Leeds forced to settle for second best on the road in Warrington

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Leeds City finished runners up in both the men’s and women’s races at the Northern Road Relay Championships at Warrington.

Defending both titles, Leeds were unable to match the strength of Stockport, who won both prizes.

In the men’s six-stage race, Tesfaye Debele (18:32) gave Leeds a solid start finishing sixth on the opening stage before Alan Buckley (18:46) took them into second place.

International marathon runner Derek Hawkins (18.23), the fastest Leeds runner on Saturday, took his team into the lead at the halfway stage. But John Wills (19.36) and Simon Deakin (19.16) could not hold on to the lead leaving Gordon Benson too much to do on the last stage. Well clear on Sale Harriers in third place, Benson ran well clocking 18.29.

The first stage saw Holmfirth’s Mark Buckingham (18.07) finish two seconds ahead of Andy Heyes (Hallamshire) and those two were the fastest of the race.

In the women’s four-stage race, Leeds got a disastrous start, Charlie Wills (24.24) finishing 25th. Claire Duck (22.16) had a good run to advance to ninth before Susan Partridge stormed into second.

The international marathon runner clocked a superb 20.36, the second-fastest time in the race. It was all change on the last stage with long-time leaders Kendal dropping out of contention and Stockport moving into a commanding lead.

Leeds’s international steeplechaser Racheal Bamford (22.31) then produced a powerful finish to outsprint Lincoln’s Abbie Donnelly and secure the runners-up spot for her team.

City of Sheffield won both the boys and girls relays at Under-15 level, while Keighley and Craven won the Under-13 girls event.

Paula Radcliffe finished third in the Worcester City 10k in her first competitive outing in over two years.

The women’s world marathon record holder clocked a time of 35 minutes 49 seconds in the inaugural event as she builds towards making a potential career swansong at next year’s London Marathon.

The 40-year-old’s last race was a half-marathon in Vienna in April 2012, with foot problems subsequently ruling her out of that year’s London Olympics.

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