Phil Wetton reports:
On Saturday it was a short trip to Parliament Hill for the London cross country championships where the Valley men’s team made the top 10 in 7th place and 2 individual medals were won with gold for Toby Clyde in the U20 race and bronze for Chris Smith in the senior race.
Despite being overcast with a few spots of rain the weather once again held fair for the 10 man Valley team competing in a large field of 348 finishing athletes and 27 finishing teams.
Parliament Hill has long played host to the London XC Champs, as well as the Southern XC and National XC Champs, and with it’s numerous hill climbs has gained a reputation for being one of the toughest courses on the cross country calendar.
Saturday’s race distance of 10k is the shortest of the 3 races, but with 4 laps, 2of 2k followed by 2 of 3k, increasing the number of hills it had the effect of making it feel much longer.
Overnight and early morning rain had also made the going somewhat harder as the ground was soft and slightly boggy in places and as always there was plenty of mud, though not too muddy by Parliament Hill standards!
The start saw the usual manic charge up the first hill and Chris Smith made a good start at the front of the field as he was racing as defending champion having won the race last year.
As the 2nd lap got underway gaps were already opening up at the front of the field and Chris found himself in 4th place and just a few seconds behind a Blackheath runner in 3rd, and this remained the case going in to the 4th and final lap.
Then with about half a lap to go Chris made his move in a determined effort to win a medal and overhauled the Blackheath man to come home in 3rd place in a time of 33m 01s and win bronze by a good 9 seconds margin, a great run from Chris!
Another good run from the youngest member of the team, Toby Clyde, who at just 17 is racing his first season in the senior team, saw him finish in an impressive 22nd place in the senior race and he also gained the honour of being the first U20 athlete in the race to win a well deserved gold medal.
Toby’s finishing time of 35m 51s gave him a clear winning margin of 46s over the 2nd placed U20 athlete, to see him crowned the U20 champion, congratulations Toby!
Leading the Valley vets home was Steve Norris, who had another confident and well judged run to finish in 46th place in a time of 37m 40s, which also placed him in the top 10 vets in the race in 8th place.
Having only arrived just a few minutes before the start of the race Manuel Da Silva made a hurried start and did well to be 4th man and final scorer for the team with no warm-up prior to the race.
Manuel finished just inside the top 100 in 98th place in a time of 39m 48s, which placed the 4 man Valley team in 7th place out of 27 finishing teams.
Next in was Christian Nielsen who made good progress throughout the whole race to finish just around the top third of the field in 117th place in a time of 40m 21s.
A good run from Greg Bennett put him in the top half of the field, with a finishing time of 41m 58s which placed him 170th in the race.
Mike Wilson used his good knowledge of the course to time his efforts well to come home in 208th place in a time of 43m 33s.
With little time for recent training Richard Bell dug deep to conquer the Parliament Hill course to finish in 249th place in a time of 45m 46s.
Still suffering from the painful effects of the previous weekends racing Jason Sewards was the final Valley man home in a time of 52m 53s to finish in 327th out of 348 finishing athletes, and he can now take a well earned rest to recuperate after many weeks of racing!
Making up the 10 man Valley team on the day was U20 athlete Robert Vallance, who unfortunately was unable to finish the race due to a combination of an over-enthusiastic start and the number of hills taking their toll on his energy reserves.
Well done to everyone on the team and congratulations to Chris and Toby on their bronze and gold medals making it a day to remember for the Valley.
Looking back over the last 2 months it’s been a long and arduous start to the winter season with 9 weeks of continuous races, but there is now a break of a few weeks to take a well deserved breather before the next main race in the calendar.
So recharge the batteries, get in some good training and put Christmas on hold to come out and support a strong team for the next Met League XC race at Uxbridge on Saturday December 20th.
Men’s London XC Champs Results, 15-11-14.
Men’s Race Results
|3 Chris Smith||33:01|
|22 Toby Clyde||35:51|
|46 Steve Norris||37:40|
|98 Manuel Da Silva||39:48|
|117 Christian Nielsen||40:21|
|170 Greg Bennett||41:58|
|208 Mike Wilson||43:33|
|249 Richard Bell||45:46|
|327 Jason Sewards||52:53|
348 Finishing Athletes
Men’s Team Results – 4 to score
|Team Position||Race Points|
|2 Herne Hill||85|
|4 London Heathside||95|
|5 Hercules Wimbledon||116|
27 Finishing Teams