Another day of mild autumn weather and a home course around the Scrubs ensured good numbers for the Valley men, enabling them to finish 4 teams with the first team home in 9th place in Saturday’s Southern Cross Country Relay championships.
This Saturday was the South of England Cross-Country relay championships at our home ground on the scrubs. Three complete teams of 3 participated positioning 1st , 6th and 21st out of 26 teams in the competition.
The Thames Valley Harriers ladies once again excelled with every athlete putting 100% effort towards the gold medal and overall fantastic result. The winning team, Sheena Murphy, Kirsty Addy and Lisa Da Silva, maintained 1st position throughout all legs of the race. Sheena, despite having marathon champion Tracy Barlow hot on her heels, held her nerve and ran the 6th fastest women’s leg of the whole field (12:15). She was followed by Kirsty who had an excellent run and finished 5th fastest overall and 1st fastest TVH lady of the day (12:04). Lisa had some work to do to hold off the other teams and maintain 1st but she managed with 13 seconds to spare and was the 10th fastest in the field (12:23).
In the B team Tracy Barlow, despite only 3 weeks since her marathon PB, came home in 2nd place only 16 seconds behind Sheena (12:31). Joanna Mobed (13:18), returning to racing after a small break, kept her cool to bring the team home in 5th place and handed over to Siana Jones (13:13)who, despite having to correct a small detour!!, returned in 6th place.
Maire Gorman (14:01) ran the opening leg for the C team, she is working hard to build fitness after a break from training but she still managed to hand over to Frankie Lynch in 16th place. Frankie, running her first ever event for TVH, came back in 20th (18:45) to hand over to Christine Munden who had stepped in at the last minute to complete the team. Christine ran well (20:54) and the team finished 21st overall.
SEAA Cross Country Relay Championships, 16th Oct, Wormwood Scrubs
Sadly Kosana Weir had flu after winning last week’s Metropolitan League race and was unable to take part in the South of England cross country relay championships. This did not stop the TVH girls gaining third place in the Under 15 race. The strength in depth of the Valley squad enabled Alice Harray to fill the gap and the girls only to lose out to two very strong teams, Herne Hill and Blackheath. India ran superbly on the first lap and came home with an 11 second lead. Verity Walker then held on to the lead although the margin was reduced to eight seconds. On the last lap, Alice was soon caught by the Herne Hill runner but when Blackheath passed her she was just unable to hold her off and finished very close behind for third place.
The last time TVH girls won South of England medals was at the 2002 championships at Parliament Hill when the Under 17’s also collected bronze. Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait another 12 years for more major championships medals! The depth of the girls was shown when the ‘B’ team finished 17th. With Olivia Olsher taking the first lap having a good run to finish in 14th place. Then Iona Pernthaller carried on the good work to finish 13th Arriving just in time to run the third lap Rosie Vallance had no time to prepare before her run and naturally was disappointed with her 17th place. The third team of Rose Barkle and Sarah Goodhart was then incomplete due to the runners moving up to fill Kosana’s place and they finished their laps in 32nd and 31st positions.
Two years ago the TVH girls were dominant in the Under 13 age group races. Now they seem to be doing it again in the under 15/17 age group. In the first fixture of the season at Woodford we had four of the first five finishers. This time it was Kosana Weir who came home first, beating sister India into second place. Knowing that her sister wasn’t feeling 100 per cent, she took the rare chance of beating her with both ‘feet’. Close behind came Verity Walker who had suffered a bad day the week previous at the national Road Relays. Another sufferer from last week, Alice Harray also came good on the day with her fourth place. Next home was Rose Barkle who is a year younger than the girls in front. She finished 20th. New members Dana Jabre who finished 26th and Ashleigh Harewood 44th, both had their first outing for the club.
In the under 13 girls race Charlotte Buckley led from start to finish to repeat her win of last year. This time she won by 32 seconds. Philippine Poupart-Lafarge had a useful start to her cross country career when finishing a very good 12th. Behind her, Charlotte Cooney-Quinn had a steady run to finish 27th and bring the team home in 3rd place.
Despite the change in weather from Indian Summer at the beginning of the week, a drop in temperature, and waves of showers coming through the past 3 days, it turned into a lovely mild autumn day for the first Met League race at Claybury. And although the clouds loomed ominously for a while, the sun came out for the senior races and graciously shone for the rest of the afternoon. The rain of the previous days left sparkling droplets on the grass, and a little veneer of mud on the first breakneck decent, but otherwise the going was firm and fast throughout.
The women started with a very short lap, followed by two full long loops out to the short, sharp and very steep climb into the woods at the far end. Imogen Simmonds ran an excellent race finishing 15th in a close packed field, followed by Siana Jones running solidly at 35, and Maire Gorman taking a steady pace at 62. Lauren Morris at 73 had been level pegging with Jess Bass until the hills of the latter stages took their toll and Jess came in just over 30 seconds later at 83, and a further 2 minutes later Lizzy Sisley at 115. Christine Munden found the going very hard, but slogged it out to finish at 169. The team finished 7th overall with 108 points, in division 1.
In the men’s race, of a full three laps, the start proved challenging as ever. Funnelling rapidly as it does when the path drops some 50m after the start, a section of the field seemed loth to run over the unmown part of the meadow with its 1ft high grass and sprinkling of weeds and thistles, and to the surprise of the runners behind came to a grinding halt, “Come on guys, this is CROSS COUNTRY after all!!!”.