Valley men ahead of their time in Mansfield

Valley men are all smiles post-race
Valley men are all smiles post-race

It was a long trip up to Mansfield for the Valley teams competing in Saturday’s National Cross Country Relay championships which saw the Valley men’s A team finish in 81st place.

Everyone raced well on the day but with a number of athletes unavailable to race it was going to be a tough task to match last year’s 43rd place, but good support throughout the team enabled the A team to finish well inside the top 100 and the B team to finish in 125th place out of a large field of 143 finishing teams.

Simon Baptist finishes the race ahead of time for the A Team.
Simon Baptist finishes the race ahead of time for the A Team.
Jason Sewards mid-air
Jason Sewards mid-air

 Thankfully the weather was much improved from the cold wind and rain of last year’s race, with dry conditions and some mild sunshine helping to keep the temperature up in the face of a cool autumn breeze.

This meant that the 2 lap 5km course around Berry Hill Park was going to be fast and dry with hardly any muddy sections apart from some small patches through the woods.

Each 4 man team were racing 2 laps around the park along fairly flat grassland, with plenty of twists and turns through 2 woodland areas and a couple of short hills towards the end of each lap

With over 150 starting teams it was a daunting task for Kieron Sexton making his debut in this race on 1st leg for the men’s A team, but he fought his way through a very competitive field to come home in 104th place in a time of 18m 06s, the fastest Valley leg of the race.

Manuel Da Silva stepped up for leg 2 and used his past experience of the course to pace himself well around the 2 laps in a time of 18m 35s, to move the team up into the top 100 in 96th place at the halfway point of the race.

 On leg 3 another Valley man with a good knowledge of the course, Steve Norris, took over and had a good run to gain 11 places to move up to 85th in a time of 18m 14s, the 2nd fastest leg for the team.

It was also a National XC Relay debut for Simon Baptist on the 4th and final leg, and not being used to wearing time chips for races he started his leg without one and only realised his mistake when crossing the finish line, by which time he had quite literally finished ahead of his time, as his time chip was still sitting in his kit bag!

Unfortunately this meant that he wasn’t given a race time in the final results, but taking the time and race position of the team just behind him enabled the calculation of Simon’s race time to be approximately 18m 59s and gave the team a final finishing position of 81st place out of 143 finishing teams.

On 1st leg for the B team was Louis William, who was making his debut in the National XC Relay and used the fast conditions underfoot to record a time of 19m 27s, the fastest leg for the B team which put them in 134th place.

A steady run from team manager Phil Wetton on 2nd leg produced a time of 20m 39s that moved the team up 6 places to 128th at halfway.

 It was good to see another 2 men making their National XC Relay debut for the Valley on the final 2 legs, with Scott Brewer going well on leg 3 to finish in a time of 21m 54s and 129th place.

For the 4th and final leg Jason Sewards found it tough going due to the return of a minor injury, but he coped well to come home in a time of 22m 23s to move the team up 4 places into 125th place at the finish.

Earlier in the day the Valley’s junior men had taken on the challenging cross country course around Berry Hill Park.

 For the U20 men’s race there were teams of 3 runners with each one completing a 3km lap around the park.

Starting on 1st leg Toby Clyde put in a good performance to finish in 38th place and record a time of 9m 27s for the fastest Valley leg of the race.

On leg 2 Robert Vallance just about maintained their position in the race coming back in 39th place in a time of 10m 25s.

Louis Marriott then took over for the 3rd and final leg, who having missed the Southern XC Relay due to a back injury was determined to race at Mansfield and his time of 11m 16s brought the team home in 41st place out of a total of 49 finishing teams.

It was a good team performance on the day and pleasing to have 5 out of the 8 man team making their debut in what is always a very competitive race for a national championships and shows good prospects for future races.

Well done to everyone racing on the day and many thanks to those who helped out with the driving to ensure the teams made it to the races on time.

 That’s the road and cross country relays concluded for another year, but for those of you eager to race in the next set of road relays then put Sunday March 29th and Saturday April 11th into your 2015 diary for the Southern and National 12 Stage Road Relays.

 Senior Men’s National 4 Stage XC Relay Results, 01-11-14.


81   TVH – Senior Men – A Team – 1:13:54

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Kieron Sexton18:0610418:06
2 Manuel Da Silva18:359636:41
3 Steve Norris18:148554:55
4 Simon Baptist18:59811:13:54


125   TVH – Senior Men – B Team – 1:24:23

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Louis William19:2713419:27
2 Philip Wetton20:3912840:06
3 Scott Brewer21:541291:02:00
4 Jason Sewards22:231251:24:23

143 Finishing Teams

Junior Men’s National 3 Stage XC Relay Results, 01-11-14.


41   TVH – Junior U20 Men – 31:08

LegTimeRace PositionTotal Time
1 Toby Clyde9:27389:27
2 Robert Vallance10:253919:52
3 Louis Marriott11:164131:08

49 Finishing Teams