Thames Valley Harriers senior ladies wrote themselves into the record books with the club’s best finish in the South East Road Relay Championships in Aldershot on Saturday.
Recently crowned Scottish 10k road champion Fiona Thompson led the charge, whizzing round the 3.8km course in a sensational sub-13-minute time to take them temporarily into the bronze medal position.
Her time was the 10th quickest of the day in a field stacked with international athletes.
Sheena Allport then gave it everything to hand over in seventh place to Heather Timmins, who used her strength to claw the team up to fourth and in sight of a medal.
However, it was not to be as Lisa da Silva was overtaken by Bedford and County’s fourth-leg runner at the midway point, leaving them fifth overall, but they were the first London club over the line.
The senior men were also in medal contention for three of their six legs before fading to 34th overall.
In the youth relays Alice Harray defied a first bend calamity to help the U15 girls to a top 10 finish. The teenagers were strongly fancied to do well, but disaster struck Harray on the tight first bend when she caught a flailing elbow from a rival and fell.
By the time she regained her feet she was 85th and last, but despite cuts to her hands and knees she passed 65 rivals over the remaining 2900m of the course to leave TVH 20th at the changeover. She had a stone removed from her hand after the race.
India Weir chased down 12 more competitors on leg two and though Kosana Weir lost two spots on the final leg it still left TVH in the top 10.
The U17 women avoided such dramas to equal the achievement of the senior ladies. Isabel Dye was a reluctant lead leg runner yet stormed around in third, recording the fourth fastest time of the day in the process.
Eva Goodhart took over and ran above expectation to leave TVH seventh. Third leg runner Olivia Olsher arrived late, having played lacrosse in the morning, yet still had the energy to clinch fifth spot on the last lap – an achievement which eclipsed the previous best club finish of eighth set by the U13 girls a matter of hours earlier.
Iona Pernthaller led those youngsters to eighth on lap one, but a very tired Madeline Lloyd lost 10 spots and had to be rallied by supporters to sprint the last 50m and hand over to Charlotte Buckley.
Her storming last leg, the fifth fastest time of the race, regained the ground lost, leaving TVH eighth overall.
The only male team among TVH’s youngsters to finish their relay were the U17s, who were 41st.