FOUR Hereford based runners won silver medals as they represented Cheltenham Harriers at the Midland Cross Country Relay Championship in Wolverhampton.

The ex-Hereford Couriers and Wye Valley runners had to run a six kilometre leg consisting of two laps of the twisty course.

Eliot Taylor took the opening leg in a 79 man field and was lying in sixth place after his opening lap.

Despite fading to ninth on his second circuit, Taylor recorded a time of 21:39 as Tipton, BRAT and Stoke occupied the medal positions.

Jon Barnes took the next leg and soon started picking up places moving up to seventh after his opening lap.

It looked like a sixth place handover was on the cards, but an injury forced second placed Notts out of the race and Barnes’ 21:48 saw the Harriers in fifth.

Charlie Jones gradually pulled back the 25 second deficit to Stoke, taking the Cheltenham team into fourth position around halfway through his leg.

On his second circuit, he narrowed the gap to third placed Cannock as his 21:49 clocking made a medal shot became a distinct possibility.

With just one leg remaining, Tipton A and Tipton B looked destined for the medals, but Cannock’s lead over the Cheltenham team was just 34 seconds, with fifth placed Stoke now 22 seconds further adrift.

Dan King quickly ate in the deficit to Cannock as he caught Sam Bagley just before the end of the opening circuit.

At this point many would have assumed that the bronze medals were in the bag, however, the determined and dogged Bagley had other ideas and clung onto King for all he was worth.

King kept forcing the pace and frequently opened a yard or two gap, but the persistent Bagley just would not be dropped.

Still sitting on King’s shoulder as they entered the final straight the inevitable sprint finish was on.

King accelerated, but Bagley matched him before then came alongside the Harrier.

The two athletes were neck and neck in the final twenty metres before King opened up the narrowest of gaps to ensure the Dave Newport coached team took third spot.

The consistency within the team was underlined with King’s time of 21:45 ensuring the four runners were all within ten seconds of each other.