Mallory Park, Leicestershire, 25th May

The very popular Masters Road Relays returned to Mallory Park  this year.

62 Clubs entered 116 teams made up of 418 athletes.

Walter Hill and a bigger even better event next year

The event, under the banner of the British Masters Athletics Federation, was organized by the BMAF Road Running Director, Walter Hill. Walter plans to retire next year, but not until after he has organised a bumper weekend of events at the Mallory Park course next year including the Road Relays, the Anglo-Celtic Ultra Running Challenge and possibly even more.

The Mallory Park course is well liked by the runners and provides exciting vantage points for spectators. Look out for next year’s date.

Wider Coverage

This year’s event has been well covered in Athletics Weekly in an article posted by Martin Duff , who was a member of the winning Aldershot team in the inaugural event in 1988.

Many Thanks to Martin for the detailed report that follows.

We also have a photo gallery from the day provided by Active Training World, the event organiser.

Retained Titles

There were three clubs retaining their titles after victories here last year and it was Aldershot in the W35 class, Southport in the M55 group and Bristol & West in the W55s, who again delivered the goods.

The Women’s Races


Aldershot’s women retained their W35 title by more than two minutes from Les Croupiers and the two clubs provided the quickest two times. After Hannah Pullen had posted 17:34 for Aldershot on the last leg, Louise Flynn topped it with the age group best of 17:21. The Welsh women had, however, already lost it mid-race.

Earlier Catherine Holden had ‘won’ the first stage for Tipton with the third best W35 effort of 18:08 but her club then fell right away. Holden said: “I was with her (Rutland’s Emma Brown) for half of it, then I got away up the hill.”


Flynn just about managed to remain the fastest woman on show, despite Justina Heslop anchoring winners Elswick Harriers to the W45 title with a front run 17:31.

The north easterners led throughout, after Hazel Bough’s opening stage with 18:45 being the second best, before eventually winning by more than three minutes from Aldershot.

For 45-year-old Heslop, it was another National title to go with three English Schools wins nearly thirty years earlier. Talking after her club’s victory, she said: “I enjoyed it but the team did all of the work.”


The older women’s age groups saw fewer entries than in the inaugural Mallory Park outing last year, but full credit to Hastings Runners’ W75 trio, who have stayed together as they progressed up through the age groups. Here, they were the only over-75 outfit to make an appearance.

Bristol & West were favourites for the W55 race and, after Clare Jolliffe came home first on the first leg well over a minute clear, it was all over.  She tracked Vale Royal’s Debbie Broad in the very early stage before going well away and later said: “we won last year.”

Jolliffe’s time of 19:29 was later adjudged second best as Maria Heslop had a storming 18:04 credited to her for second placed Tonbridge on the last leg.

After west country rivals Westbury won the W65 class last year it was a new name on the winners podium this time.

It was Yate & Sodbury who were clear winners over their rivals and, in second stage runner Marian Grace had the quickest on show after a 22:25 split. This was after their first leg ‘winner’ Mary Derrick said: “it all went in a bit of a blur,”


The Men’s Races


Bristol & West men took the lead on stage two after narrowly losing out on the first 5km leg of the M35 six-man race. Their Matthw Battensby was just headed on the first stage by Salford’s Bruno Lima but after Jon Thewlis had taken them ahead they remained in front for the rest of the race.

His time of 14:56 held up as third quickest of the afternoon and they closed with Ben Robinson’s second best 14:37. The world Canicross champion had to seal the Bristol victory after Tonbridge’s Ben Cole had eaten into their lead on the penultimate stage.

The 2023 South of the Thames champion’s 14:25 was the day’s quickest effort, but then Bristol went right away on the last leg.

It had been a highly competitive first 5km stage as, after Lima led early on, Bristol’s Battensby and Wolves’ Jon Hart went ahead. Lima said: “they started charging down the hill,” and they then led, before the 2023 British Masters indoor 1500 champion pounced in the final straight for a narrow 14:59 clocking.


The M45 age group ran with the M35s but over just four stages and, in a close race with Leeds, it was Mansfield who came out on top as the two clubs shared the fastest leg times.

It was Dan Nugent’s opening 15:30 for Mansfield that set the stage with what was eventually adjudged the fastest age group time. This was ahead of Leeds’ Jon Walton’s 15:48, before Mike Burrett took Leeds ahead mid-race. He said: “I was almost 25 seconds down but caught him on the hill.”

Finally, it was Jan Bailey’s second best 15:42 that sealed the win for the Midlanders. He said: “I took the lead after two miles but thought: ‘do I stick with, him of go past?’ but did down the hill.”


Just as was the case last year, the older age groups were the first away and Francois Rafferty, just as in 2023, gave Southport Waterloo’s M55s a commanding first leg lead by posting a 16:40 split that he hoped would again be the fastest lap. His comment: “it was windy the whole way,” summed up the Mallory Park circuit’s normal weather.

This was over the up and down switchback lap before his team mates David Hamilton & Rob McGrath duly finished the job.

Rivals Aldershot were well down after two laps but Mark Symes ran a storming final stage of 16:11 to cut the margin to less than a minute with the fastest split. However, the multi-British Masters, European and World age group champion and medallist, said: “the lead was too much.”


The M65 race saw South London lead from the start and, here, it was Dave Ogden who brought his club home first on the opener and his 18:17 was to stay as the quickest.

There was more on the course from Ogden, who said: “it doesn’t look like much of a hill, but it is.” Cambuslang were well down after that first stage after long time servant and age group medallist in the race over the years, Frankie Barton was two minutes down. However, they pulled back through Paul Thompson and 2023 International Masters winner Colin Feechan, but the southerners were home and dry.

A gallery of key moments and some prizewinners