Leeds City easily retain their crown

Leeds City had no problem in defending their Northern 12-stage road relay title at Wythenshaw Park, Manchester yesterday. Even without several first-choice runners, Leeds demolished the opposition, finishing five minutes ahead of runners-up Sale Harriers.

The field was led home on the first stage by Mark Buckingham (Holmfirth) whose time of 21:58 was the fastest long stage of the race. Leeds City's Simon Deakin (22:11) was handily placed in third.

Carl Smith (15:02) took Leeds in front on the next stage with Mike Burrett (23:26) and Joe Townsend (15:20) consolidating the Leeds position.

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Mike Burrett (23:21) and Mike Williams (15:22) maintained the momentum and any chance of an upset disappeared when James Walsh ran 22:24 on stage seven.

Junior Oliver Ziff (15:41), Paul Marchant (23:48) and Michael Salter (15:26) kept the blue and gold colours in front before veterans Darran Bilton (23:00) and Martin Roscoe (15:16) finished the job in style.

Hallamshire ran well for seventh place and Leeds City's B team were an excellent 13th.

Chester le Street were runaway winners of the women's

six-stage relay with Hallamshire taking the runner-up spot.

A good run by Julia Russell (16:47) put Hallamshire in the lead after the opening stage but that was shortlived. International Hatti Dean took over on stage three for the Sheffield club and stormed through from 10th to second with a time of 16:08, the fastest of the race by some margin. From then Hallamshire held second place comfortably.

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