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Merger is a winning formula

MEDWAY and Maidstone AC made a winning debut in their first Kent Championships as a newly merged club.

In a victory for joined up thinking, the club that had been formed just seven days earlier from Medway AC and Maidstone and Rochester AC simply ran away from the opposition in Sutcliffe Park, Bromley on Saturday.

The occasion was the annual road relay championships which had been brought forward to September from the usual December slot at Rochester Airfield due to uncertainty over the venue for future events.

In the corresponding event last year Medway AC had finished second to Blackheath Harriers and Maidstone and Rochester AC were fifth and outside of the medal positions.

This year the scene was set on the first leg when Darren Mitchell stormed into the changeover box with seven seconds to spare over Paddock Wood's James Batchelder.

Progress was more than adequately maintained by Daniel Evans and Russell Slade before Steve Clarke anchored with 10min 49sec for the fastest time of the day and a comfortable winning margin of over five minutes.

Invicta East Kent gained the silver medals from Paddock Wood for whom Michael Hegespippe from France was delighted to win his first county medal since claiming residential qualification.

The veteran men's relay saw the host club, Cambridge Harriers dominant on home tarmac with Alan Camp fastest in 11.43.

Tonbridge AC won a racelong battle with Dulwich Runners for second with Medway and Maidstone AC fourth.

Invicta East Kent (M50) and Cambridge Harriers (M60) were predictable winners of the older age groups although Ken Daniel (Blackheath) set the fastest time with 11.58.

A poorly supported women's relay was won by Dulwich Runners whose team was ineligible for the county championships.

This meant that all of the three remaining teams were winners of gold medals in their respective classes.

Bexley AC took the senior event while Kent AC (W35) and Paddock Wood (W45) were the veteran champions.

Meredith Pannett (Dulwich) was the fastest senior with 12.41 while Sue James (Paddock Wood) headed the veteran results with 14.37.

Results: Senior Men: 1 Medway and Maidstone 43.56, 2 Invicta East Kent 49.08, 3 Paddock Wood 49.47, 4 Eton Manor 50.12, 5 Bexley 50.22, 6 Medway B 51.10, 7 Paddock Wood B 53.33.

Individual times, Medway and Maidstone: Darren Mitchell 11.12, Daniel Evans 10.53, Russell Slade 11.02, Steve Clarke 10.49.

Invicta East Kent: Darren Ridout 12.54, Stuart Turner 11.47, Mark Wilkins 11.57, Tim Sutton 12.30.

Paddock Wood: James Batchelder 11.19, David Lawrence 13.17, Michael Hegespippe 13.14, Jonathon Hope 11.57.

Medway and Maidstone B: Adrian Lowther 12.11, Paul Travil 14.45, Geoff Baxter 11.25, Alan Newman 12.49.

Paddock Wood B: Chris Elliott 13.55, Mark Southan 14.27, Richard Price 13.13, James Batchelder 11.58.

Fastest: Steve Clarke (Medway & Maidstone) 10.49.

Veterans, Men over 40: 1 Cambridge Harriers 48.07, 2 Tonbridge 48.51, 3 Dulwich Runners 48.55, 4 Medway and Maidstone 52.31, 5 Bexley 53.05, 6 Cambridge Harriers B 53.32, 7 Dulwich Runners B 53.47, 8 Bexley B 58.38.

Individual times, Tonbridge: Chris Clinch 12.07, Cain Bradley 12.08, Bill Sutherland 12.17, Brian Buckwell 12.19.

Medway and Maidstone: Alan Newman 12.24, Stuart Nice 13.12, John Evans 12.38, Steve Hesketh 14.17.

Fastest: Alan Camp (Cambridge Harriers) 11.43.

Men over 50: 1 Invicta East Kent 49.02, 2 Blackheath Harriers 50.33, 3 Eton Manor 59.20.

Fastest: Ken Daniel (Blackheath) 11.58.

Men over 60: 1 Cambridge Harriers 69.49.

Fastest: David Thomas (Cambridge Harriers) 15.56.

Women/Veteran Women: 1 Dulwich Runners (W35) 55.12, 2 Bexley 62.55, 3 Paddock Wood (W45) 64.68, 4 Kent AC (W35) 65.19.

Paddock Wood times: Sue James 14.37, Val Lindsey 16.37.

Fastest: Meredith Pannett (Dulwich) 12.41.

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