Woodford AC’s Bertie Powell retains club honours

�Woodford Green with Essex Ladies AC competed in the National Road Relay Championships at the weekend, and finished in 19th and 20th spot in the women’s and men’s event respectively out of 59 teams that finished.

The majority of the men’s 12-stage team ran close to, or exceeded expectations.

With Angus Holford, the club’s slowest long stage man, moved to leg one, and with some of the team not 100 per cent, it meant that Woodford started down the field and moved up gradually as the day unfolded.

Holford made a 40-second improvement in finishing the first leg in 29 minutes, 59 seconds for 49th spot.

Omar Mansour boosted the team up to 41st position, whilst Hywel Care moved them into 37th by the end of the third leg.

Jon Powell continued the improvement in his first competitive run to leave them in 36th position, whilst Mark Burgess kept them in the same spot after a run of 29.30 on the fifth leg.

Daniel Hawellek brought the team up into 32nd with a fantastic run of 15.17 on a short leg with Ben Hope maintaining that position with a time of 29.29 on the seventh leg.

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Gavin Lewis moved them one place further with a run of 15.29, before Bertie Powell raised the team up into 22nd spot after nine legs with a run of 28.03 – earning him the Ken Bray Trophy for the sixth consecutive year as the most consistent winter season runner.

In the final three legs, the team improved further with Tom Phillips passing to Matt Shone with two teams in their sight, and 19-year-old Darren Southcott finished the event with a solid 16.20 for 20th overall.

Meanwhile, in the women’s event, Lauren Stewart got the team off to a brilliant start with a run of 17.47 to put the club in 25th place at this early stage.

Bernie Pritchett pushed the team up into the top-20, passing seven athletes on her way to recording 18.29.

Kay Foy remained in the same position after passing Holmfirth and Stockport, but was passed by Swansea as she recorded 18.37.

Woodford stayed in 17th position with Linda Jackson on leg four after running a time of 19.04, before passing over to Andres Possee.

Possee did the same as Foy, gaining a place on Salford, but Telford passed her as she ran 20.42.

Team Manager Alex Wardle stepped in to fill the final leg, and slipped two places for the club to finish in 19th spot.

Wardle, now stepping down after many years in charge of the team, was pleased that she could sign off on the positive note of a satisfactory placing at national level. “We need to keep competing at this level,” she said, “It’s where Woodford need to be.”

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