileen Ingham
Winning Rotherham Women's team
Second Team Wakefield