Makeshift Beagles book national place

NEWHAM & ESSEX BEAGLES have qualified for the National Road Relay Championships after coming fourth in the southern equivalent in Milton Keynes on Sunday, writes MATT DINER. Beagles were never in the hunt for the win, with Belgrave Harriers finishing eigh

NEWHAM & ESSEX BEAGLES have qualified for the National Road Relay Championships after coming fourth in the southern equivalent in Milton Keynes on Sunday, writes MATT DINER.

Beagles were never in the hunt for the win, with Belgrave Harriers finishing eight minutes ahead of the east London club, however, the most important thing was qualifying for the national, which takes place in two weeks time in Sutton Park, Birmingham.

"It was a case of putting a team out and making sure we qualified for the nationals," said men's team manager Bob Smith.

"We had to get 12 out there. Albert Duque was a late replacement, he had bruised ribs and ran very bravely and the same with Sam Farah who had a chest infection.


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"We will have people like Keith Gerrard, Dave Mitchinson and Kevin Skinner available again, so I am confident," said the team boss.

Scott Sterling was the first Beagle out, running 25 minutes 25 seconds for the first long leg, finishing in 11th, as Leigh Crispin followed for the first short leg, coming home in 18.23, losing two places in the process.

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Kairn Stone put the Beagles back on track, running 24.52 to bring the side up to seventh with John Pike running 17.41, as the Newham club continued to rise.

Louis Jones (26.14) lost a place before Stephen Hepples ran the third fastest short leg of the day, gaining three places and recording a time of 16.34.

Runs from Robert Cole (25.52) and Andre Duque (19.11) kept Beagles in the hunt before Stuart Major (25.30) and Andrew Robinson (17.53) ran solid legs.

Moumin Geele's 23.31 was the third fastest long leg of the day, helping his side move up to fourth, which Sam Farah hung on to with his speedy 16.46.

"Hepples ran quickly and he looked in good shape out there. Stuart Major was solid and Pike ran well," Smith said.

"We didn't finish higher because we didn't run fast enough and it is as simple as that. We had too many replacement runners out there and they did not really take their opportunity. As a team we were flat and there were too many out there who are not in shape for the A-team.

"We know the course well and it is not a difficult one so we have no excuses, it was the same for everyone out there."

MEANWHILE, Newham and Essex Beagles had three boys' teams in the Essex Young Athletes Road Relay Championship at Colchester on Sunday.

The under-13 team came fourth, with Beagles Alex Russo on the second leg and Jed Rimell on the final leg.

Jake Burgess was on the opening leg for the under-15s, with James Watts following him and Joe Robinson on the final leg, helping the team to fourth place overall.

For the under-17s, Richard Golsts opened things up, David Kail was on the second leg and Nakole Iddirisu took the team him as they grabbed an excellent bronze medal.

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