Following their impressive qualification for the National Road Relays finals in Sutton Coldfield, the Bolton Harriers relay team took to the road on 9 October to compete against the best teams in the country.
Unusually for the time of year the weather was reasonably warm, dry and very little wind, perfect conditions for running.
With 79 teams competing, the downhill start was chaotic, with accountant Danny Shaw leading off for Bolton and making his debut on this course. Danny who is in the form of his life played it safe at the start, working his way through the field on the 5.88km course to bring Bolton home at the end of the first leg in 53rd place in a great time of 18:38. Taking over for the second leg was Bolton’s star runner Jonny Kay, who, having run this course several times in previous years, obliterated his previous best time, coming home in 18:00 and elevating the team to 35th place.
Taking over for the third leg was science teacher Martin Reid who having turned 40 on the day of the qualifiers had recovered from his celebrations to record a time of 19:33 and at the halfway stage leave the team in 41st place. Representing Bolton in the fourth leg was the first of two recent Harriers recruits to the team, Will Tomlinson completed the course in a great time of 21:17 and the team placed in 55th position. Will and Bolton’s fifth leg runner Jordan Brophy are making rapid progress since joining Dave Shaw’s training group and are destined to be future stars for the club.
Jordan Brophy ran the fifth leg in a very creditable time of 22:45 handing over to Bolton’s veteran final leg runner David Chrystal in 64th place. David, coming back from a long period of ailments and erratic training had been drafted into the team for the final. He made a valiant effort, but the years and interrupted training took their toll with him completing his lap in a time of 24:21 and a final team position of 72nd.
The team had a great day and travelled home safe in the knowledge that they had given their all representing Bolton Harriers on the national stage in the blue riband road relay event of the annual athletics calendar.