English Road Relay Autumn Championships Report
SWINDON Harriers' senior men's team manager Simon Dill has praised the club's best ever result in the English Road Relay Autumn Championships.
In particular, Dill picked out the growing crop of young runners who are pushing through into the senior ranks and are providing keen competition for the regular senior athletes.
"Our young lads are really coming through and I thought Ethan Pierce had a stormer on Saturday," said Dill.
"Ethan has always found the Sutton Park course testing so I am really pleased for him to run so quickly. He deserved his place in the senior team and that run cemented it."
Pierce was the club's second fastest man on the day running 30 seconds quicker over the same course as he did just the previous week when the Harriers finished an excellent eight in the qualifying Midland Counties event.
That was the biggest improvement on the day for the Harriers but Isaac Mould (seven seconds), Ben Lines (seven seconds) and Matthew Woodward (one second) also went quicker than the Midlands.
Unfortunately, Simon Byrne couldn't quite match the scorching run he enjoyed the previous weekend and was 17 seconds down while brother Luke Byrne was 20 seconds slower as the club finished 34th overall, beating last year's 37th and underlining their upward trajectory since placing 65th in 2019.
"Isaac, who is still only 18, has so much potential and having just gone off to Loughborough University he is in a great place to now kick on," added Dill.
"Both he and Ethan were fantastic while I should also mention Harry Woods in the B team as he has only just turned 20 and he improved by 21 seconds on the Midlands.
"In fact, he only came into the B team on the morning of that race when someone had to drop out and he has run fantastic for us. He is really keen to get involved."
In a huge field of 74 teams Lines brought the Harriers home in 60th on the highly competitive opening stage and the Byrne boys improved that to 46th at the halfway point.
On that solid foundation Woodward clawed back another five places, Mould two and finally Pierce tore around the undulating course to gain an impressive five places on the sixth and final stage.
"I'm proud of the lads," said Dill. "We raised our game for sure and we are definitely on the way up and looking to that top 30 next year. In the meantime, we will now be working hard to get a senior women's team out as well."
The B team of Christopher Read, Omer Homer, Simon Dill, Courtenay Chessell, Max Harrison–Tosatto and Woods finished a creditable 59th.
The club's under 17 men went into the event as Midland champions after their stirring victory the previous weekend but now they faced the best clubs in the country in what was a massive step up in standard.
But the same trio of Josh Burns, Theo Cinnamond and Fletcher Hart can be proud of their top 20 finish in 19th place with Cinnamond two seconds faster and Hart just a second slower than the previous week.
The B squad of Jack Choules, Harry Edwards and Alex Williams also made the top 50 in 47th overall.
In the under 15 age group the girls' trio of Ella Spencer, Carley Lainton and Bella Ryder ran strongly to finish 15th overall from 64 teams with Spencer impressing as she clocked the 12th fastest individual time of the day on the fiercely competitive stage one.
Coincidentally her time of 14mins 4secs was exactly the same as she ran in the Midlands while Ryder was 18 seconds quicker and Lainton, promoted from the B team, ran 16 seconds quicker so a great effort by all concerned.
A strong final stage by Arthur Widdows, running 22 seconds quicker than in the Midlands, lifted the Harriers U15 boys into the top 30 after Anubis Molina–Zekri and Alessandro Virgilio had given the club a solid start.
"It was a brilliant day overall for the club and so good to see so many Harriers vests across the age group competing," added Dill.
English Road Relay Autumn Championships, Sutton Park, Birmingham.
34th – Swindon Harriers 'A' 1:52:21 (Ben Lines (60) 18:50; Simon Byrne (46) 17:55; Luke Byrne (46) 19:16; Matthew Woodward (41) 18:44; Isaac Mould (39) 19:05; Ethan Pierce (34) 18:31).
59th – Swindon Harriers 'B' 1:58:38 (Christopher Read (72) 19:32; Omer Homer (71) 19:36; Simon Dill (70) 20:33; Courtenay Chessell (70) 19:49; Max Harrison Tosatto (64) 19:59; Harry Woods (59) 19:09).
74 teams finished.
Under 17 Men
19th – Swindon Harriers 'A' 38:14 (Josh Burns (46) 13:08; Theo Cinnamond (30) 12:49; Fletcher Hart (19) 12:17).
47th – Swindon Harriers 'B' 41:01 (Jack Choules (50) 13:13; Harry Edwards (38) 13:10; Alex Williams (47) 14:38).
59 teams finished.
Fastest: 30th Fletcher Hart.
Under 15 boys
24th Swindon Harriers A 41:20 (Anubis Molina–Zekri (13) 12:59; Alessandro Virgilio (32) 14:29; Arthur Widdows (24) 13:52).
66 teams finished.
Fastest: 24th=A Molina–Vazquez.
Under 15 girls
15th Swindon Harriers A 44:53 (Ella Spencer (7) 14:04; Carley Lainton (15) 15:26; Bella Ryder (15) 15:23).
64 teams finished.
Fastest: 12th Ella Spencer (Swin) 14:04.