For the first time in a sporting generation the Peterborough Athletic Club men’s team have qualified for the national 12-stage road relays.
The PAC deadly dozen did so by finishing 23rd in the South of England Championships in Gravesend.
Local rivals Nene Valley Harriers finished 35th, almost 15 minutes behind the jubilant PAC team.
“It was great for a number of reasons,” said team manager Elaine Larkins. “Not only did the team qualify but they did it with some really good individual performances that suggests there’s much more to come as the summer season progresses.
“With so many great performances, it was hard to decide on the best PAC run, but Stuart Haw’s stunning 13min 52sec on the anchor leg, measured at 4.8km, certainly stands out.”
The team worked its way from a solid 30th on the opening leg as Amittai Ben-Israel continued his progression from promising junior athlete to senior status.
From there, the four-hour race saw PAC climb to that 23rd finishing position.
“I had a look at the results all the way back to 2000 and found that Peterborough AC hadn’t ever qualified,” continued Larkins. “And it’s possible we’ve never made it before that.”
The national event takes place on April 8 at Sutton Coldfield and sees the country’s best distance runners take on the event.
The PAC women’s six-stage team also did well, finishing 24th. Rachel Gibbs, who was the first local woman home in the Perkins Great Eastern Run last October, ran a fantastic 24:59 long leg.
“Again it’s difficult to highlight one run over the other, but I have to say it was wonderful to see former European Youth Olympic 400m champion Becky Scotcher wearing a PAC vest again,” said Larkins.
“And she ran so well for the entire 4.8km – a long way for someone who was a sprinter in her youth.”
Like the men, the women qualified for the national championships ,but the Easter school holiday date means it’s unlikely they can get the necessary number together.
The PAC success story continued on Sunday with new recruit Phil Martin winning the Thorney 10k and leading the men’s team to victory in the first race in the 2017 Cambs Road League, an event in which PAC have been the leading local side for the past three years.
“It’s important to keep up that number one status locally as well as on the national stage,” said team captain Steve Hall.
Simon Mead (8th) and Hall completed the winning line-up.
Next up for PAC is an open meeting at the Embankment on Sunday (April 2) where PAC’s track athletes will compete in their first outdoor event of the year. There will be a full programme with the sprint squad anxious to prove a point and follow the distance runners’ lead!
Southern 12-Stage Road Relay
Men: Amittai Ben-Isreal 21:53; James Sadlier 15:07; Jon Peet 21:27; Oliver Mason 16:36; Steve Hall 23:36; Paul Larkins 15:37; Steve Robinson 22:00; Nathan Popple 15:51; Danny Snipe 22:29; Daniel Mees 14:40; Simon Mead 23:20; Stuart Haw 13:52. Team 23rd
Women: Wendy Perkins 19:12; Sarah Caskey 27:53; Rebecca Scotcher 21:32; Rachel Gibbs 24:59; Ellen Ellard 18:59; Jess Varley 19:24. Team 24th.