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Storming finish lifts Airedale into second in Leeds Country Way Relay
Sunday’s Leeds Country Way Relay started from Garforth at a blistering Pace, with Rothwell Harriers grinding out a good lead after the first leg to Stanley.
North Leeds-based Valley Striders followed in second, with Leeds City in third a good seven minutes down.
Pudsey Pacers and Airedale Athletics A made up the top five.
Over 20 miles further, at Thornbury, by the changeover for leg four, Leeds City were leading.
Valley Striders remained second but five minutes adrift. Rothwell had dropped to third and Airedale had gained a place thanks to a storming run by Mick Brearley and Pete Hughes on leg three from Scotchman Lane, Morley.
They were now a minute behind Rothwell but nine behind Valley. Pudsey Pacers were being threatened for fifth.
Leeds City remained on target for victory after passing the baton at Golden Acre Park.
But their lead had been eaten into by Airedale’s Quentin Lewis and Simon Pass, now second, with a team record of just over 1hr 13min.
Remarkably, the Pudsey & Bramley pairing of Colin Walker and Richard Pattison had pipped them to fastest fourth leg by just two seconds with the P&B team now challenging for a podium spot.
By the final changeover on leg five at Thorner, Leeds City had increased their lead and Valley were back in second, having run the fastest fifth leg.
Airedale trailed last year’s runners-ups by over four minutes. Seasoned campaigner Will Kerr took newcomer Andy Bedford under his wing and the pair managed to claw back the deficit on Valley by halfway.
Were it not for a wrong turn, they may have picked up the fastest-leg trophy.
As it was, Leeds City’s final pairing returned to the start-finish point in Garforth, clubhouse of hosts Kippax Harriers, in a leg best of 60min 4sec.
So Leeds City were victorious once more, with Airedale claiming the runners-up trophy for the second time in three years, roughly 14 minutes adrift.
Valley held on for third with P&B close behind in fourth.