Pacers keep title after hard battle
ROAD RUNNINGSAINT Edmund Pacers clawed back a big deficit to successfully retain their Mutford Road Relays title, which incorporated the Suffolk Relay Championships, at Mutford in north Suffolk last Sunday.
SAINT Edmund Pacers clawed back a big deficit to successfully retain their Mutford Road Relays title, which incorporated the Suffolk Relay Championships, at Mutford in north Suffolk last Sunday.
The Bury St Edmund-based Pacers were trailing by almost three minutes after the first two legs of this five-stage relay. Each leg was 5km, starting and finishing from Mutford Village Hall.
But the Pacers had saved their big guns for the final three legs, eventually recording an overall time of 1hr 28mins 35secs to win by 36 seconds from fellow Bury club West Suffolk AC.
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It was youngster Sara Bird, of West Suffolk, who led the way with a storming leg on the all-ladies' first stage. She stopped the clock at 18.59. This momentum was continued by Sam Diston on leg two.
However, the Pacers had stayed in touch with a solid first leg from Sarah Golding, and then another strong run from up-and-coming junior runner William Barnes-Smith, who ran an impressive 17.06 to nick back a few precious seconds.
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Peter Barker is at home over the 5km distance - he has won the 5K county crown in the past - and he almost completely wiped out a sizeable deficit with a swift 15.37 on the third leg, which was comfortably the quickest time of the day.
Experienced competitor David Reed took the Pacers into the lead for the first time on the fourth leg.
Starting with a seven-second loss, he transformed that into a 17-second advantage with the fastest veteran time of the day (17.05). Steve Robinson stretched that gap on the anchor leg, coping well with the pressure.
West Suffolk AC registered 1.29.11 in second position. Paul Mayes, Colin Ridley and Andrew Ridley joined Bird and Diston in their quintet.
Stowmarket Striders were third, due to the efforts of Hayley Suttle (second claim member, fastest over-35 veteran), Nick Stephens, Nick Palmer, Simon Brummitt and Roger Aldis. The Striders were second to West Suffolk for the bulk of the first half of the race.
Bill Kingaby, of hosts Waveney Valley AC, was the fastest over-50 veteran, while Bill Cox, of Framlingham Flyers, set the quickest over-60 time.
The Bungay Black Dog duo of Hazel Garrity and Judy Potter topped their respective age groups.
The format of the main relay demanded each team to include a lady and a veteran in their quintet. There were no such restrictions in the supporting B relay, which was also won by the Pacers.