The South of England Cross Country Relay Championships returned to the Scrubs on Saturday and once again good weather and home course support ensured a good turnout for the Valley men with 4 teams racing in the senior men’s race.

The standard in the men’s race is improving every year, gaps at the front of the race are getting closer and some good performances saw the men’s A team finish in 7th place and 80 seconds from 3rd place, with good support from the B team in 27th, C team in 30th and D team in 31st place out of 33 finishing teams.

Race day weather provided a fine dry day with mild autumn sunshine and light winds, which combined with the low level of recent rainfall meant the Scrubs was completely dry and firm underfoot.

This provided good and fast racing conditions as the men completed a large single 5km lap around the Scrubs flat grassland course.

An impressive turnout of 16 Valley men made TVH the only club on the day to have 4 teams in the men’s race and it was also good to see 7 of the 16 were making their Valley debut in the cross country relays, including Conor Kissane-Wood, Andrew Walshe, Richard Solomon, Max Thorp, James Malcolm, David Ford and Will Paynter.

On 1st leg and starting the race for the A team was in-form Conor Kissane-Wood, following on from excellent recent performances he had another great race to finish in 6th place and post a time of 14m12s, the 10th fastest time of the race and the fastest Valley time of the day, a great leg on his cross country relay debut.

Taking over on leg 2 Kieron Sexton ran well to once again improve his best time over this course by a good margin of 25 seconds for a time of 15m06s, which placed the team in 10th place at the halfway point of the race.

Making his cross country relay debut on Leg 3 was Andrew Walshe, who relished the dry conditions to produce an impressive time of 14m23s, the 18th fastest race time and 2nd fastest Valley time, gaining 3 places to move the team up to 7th place with one leg to go.

It was only a year ago when James Ellis was making his Valley debut in this race and on the 4th and final leg he once again ran a good time of 14m53s, to better his time in last year’s race by 3 seconds and bring the Valley A team home in 7th place out of a total of 33 finishing teams, a good performance in such a competitive race.

With another 3 Valley teams in the race, taking the lead on 1st leg for the B team was Richard Solomon, who combined a morning Park Run with the afternoon relay to make it a hard day’s racing, and despite this he did well on his cross country relay debut to record a time of 16m50s and 31st place in the race.

Still suffering from the effects of a recent cold 2nd leg man Greg Bennett wasn’t in the best of form and had to work hard on his leg for a time of 17m56s to keep the team in 31st place at halfway.

Starting on leg 3 Steve Norris is someone who knows the course well and is returning to good form, as he gained 3 places to move up to 28th place and better last year’s time by 19 seconds with a time of 16m04s, the fastest leg of the day for the B team.

Bringing the team home on 4th leg was Caspar Donnison, who also showed good improvement to go 11 seconds faster than last year’s race with a good time of 16m18s to move the B team up one place to finish in 27th place.

Leading the way on 1st leg for the C team was Richard Bell, who ran a steady race for a time of 18m42s and 37th place in the race.

Max Thorp enjoyed a good cross country relay debut as he moved up 4 places on leg 2 with a time of 18m36s to position the team in 33rd place at the mid-point of the race.

On 3rd leg Scott Brewer impressed again as he recorded a time of 17m19s, 22s faster than last year’s race and the fastest leg of the day for the C team, to move up 2 places to 31st place and also move ahead of the Valley’s D team in the process.

On the 4th and final leg Manuel da Silva produced a time of 18m35s, which included an unscheduled stop to tie-up a shoelace, and despite this he was able to gain one place for the C team to finish in 30th place.

Phil Wetton found himself on the start line for 1st leg on the D team, and with good support from around the course was able to finish in a time of 18m14s and 36th place.

Racing on 2nd leg James Malcolm showed good form on his cross country relay debut, as he gained 4 places to move the team up to 32nd place at halfway with a good time of 17m40s, the fastest leg of the day for the D team.

David Ford has already enjoyed plenty of racing so far this season and his cross country relay debut on leg 3 saw him record a good time of 19m05s to keep the team in 32nd place with one leg to go.

The final 4th leg went to Will Paynter, another Valley man making his cross country relay debut, and he did well to move up one place with a time of 21m15s to bring the D team home to finish in 31st place.

It’s always pleasing to see such good support for a home race and with 4 relay teams racing on the day it showed good strength in depth within the Valley men’s team and if this is carried on to future races it bodes well for the rest of the winter season.

Well done to all those racing on Saturday, not forgetting a big thanks to all the Valley officials, helpers and supporters who all had a part to play in staging another successful cross country relay championships at the Scrubs.

The races are coming thick and fast over the next few weeks, with the Liddiard and North of the Thames Championships on Saturday October 29th, followed by the National Cross Country Relays on Saturday November 5th, Met League on Saturday November 12th and London Championships on Saturday November 19th.

So there’s no excuse not to clean your cross country spikes if you haven’t done so already.

Up The Valley!

Senior Men’s South of England 4 Stage Cross Country Relay Results, 22-10-16.


7   TVH Senior Men A Team : 58:34

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Conor Kissane-Wood14:12614:12
2 Kieron Sexton15:061029:18
3 Andrew Walshe14:23743:41
4 James Ellis14:53758:34

27   TVH Senior Men B Team : 1:07:08

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Richard Solomon16:503116:50
2 Greg Bennett17:563134:46
3 Steve Norris16:042850:50
4 Caspar Donnison16:18271:07:08

30   TVH Senior Men C Team : 1:13:12

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Richard Bell18:423718:42
2 Max Thorp18:363337:18
3 Scott Brewer17:193154:37
4 Manuel Da Silva18:35301:13:12

31   TVH Senior Men D Team : 1:16:14

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Philip Wetton18:143618:14
2 James Malcolm17:403235:54
3 David Ford19:053254:59
4 Will Paynter21:15311:16:14

33 Finishing Teams