There were three Queensbury members running for Airedale Athletics in the Leeds Country Way Relay and Anna Smith was running second claim for Baildon in their mixed team. The race is a 65 mile loop around Leeds, consisting of 6 pairs of runners doing legs between 9.5 & 12 miles each. Much like the Calderdale way relay, only flatter! Overall Airedale finished 3rd, 7 minutes behind eventual winners Valley Striders in a battle between Valley, Airedale & Abbey Runners which lasted throughout the day. Here’s a brief summary of Airedale’s race from team captain Will Kerr
A solid start from Quentin Lewis and Simon Pass on leg one put us in 2nd just a minute behind Valley and arguablly there best pairing on the relay. We were also a minute clear of the next team.
Onto leg 2 with Marcin and Gerard. Unfortunately we slipped back to 6th and lost some time but still had a good chance of recovering.
Leg 3 saw Martin Firth and Pete Hughes take over and had possibly the best performance of the day as they were 2nd quickest on there leg overall and just missed out on the leg trophy by 14 seconds!! They also put Airedale back into 3rd. Martin and Pete would probably admit that over 5k, the majority of our team, if not ALL, could beat these guys over the distance. However, when it comes to the off road relays, despite there ages, they show that they have the experience and knowledge of how to pace a race.
So me and Matt Nowell took over on leg 4, about 5 minutes behind Valleys pairing of Gwilym Thomas and Paul Kaiser and 2 minutes behind Abbeys pairing which included Matt John. At Golden acre we were still in 3rd but had closed the gap to within 1 minute 41 behind Valley and 43 seconds behind Abbey. The P&B pairing of Colin Walker and Neil Armitage then rocked up in 4th, 12 minutes behind us. We knew that the winning team would come from one of the teams currently hosting the top 3 positions!!
Chris Dove and Martin Fillingham made a good start on leg 5 and by 5 miles had got within 100m of 2nd and the leaders werent to far in front of that. Unfortunately i think it was a step to far as the pace then slowed down a little.
Pete Hopson and Chris Williams took over on leg 6 and with 2 miles to go and had put us in 2nd and just 2mins 30 behind Valley. They were also odds on favourites to scoop the fastest leg trophy. Unfortunately, one wrong turn later saw us finish 3rd and roughly 7 minutes back on Valley.
Good running by all. Better luck next year! (my new motto!)