Covid-ravaged Mansfield Harriers men's team still shine at Midlands Relays to reach finals

Mansfield Harriers' senior teams impressed at the Midlands men 12 stage and ladies 6 stage relays at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, last weekend, writes Richard Massey.

Monday, 4th April 2022, 9:34 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 9:34 am
Jordan Boam in men's A team relays action.

The event is one of the classics on the road race calendar and brings top quality teams in a region that spreads from North Notts to Avon at the southern end.

The men's race consists of four long legs of close to 5.5 miles and eight short legs just over 5K on a challenging course. The ladies run two long and four short legs.

The Mansfield ladies also picked up the prestigious award of most improved team in the Midland Cross Country Championships.

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For the first time in a long span of years the men managed to complete two full teams which highlights the ever increasing numbers of men at the club and the ladies fielded the one team.

The A team for the men placed a superb 12th place, recording a time of 4 hours 19.27, the best the team have finished for years, and the B placed a commendable 40th in 5.08.45.

Throughout the week the team were challenged with dropouts due to Covid, and full credit to the athletes who showed great commitment and ran after a last minute call up.

Also rewarding for Mansfield was that six of the finishing team started at Mansfield as youngsters.

The A team will now go on to the national final at the same venue.

For the men, the first four legs were all long and superb runs from Dan Nugent 28.29, Kris Watson 27.44, Jordan Boam 31,12 Gary Berzins 31.42 saw the A team lying in 16th.

Adam Wright is returning from injury and recorded 18.25 followed by GB international Luke Duffy who recorded 15.14 and Masters GB 800 metre champion Paul Wright who recorded 16.01 as the team moved in 13th place.

Jack Cooke recorded 18.57 followed by Alex Rieley who was racing for the first time in three years and showed great promise with his 16.34 clocking.

Sam Bentley recorded 18.42 on leg ten, Richie Talbot 17.59 and anchor man James Mee 18.28. Duffy was the third fastest short leg of the day with Wright 11th fastest.

The B team saw a strong opening leg from Matt Bottomore recording 31.56 followed by Rob Kendrick 33.56, Fraser Bain 37.27 and Andy Wetherill 34.36 which saw the team placed 44th.

A solid series of short legs from Phil Shaw 19.27, Dave Savage 18.27, Chris Monk 19.29, Conrad Watson 21.31, Gary Morley 19.22, Mark Burr 24.48, Dave Carver 23.58 and Liam Probert 23.52 saw the team finish strongly.

The ladies team placed a pleasing 29th in a time of 2.50.19 and, with the long legs being one and four, Helen Jones went out first and recorded 37.18 followed by Bev Armstrong 23.31, Kirsty Huntington 36.42, Sarah Bradbury 25.23, Hannah Wragg 23.45, and Helen Pritchett 23.40.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​