In the final fixture of the autumn road and cross country relay events, TVH U15 Girls and U17 Women and senior teams travelled up to Mansfield to compete in the English national cross country relays. The races took place on an undulating course through parkland and a wooded trail path on a windy and increasingly cold day.
The U15 Girls team medalled at the southern cross country relays at the Scrubs a fortnight before (where Charlotte Buckley and Ava White were the two fastest runners) and this time we changed the running order with Charlotte on the 2nd leg and Melina Duer on the last leg.
Ava led on the 1st leg in the southern relays, but this was a much harder prospect with more than 100 teams from around the country starting and not forgetting that Ava and Melina are at the younger end of the two year age group. After the fast start Ava moved through to the lead group and hit the front towards the end of the 2km course, sprinting away to hand over to Charlotte with a 4 second lead.
Charlotte then had the difficult job on the 2nd leg of running out on her own and pacing her run to stay in the lead. As the other lead runners closed in on Charlotte, she finished as strongly as Ava had on the 1st leg to extend the lead to 7 seconds.
With several of the leading teams saving their fastest runners for the last leg, Melina had to run her own race as the chasing pack passed her and Melina also finished well to bring the team home in 7th place. It was a fantastic performance by the team (and one place higher than 2014 when India led on the 1st leg). Ava was rewarded with the second fastest time of the day and is in great shape for the London Youth Games at Parliament Hill in 2 weeks time.
The U17 Women raced earlier in the day, requiring a very early start for the journey from London. We had two teams competing over a 2.5km circuit and Kosana Weir was our fastest runner (and the 11th fastest overall), getting the ‘A’ team off to a good start in 7th place. Verity Walker kept the team in contention on the 2nd leg and Alice Harray was our second quickest runner on the day, finishing strongly to bring the team home in a very commendable 12th place. The ‘B’ team all had solid runs with Olivia Olsher on the 1st leg and Margaux Couffon moving the team in to the top half of the field on the 3rd leg. India Weir has thankfully now recovered from injury and after being given the all clear to run, was very happy to be back running on the 2nd leg.
U15 Girls – 3 x 2km (91 complete teams finished)
7th 22:29 Thames Valley Harriers
Ava White 7:00 (1), Charlotte Buckley 7:22 (1), Melina Duer 8:06 (7)
U17 Women – 3 x 2.5km (64 complete teams finished)
12th 28:37 Thames Valley Harriers ‘A’
Kosana Weir 9:02 (7), Verity Walker 10:00 (18), Alice Harray 9:34 (12)
32nd 30:26 Thames Valley Harriers ‘B’
Olivia Olsher 10:12 (52), India Weir 9:57 (38), Margaux Couffon 10:15 (32)