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.
The result for the A team was only slightly down on last year’s 6th place, but the number of Valley teams competing was up from 3 to 4, with the A team in 9th, B team in 16th, C team in 21st and D team in 25th place out of a total of 26 finishing teams.
With TVH the home team and hosting the championships the men’s race consisted of 4 man relay teams with each runner competing over a single lap around the outside of the Scrubs, plus a slight detour around some football pitches halfway round to make up the 5km race distance.
The weather was overcast but mild and dry with a moderate wind that wasn’t a hindrance to the runners and coupled with the dry and flat nature of the grassland provided fast conditions underfoot.
Leading the men’s A team off on 1st leg was Sean Renfer, who was making a welcome return to the team after a month’s altitude training in preparation for the Frankfurt marathon the following weekend.
Sean’s training definitely paid dividends as he came home in 4th place in a time of 14m 46s, his fastest ever time over the course and the fastest Valley leg on the day as well as the joint 6th fastest leg of the race overall.
Up for leg 2 was Kieron Sexton, while more at home on the track he showed some good signs of early autumn endurance training with a time of 16m 20s to put the team in 6th place at the halfway point of the race.
Peter Scannell took over for leg 3 and despite feeling heavy legged still managed to finish in a decent time of 16m 35s and 11th place with just one leg to go.
The 4th and final leg saw Steve Norris racing against himself, quite literally, as his namesake from the Harrow team started off just ahead of him.
It was Steve of the Valley who proved to be the stronger man, as he finished a minute faster than his Harrow counterpart in a time of 16m 39s and more importantly moved the team up into the top 10 to finish in 9th place out of a total of 26 finishing teams.
First up for the B team was Christian Nielsen who has been in good form so far this season and he set the fastest time of the day for the B team with a time of 17m 14s to place the team in 19th after the first leg.
Having missed a couple of recent races Charlie Morris performed well on leg 2 to record a time of 17m 20s and move the team up 4 places into 15th at halfway.
Another Valley man to favour the track, Simon Baptist, surprised himself on 3rd leg with a time of 17m 26s, which was much faster than he expected and kept the team in 15th place.
The B team was completed by Manuel Da Silva who was on his own for most of the lap and not fully fit and came home in a time of 17m 50s to finish the team in 16th place.
An in form Greg Bennett was keen to lead off the C team and his recent run of good races continued as he posted the joint fastest time for the C team of 17m 39s to give the team a good start in 24th place.
Richard Hooley had been racing well throughout the last couple of months, but didn’t go as well as hoped on leg 2 with a time of 19m 27s, although he did improve the team’s position to 23rd at halfway.
Louis William was another man on the team more suited to doing speed work on the track, yet he still enjoyed a decent run on leg 3 with a time of 18m 21s and also gained 2 places to move up to 21st place.
Taking over on the final 4th leg was Paul Heaphy, who until recently had been out with a long term injury and despite a lack of fitness still managed a swift leg to equal Greg’s time of 17m 39s to bring the team home in 21st place.
The 4th and final team for the Valley men was the D team with Mervyn Walker on 1st leg, who thankfully came prepared with his race kit as he was unexpectedly drafted in to complete the team.
With not much time to warm-up Mervyn was up to the task, setting a time of 19m 51s which put the team in 30th place on 1st leg.
Also stepping in for an unexpected run on leg 2 was team manager Phil Wetton, who fought against a lack of fitness all the way to the finish in a time of 19m 39s, which also moved the team up 3 places into 27th at halfway.
On leg 3 Jason Sewards continued his good progress to move the team ahead another place into 26th with a time of 20m 13s.
It was then down to Scott Brewer to bring the final Valley team home on 4th leg and despite spending most of his lap alone he caught another runner to finish in a time of 20m 34s and move the team up into 25th place by the end of the race.
With a large turnout of 4 teams for the Valley men it was unfortunately a different story for the Valley junior men competing in the U20 race.
In the U20 men’s race there were teams of 3 runners with each competing over a 3km lap, but an injury earlier in the week meant that the Valley junior men were left with just a 2 man team on the day.
However this didn’t stop Toby Clyde from putting in a good performance on 1st leg, as he came home in 2nd place in a time of 10m 36s which proved to be the 4th fastest overall leg on the day.
Robert Vallance took over for leg 2 and his time of 11m 48s kept them in the race in 4th place but without a 3rd leg man, which was a great shame as it may have been possible to win a medal.
Despite this it was a good performance from the Valley men and pleasing to see such good numbers turn out to support the team on home ground.
Well done to all those competing and many thanks to all the helpers who helped to make the day such a success.
The relay action now moves north to Mansfield for the final relay race of 2014, the National Cross Country Relays on Saturday November 1st.
Men’s Southern 4 Stage XC Relay Results, 18-10-14.
Men’s results below.
Full results available here: Southern XC Relays Results
9 TVH – Senior Men – A Team – 1:04:20
|1 Sean Renfer
|2 Kieron Sexton
|3 Peter Scannell
|4 Steve Norris
16 TVH – Senior Men – B Team – 1:09:50
|1 Christian Nielsen
|2 Charlie Morris
|3 Simon Baptist
|4 Manuel Da Silva
21 TVH – Senior Men – C Team – 1:13:06
|1 Greg Bennett
|2 Richard Hooley
|3 Louis William
|4 Paul Heaphy
25 TVH – Senior Men – D Team – 1:20:17
|1 Mervyn Walker
|2 Philip Wetton
|3 Jason Sewards
|4 Scott Brewer
26 Finishing Teams
Incomplete Team TVH – U20 Men – 22:24
|1 Toby Clyde
|2 Robert Vallance
12 Finishing Teams