2019 Midland Counties 12 Stage Road Relays Report

Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield was the venue for the 2019 Midland Counties 12 Stage Road Relays. The Harriers sent one team of hardened athletes to show those Midlanders what we're made of...below is how the day unfolded.

Nyle, who had been struggling with illness in the lead up to the weekend, turned in a great performance kicking the team off in 13th position on the first of four long legs (approx. 5miles).

Sergio, who has been plagued by hamstring niggles for the last fortnight posted a magnificent time given he had to stop twice to stretch out. He made the grade with no lasting injuries, handing over to Simon in 17th.

The younger of the Byrne brothers was on splendid form, gaining 5 places bringing the team back to 12th.

Courtenay, in his first season with the club looked effortless as he clawed back another place.

The Young Gun Ethan was up next in the first of the short legs (5k) and showed great maturity in gaining 2 places bringing the team to 9th place overall.

Next up were a trio of experienced athletes in the form of Luke Byrne, Chris Reade and Gary O’Brien, all of whom put in solid performances. Byrne gained a single place, then Chris and Gary simply extended the time gap to 9th place.

As the ever reliable Gary handed over to Dan Patel, the Harriers were a solid 90 seconds clear of 9th place. With only 4 legs left, the team started to believe that a top ten finish was not only possible, but very probably.

Dan, another junior age grouper, ran a leg more befitting of a 20 year veteran of the sport, maintaining position and handing over to Omer Homer.

Omer, who is known for his out and out pace and bravery, ran a very good leg, only to lose a place to the Bristol and West B team who clearly rear loaded their team!

Next up was the rookie of the team in the shape of Mark Pierce, who has had a brilliant 12 months coming from armchair athlete to the poster boy of the Harriers website. This chap loves a challenge, and Mark stepped up and delivered a worthy performance, crucially, handing over to the anchor leg of Jason McGinley before the mass start (of approx. 60 runners).

Jason, in his first performance in a Harriers vest, came roaring home in what was a PB for the distance, on a course which was not hugely quick. This shows the performance gains Jason has seen recently.

The overall result of 9th at the midland counties 12 stage relays is a phenomenal achievement, and a great team performance by all, some runners coming in with short notice. There is a real buzz around the senior men’s team at the moment, with several other strong team members due to come back from injury, this team can only improve. Comfortably securing a place at the National 12 stage Road Relays is not something which happens at the club that often (the last time was 1999 we think – Ethan and Dan were not even born!).

Well done chaps, a special mention goes to Simon Dill for organising the team and doing all the admin, even though he was not fit to compete himself – a true team player.