Running log

THERE were highly-competitive battles to fill the top 25 spots for the nationals at Sutton Park next month in the NORTHERN ROAD RELAYS at Birchwood, near Warrington.

Stockport Harriers held off Leeds City in both the men's and women's races but behind them, local honours went to Otley AC in the six-stage men's race as they finished 23rd.

Scott Harrington led off for Otley on the 6km course in 20min 35sec to finish 42nd of the 140 starting teams.

They dropped back to 46th with Liam Dunne, before Ian Fisher, Thomas Midgley and Matt John brought them to 26th, just outside the qualifying places.

But anchor-leg runner Frank Beresford was able to pass Tyne Bridge and Horwich, as well as Southport Waterloo on the dip, to bring them home in 2hr 3min 4sec.

Leeds City in second and 18th (B team), and Holmfirth in 14th, were the best from West Yorkshire in an event dominated by Lancastrian clubs. New club Barlick Fell Runners, from Barnoldswick, were impressive in 35th.

Joshua Woodcock-Shaw ran sub-20 minutes on his second leg for Spenborough, who finished 41st.

Meanwhile, Saltaire Striders competed for the first time in over 15 years, entering two full teams in male and female events.

Striders' A team finished 58th, with their final three runners – Will Kerr, Peter Hopson and Matt Nowell – all passing seven or more competitors. Keighley & Craven were 74th and Bingley Harriers 85th.

The women's race was very close-fought, with Kendal leading until the final leg.

They were closed down by Leeds City, whose Scottish marathon star Susan Partridge ran 20:36 for her leg.

She handed over to Otley-based Racheal Bamford – but Jessica Coulson ran the fastest leg of the day (20:24) to take Stockport from fifth to first, ahead of Rotherham, Kendal, Lincoln Wellington and Bamford's Leeds.

Holmfirth finished eighth, with City of York and Knavesmire in 16th and 19th respectively.

Bingley duo Lesley Watson and Emma Green both ran sub-25 minutes to help them to 42nd.

Amanda Bellwood was the fastest runner for Saltaire Striders, who were the next Bradford team home in 61st of the 77 starters.