On what was just about the warmest day of the year so far the CAAC men's team kept their run of firsts going with a second placed finish and maiden medal at the National Road Relay Championships at Livingston today. Having won medals at every national and district cross country event this winter the first big test of the road racing season would prove a true indication of the club's transformation from also-ran to medal contender and the crop of athletes selected to run did not disappoint. Running his first short leg since the year he joined the club (in 1995 or so) the ever-improving elder statesman of the A team, [b]Keith Hood,[/b] was given the lead-off task and brought the team home in 2nd place with a bit of clear air to the chasing competitors. [b]Dermot Cummins [/b]has been on the comeback trail of late and his performances have been getting better and better. Despite losing about 80s to Derek Hawkins of Kilbarchan (who wouldn't?) and having a battle royale with Josh Lily of Cambuslang, the Irishman kept us in touch with a club record long leg run of 29:23 (unofficial) and handed over to [b]Scott Pilkington.[/b] It's always hard to tell how fast Pilky is moving[b] [/b]and he'd probably be a wee bit disappointed with a 16:23, but he moved past and away from Cambuslang to drag us back into 3rd place and edged us closer to Kilbarchan in second. By this time it was clear where the gold medal was going with Central AC stretching their lead and looking unstoppable. At halfway [b]Mike Crawley [/b]took up the running and looked in great form when he passed through the village with about a mile to go. He ended up taking over 90s out of Kilbarchan's 4th leg runner, moving us into 2nd with a healthy gap to 3rd and 4th. It looked like a medal was on! Until Tuesday night [b]Moray Anderson [/b]was expected to line up in the Vets team but a sterling performance at the 3km TT on the track saw him promoted to A team status. While he was annoyed not to go sub 16 on the day he wasn't far off and a solid run consolidated our hold on 2nd place giving [b]Dougie Selman [/b]a relatively pressure free run in to the line. With Central almost 2 minutes ahead the only thing Dougie had to do was keep the others behind him and he ran solo for the entire leg looking relaxed but swift. His 29:37 was again slower than he expected to go but it got the job done and it was probably the consistency of times from the long leggers that laid the foundation for an all round excellent performance from the team. It's a testament to the desire of this team that they were virtually all unhappy with the times they ran but still walked away with the silver medals. Or maybe it's just that us runners are never happy! Meanwhile the B team showed the true depth of the club by finishing a creditable 5th, easily achieving the objective of finishing the highest placed B team, and were a whisker away from 4th after a storming last leg run from [b]Bryan Clark. [/b]The rest of the team [b]A[/b][b]ndrew Christy, Ryan Riddell, Steven O'Brien, Jon Carpenter [/b]and[b] Chris O'Brien [/b]laid it all on the line and did the club proud. The patched up Vets team that had been juggled, shuffled and re-jigged about half a dozen times in the space of a few hours on Friday evening had a great run too finishing 15th overall but more importantly claimed the bronze medal in the Vets competition. That's no mean feat considering all but [b]Paddy Jumelle [/b]are genuine Masters in their mid-late 40's and a couple in their 50's!! It was a fitting way for [b]Graeme Fletcher [/b]to celebrate his recent senior male athlete of the year award and [b]Stuart Campbell's [/b]particularly impressive 8th on the 1st leg was a great run. [b]Graham Gow, Grant Wilkie [/b]and[b] Jan Bert Van Den Berg [/b]made up the team and reveled in the medal winning exploits - we salute you!! We had a 4th team competing too and I think half of them were making their debut at the national relays today. I wasn't able to quite keep track of all the goings on but the final results will no doubt show another sterling performance from [b]Ewan Stark, Scott McDowall, Brent Vivian, Ali Brockie, Stuart Livingstone [/b]and[b] Steve Blair.[/b] Our final team member was Bob Innes who was out on the course somewhere performing his usual heroics in a marshaling vest. A great day out for the club and all bodes well for the English 12 Stage Road Relays in two weeks time - although I am likely to be tearing what's left of my hair out trying to decide who's made the team over the next week with some tough decisions to take.