National first as girls grab silver medal

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WEST Suffolk Athletics Club took on the best teams from across the country as they took part in the 2011 English National Road Relay Championships, held at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

Unusually for age group events, all races were over the same 4000m undulating loop course. This meant the younger age groups were running up to twice the distance than at the South of England Championships.

The first to run were the U13 girls, and the West Suffolk AC trio maintained their superb form to take the silver medal, the first the club has ever won at these championships.

Nella Walters lead off and produced her best run so far, clocking 14 minutes and 39 seconds, handing over in an excellent sixth from 60 teams.

Sophie Tooley then took the team into the lead at the final changeover with a 14:16 leg.

Holly Davies clocked 15:22, and comfortably anchored the team to the silver medal.

Tooley recorded the third fastest time of the day and Walters a brilliant eightth fastest from almost 200 runners.

Megan Newton led off for the incomplete B team and can be pleased with 16:16 and 30th.

Next to run were the U13 boys with Jacob Freeborough recording and encouraging 14:25 for 16th.

Thomas McCarthy passed a further five teams in his 14:48 second leg, to gift the incomplete team an excellent 10th.

The U15 boys were a little below par but still finished an excellent 11th, Michael Bratram clocking 13:44 for 27th.

Ben Eames ran a similar 13:48 to put the team 23rd at the final handover.

Cameron McKie ran a quick 13:00 and moved the team up to 11th at the close.

The U17 girls were a little below their best but managed a respectable 27th with Beth Tooley, 15:51, Katie Duncan, 16:09 and India George 17:01.

The incomplete U17 boys team runners suffered mixed fortunes, with Mac Delo continuing his excellent early season form, coming home eighth in a time of 12:15.

Adam Cripps was disappointed with his run, clocking a modest 13:46 for 23rd at the end of the second leg.

The squad move on to the final relay of the year, the English National Cross Country Relays, to be held at Mansfield, on November 5.

Elsewhere, U20 Emily Baker contested the Brandon Fern Hoppers Wibbly Wobbly log jog over 5.5 miles of undulating tracks through Brandon Forest. Emily ran strongly throughout to finish fourth Senior woman and 58th overall from 230 runners in a time of 43.38.