A superb performance by Rotherham Harriers gave them bronze medals in the National Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday.
In the six stage race they were more than two minutes faster than last year when they finished sixth and they have made a significant advance, with their B team finishing 20th and beating many leading clubs’ top squads.
In a race won impressively by Leeds City, from Cambridge and Coleridge, Rotherham were 12th on the opening stage, a long one, with Samantha Hughes clocking 31:27. In-form Natasha Hatswell quickly set about reducing the deficit and took her team through to third place, running 17:39 for her stint. She was the fastest short stage runner for Rotherham and the fifth fastest in the whole race. Zara Knappy slipped back to fifth at the halfway stage with 18:55 but Hayley Carruthers restored the status quo, finishing third with 30:39 for her long stage. A recent recruit to Rotherham, Carruthers is a huge asset and her time was the 10th fastest overall for the long stage. More important, she pulled away from fourth place Highgate.
That gap was increased slightly by Nicola Devine (18:31), a new Rotherham recruit from Doncaster AC, and further still by anchor runner Sophie Cowper (18:34) so that, in the end, they had almost half a minute lead over Highgate.
In Rotherham’s B team there was a particularly fine run by Sarah Lowery who was 15th on the opening stage in 31:50.
The Rotherham men’s team finished a creditable 22nd in the men’s12 stage race with Dan Kestrel running particularly well on the fifth stage, a long one, and Lee Milburn being their fastest short stage runner with 16:43 on stage eight.
Sheffield Running Club gave creditable performances finishing 41st in the women’s and 5oth in the men’s.