As the cross country season gathers pace Saturday saw the final relay race of the year with the English National Cross Country Relay championships in Mansfield.

TVH at Mansfield
TVH at Mansfield

With only a limited number of athletes available to make the long trip to Mansfield and a large field in both the men’s and women’s races it proved to be a challenging race for the 2 senior Valley teams who were racing on the day.

Some good performances in both teams saw the men’s team finish in 91st place out of 149 finishing teams and the ladies team finish in 51st place out of 102 finishing teams.

Race conditions on the day were good, as the recent spell of mild weather continued to provide dry weather with temperatures into the low teens, accompanied with some brief bursts of sunshine and just a little wind.

This provided a fast course around Berry Hill Park, with firm ground under foot and only a few small sections of mud to contend with when going through the woods.

The course itself is made up of a lap around Berry Hill Park, starting along flat grassland before entering some woods where the ground becomes undulating with some sharp twists and turns, but then opens out onto a good uphill grassland stretch which soon turns back down the hill and on to the finish.

For the men’s race each member of a 4 man team raced over 2 laps of the park giving a race distance of 5k, while the women’s race included 3 members per team racing over a single extended lap of the park to give a race distance of 3k.

Senior Women’s Race Report

There was a large turnout for this year’s championships with numerous junior races on the day before the final 2 senior races, which saw over 120 teams on the starting line for the senior women’s race.

With many of the usual TVH team members suffering injury or recovering from other events, there were 3 ladies left standing (or, at least, almost standing) to complete one A team.

Sarah Johnson, following last minute physiotherapy, started the team off on first leg and, despite the tape holding her foot together, managed to bring us home in 52nd place in a time of 11m09s.

Sarah has set the bar high for enthusiasm and determination to race cross country this season.

Siana Jones followed Sarah and maintained 52nd position in a time of 11m59s, a 32 second PB from previous years on this course.

Jess Bass was next up and she also managed to smash out a 28 second PB for this course in a time of 13m06s bringing the team home in 51st position out of 102 finishing teams overall.

With some great racing and great enthusiasm to build on from this weekend the TVH ladies team should go from strength to strength this winter.

Senior Men’s Race Report

The final race of the day had nearly180 teams lining up for the start of the senior men’s race and with not a very wide starting area it was not going to be easy for James Ellis on 1st leg for the men’s A team.

It was also the first time James had raced at Berry Hill Park, but he didn’t let that slow him down as he worked his way through the field with a very strong run to come home in 70th place in a time of 16m51s, which also proved to be the fastest Valley time of the day.

On 2nd leg was another Valley man making his debut over the course, Botond Safar, who managed to run well despite not wearing spikes and losing some time over the mud in the woods, and his time of 19m10s put the team in 87th place at the halfway point of the race.

Up for leg 3 was Manuel Da Silva, who having missed a lot of training through recent injury had to summon all his strength over the 2 lap course and his time of 20m24s brought him home in 96th place.

For the 4th and final leg it was up to Steve Norris to get to work on chasing down those in front of him, and on a course which he knows well he did just that, crossing the line in a time of 19m29s to move the team up 5 places into a final finishing position of 91st out of 149 finishing teams.

There was also a TVH men’s B team, but with some late changes the team was unfortunately left with only 2 men racing on the day.

Lining up on the start line and having “volunteered” to do 1st leg was Scott Brewer, and his gamble to go with the crowded 1st leg start paid off, as his time of 20m34s saw him come home in 154th place and improved on last year’s time by nearly a minute and a half.

On the 2nd leg Phil Wetton managed to navigate the course in a time of 21m15s to move the B team up 6 places to where they finished the race after halfway in 148th place.

Travelling to and from the race meant that it was a long day for everyone involved, but it was great to see 2 men making their debut at Berry Hill Park and with such a good team spirit it was pleasing to see everyone enjoying their day’s racing.

Well done and many thanks to all those who were racing and I look forward to seeing everyone out for the Met League cross country at Stevenage and the London Champs at Parliament Hill over the next 2 weekends.

Up The Valley!

Senior Men’s National 4 Stage Cross Country Relay Results, 31-10-15.


91   TVH – Senior Men – A Team – 1:15:54

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 James Ellis16:517016:51
2 Botond Safar19:108736:01
3 Manuel Da Silva20:249656:25
4 Steve Norris19:29911:15:54


Incomplete Team : TVH Senior Men – B Team – 41:49

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Scott Brewer20:3415420:34
2 Philip Wetton21:1514841:49

149 Finishing Teams

Senior Women’s National 3 Stage Cross Country Relay Results, 31-10-15.


51   TVH – Senior Women – 36:14

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Sarah Johnson11:095211:09
2 Siana Jones11:595223:08
3 Jess Bass13:065136:14

102 Finishing Teams