The Southern spring Road Relays were held at Stantonbury Stadium, Milton Keynes on the 16th March 2014. While the AFD Women’s as defending champions were tipped as favourites, the mens squad were not rated the race expected to be between Bedford and County and Kent AC.
At 12:00 the mens 12 stage race got underway with Neil Phillips leading for AFD in a time of 24:56 over the long leg (7664m) for 11th place in a tightly packed field. The second leg, a short leg of 5053m was run by Charlie Critchley in a time of 16:25 he handed over to Chris Thompson to run a long leg.
Chris looked in great form running the fastest log leg of the day in 22:35 and bringing AFD home in the lead just over a minute up on the rest of the field. Jack Wylie ran 16:05 to maintain AFD lead of 1 minte over the improving Bedford and County.
The next out was Chris Rooke
who 24:35 who stretched the AFD lead to 1:50 over Bedford and and 2:00 over Kent. Ian Bailey ran 15:07 putting a few seconds on AFD lead to hand over to Josh Grace who ran 24:48 while behind Josh, Kent made there move into 2nd 1:50 behind AFD who were almost a further minute up on Bedford. Jack Rowe put another fast short leg for AFD in 15:38 tro stretch the lead to 2:20. AFD had Steve Connor on the 9th leg who demonstrated his
recovery from injury by running 24:21 and while Kent were chasing hard with there fastest runner John Gilbert the gap only closed down to 1:45. Jamie Ashton stretch AFD lead to 2:20 with a 15:48 run.
Elliot Robinson did the last long leg in 24:27, with Kent unable to make any inroads in to the lead. The honour of the last leg a short leg went to Jonny Hay, who not content to sit on the lead blasted out the fastest Short leg of the day in 14:41. While this course has only been run once the AFD new course record of 3:59:26 will be hard to beat, by comparison Kent ran 4:03:00.
The women’s 6 stage race has the athletes running all the same legths of 5053m started at 1 O’Clock just before the men finished
there 3rd leg. Thus AFD had Chris coming in 4 mintes after the Women started, from this stage onwards those supporting AFD would be busy.
Laura Gent had the honour of leading AFD off, she ran 18:00, the 11th fastest of the day, to come in 4th to hand over to Steph Twell. Steph quickly took the lead running the fastest leg of the day in 16:20. After 2 legs AFD had a lead of 40 seconds over Shaftesbury who only had 2 runners with the 3rd place Southampton being 1:15 behind AFD. The 3rd AFD runner was Rachel Robinson ran 17:36 (10th fastest run of the day) to stretch the lead just under 4 minutes. The 4th leg runner Amy Griffiths ran 17:11 for the 5th fastest run of the day , after Amy’s run the lead was 4:19 from Belgrave. AFD’s 5th Runner was Natasha Doel in 18:02 the 12th fastest run of the day. Emelia Gorecka on the last leg ran the 2nd fastest time of the day in 16:22. AFD winning margin of 8:50 must be the largest margin in thsi type of race.
The final time of 1:43:31 was a new
course record, hardly surprising as all 6 AFD women were in the top 12 fastest times overall..
In summary AFD won both races in new course records with all 3 fastest leg medals going to AFD runners. This coupled with the fact that AFD men have not won since 1991.
A fantastic performance
Pictures by Allan Rooke