Seven Up at the Relays

by Steven Scott — 28th May 2023.

Off to a great start, with U36 relay victory Off to a great start, with U36 relay victory

A magnificent seven medals closed out the 2023 Scottish Championship weekend for the FVO posse, with success right across the board.

The first silverware of the entire day went to our juniors, as they rocketed to victory in the U36 relay, with Matthew Owen (26.07) and Hannah Inman (22.49) posting the quickest times on their leg, and Esme Finch coping well with a sudden and unexpected move up in colour class (61.33).

A junior double was always going to be a tough ask, with U44 pre-race favourites INVOC going with an all-male lineup including two individual medallists, and their opening runner was seven minutes down the road at the changeover. Esme Kelly kept it tight to a chasing pack, and handed over to Matthew Inman in 5th place (31.51) 30 seconds off silver.

Matthew moved seamlessly through the field, and had the team right back in contention with the 2nd quickest middle leg split (29.02) and handed a 12 minute gap over bronze to Scarlett Kelly, who was able to gain another three minutes over 3rd with a time of 25.00 to secure the silver medal. The 2nd junior team of Alexander Hunt, Eilidh Connor and Rebecca Hammond was in the mix for the bronze medal, but was edged out by four seconds on the run-in.

Having dropped the ball in sight of the line last year in the Handicap Relay, FVO was keen to make its mark this time, and put out no fewer than nine teams across the various classes. The tip of the action seemed to be in the +14 class, where we were able to call on the services of three individual champions, and Will Hensman was 1st home in 39.22. Alison Cunningham was tasked with holding off CLYDE's Donald Petrie, as the Glasgow club looked to retain their trophy, and managed to keep it real as she came home a minute behind (33.00). M45 champ Dave Godfree had his M55 counterpart Dave Robertson in his sights by now, and blasted through early into the lead, which he extended to seven minutes with a time of 33.56 to claim the trophy.

The other FVO team in the class, comprising of Steve Feltbower, Heather Fellbaum and Paul Hammond, was in close proximity, and picked up the bronze medal in an aggregate time of 114.39. A +23 class was added to the competition this year, and the first name on the trophy is that of FVO, as Vicky Thornton, Rona Molloy and Hugh Buchanan were never really threatened as they come back in 121.30 for the win.

The Open class teams were ravaged by injuries, with three late replacements required. In the Mens Open class, Jamie Goddard made his top team debut, and got round in 4th place (47.18) behind a MAROC team that was later to mispunch. Defending champions EUOC came storming through on the middle leg, but Andy Llewellyn maintained his cool to touch home 3rd (44.22) and let Chris Smithard chase the lead. And chase he did; a closing split of 37.25 was the quickest of the day, but wasn't quite enough to haul the team out of silver medal position.

Grace Molloy was handed opening leg duties for the Womens Open squad, and obliged with the quickest time on the leg (39.08). Janine Inman is one of the few people not from EUOC with a Scottish Relay winners medal (four of them in fact), and despite giving away a sizeable age disadvantage to the students, she kept up the pressure to keep the team just seven seconds off the lead (40.19). Holly Stodgell wasn't expecting an A team run, or a closing leg for that matter, and did all she could to keep the challenge alive, eventually dropping one place but bringing the team home in bronze medal spot (135.08 composite)

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