Bedford and County AC's mens squad commenced the 2019-20 winter season with an impressive 3rd place finish in a very strong South of England 6 Stage Road Relay Championship, at Crystal Palace on Sunday. Heavy rain showers failed to put a damper on proceedings as the Bedford squad achieved their best finish in years.
The team was led off by Matt Bray whose excellent run of 16:55 for the testing 5.8 Km course brought the team home in 9th place. The team slipped to 10th as Matt Bergin, who had briefly moved up to 5th place was forced to slow drastically due to a severe stitch, recording 17:27 for his leg. Third leg runner Josh Lunn, fresh from his superb performance at the Great North Run, eased the team up into 8th place with another excellent run of 17:06. Jack Goodwin, showing that he is well on the way towards full fitness, moved the team up to 5th with a superb 16:57. Bedford’s new signing , former GB U23 international Dan Jarvis wasted no time in chasing down the leading teams, recording the 4th fastest time of the day, with his 16:27, moving the team up to 2nd place. John Eves gave it everything he had, but his 17:07 was not sufficient to hold off the chasing runner from Serpentine AC, and Bedford were forced to settle for the bronze medals, a mere 9 secs from silver and 50 from gold after almost 2 hours of racing.
Bedford’s B team also performed superbly. Finishing in 19th place overall, they were the second placed B team, achieving a much sought after qualifying position for next months National 6 Stage Road Relay. They got off to a great start with Jono Janes coming in 15th on first leg, recording a great 17:08. He was followed by Alfie Yabsley (17:56), Michael McKillop (18:45), a great run of 18:07 by 17 year-old Harry Brodie, followed by Pete Benedickter (18:31), and Mike Channing (17:58).
The C team also performed creditably, finishing 52nd of the 87 starters. Another 17 year-old, Ed Blythman, also had a great run, finishing in 40th place on the first leg recording 18:13. He was backed up by Will Mullins (19:04), Chris Thornley (19:13), Pat Stuart (18:46), Ewan Wilson (20:12), and Peter Deardon (20:58).
The focus now moves on to the National 6 Stage Relay in 2 weeks time where a podium place is a very real possibility.