Simon Maddison reports:
Saturday was overcast, windy and threatening rain for the Liddiard/ North of the Thames races at Kingsbury. But it was very mild and fortunately the rain did not materialise until shortly after the medal ceremony…
..and the only blot on an otherwise lovely afternoon was the traffic jam on the North Circular.
This lovely course is the regular setting for this well established and long running race. The trophies are magnificent and redolent of past times, and a good opportunity for the ambitious to pick up some real silverware.
The ladies and juniors were off first over 3 miles (you see, even the distances are in old money), a short level lap, prior to a full circuit of the Kingsbury meadows, with two steady climbs. This old patchwork of fields is another throwback in North London, with hedgerows and tree lines forming an oasis of green tranquillity amongst the suburbs. With the trees and shrubs in full autumn glory the wind was no issue at all, with all the well marked circuit nicely sheltered from any headwind disadvantage (or tailwind advantage come to that).
Fielding a solid veteran team, Inkeri Abbots ran a nice steady and well-judged race to be first in for the Valley in very creditable 17th place and just under 20 minutes, 2.5 minutes off the leader. Barbara Maddison working steadily came in at 48th, with Christiine Munden also working very hard on the hills at 52nd. With much younger teams in contention it was only 6th in the Liddiard.
The men’s race set off as the final ladies arrived, following the same short lap, but succeeded by two full laps of the perimeter of the course. The rain of the previous week hand only softened up the trail, making for comfortable firm running on grass all the way around. Debutant Sam Hunt was first Valley man home at 17th in a very strong field, followed by freshly minted Vet Christian Nielsen running very well to finish in 35th, following by Manuel da Silva at 59th with Richard Hooley snapping at his heels just one place and 7 seconds behind. Guy Bowles made a very welcome return to the team at 67th, with Peter Keane at 73 and Scott Brewer only 5 seconds but two places behind and stalwart Richard Bell also immediately following just 6 seconds later. John Husbands making a welcome showing after a long period of injury and recuperation ‘jogged’ around to finish at 101, with Simon Maddison doggedly bringing up the rear of the team at 131. The team finished 5th out of seven, in what was a very strong field.
Many thanks to Barrie Saunders handling the numbers and Phil Wetton for the pop-up yurt as shelter, and both of course for their support and encouragement.
17 Inkeri Abbotts 19:58; 48 Barbara Maddison 24:13; 52 Christine Munden 27:04;
55 finishers. Team 6 of 6
17 Sam Hunt 27:46; 35 Christian Nielsen 28:52; 59 Manuel da Silva 31:05; 60 Richard Hooley 31:12; 67 Guy Bowles 31:36; 73 Peter Keane 32:05; 75 Scott Brewer 32:08; 76 Richard Bell 32:14; 101 John Husbands 34:45; 131 Simon Maddison 43:33;
136 finishers, team 5 of 7