This Saturday at the traditional Mansfield course it was the annual National x-country relays. The courses used are short, fast and twisty combining flat fast grass with hills and muddy sections through the woods. The conditions were wet all day making for a very muddy, slippy course, but with the best runners in the country races were still at a high level.
First race up was the U17 Womens 2.5km relay and Sara Clough (9.15) set off with the Trafford Team in the lead group. Sara finished in a close 12th place handing over to her sister Ava (9.11) who had the honour of the teams fastest time and moving the team up to 6th place. The youngster in the team Elizabeth Sinclair (9.39) then had a great run to hold on to 9th place overall. In the B team Eleanor Nicholson (10.14) and Sophie Bowman (10.29) ran well.
Races come thick and fast and next up was the U13 Boys 2km relay. Trafford had 2 teams of youngsters and they all ran similar times. First back for the A team was Thomas Aron (8.06) followed by Thomas Daly (8.07) and with a big sprint finish Ethan O'Brien (8.25) brought the team home in 35th place. Trafford's B team were not far behind in 47th with Mathew Aron (8.13), Ralphie Rome (8.35) and Patrick Widdop (8.59).
Next race was the U20 Men's 3km relay and again Trafford had 2 teams all running similar times. Will Parker (10.03), Louie McCormack (9.55) and Fin Mayoh (9.55) finished the Trafford A Team in 39th place in a quality field. The B Team were close behind in 48th place with Joe Deighton (9.52), Joe Daly (10.07) and Ned Silvey (10.47).
Also running 3km per leg was the U17 Men's race and Trafford's A team replicated the top ten finish that the U17 women had, also finishing in 9th place. Trafford's best run of the day came in the first leg with Freddie Meredith (9.19) finishing 3rd place holding off the pack and his time was the third fastest overall on the day. James Walton (10.13) then hung on to the lead group finishing in 15th and with a big sprint finish Jay Hutchinson (9.44) pipped Salford for 9th place and the honour of first Northern Team. In the B Team Luke Carrington (11.09) ended up in last place just after the start as his shoe came off, losing 30 seconds getting the shoe back on. Dan Partington (11.14) ran well and bringing the team home in 66th after falling in the growing slippy conditions Josh Watson (10.37) ran well.
Next up was the U15 Girls 2km relay with Rachel Bowden (8.17) continuing her good form leading the team off, youngster Anna Thomas (9.07) and Beth Stanley (8.51) kept the team in 40th place.
Trafford's biggest hope for Team medals was in the U15 Boys 2km relay and even with last minute injury and illness the depth of the team meant that three strong Trafford teams took part. First up for the A Team was Archie Greenwood (7.04) and after the races usual fast start Archie found himself in 60th place, but moving through the field Archie handed over in a better than expected 14th place. Pio Aron (6.48) then worked his way up closing in on the top 5 and when he appeared from the woods with 400m to go he had moved into the lead recording the fastest time for any leg 2 runner. Two years ago Fin Dobson Emmas (6.45) took over in the lead and after a good run finished 5th and once again Fin was on last leg with some of the countries fastest runners closing in behind. But Fin is a much improved athlete and ran the 7th fastest time of the day to maintain a 6 second win. Trafford B team then finished 5th Northern team and 15th place overall. Evan Lewis (7.34) lead the team with a solid leg, Tio Austin (7.09) is getting better every race and Ben Keeley (7.20) should be pleased with his run. In the C team Ben Gardner (7.39) plus the two last minute reserves Rowan Leeming (8.13) and Evan Horwell (8.21) meant that the C team were in the middle of the pack in a great 54th place.
The last two relays of the day had the muddiest conditions so the last thing you would want is to lose your spikes which is what happened to Trafford's first leg runner Kate Meeson (12.02) in the Women's 3km relay. In borrowed wrong size spikes Kate still managed the teams fastest leg finishing in 56th out of the 130 runners in a quality first leg. Zoe Storr (12.35) then moved the team up to 42nd which was held by Isobel Robinson (12.51) on last leg. B Team runners Elizabeth Heslop (13.17) and Sue Exon (18.25) both ran well.
Last race was a fast and frantic 4 man Senior Men's 5km relay with 177 teams setting off. Seb Patrick (17.15) lead the team finishing 79th, David Bowers (17.56) moved through to 68th and Alex Jones (19.00) and Jeff Prest (19.10) held the team in 70th place. The B Team saw Tom Rogers (18.20) make a great debut for the team, George Wright (20.03) then continued his improvement and showing great ability. Two of Trafford's best Javelin Throwers Jake Fletcher (21.20) and Terry Greenwood (22.15) finished off the B Team.
Full Results at https://www.englishcrosscountry.co.uk/relays/results-relays-2023/