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McDonald's Young Athlete Road Relays 1999

Report by: Martin Cunnane

28th March 1999 - Sutton Park, Birmingham

Aine Hoban All three of the girls teams on duty performed above expectation to give the club its best set of national road championship results ever, with their three combined teams finishing with a total of 32 points to place a magnificent fifth overall competing against teams from across the British Isles.

In the U13 girls championship race, the Yorkshire individual U13 road champion Zoe Gowland led off Wakefield's trio and despite just returning from a three week rest period ran well to the three-quarter mark travelling in the leading pack until the final quarter.

Gowland failed to cover the breakaway of about six athletes, including eventual stage winner J Hill of Sale Harriers who led the field home in 8 mins 42 secs. Gowland eventually handed over to second stage runner Naida Bromley in 14th spot having completed her stage in 9 mins 27 secs.

Bromley, a tremendously talented all round track and field athlete set off with gusto and soon started to make inroads into the leaders running a well controlled race. She ran well to move up five places to ninth overall clocking a commendable 9 mins 42 secs.

Wakefield's final leg was run by another highly talented track and field multi-eventer Amy Fozzard, last year's Scottish indoor and outdoor U13 pentathlon champion who once again proved she is more than capable over the distance by recording a splendid 9 mins 38 secs to drop just three places and finish 12th overall out of 62 competing teams.

The gold, silver and bronze medals went to Aldershot, Farnharn and District AC, Liverpool Harriers and Sale Harriers who finished with combined times of 27 mins 8 secs, 27 mins 21 secs and 27 mins 46 secs respectively.

The U15 girls race saw an even better performance from the Harriers youngsters with opening leg runner Aine Hoban showing her tremendous potential by travelling up with the leading pack throughout to hand over third overall after covering her race in 8 mins 47 secs. Hoban, who clocked the fastest leg time in this year's U15 Yorkshire Road Relay Championships, finished just eight seconds behind the stage winner L Glanville of Chester-le-Street and one second behind S Duncan of Liverpool Harriers. Hoban's time was the 10th fastest leg of the day and as she moves up to U17 level for this year's track campaign, looks certain to continue to improve over the next couple of seasons and with a little luck and hard work could mature into a national class athlete.

Stage two runner Samantha Colley produced her best performance for almost two years, running on with great determination to drop just one place to fourth overall at the changeover, recording a promising 9 mins 11 secs, and at last looks to be nearly back to her best form which won her county honours. Colley handed over to anchor leg runner Lucy Martin, who despite being a novice at this level and who was faced with most of the best U15s in Britain fought a terrific rearguard action. With the top six fastest legs being run on her stage she did extremely well to limit the damage to just eight places lost, bringing Wakefield home a highly respectable 12th overall after completing in a commendable 9 mins 21 secs.

Medway AC, Bristol AC and Sale Harriers filled the first three places with combined finishing times of 25 mins 59 secs, 26 mins 38 secs and 26 mins 44 secs respectively.

Wakefield's highest finishing position of the day was provided by the club's U17 trio of Laura Sheard, Helen Singleton, and Becky Fender who finished an excellent eighth overall behind winners Aldershot. The all important job of lead off runner was allocated to in-form Laura Sheard and she did not let the team down with her usual solid race to move up from 15th after the first stiff up-hill climb of the initial three-quarters of a mile to hand over in a splendid eighth position in 15 mins 15 secs, the 15th fastest time of the race overall.

Helen Singleton, who is much more at home on the track at distances up to 800m ran the second leg, where, despite suffering in the later stages, stuck to her task well to hand over to Becky Fender in 13th having completed her stage in 16mins 52 secs.

Fender, another athlete who is returning to form after a long spell of injury and illness ran superbly, running the first quarter at a sensible pace, before accelerating over the next mile to pick up five positions finishing in eighth place having clocked the 13th fastest time in 15 mins 01 sec.