Leeds Beckett University hosted the Sprint Relay at the Carnegie Sports Centre
On Saturday 11th June, Forth Valley Orienteers team of Scarlett Kelly, Chris Smithard, Kris Jones and Grace Molloy won the British Sprint Relay Championship Race. They won by just over a minute from Edinburgh University with last year's champions South Yorkshire Orienteers a further 15 seconds behind.
27 teams were on the start line, and when non-eligible runners, incomplete teams and mispunches were all taken into account, 12 teams were all complete in the results (representing 10 clubs).
The Sprint Relay Start in the middle of the athletics track, photo: Wendy Carlyle
Thanks to the organising clubs from YHOA: it was CLARO and East Pennine for the relays, and Airienteers for the individual.
British Sprint Relay Champions 2022, Forth Valley Orienteers. Scarlett is wearing a number for a non-comp team in the junior relay, and Grace that of a non-comp FVO open team, photo: Wendy Carlyle
Alice Leake for Airienteers was first back on leg1, followed by Charlotte Ward for Humberside & Lincolnshire and Megan Carter-Davies for Swansea Bay "International". As all three runners are off to Denmark for the World Champs next week you will understand those teams were front loaded. Swansea Bay were "international" as running leg 2 was the Australian Aston Key who came by on his way to Jukola and the World Champs. He was not the only international to enjoy a course in Leeds: fastest team on the day, by 50 seconds, was a non-competitive team from New Zealand: Lizzie Ingham, Joseph Lynch, Tommy Hayes, and Penelope Salmon. Meantime New Zealand lent another runner, World Championships medallist Tim Robertson, to a "Commonwealth" team. He took over from Kirstin Maxwell and was first back from leg2.
Forth Valley's runner on leg1, Scarlett Kelly, was 12th fastest from the competitive teams, but only five minutes down on the leaders. Her teammates, all of whom ran in this year's World Cup Round1 for Great Britain, relished the challenge, and successively picked up to 5th, then second and finally first on the final leg.
Clubs of the twelve teams that completed, in finishing order:
L-R Edinburgh University, Forth Valley, South Yorkshire (note reduced platform space for third place), photo: On The Red Line
Sunday's racing was closer to the centre of Leeds, hosted in the Student Union of Leeds University. There were qualifiers in the morning and a final in the afternoon. As is often the case, and it seems no matter how good and well-prepared the organisation is, it was a close run thing to prepare the fiinal startlists for all the age classes. A format change may ensue, but probably not for the open classes which use the same system as the World Champs.
Eighteen runners qualified for each final, six per heat, and any non-comp internationals who ran in the top 6 for their heats also ran the final course. This meant the squad runners had at least a minute spare in the heats, often two if they went near full speed. One thing that worked well, it couldn't have been better, was that the chief commentator Katherine Bett qualified as first starter for the A final.
(as with the sprint relay it was New Zealand that provided the quickest time on the course, Tim Robertson running 15:50.)