In spite of the M1 being partly closed we had full teams in all the girls relays and a team in the under 13 boys event. Unfortunately we were missing a fourth runner in the under 17 men’s relay.
Starting with the Under 13 boys 3000m relay on a flat windy course of one lap it was not a good event for spectators. On the first lap Alfie Turner did very well to finish 24th and was our fastest boy in the race. Then Charlie Rollo only lost three places to finish 27th. Having his first relay race, Otto Huber, our youngest runner only dropped 10 places to finish 37th. Then Basil Rock fought back to bring the team home 28th.
The girls relays had only three in their teams. For the Under 13’s Lily Dafter started very fast but gradually slipped back to finish 36th on her lap. This gave Zakia Mossi a nice group to chase and she put in a terrific run to pass 11 teams. Then Mabel Salkeld brought the team home in 34th place.
With injuries and other commitments the Under 15 Girls still had a respectful team which finished 31st. Led off by Lily Salkeld, she had more athletes behind than in front when she finished 41st. On the second lap, Melina Duer did well to pick up 10 places and Freja Schaap showed something of her old self by keeping the team in 31st place.
The best result came in the U17 Women’s relay. With lots of clubs putting their best athlete on the first lap Kosana Weir was up in the leading group and hung on to finish 16th. Then Amelia Casey, having her first ‘A’ team run, excelled herself by moving up to 13th. The gaps were widening between the teams and although Verity Walker had a good run, she was only able to gain one place before the finish. Our only ‘B’ team runner to arrive was Rose Barkle and she ran well to finish in 11:30.
Without a reserve Under 17 runner the team only found out that the fourth was not going to arrive just before the event. The incomplete team all performed well with Jake Hooley finishing 26th on their 4500m lap. Louis Medd then lost only one place to finish 27th. Then Nicholas Duer ran one second faster to get the team into 23rd place at the end of lap three.
An outstanding season means Thames Valley Harriers can lay claim to being the best senior Track and Field team in the South of England and one of the best all round clubs in the country. In 2016 TVH’s ladies won the European Club Champions Cup title, and the men’s British Athletics League team became Division 1 Champions, making us the only club with both ladies and men’s teams in the Premier Division of the UKWAL/BAL and in the top flight of the Southern Athletics League. On top of this many TVH athletes won medals at international/national/regional championships.
Nightmare traffic jam on the M4 caused chaos for families going to Middlesex Relays. With the non-arrival of families travelling to the Minet Cycle Track via the M4 the team declarations were in disarray. Changes were made and then thanks to stupendous efforts by parents, most of the athletes arrived in time for their event. Unfortunately some under 11’s and under 13’s arrived too late for their race. Running orders were re-arranged and some girls were in different teams and on different laps before all were resolved.
Luckily some under 11’s and under 13’s arrived before the road blockage and were able to run. In the girls under 11 race, Sasha Mueller finished a brilliant second in her first race for TVH. This equalled the fine start to her running career of Kate Price who was second last year. Morris Rock was our only boy in the under 11 race and he did well to finish 4th out of 11 runners. The under 13 boys must also to be congratulated on finishing second Middlesex team in their relay. With three teams in front of them they were unaware that two of them were Hertfordshire teams. Basil Rock led off and finished 4th on the first lap. Aidan Ferrand and Alfie Turner held their places and were well rewarded with 2nd Middlesex team. Non-scoring team of two, Charlie Rollo and Noor-Eldin Mahmoud were unable to finish a team because of the traffic problems.
The under 13 girls went one better and won their race. Zakia Mossi was 2nd Middlesex home and Olivia Colgrave put them in the lead. Kate Price ran the fastest time of the race to bring the team home 1st. The B team also did well to finish 7th. Led off by Lily Dafter who had a brilliant run to finish 4th behind Zakia. Having her first distance race, Kaisa Hanni did well to keep her team 7th. Eva-Marie brought the team home in 7th place. The only club to have 3 teams, the Valley were 9th with Mabel Salkeld leading off, Aramay Robertson, also a newcomer had a good run and Camille Rousset brought them home.
Franklin Pru D’Homme had a great first race for TVH and finished 3rd for the under 15 boys team on the first lap. Unfortunately Sam Vickers and Matthew Forster could not keep the momentum going and the team dropped back to 11th.
The girls did much better and repeated their win of last year. Charlotte Buckley was again the fastest in her race. With Ava White also having an outstanding run it was left to Philippine Poupart-Lafarge to also run a minute faster than last year to bring the team home. Their time was 54 seconds faster than last year. The B team were just unlucky to finish 4th only 5 seconds behind Ealing. Lily Salkeld, Lily Cheshire and Charlie Cooney-Quinn almost made it. The only club 3rd team present had Capucine Rousset leading off with Ellie Power next. Melina Duer made a great effort to move the team up but they had to be content with 8th place.
Jake Hooley had the fastest Valley time although he was in the B team. After his great 36 min run in the County 10k the previous week he kept his speed going with the 4th fastest time of the day. The others in his team, Lous Medd and Nick Duer were beaten into 3rd place by our A team. Lucillo Burrell, Max Buckly and Oliver Weintraub came away with bronze medals.
With several girls injured it showed our great dept in strength to again win the women’s under 17 relay. Kosana Weir was down to run the first lap but due to the M4 blockage she was moved to the last lap to give her time to arrive. This may have cost her the fastest lap and she ended up 3rd fastest. Margaux Couffon did a great job on the first lap and Verity Walker moved the Valley up to 2nd place with a faster time than last year. Then Kosana gradually pulled the leader in and caught her just after half way round. She then finished with the 3rd fastest lap. Rose Barkle led off the ‘B’ team and two new members of the squad, Amelia Casey and Isabelle Ellis showed great promise on the 2nd and 3rd laps to finish 5th.
Another great win for TVH endurance star Tracy Barlow who broke her own course record in the Maidenhead Half Marathon as her presence grows on the national long distance stage.
Tracy clocked 75:51 to win the women’s race by almost three minutes from Emily Wicks. While tricky conditions and a heavy training schedule meant the time was 90 seconds outside her HM best set in Bath in March, it showed Tracy is right on target for the Frankfurt Marathon late next month.
“The race was topping off another high mileage week,” Tracy said. “I had done a hills and threshold session the day before so my legs weren’t exactly fresh going into the race. It was lovely to win again and break my own course record there, even if I had to go off and run another 6 miles to make it into a 20 mile run in total!”
It’s been a great year already for Tracy – her outstanding London Marathon time of 2:33.20 ranks her fourth in the country, and she set a new 10km PB of 34:23 in Berlin in July. While her winning margin in Maidenhead was comfortable Tracy had to knuckle down in the latter stages of the race to seal victory.
“The weather was pretty blustery so the second part of each lap was tough running into it. The field had petered out quite a bit by this point so I was alone bar a couple of guys dotted about. It was a mental battle to keep pushing when I felt so tired and knew I was in the lead. There was a little group of us who were running together so that helped keep me going.”
Tracy’s next focus is the Nottingham Half Marathon on September 25 and she then goes warm weather training to Portugal again for 11 days focusing on key training weeks for Frankfurt on October 30.