Aldershot, Farnham & District runners regained the National Four-Stage Road Relay senior women’s title and retained the under-17 women’s crown at Sutton Coldfield.
Louise Small, the only survivor (and non-teenager) from last year’s quartet that surrendered the senior title after eight consecutive victories, again had the anchor leg, but this time set off in second place, five seconds behind the leader.
Emily Hosker-Thornhill had put the club into that second place, following legs by Philippa Bowden and Laura Gent, by clocking the event’s equal fifth fastest time.
Small was fourth fastest when overhauling Birchfield’s Louise Webb who, like the AFD athlete, took a bronze medal in the 2009 European Junior Championships. AFD’s winning margin was 22 seconds.
The club’s U17 women also began the last of their three legs in second place. After stints by Maisie Grice (equal ninth fastest) and Eugenie Cockle, Lucy Pygott found herself chasing Faye Ireland of Liverpool Harriers, the English Schools intermediate champion at 3,000 metres, the distance of the circuit in Sutton Park.
It is also the distance at which Pygott gained her bronze medal at the European Youth Championships during the summer, and she recorded the second quickest lap to turn a deficit of 22 seconds into an advantage of 18 at the finish.
Harry Hyde, in the U13 boys’ competition, was also second quickest. Following legs by Ryan Martin (fifth fastest) and Theo Cheshire, he went from sixth to second, but could not catch Herne Hill’s Jacob Harrison who had started nearly a minute before him, and AFD had to settle for the silver medals.
Other top-ten placings for the club were achieved by the senior men – Josh Grace, who led the opener, was sixth fastest overall – the U17 men and the senior women’s B team.