It was a double gold celebration for the Valley women and men as both senior teams were crowned Middlesex champions in the annual county cross country championships at Horsenden Hill, Greenford, on Saturday.
The TVH women’s team absolutely dominated their race with 5 of the top 6 finishing athletes wearing TVH vests.
The men’s race was a lot closer with the TVH men’s team winning by a margin of just 2 places.
Heavy rain the week before created a challenging waterlogged and very muddy course, made up of a medium and 2 large laps for the women’s race of 8km.
Despite the conditions the Valley women rose to the challenge with Kate Olding leading from start to finish to secure an individual gold medal by an impressive winning margin of 27 seconds. Steph Ainley also enjoyed a great race to win an individual bronze medal in 3rd place, and not far behind were Izzy Franco in 4th, Hana Blake in 5th and Chloe Baker in 6th position. A strong and brave run from Helen Mallison King saw her finish in 35th place despite having a nasty fall and Fran Lou completed the team finishing in 45th position out of a total of 87 finishers in the women’s race.
Overall, the TVH women’s team of 4 to score were in team gold medal position by a big margin of 41 places and retained the Middlesex trophy for a second consecutive year.
Thankfully the rain had stopped on race day, but the course was very wet and churned-up for the start of the men’s race of 4 large laps with a race distance of 12km. It was a very close race between the TVH men’s team and the London Heathside men’s team, with the lead changing a number of times on each of the 4 laps. The determination of the Valley men saw them move into the lead on the final lap to win the Middlesex title, lead home by Toby Clyde in 5th place who had a great race on his return to the team. He was well supported by strong runs from Niki Faulkner in 10th, Hugo Cayssials in 11th, Jake Hooley in 12th, Calum Nicol suffering from a cold in 18th, and 6th and final scorer Rob Vallance in 23rd place. It gave the TVH men a winning margin of just 2 places, and returned the Middlesex trophy to the Valley men who had missed out on gold medals by only 1 place in last year’s race.
Out of a total of 15 Valley men racing, Mark Humphries was next home with a strong run to finish in 25th place, followed by Ollie Teenan in 37th, an impressive debut from Dan Keam-George in 62nd, Johnny Moore in 84th, Simon Nixon in 94th, Manuel Da Silva in 97th, Simon Rubens in 118th, Kevin McAleer in 119th and Richard Hooley completed the team in 125th place out of a total of 133 finishers in the men’s race.
Winner of the Under 17 Women’s race, Allerga Massey, also had a comfortable win. Ironically she had been a member of Victoria Park as a 12-year-old where the next three runners belong. Did she know them while she was there? Anyway she led TVH to second place. With Maya Sutaria in fifth place, a great run by Natasha Bennett deserved her silver medal.
Under 11 Luis Da Silva used his experience to gain third place medal and Marni Keam-George finished in front of Sofia Bennett for the first time this season. It may be due to her rapid growth this winter! Sophie Davies had to battle with some tall rivals but was still a very good fifth place. Unfortunately TVH had several races where we did not have a scoring team. Even so, Louis Moore ran well for seventh place in the Under 17 event, followed by Reggie Rock in at 21st.
Congratulations to all who took part in the challenging conditions and thanks to all the officials. A special thanks to Phil York of Ealing and Southall, who set out the course. He has been doing this job for many years and this may be his last time.
A full set of race results can be viewed online at https://middlesexaa.org.uk/2024/01/06/middlesex-
Congratulations to everyone on the TVH team on a golden day to remember for the Valley, Up The