ATHLETICS: Alchester veterans shine as Oxford bag title brace

Eynsham's Mark Tyrrell (381), Oxford City's Darrell Bellinger (451) and Witney's Tegid Jones (491) lead at the start of leg one in the men’s race    				   Picture: John Harvey

Eynsham's Mark Tyrrell (381), Oxford City's Darrell Bellinger (451) and Witney's Tegid Jones (491) lead at the start of leg one in the men’s race Picture: John Harvey

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

OXFORD City’s men completed a title double in the Oxfordshire Road Relay Championships at Abingdon RFC.

But it was Alchester’s veteran ladies who produced arguably the best performance.

City provided the first two men’s teams home, with the seniors and veterans bagging their respective titles.

However, Alchester’s veterans not only captured the county over 35 title, but also beat all their younger rivals to finish first overall.

First-leg runner Sarah Rendell clocked their fastest split for the 3.3-mile course with a time of 20mins 26secs.

With Jenny McBain (20.37) and Samantha Usher (21.09) completing the line-up, Alchester’s consistency saw them home in 1hr 2mins 12secs.

They finished 27 seconds ahead of Headington Road Runners, for whom Diane Moore (19.30) broke the course record on the final leg.

Abingdon took the senior title behind them, with Fiona Bunn (19.43) clocking the second fastest split.

Sarah Lackman (21.35) and Cordelia Parker (21.22) ran legs one and two for the host club whose total time was 1.02.40.

Darrell Bellinger (16.56) was Oxford’s fastest senior man, with Aaron Burgess (17.42) Maxwell Robinson (17.43) also breaking 18 minutes.

City’s total time of 1.47.06 was more than two minutes clear of their veterans, for whom Julian Richardson (17.29) and Steve Male (17.43) led the way.

Anchor leg runner Steve Naylor (16.02) broke the course record as Woodstock Harriers came home just behind to take second in the senior men’s category.

The previous mark had stood at 16.34, set by Oxford City’s David Bruce in 2013.

Alex Wall-Clarke, a new Abingdon second-claim member, broke this with 16.25 on leg one, before Naylor (pictured) lowered the mark further.

Naylor said: “It nearly damn killed me hunting Steve Male down!”

Woodstock were the seventh-placed senior team after four legs, but James Bolton (17.11) took them into third before Naylor grabbed second.

This meant Witney Road Runners, who were anchored home by Josh Ridley (17.04), finished third.

Headington were second veteran men’s team, with Abingdon third.

Last year’s champions Oxford were second in the senior ladies race, with Alchester third.

Nick Wiltshire clocked the fastest split as Abingdon won the under 15 boys’ title.

He completed the 1.125-mile course in 5.58 on the anchor leg.

Tom Butcher, who ran the second quickest leg with 6.17, and Alexander Pennington (6.39) completed their side.

Emily Thompson (6.37) was the quickest under 15 girl, helping Banbury Harriers to the title.

Tia Williams (7.01) and Rose Lord (7.05) completed their line-up.

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