BURY AC’s senior men and women both took bronze medals in the North West Road Relays at Edge Hill University’s Ormskirk campus last Sunday in a first for the club.

Ben Coop ran the first of the four legs bringing the men's team home in third place overall.

His time of 15mins 33secs was fifth fastest of the day and underlines Coop’s growing reputation as one of the region’s top runners.

Jon Evans ran the second leg in a strong 16:48, handing over to Luke Harreld in eighth place.

Harreld gained two places back during his 16:53 leg before Byron Edwards ran the final leg.

Edwards, the team captain, is enjoying the form of his life and his 17:04 leg brought the team home in eighth place overall, but secured a fantastic bronze medal as Bury finished as the third Greater Manchester (GM) team.

The women’s trio was led off by Caitlin Cole who handed over in 10th place having covered the course in 19:54.

New member Rachel Marshall ran the second leg in an excellent 20:22 to move the team up to seventh, before the multi-talented Katie Geelan covered the last leg in 20:19 and consolidated the team’s seventh place overall, however they took third GM team to match the men’s bronze medal.

To have both senior teams in the top three GM clubs is a marvellous achievement and senior endurance coach Dave Cole was delighted with the performances.

The senior men’s B team of Jack Griffiths (18:06), Paul Johnston (18:40), Matthew Garside (20:21) and Anthony Hallahan (21:18) finished 47th out of the 71 teams, while the senior women’s B team of Nicola Harland (21:50), Lizzi Cheshire (22:43) and Sarah Thomas (20:33) took 16th place out of the 51 complete teams.

There were also some excellent performances in the junior athletes races.

The under-11 girls' team of Lucy Dent (8:13), Summer Barlow (10:15) and Iyanu Omiyale (14:11) took 34th place overall and were 13th GM team, while the u13 girls' trio of Lucy Hill (11:54), Lola Potts (12:37) and Anna Gisbourne (11:58) finished 17th overall and seventh out of the GM teams.

The u13 boys' B team triumphed over the A team. The B team trio of Sam Howard (10:50), Finley Collings (11:45) and Ben Gardner (11:36) finished just six seconds ahead of the A trio of Thomas Donnelly (10:47), Jayden Barlow (12:20) and Adam Warren (11:10). The teams finished 23rd and 24th overall respectively and fifth and sixth out of the GM teams.

The u15 girls' trio of Reilly Carson (11:15), Freya Potts (12:35) and Grace Gibson (10:41) took 14th overall and were sixth GM team, with Gibson recording the third fastest lap of the day out of the GM athletes.

The u17 women’s trio of Erin Kenyon (12:41), Charlie Ireland (13:15) and Bola Akinnayajo (12:47) took 15th place and were seventh GM team, while the u15 boy’s team of Joe Hamer (11:53), Nathan Ardin (11:38) and Matthew Lowe (11:43) took 22nd place and were sixth GM team.

The u17 men could not muster a complete team but Oliver Donnelly ran strongly on the first leg to come in sixth in 16:41 before handing over to Jake Allen, whose 19:15 leg brought him home in 12th place. Donnelly was the fifth fastest GM athlete of the day.

Elsewhere, Josh Birmingham made a return journey to the North East to compete in the Great North Run.

He obliterated his previous personal best for the course of 1:19:59 with a brilliant 1:13:10 that gave him 44th place out of the enormous field.

Next week the club competes in the North of England Road Relay Championships at SportCity.

It is unfortunate the prestigious event clashes with the Bury 10k and deprives Coop of the opportunity to defend his title.