Inter-Counties 20 mile Road Race
Rochford, Essex - 3 March 2019

The weather wasn't great, but the strong winds of Storm Freya held off until later in the day and runners were treated to a fast undulating course.

The men's winner was James Connor of Havering AC in a time of 1:46:25 and the ladies' winner was Lucy Reid of Tonbridge AC in 1:59.13.

After the cancellation of the race in 2018 due to "The Beast from the East", the event again put on an inter-counties match for teams from the SEAA area. Hampshire fielded teams of 4 in both the men's and ladies' race. From the start, the Essex men were straight to the front, with the Hampshire runners pacing themselves in the main field.

For the Hampshire men, Dan Baker led the way, and although he was overhauled on the last of the three laps by Matt Bennett and Alastair Pickburn, held on for an excellent PB of 1:55:45 in 17th place. Matt finished in 11th place in 1:54:18, with Alastair not far behind in 14th place in 1:54:50. With 3 to count in the team event, 1st place was guaranteed to Essex with a 1-2-3, but behind them we knew it would be close, as although Suffolk and Sussex both had two runners in before any from Hampshire, both were waiting for their third.

In the end, the excellent packing of Matt, Alastair and Dan pinched 2nd place by 2 seconds from Suffolk and 20 seconds from Sussex with a combined time of 5:44:53. The attractive team medals were awarded to all 4 runners in each team, so Alex Hamilton also had something to show for his trip, finishing 53rd in 2:07:46.

For the ladies it was a repeat of the men's team result with Essex 1st and Hampshire 2nd, but in a much closer finish, the ladies only being 1:23 behind on cumulative times.

In the race, Charlie Metcalfe led the team out, but suffered with cramp on the last lap and was overhauled by Emma Jolley who finished 5th lady in 2:13:03. Charlie hung on to finish an excellent 6th in 2:14:22, and Karla Borland completed the scoring team in 9th place in 2:15:18. Valerie Sesto also ran sub-2:20 to finish 14th in 2:19:35.

Overall, it was a good day of racing and enjoyable to mix together for athletes who may not always get the chance to enjoy a bit of team bonding. Following this and the success of the 10km event in Brighton in November, it looks like a number of these inter-county matches may be staged in the future.

Thanks to the rest of the management team of Kath Bailey, Colin Goater and Karen Rushton.

Peter Costley
Men's Team Manager

Hampshire team before the start of the raceRight: The Hampshire team (almost ready) before the start of the race: Alistair Pickburn (New Forest Runners), Emma Jolley (City of Portsmouth), Karla Borland (Southampton), Dan Baker (Southampton), Alex Hamilton (Basingstoke & Mid Hants), Charlie Metcalfe (Ryde Harriers), Matthew Bennett (Southampton) and Valeria Sesto (New Forest Runners) [Photo; Colin Goater]

Hampshire's women's team with their medals

The Women's team after receiving their medals [Photo: Kathy Bailey]

Men's Team Results

Team Position County Team Time Position Name Time
1 Essex 5:24:24 1 James Connor 1:46:25
      2 Paul Molyneux 1:48:20
      3 Paul Whitaker 1:49:39
2 Hampshire 5:44:53 11 Matthew Bennett 1:54:18
      14 Alastair Pickburn 1:54:50
      17 Dan Baker 1:55:45
      (52) (Alex Hamilton) (2:07:46)
3 Suffolk 5:44:55 5 Andrew Rooke 1:51:28
      10 Matthew Jeffries 1:53:55
      30 Jim Last 1:59:32
4 Sussex 5:45:13 6 Ben Short 1:52:12
      7 James Turner 1:52:12
      35 David Bull 2:00:49
5 Kent 5:49:58 9 Phillip Dickens 1:53:46
      18 James MacDonald 1:57:19
      23 Simon Fox 1:58:53
6 Bedfordshire 5:57:03 19 Adam Mills 1:57:54
      25 Rob Elmore 1:59:00
      33 Peter Mackrell 2:00:09
7 Cambridgeshire 6:06:11 36 Nick Osborn 2:01:41
      37 Ty Farrer 2:01:45
      38 Kirk Brawn 2:02:45
8 Berkshire 6:13:30 39 Tom Easten 2:03:35
      41 John Burnett 2:04:12
      43 Andrew Stay 2:05:43

Women's Team Results

Team Position County Team Time Position Name Time
1 Essex 6:37:10 2 Rachel Sweatt 2:09:05
      4 Vicky McElligott 2:12:30
      10 Jackie Stretton 2:15:35
2 Hampshire 6:42:43 5 Emma Jolley 2:13:03
      6 Charlie Metcalfe 2:14:22
      9 Karla Borland 2:15:18
      (14) (Valeria Sesto) (2:19:35)
3 Sussex 6:49:54 3 Lucy Rogers 2:12:16
      11 Elissa Ellis 2:15:39
      18 Soulla Wright 2:21:59
4 Kent 6:52:52 1 Lucy Reid 1:59:13
      20 Hannah Roberts 2:25:26
      24 Sarah Cronin 2:28:13
5 Berkshire 7:11:39 13 Becky Atkinson 2:17:17
      15 Vicki Taylpor 2:19:36
      35 Elly Maggs 2:34:46
6 Suffolk 7:52:59 21 Jessica Gooderham 2:25:41
      28 Karen Martin 2:30:33
      62 Jennifer Wright 2:56:45
7 Bedfordshire 4:34:48 7 Johanna Sharples 2:14:45
      16 Christine Lathwell 2:20:03
      - - -
8 Cambridgeshire - - - -
      - - -
      - - -

Race information from the Essex Athletics website