There is no better test of team spirit and consistency than the England Road Running Association (ERRA) national road relay championships and 137 teams gathered for the latest examination at Sutton Park, Birmingham on Saturday (14 April) with Tonbridge AC men and Leeds City AC women topping the results.
Tonbridge AC men celebrated their first ever victory in the men's 12-stage with a club record time of 4hr17min24sec for the 51.24 miles, comprising alternating long (5.38mls) and short (3.16mls) stages.
Tonbridge sensed the victory was possible as they led after four stages but Highgate Harriers took the helm at halfway. However, the men from Kent were not to be denied and they could not be dislodged through the crucial final six stages despite the concerted efforts of Highgate (4:18:56) and defending champions Swansea (4:19:42).
The top six teams were completed by Leeds City (4:22:00), Lincoln Wellington (4:22:36) and Kent AC (4:22:36). The fastest individual long and short stages were run by Alex Yee (Kent AC, 24:57) and Keiran Wood (Cambridge & Coleridge, 15:06) respectively.
Leeds City's women's team retained their national title (2:11:27), improving by 77 seconds over last year's winning time, followed by Cambridge & Coleridge (2:14:19); Rotherham Harriers (2:15:45); Highgate Harriers (2:16:13); Birchfield Harriers (2:16:20) and Fife AC (2:17:04) as standards improved from the 2017 results.
The fastest stage awards went to last year's runner-up Tracy Barlow (Thames Valley Harriers, 29:07) and Julia Paternain (Cambridge & Coleridge, 17:02).
An innovation this year was the introduction of national 5k road championships for juniors and the inaugural title holders are under-17s George Beardmore (Worcester, 16:19) and Katriona Brown (Aldershot, 19:50). The U15 winners were Ryan Martin (Aldershot, 16:41) and Katie Goodge (Tonbridge, 19:05).