National Road Relays preview

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EDIT: Footage of the event can be found here: https://vsprt.com/17XUtyr. 

Athletes across the country will take to the roads this weekend as Sutton Park hosts the National Road Relays.

The senior men and women take to the course on Saturday as they battle it out for the six and four stage titles, with the juniors competing the following day.

Last year the three stage minor relays were cancelled due to an e-coli break out in Birmingham, but this year both days will be full of action as clubs fight it out for the illustrious crowns.

Seniors

Aldershot Farnham & District have dominated the senior women’s race claiming the title consecutively since 2007.

Birchfield Harriers, who came second in 2012, were the last team to beat Aldershot back in 2006, but the presence of Steph Twell, Charlotte Purdue, Emma Pallant and Emelia Gorecka in recent years has proven too much for any team to rival.

Not only do Aldershot boast a stellar A team, but 12 months ago their B and C team secured top 10 finishes, too.

The Hampshire based club cemented their supremacy at the National 6 and 12 Stage Relays in April with an impressive five minute and eight second winning margin, to none other than their B team.

The closest club to rival them on that day was Bristol and West A.C who were a distant third.

The senior men’s race however promises a more open competition. Newham & Essex Beagles took home gold in 2012 with Liverpool and Belgrave collecting the minor medals, but no team in the men’s event has shown sheer dominance like the women’s.

In recent years Newham, Aldershot and Belgrave have shared victory between them the majority of the time, but Liverpool, Bedford and Leeds should not be counted out.

A strong performance by Leeds at the National 12 Stage Relays saw them give Belgrave a good challenge for gold, but two strong closing legs by James Kelly and Neil Speaight sealed the win for the Wimbledon based club.

The South of England Relays in September produced some interesting results. On that occasion Aldershot came away victorious with a convincing win over Newham in second, and Belgrave in third, but will they be able to reproduce that form this weekend?

Under 17’s

Despite finishing ninth in the event two years ago, a convincing win by Swansea’s boys at the National Relays in April puts them right in contention for this weekends meet.

Swansea’s Connor Davies, Jonathan Tobin and Jac Hopkins pushed Liverpool into second by over one minute, with Aldershot picking up bronze in third.

While Aldershot’s U17 women have consistently been in and around the medals, they have not been able to emulate the success of their senior team.

The Hampshire based team grabbed silver in this event two years ago, but were demoted to bronze in the April relays, and suffered further in the Southern relays with a fourth place finish.

Lincoln and Cambridge came out on top in the North and South of England Relays recently, and so there recent form could put them right in the mix for pole positions, too.

Under 15’s

Leicester Coritanian go into this weekend with some good form. Their trio brought back gold from the Nationals in April, backed up with a solid silver at the Midland Counties relays.

Hot on their heels though will be Tonbridge, Bedford and Aldershot. Tonbridge had to settle for second against Leicester back in April, but a cogent win at the Southern relays in September indicated their current fine form.

Bracknell will surely head into Sunday’s race as favourites in the girls category. Grace Goddard, Siannah Rayment and Hope Goddard ran themselves to National and Southern gold this year, and if they can produce similar form this weekend they should be right up there.

Under 13’s

Tonbridge’s boys currently hold both National Road Relay titles, but a defeat by Shaftesbury in the Southern relays recently will have surely dinted their confidence.

Shaftesbury finished third in April’s relays, but their form last month hints they could be ready to improve the colour of their medal this time round.

The girls race looks to be more conclusive, though. Herne Hill Harriers have dominated their last two major relay outings and will be dangerous on Sunday.

Vinco Sport will be live tweeting and filming at the relays this weekend.