With the return to competition looking to progress from March 29, Bury AC members participated in what they hope to be the last virtual competition.

Given that the England Athletics Road Relays had been cancelled a decision was taken to replicate the event.

Members were split into six teams, each with six runners, with the club captains selecting teams on the basis that the mix of ability in each team would ensure a close contest.

A captain was assigned to manage each team and the team had to decide which two members would run long legs with the remaining four running short legs.

Athletes had to complete their efforts around the 1.43 mile circuit at the Kersal Wetlands, the site of the old Salford Racecourse, and ensure that social distancing rules were observed.

The team captains were Byron Edwards, Hannah Price, Ben Coop, Andy Mellor, Jack Griffiths and Harriet Griffiths.

It was Coop’s team that ran out as winners in a total time of 2 hours 21 minutes and 4 seconds, only 47 seconds ahead of Mellor’s team, with Edwards’ group in third in a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes 23 seconds.

With only 79 seconds separating the first three teams it was evident that team selection worked well to produce a close race.

Price’s team took fourth in 2:23.28; Harriet Griffiths’ team were fifth in 2:26.42 but sadly Jack Griffiths’ team was disqualified as one member didn’t run on the correct course. The fastest athlete on the long leg was Josh Birmingham in 30.37, whilst Matt Garside continued his improvement recording the fastest short leg time of 15.59. Fastest woman on the short leg was Price in 16.18.

The individual times for Coop’s team were Coop 31.45 (long), Sam Smyth 32.03 (long), Rick Anderson 18.15, Curtis Simpson 17.13, Sarah Thomas 17.21 and Alison Dale 24.27.

For Mellor’s team they were Mellor 31.28 (long), Paul Johnston 34.39 (long), Matt Garside 15.59, Rachel Marshall 18.36, Susan Wheeldon-Gorst 22.25 and Anthony Hallahan 18.44.

For Edwards’ team the performances were Edwards 31.22 (long), Patrick Babb 32.59 (long), Andy Worthington 22.38, Donna Cartwright 19.40, Freya Potts 17.54 and Giles Bennett 17.50.

For Price’s team the results were Josh Birmingham 30.37 (long), Dominic Nabb 33.59 (long), Mark Granby 18.38, Dan Potts 17.56, Lewis Major 25.58 and Hannah Price 16.18.

Harriet’s team were Luke Harreld 31.52 (long), Declan Tattersall 36.39 (long), Roger Morley 22.00, Brian Thomas 18.51, Harriet Griffiths 19.46 and Matt Grice 17.24.

Jack’s team comprised of Josh Cole 33.13 (long), Jack Griffiths 33.02 (long), Nicola Ryan 18.06, Jordan Harreld 17.11, Colin Smith 19.50 with Lizzi Cheshire unfortunately having her effort ruled out.

Training returns at Bury’s Market Street track from Tuesday, March 30, but members are required to pre-book and pre-pay for their sessions which will be conducted in accordance with England Athletics Covid-19 guidance.