Shrewsbury Athletic Club is no stranger to relays at Sutton Park, Birmingham but 2018 is the first time teams have taken part in this event. Competition for Masters (or, as they used to be known, veterans) give those athletes aged 35 and over the chance to race against others who are a similar age. And the Shrewsbury AC Masters did the club proud. In far from perfect weather conditions, rain showers, and a cold blustery wind, the M55+ team achieved a superb 7th place finish from the 36 teams that started, while the M35+ team (despite having a 62 yr old in the team) finished a very creditable 17th from the 42 teams that toed the start line.
Graham Jones was on the 1st leg for the M55 team, completing the 5.17km course in 19:30, handing over to Haydn Jones in 11th place. Haydn had recovered well from the London marathon 6 days earlier and ran a strong leg (20:10) making up one place, handing over to Richard Jones in 10th place. On the glory leg Richard (19:48) made up 3 places to bring the team home in 7th and less than 3 minutes off a podium position.
Four members of the M35 team had not previously run at Sutton Park but that didn't prevent Rob Fox, Richard McKenna, Paulo Pinheiro and Peter Middleton from doing the club proud. Rob also having recovered well from his London marathon run stormed round leg 1 in 18:02 to hand over to Richard in 18th place. A strong run by Richard (18:35) kept the team close to the top 20, handing over to Kev Francis in 21st place. Kev, competing up a few age groups ran strong, keeping the club in 21st place but confessed to being a bit disappointed with his time (19:07) saying ''it would have been nice to get under 19 minutes''. Paulo was next to tackle the course and his time of 18:42 lifted the team into the top 20 handing over to Andy Lewis in 18th place. The 62 year old was never likely to able to match the pace of the younger runners, and so it proved to be with his time of 21:40 dropping the team to 21st. On the last leg Peter Middleton had a great run (18:02), passing 4 athletes to bring the club the club across the finishing line in 17th position.
Honours for the fastest leg of the day were shared by Rob Fox and Peter Middleton – well done guys. Thanks from the Team Manager, Andy Lewis, go to all the team members, and to the club for covering the cost of the entry fees and the minibus. There's already talk about taking part next year and aiming to finish higher up the rankings – now that's something to train for.
Main photo: the M55 Team L to R, Haydn Jones, Richard Jones, Graham Jones. In the Gallery: Rob Fox, Richard McKenna, Richard Jones, Kev Francis, Haydn Jones, Andy Lewis, Graham Jones, Peter Middleton.