It was another successful start to the new year for the TVH men and women in the Middlesex County Cross Country Championships, which this year moved to a new venue at Hillingdon House Farm on Saturday.

The Valley men and women repeated their medal haul from last year’s championships, winning another full set of gold, silver and bronze county medals across both teams.

Tracy Barlow was the clear gold medal winner in the women’s race, and she was well supported by the Valley ladies to win bronze team medals, and Chris Smith completed the full set of medals with a 2nd place finish and a silver medal in the men’s race, while the men’s team were unlucky to miss out on team medals in 4th place.

Congratulations to all the medal winners and thanks to all those who raced and to all the Valley helpers and supporters on the day.

The first week of the new year had seen fairly mild weather conditions with only moderate rain a day or 2 ahead of the race, while race day remained dry with above average temperatures reaching into double figures, providing good racing conditions with mud only on certain sections of the course.

The good weather saw an increase in race numbers in the women’s race from 75 last year to 90 this year, while the men’s race numbers were slightly down from 179 last year to 165 this year.

Race distance for the men was 12k on a 3 lap course over the parkland around the Hillingdon AC track, with a race distance of 8k and 2 laps for the women’s race.

With most of each lap over rough grassland conditions underfoot were pretty good, with the most testing parts of the course being a steep climb up a former ski slope and a muddy section on the outskirts of some woods.

In the men’s race there was a good turnout from the Valley men, with a team of 13 men which included 2 making their Valley debut.

As the men’s race got underway former Middlesex champion Chris Smith soon found himself at the front of the field, along with a small group of 2 or 3 other athletes.

By the 2nd lap this group was down to just 2 athletes, as Chris battled head-to-head for the race lead, but neither athlete were going to give way.

On the 3rd and final lap the eventual race winner put in a concentrated effort to break away from Chris and maintained this lead until the finish, with Chris finishing in a clear 2nd place to win a silver medal in a time of 37m 51s, 22s away from the race winner and 24s clear of the 3rd placed athlete.

To win an individual silver medal is quite an achievement, but added to an ever-increasing collection of individual and team county medals won over the years makes it all the more impressive, very well done Chris, long may your collection continue to grow!

2nd man home for the Valley was Andrew Mitchell, who was also on top form to produce his highest finish in the Middlesex Champs, coming home just outside the top 20 in 22nd place in a time of 41m 57s, a very good race from Andrew.

The first of the Valley’s Imperial students, Michael Crone, was making his debut in a Valley vest and the Middlesex Champs and he certainly made a good start to finish his first race in 24th place, just 7s away from Andrew in a time of 42m 04s, on this performance he definitely looks to have a good future ahead of him.

A 2nd member of the Imperial Valley, Simon Prigent was making his first appearance in the Middlesex Champs, and despite feeling below par on race day he still put in a good 3 laps to finish well up in the field in 28th place in 42m 29s, a position and time which he is sure to better in future races.

Racing as the 3rd member of the Imperial Valley was Matt Douthwaite, who having already raced for TVH in the Met League was making his full 1st team debut for the Valley and also his Middlesex debut on Saturday, and he opened his account with a strong race to finish in 32nd place in a time of 43m 00s, and he is set for further good performances as the season progresses.

The 6th and final scorer for the team was Calum Nicol, who put in a determined effort despite not being fully fit to come home in 55th place in a time of 45m 39s, which brought the team home in 4th place and just 24 places away from a team medal, a very good team performance on the day and unlucky to miss out on team medals.

After a slow start to the season Christian Nielsen is continuing to improve race by race and this was reflected in a finish inside the top half of the field in 80th place in 48m 27s, and he is sure to continue this trend in future races.

Still looking to get back to full fitness Manuel da Silva once again came out to suppport the team and after a tough race came home in 92nd place in 50m 17s, hopefully he will be able to find a return to form over the remainder of the season.

Paul Woodgate continues to improve as he placed inside the top 100 for the first time and recorded his best ever finish in the Middlesex Champs in 95th place in a time of 50m 30s, 10 places higher than last year’s race to continue his impressive run of pb’s.

Not wanting to be left out James Malcolm matched Paul’s achievement by making the top 100 for his best ever finish in the Middlesex Champs in 100th place in a time of 51m 18s, an improvement of 17 places on last year’s race.

More at home on the track over 800m Scott Brewer was keen to come and support the team over the longer 12k distance, and though it may not have been his most enjoyable race he showed great determination to finish in 121st place in 53m 22s.

Next in and with Scott in his sights was Richard Bell, who continued to support the team well with a finish in 124th place in a time of 53m 50s.

Final man home and talisman of the team was Simon Maddison, who continues to push back the years and wear his Valley vest with pride, and this spirit brought him home in 164th place in a time of 66m 57s.

A special mention must also go to junior U20 athlete Artur Domingos, who was the only Valley athlete in the U20 men’s race, but unfortunately he twisted his ankle and was unable to finish, though hopefully he will make a speedy recovery.

With the first race of the year now done and some medals already won we can look ahead to future races and further success, with the next championship race the South of England Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill on Saturday January 28th.

Here’s to making 2017 a great and successful year for TVH!

Up The Valley!

Men’s Middlesex Cross Country Champs Results, 07-01-17.

Senior Men’s Race Results – 12k

Race PositionTime
2     Chris Smith37:51
22   Andrew Mitchell41:57
24   Michael Crone42:04
28   Simon Prigent42:29
32   Matt Douthwaite43:00
55   Calum Nicol45:39
80   Christian Nielsen48:27
92 Manuel Da Silva50:17
95 Paul Woodgate50:30
100 James Malcolm51:18
121 Scott Brewer53:22
124 Richard Bell53:50
164 Simon Maddison66:57

165 Finishing Athletes

Senior Men’s Team Results – 6 to score

Team PositionRace Points
1 Serpentine110
2 Hillingdon136
3 Highgate139
4 TVH163

10 Finishing Teams

Women’s Middlesex Cross Country Champs Results, 07-01-17.

Senior Women’s Race Results – 8k

Race PositionTime
1     Tracy Barlow28:58
16   Chloe Beckett33:44
21   Victoria Carter34:12
36   Siana Jones36:28
50   Jess Bass38:30
70   Barbara Maddison43:23

90 Finishing Athletes

Senior Women’s Team Results – 4 to score

Team PositionRace Points
1   Hillingdon40
2   London Heathside46
3   TVH74

10 Finishing Teams