RUNNERS from Vale Royal Athletics Club prepared for this weekend’s Northern Road Relays Championships in the best possible way – by winning a load of medals.

They claimed first prize in three categories during the North West Road Relays in Blackpool last Saturday, when they also ranked as the highest Cheshire team in six age group categories.

An under 13 girls’ trio consisting of Grace Roberts, Alice Gale and Holly Weedall led the way at Stanley Park, where the latter ran the fastest split in the field.

She timed 11.23 over 3,200m for the last leg, more than half a minute quicker than any of her rivals in the field.

After taking over with a gap of 200m to bridge to leader Gina Nuttall (Wespa Fire), she overhauled her rival before charging to the finish line with close to two minutes to spare over silver-medallists Horwich.

Vale Royal’s under 17s girls, with debutant Emily Lowery joining forces with twins Lucy and Holly Smith, took overall class honours too.

Holly ran the second-best split in the field, an 11.03, to hold off the challenge of Liverpool Harriers’ track star Ella McNiven, who is ranked number one in the UK for the age group over 1,500m and 3,000m.

Northwich Guardian:

Vale Royal Athletics Club's under 17s girls, from left, Emily Lowery, Lucy Smith and Holly Smith were victors in their age-group category on Saturday. Picture: Rob Brown

A third gold medal went to an under 17s boys’ combination of Alex Doyle, John Humphries and Ben Lee, who ran legs over a longer 5,200m distance.

The latter started the final leg with a 10-second advantage over Kian Davies (Preston Harriers), a gap he widened significantly by running the fastest leg – a 17.00.

Those three teams all claimed county titles too.

However the number of Cheshire successes rose to six by the end of the afternoon after the under 15s boys, senior men and senior women topped their respective time-sheets.

Will Ashfield, Ed Pettitt and Wilf Dight were victors in the under 15s boys’ race, leaving Macclesfield Harriers more than 30 seconds adrift.

A senior men’s quartet of Cameron Weaver, Stuart Doyle, Matt Rowlinson and Mike Harrington also pushed Macclesfield into second spot.

Vale Royal’s senior women entered six teams, and celebrated a clean sweep in the Cheshire standings by occupying the first four places.

Gold went to Kate Spilsbury, in her final race wearing the club’s blue and gold before emigrating to Australia, Chloe Broad and Chloe Dooley.

Carolyn Dooley, Andrea Hilldrup and Kate Moulds took silver while Esme Bridge, Sophie Smith and Cara Gibbons were third.

Meanwhile an under 15s girls team of Faye Conboy, Rebecca Nixon and Kate Sherry were runners-up to Macclesfield.


North West Road Relays

Saturday, September 9

Senior men: 14. Vale Royal AC A (Cameron Weaver, Stuart Doyle, Matt Rowlinson, Mike Harrington) 1:30.31; 45. Vale Royal AC B (Josh Betteley, Gareth Williams, Chris Weedall, David Shepherd) 1:38.07; 62. Vale Royal AC C (Richard Murray, Brian Dooley, Mark Pilliner, Richard Pettitt) 1:51.17

Senior women: 7. Vale Royal AC A (Kate Spilsbury, Chloe Broad, Chloe Dooley) 1:03.27; 10. Vale Royal AC (Carolyn Dooley, Andrea Hilldrup, Kate Moulds) 1:04.39; 18. Vale Royal AC C (Esme Bridge, Sophie Smith, Cara Gibbons) 1:07.42; 25. Vale Royal AC D (Helen Smith, Lucy Burch, Lucy Knight) 1:10.34; 39. Vale Royal AC E (Lisa Meadows, Debbie Broad, Sarah Gibbs) 1:17.41; 40. Vale Royal AC F (Jill Haines, Liz Gale, Jeanette Pope) 1:18.13

Under 17s boys: 1. Vale Royal AC A (Alex Doyle, John Humphries, Ben Lee) 54.10; 17. Vale Royal AC B (William McKay, Aaron Doyle, Sam Washington) 1:02.20

Under 17s girls: 1. Vale Royal AC (Emily Lowery, Lucy Smith, Holly Smith) 34.12; 13. Vale Royal AC B (Cerys Pilliner, Isabelle Davies, Molly Haines) 45.36

Under 15s boys: 6. Vale Royal AC (Will Ashfield, Ed Pettitt, Wilf Dight) 33.48

Under 15s girls: 15. Vale Royal AC (Faye Conboy, Rebecca Nixon, Kate Sherry) 40.44

Under 13s boys: 19. Vale Royal AC A (Patrick Griffith, Dylan Carney, Oli Washington) 38.18

Under 13s girls: 1. Vale Royal AC A (Grace Roberts, Alice Gale, Holly Weedall) 36.25; 24. Vale Royal AC B (Tilly Gibbs, Thea Smith, Tarlia Higginbotham) 43.49; 28. Vale Royal AC C (Emma Holmes, Hope Smith, Molly Roberts) 44.12; 38. Vale Royal AC D (Eloise Babbington, Isabelle Maundrill, Ellie Hudson) 50.04

Under 11s boys: 18. Vale Royal AC (Henry Copelin, Alfie Murray, Harry Sheard) 20.59

Under 11s girls: 18. Vale Royal AC C (Freya Grace, Erin Carney, Eabha Lee) 21.46; 23. Vale Royal AC A (Chloe Hibbert-Green, Lana Booth, Rachel Middlebrook) 22.16; 28. Vale Royal AC B (Grace Hickson, Ffion Evans, Tahlia Bowcock) 23.01