Sunday 24 March 2019 - South of England 12 Stage relay, Milton Keynes 

Bedford & County’s Senior Men team emerged from Sunday’s South of England 12 Stage Road Relays as bronze medallists after a thrilling battle in Milton Keynes.

The 12 stage sees teams of 12 runners’ complete legs of 7.7k and 5.1k respectively and after four hours of racing Bedford took a well deserved third place behind winners Aldershot Farnham & District and runners up Highgate Harriers.

Such was the quality of the field the first four teams all dipped under the four hour mark for the first time on this course.

Ben Davies, making his debut in this event, got the team off to a flying start finishing the opening leg in sixth position in a superb 23:30 clocking.

Leg 2 saw Richard Henderson move the team into third, running 15:50 for the 5k course. He handed over to Matt Bray who produced his best run to date to move the team into the lead.

Bray flew round in 23:46 and sent Alfie Yablsey away with a slender advantage.

Yabsley conceded the lead, despite running 16:15, to Guildford & Godalming but held off Highgate and handed over to Matt Bergin just two seconds down on the lead.

Irish international Bergin then produced a stunning run to send Bedford clear at the front and his 22:48 was the second quickest time of the day.

Next up was the returning Jack Goodwin who looked like he’d never been away as he opened up a sizeable lead on leg 6 with a 15:35 clocking.

Ben Alcock on leg 7 stretched the advantage to 50 seconds with a brilliant 23:50 on leg 7 before a superb leg from Highgate on leg 8 saw Bedford’s lead disappear.

Jono Janes, on leg 8, had been a late addition to the team after injury problems and his 16:15 represented a very solid run as he rallied to send John Eves off just five seconds down on the leaders.

Eves ran a strong leg of 24:00 to regain the lead for Bedford and open up a 20 second lead but Aldershot’s backloaded team was beginning to come into contention.

Leg 10 saw Michael Channing hold off Highgate with an excellent 16:07 as Aldershot edged ever closer.

Josh Lunn, fresh from his half marathon exploits, battled with Highgate on Leg 11 but it was Aldershot who were to hit the front by the close of the leg despite Lunn’s 24:13.

The final leg saw Aldershot move clear with the quickest short leg of the day but Bedford’s anchor man Joe Strange stuck to his task and despite Highgate overhauling his narrow advantage he held on for bronze with a 16:57 leg.It was a great team performance from the squad in an event that really tests the depth of the best distance running clubs in the region.

The team now go on to the National 12 Stage Road Relays Championships on April 6 at Sutton Park in Birmingham.

Photo by Brian Graves.

Leg Bedford & County AC "A" 03:59:06 race position  Team time  overall
1 Ben Davies 23:30 6 0:23:30 14th
2 Richard Henderson 15:50 3 0:39:20 28th
3 Matt Bray 23:46 1 1:03:06 20th
4 Alfie Yabsley 16:15 2 1:19:21 59th
5 Matt Bergin 22:48 1 1:42:09 2nd
6 Jack Goodwin 15:35 1 1:57:44 12th
7 Ben Alcock 23:50 1 2:21:34 23rd
8 Jonathan Janes 16:15 2 2:37:49 58th
9 John Eves 24:00 1 3:01:49 30th
10 Michael Channing 16:07 1 3:17:56 53rd
11 Josh Lunn 24:13 2 3:42:09 40th
12 Joe Strange 16:57 3 3:59:06 112nd
  Bedford & County AC "B"        
1 Peter Benedickter 26:01 37 0:26:01  
2 Chris Thornley 17:13 34 0:43:14  
3 Stephen Headley 26:54 35 1:10:08  
4 Matt Nicholson 16:47 33 1:26:55  
5 Chris Riley 28:23 34 1:55:18  
6 Richard Laursen 17:28 34 2:12:46  
7 Steven Herring 27:52 34 2:40:38  
8 Massi Dendani 20:24 36 3:01:02  
9 Ewan Wilson 29:08 35 3:30:10  
10 Michael Harrison 17:21 35 3:47:31  
11 Craig Emmerson 25:57 33 4:13:28  

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