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4x400m World Championship gold medallist Derek Redmond helped inspire Lancaster to a victory in this year’s Roses Rally.
Following the success of last year’s competition, Marc Handley (VP Sports) hosted the rally to around 45 people at Barker House Farm on the evening of Monday Week Ten. Members of the water polo, volleyball and women’s rugby team were included in the audience to see Handley and Redmond try and boost morale for Lancaster.
In previous Roses tournaments, playing away from home has proven difficult for both sides as only eight of the 46 contests have been won away from home. In 2008, York won at Lancaster with Lancaster last winning away in 1985. This fact was pointed out by Handley in saying that Lancaster look like the underdogs going into the weekend. However as the point of the evening was to raise the spirits of Lancaster, Redmond retold the story of how he and his team were the underdogs, but triumphed.
Redmond ran in the 4x400m finals at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo alongside Roger Black, John Regis and Kriss Akabusi. He recounted how he and his team rearranged the order of the line-up in order to psyche out the USA team who were favourites to win. Usually the fastest sprinter is placed last which was originally Roger Black. However, having broken all his personal bests that year, Akabusi was determined he could beat the Americans on the last lap. As a last minute decision, the position of the four runners was rearranged. The race was then shown to those at the rally who watched and cheered when Akabusi crossed the line in first place.
Drawing upon his own experience, Redmond charismatically offered guidance about how Lancaster can overcome the odds and win away from home. In a quote for SCAN, Redmond was asked for any feedback he could give to Lancaster in preparation for the Roses tournament. He said, “The main advice is to go out there with a passion to try and win. You’ve got six or seven weeks before Roses so train hard, make every training session count. Go out there knowing you’ve done everything that you can, and just go and kick some butt!”