Buxton field male and female sides at prestigious relay event

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Buxton Athletics Club fielded men’s and women’s teams in the prestigious Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships for the first time since 2009.

The event, which runs every autumn, comprises six legs for the senior men’s race, and four legs for the women’s.

Amongst a high quality field, last year’s British 10,000 metre champion Jonny Mellor ran the fastest men’s leg, completing the 6k course in 15:59 and helping Liverpool Harriers to claim the overall title.

Buxton finished a respectable 40th of the 116 teams to start. Alasdair Campbell was the best of the ‘Buxton Six’ in a time of 17:30. Jake Fearn fought off a lack of sleep with a strong performance (18:52), as his race day was bookended by night shifts.

Steve Watson, who has been out of action through injury recently, was called upon as a reserve for the hospitalised Ben Light.

Watson showed he is returning to fitness with a fine performance, completing his leg in 19:57.

Robert White (18:45), Bryan McKenna (20:18) and Sol Clark (19:11) were the other members of the team.

Leeds City triumphed in the women’s race. The race was held over a two-lap course around the perimeter of Manchester City’s Etihad stadium, and a number of teams missed the junction at the start of lap 2, as the marshals struggled to track and direct runners on differing laps.

The Buxton women’s team fell victim to these problems: Katie Ardern and Kate Phillips ran well, but their official times were not recorded. Anne-Marie Fitzgerald ran Buxton women’s fastest leg in 21:50 for the 5k course.

Amy Clark put in an incredible effort, stepping in at the 11th hour as a substitute for the injured Jo Bednall.

Clark ran the first leg in 23:27, just 3 hours after racing the Rochdale 10K. Her double run was all the more remarkable, as she had to delay the journey between Rochdale and Manchester in order to collect with the prize for finishing third.

Will Tighe was the pick of the Buxton based runners, leading his Chesterfield Athletics Club to second place in the under 15 boys race. Tighe on the first leg handed over the baton in third place, having run what proved to be the fourth fastest leg of the day; he completed the 3k course in 9:03.”