Well done to the 12 men who represented Massey Ferguson in the English National Road Relays at Sutton Park on Saturday. Massey qualified for this competition for the first time in many years after finishing 18th in the Midlands race 2 weeks previously. The club has had a proud tradition of getting a team into this race, competing against the very best athletics clubs in England, so it was fantastic to be here again. It really is a great sign of the progress Massey Ferguson has made in recent years in expanding its membership widely, as well as challenging more competitively in regional and national competitions.
The team had 2 changes from the Midlands, with John Clarke and Grahame Flanagan stepping up from the ‘B’ team after great runs in the Midlands following the withdrawals of Pete Freedman and Tony Hoy. The National race also has 6 long legs, so Dave Clarke, Simon Neale and Mick O’Shea moved up to experience the long and sapping run out to Streetly Gate.
Dean Clarke went out first with some of the quickest club runners in the country, with the top 14 completing the 5.3m course in under 27 minutes! Dean seemed inspired as well, knocking around a minute off the same route from 2 weeks previously, and setting a great precedent for the Massey team with virtually everyone bettering their time from the Midlands race. With such a high standard we knew we wouldn’t be challenging and were there to enjoy the experience, so it was great to see everyone rising to the occasion. We held our position around 62nd place out of 67, until the arrival of Matt Amos on leg 9 who ran another speedy 28 minute leg to move us a few places up the field.
Dave Clarke took the last long leg just before the cut off for the mass start, and not long after had a pack of runners hunting him down, although managed to keep the majority off! Gary Lawson left with the mass start for the final leg and managed to move us another place up to finish a very credible 55th out of 64 teams that finished. This is a great result for the club, to be close to the top 50 athletics clubs in the country including many that are the breeding ground for international and Olympic athletes, including local teams such as Godiva and Birchfield Harriers. With the continuing improvement of runners in the club, and some new recruits, we can hopefully make qualification for this event a regular occurrence again, and use our performance on Saturday as a benchmark for improvement.
There will be a Midlands 6 Stage Relays at Sutton Park in September where we will aim to enter multiple teams for the men’s and ladies, if you would like to experience running for Massey in one of these events please let me know, the more the better. Thanks again to everyone who ran, and also the supporters who came and helped out and cheered us on during the day.
55th Massey Ferguson RC 5:08:53
1 Dean Clarke (62) 31:22 2 Jason Nicholson (63) 19:13
3 Ross Cooper(62) 31:28 4 Simon Brown (62) 19:46
5 Mick O’shea (63) 34:02 6 Grahame Flanagan (63) 19:52
7 Simon Neale (63) 32:45 8 John Clarke (62) 19:25
9 Matt Amos (56) 28:34 10 Jerry Trill (56) 19:34
11 David Clarke (56) 33:03 12 Gary Lawson (55) 19:49