It was a golden start to the new year for TVH at the Middlesex County Cross Country Championships on Saturday, as both the women’s senior team and U15 girl’s team won gold as well as individual medals to set a high standard for the Valley men to match.

Phil Wetton reports:

The Valley men duly obliged by winning individual gold in both the senior men’s and junior U20 men’s races as well as team gold in the junior men’s race!

Congratulations go to Mohamud Aadan as the senior men’s Middlesex County Champion and to Toby Clyde as the U20 men’s champion, along with Robert Vallance and Louis Marriott who helped Toby to win the junior men’s Middlesex County team title for the first time in nearly 30 years.

With the race so close to Christmas and New Year there were several members of the men’s team still away on holiday and added to some injuries it limited the senior men’s team to just a 7 man team which finished 7th team out of 10 finishing teams and a field of 154 finishing athletes.

The first race of the new year saw a change of venue from Wormwood Scrubs to Alexandra Palace for this year’s Middlesex cross country championships, which meant a change from a relatively flat and fast course to the challenging hill and tougher terrain around Alexandra Park.

As a championship race the senior men’s race distance of 12k was made up of 4 large laps around the park grasslands, which included a steep hill climb and descent on each lap not made easy by the muddy and slippery conditions and if that wasn’t enough there was also muddy and boggy conditions to navigate on the relatively flat fields on the lower part of the course.

Heavy overnight rain and persistent drizzle during the race were accompanied by a cold winter wind and low temperatures that made the going tough and not for the faint hearted, as water and mud splashed up on every step of the course to make it truly tough cross country racing conditions.

As the senior men’s race began this didn’t slow down Mo Aadan as he went straight to the front of the field and never looked back, establishing a good lead after the first lap in a dominant display which saw him come home as Middlesex champion in 38m 47s, 42 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed man.

This is also the 2nd time that Mo has won the title since he first won it in 2012, an impressive achievement and very well done Mo!

Manuel Da Silva also made a very strong start to the race and was the Valley’s 2nd scorer well inside the top 30 at the halfway point, but found himself overhauled by team mate Andrew Mitchell who used his marathon endurance to catch Manuel by the finish.

It was a great race between both of them and Andrew crossed the line in 35th place, his best ever finish in the Middlesex Champs, in a time of 45m 37s, with Manuel just 12 seconds behind in 36th place.

Next home and 4th scorer for the team was Peter Scannell, who managed to maintain a steady rhythm despite the mud to finish just outside the top 50 in 51st place in a time of 47m 03s.

The evergreen Steve Norris once again made the scoring team as 5th man home in a battling performance against the mud and his time of 49m 02s brought him home just inside the top half of the field in 77th place.

Another staunch performance from Jason Sewards in 140th place in a time of 58m 12s made him the 6th and final scorer for the team, which placed them as 7th team out of 10 finishing teams.

To be final scorer for the team on the day was just reward for Jason, as he has been ever-present and yet to miss a race this season!

Not far behind Jason and the final Valley man home was Paul Woodgate, who chased Jason hard throughout the race to finish in 59m 46s in 147th place out of a total field of 154 finishers.

It was another story of Valley success in the junior men’s U20 race, which took place ahead of the senior men’s and women’s races over a 3 lap distance of 8k.

Competing in his first season as an U20 athlete it was an inspired performance from the Valley’s 17 year old Toby Clyde, who was never out of the top 3 athletes and looked strong and in control throughout the race.

By the end of the final lap it was just Toby and another athlete alone at the front of the field and it all came down to a sprint finish which Toby was determined to win and saw him crowned Middlesex champion in a time of 26m 59s, with a winning margin of 6 seconds.

Congratulations Toby on a great Middlesex victory, and hopefully the first of many more to come!

With 3 to score for the junior men’s team race, it soon became apparent that it would be a 2 team race to the Middlesex title between TVH and London Heathside.

A good run and a top 10 finish from Robert Vallance in 8th place in 29m 12s put the Valley team in the lead spot and it was Louis Marriott with a time of 33m 54s and 17th place finish which sealed the victory to give the Valley team the Middlesex title by 6 points!

It was great to see the Valley’s junior men get their name back on the Middlesex trophy, as the last time they won it was nearly 30 years ago in 1986, and it underlines the importance of their victory – many congratulations Toby, Robert and Louis!

After such a successful Middlesex Champs there’s no time to ease off, as it’s less than 3 weeks until the next championships, the Southern XC Champs at Brighton on Saturday January 24.

Men’s Middlesex XC Champs Results, 03-01-15.

Senior Men’s Race Results – 12k

Race PositionTime
1     Mohamud Aadan38:47
35   Andrew Mitchell45:37
36   Manuel Da Silva45:49
51   Peter Scannell47:03
77   Steve Norris49:02
140 Jason Sewards58:12
147 Paul Woodgate59:46

154 Finishing Athletes

Senior Men’s Team Results – 6 to score

Team PositionRace Points
1 Hillingdon82
2 Highgate87
3 Victoria Park167
4 London Heathside208
5 Trent Park288
6 Serpentine296
7 TVH340

10 Finishing Teams

Junior U20 Men’s Race Results – 8k

Race PositionTime
1   Toby Clyde26:59
8   Robert Vallance29:12
17 Louis Marriott33:54

17 Finishing Athletes

Junior U20 Men’s Team Results – 3 to score

Team PositionRace Points
1 TVH26
2 London Heathside34

2 Finishing Teams

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