Bedford and County AC Senior Men’s squad were in action at the weekend at the National Cross Country Relay Championship at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield.
This championship, which Bedford won a record three years in a row between 2008-10, is probably the most hotly contested of all the winter domestic championships and regularly features a number of Great Britain internationals and Olympians.
This year was no exception, with an exciting race over the traditional four legs of 5k.
With a slightly weaker team than hoped for, Bedford performed brilliantly to finish in sixth place of the 166 finishing teams.
Jack Goodwin got the team off to a great start on leg one coming home in fourth place.
Running in only his second race back, after an injury and illness disrupted summer, Jack wasted no time moving to the head of the field which contained several GB internationals.
He remained with the lead pack as it was slowly whittled down to four, but with around 800m to go he was forced to give way, eventually coming home in the great time of 14:55mins just 8secs behind the leg winner.
James Hoad, who has been running particularly well of late, gave it all he had but was reeled in by a number of chasing teams, finishing eighth with a time of 16:03.
The experienced Darren Deed, a veteran of the gold medal teams of 2008-10, inched the team back towards the front, moving into second place briefly before slipping back to third, running a solid 15:49mins.
The race for the minor medals was still very tight at this point with a mere 42secs covering second to 16th places.
James Bellward, running this race for the first time, acquitted himself really well, but his valiant attempt to cling to a medal position was in vain as he was run down by several clubs, bringing the team home in sixth 16:08mins.
Bedford’s B team unfortunately failed to finish as last minute draftee Pete Benedickter was forced to drop out on the last leg due to injury.
The team was led off by Richard Henderson (16:26), Massi Dendani (17:52), and Spencer Wilson (19:50).
Not to be outdone, the club’s U20 men also produced a strong performance finishing fifth of 55 teams in their 3x3k race.
The team was led off by Stan Willis who hung on well to come home in 13th place with a time of 9:00.
On leg two, Jono Janes moved the team up to 11th with a solid 9:08, while Ben Davies ran the anchor leg charging through the field to bring the team into fifth with a very solid time of 9:01.
The B team finished in 38th place (fourth B team), with Will Mullins (9:31), Tom Angell (10:03), and Stephen Headley (9:53). The C team were 46th with Sam Barton (10:05), Andrew Headley (9:50) and Will Forster (10:33).
A number of the clubs men ran in the English 10k Road Championship at the Leeds Abbey Dash. The standout run was Alex Bellew’s personal best of 31:00. In his first ever 10k road race, Jack Douglas recorded 31:41. Josh Lunn (32:17,PB), Andy McMulkin (33:28, PB) and Joe Strange (34:19) also ran.