Runners do really well in relay

PUBLISHED: 11:53 08 May 2008 | UPDATED: 22:07 26 October 2009

GCR's Dave Bolas

GCR's Dave Bolas

A GARDEN City Runners men s team exceeded all expectations by coming 29th in the National 12-Stage Road Relays at Sutton Coldfield Park. Just 13 days after achieving the fastest ever marathon in a GCR vest, Mark Dickinson put together the men s team for

A GARDEN City Runners men's team exceeded all expectations by coming 29th in the National 12-Stage Road Relays at Sutton Coldfield Park.

Just 13 days after achieving the fastest ever marathon in a GCR vest, Mark Dickinson put together the men's team for the road relay.

With three key athletes unavailable from those who gained the club qualification at the Southern 12 stage event, three relative newcomers and one recently returned runner came to the rescue at short notice.

The course was on quiet roads and tracks with an uphill slog at the start, a long gentle descent in the middle and a killer climb at the end of each leg.

The first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth and 11th legs were over 8,660m, or 5.38 miles, with the even numbered legs a shorter distance of 4,820m or 3 miles.

GCR put their top three on legs one, seven and nine, with David Vaughan finishing in 29 minutes 11 seconds, Mark Dickinson in 28 mins 53 secs and Graham Robinson 29 mins 06 secs.

Simon Mace ran a splendid 30 mins 04 secs for leg three and Bruce Judge - like Mark just back down to earth after a sub two hours 40 minutes London Marathon - took leg five in 30 mins 10 secs.

With ever-steady Steve Livingstone clocking 30 mins 30 secs for leg 11, the team had the luxury of being able to give the new boys all short legs.

Dave Bolas ran leg six in 17 mins 33 secs, Mike Utton took leg eight in 18 mins 09 secs and Neill Hughes leg 10 in 17 mins 26 secs.

Comeback kid Steve Kemble clocked 17.14 on leg two.

After the GCR outfit finished 50th of 65 in 2007, the aim was a top 40 finish this year.

With 58 teams completing the relay, GCR worked their way up from 51st in the early stages to end in 29th place overall.

And their aggregate time was down from 4 hours 53 mins to just over 4 hours 44 mins.

It was a far cry from their local league races - here they were up against giants of English athletics, such as Leeds AC, who won in 4 hrs 09 mins 40 secs.

Also in the top places were Notts AC, Belgrave and Tipton, plus in fourth Newham & Essex Beagles, for whom GCR graduate Kevin Skinner ran the third leg.


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