Dorking Men retain Priory Relays title in tough conditions.
Setting up the course on Saturday morning in gale force winds and driving rain was a real challenge for the Reigate Priory AC officials; nonetheless the race started on time, in still very wet and windy conditions, with 83 team competing in the 64th running of the Priory Relays around the testing 2.5 mile course in Priory Park.
In the ladies race of 39 teams, run over 3 laps, last year’s winners Belgrave Harriers took an early lead from Stragglers of Kingston with Fiona Clark putting the Reigate Priory A team in 3rd place with the 5th fastest lap of the race of 17 mins 39 secs. On the second lap Belgrave held their lead from Stragglers with Tri-Surrey edging ahead of Reigate Priory. It was all change on the last lap, with Stragglers overtaking Belgrave and day’s fastest lap from Carolyne Baxter of Guildford & Godalming brought her team up 5 places into 3rd place. Reigate Priory A team, consisting of Fiona Clark, Jamilla Nlayiyana (19 mins 36 secs) and Jo Davey (19 mins 01 secs) finished 5th. Priory’s B team of Leanne McKeogh (20mins 19 secs), Clare Pryor (24 mins 21 secs) and Linda Rodriguez (22 mins 09 secs) finished 22nd were just behind the 20th place of the Priory C team of Jenny Carus (26 mins 22 secs), Bethany Higgins (21 mins 52 secs) and Eloise Bull, who ran the 6th fastest lap of the day in 17 mins 47 secs.
The men’s race of 4 laps saw 44 teams with Guildford & Godalming building an early lead from Belgrave Harriers and Walton AC in 3rd place. Dorking & Mole Valley’s Charlie Wylie (14mins 55 secs) handed over in 4th place. Strong runs from Ewan Bate (14 mins 56 secs) and Michael Alwin (15 mins 12 secs) brought Dorking to 2nd place with Walton 3rd after 3 laps, but still some way behind Guildford & Godalming. On the 4th lap Dorking’s Luke Caldwell ran by far the day’s fastest lap of 13 mins 56 secs to turn a 55 seconds deficit into a 9 seconds winning margin over Guildford & Godalming, with Walton retaining 3rd place. For Reigate Priory, Frank O’Regan ran the 1st and 4th laps in 17 mins 33 secs and 18 mins 13 secs respectively, sandwiching the runs of Ralph Tuckwell (20 mins 29 secs) and Andrew Patrick (20 mins 45 secs). The team finished in 28th place.
Ian Martin, Race Director