Exmouth Harriers in silver success at British Masters National Road Relays

PUBLISHED: 16:05 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:05 01 May 2018

Exmouth Harriers (left to right) John Goss-Custard,Ray Elston, and Mick Allen with reserves Mike Keep and Les Turner.

Exmouth Harriers (left to right) John Goss-Custard,Ray Elston, and Mick Allen with reserves Mike Keep and Les Turner.


Four years after Exmouth Harriers won the inaugural M75+ age group at the British Masters National Road Relays at Sutton Park in Birmingham, they produced a magnificent team performance that was a fitting tribute to the late John Perratt, a member of the original team, who would undoubtedly have been very proud of their latest achievement, writes Cathy Newman.

The Exmouth minnows again punched well above their weight, stunning some of the bigger fish and returning with a set of silver medals.

The icing on the cake was the individual medal won by Ray Elston, but this time the colour was gold, not silver.

The weather was cold, wet and generally unpleasant and the course, changed due to issues with one of the roads, was hillier and more difficult.

Ray led the charge again, his superb time of 25:16 giving the team a lead of around three minutes. Perratt’s replacement, John Goss-Custard, produced his best ever performance with 27:24.

He was just overtaken by Bingley Harriers but gained seven minutes on the Sevenoaks number two.

Finally, Mick Allen, who will be 80 in October, also ran very well and his 29:02 only conceded a minute to the fastest Sevenoaks runner.

As a result, the total times for the teams were (1) Bingley Harriers 1:16:04; (2) Exmouth Harriers ‘A’ 1:21:42 and (3) Sevenoaks A.C. 1:36:05.

Jim Wyatt failed a late fitness test for the Exmouth ‘B’ team, just three days before the event, when told by the hospital not to run under any circumstances!

Unfortunately, strict application of misleading entry rules meant that the debut of Mike McCann, another promising youngster at the tender age of 76, was put on hold – but his time will come!

The final disaster followed when Les Turner, unable to handle the rigours of organising everything, ensuring that our athletes were all duly licensed, driving the teams to Birmingham and dealing with the registrations and issuing of numbers on the day, miscalculated the time left.

He sprinted to the start, but arrived about 20 metres too late for the changeover.

So Mike Keep was our only ‘B’ team finisher and, although not at his fittest, recorded an excellent 29:34.

Also in action last week was Exmouth’s Tom Merson; he recorded a personal best in the England 5k Championships with 14:31 for 18th in a top quality race in Cheshire.

In a considerably longer race, Lisa Hatchard ran all the way across Staffordshire in the Millennium Way Ultra, a predominately off-road route which follows old railway tracks and canal towpaths.

She recorded 6:09:49, well within the 12 hour limit and she was also the first lady to finish.

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