Thursday, 16 November 2017

Metropolitan League XC 2017-18 – Race 2 Welwyn Garden City, November

Saturday’s race saw a new venue and with it, record-breaking attendance shattering Claybury’s with 529 men and 249 women. The new course coined ‘The Roller Coaster Ride’ didn’t fail to disappoint with mud, hills, bottlenecks, forest trails, cambers, a man hunt and a downhill finish to add one final thrill!


The Juniors put on a classy display, the performance of the day going to Yusuf Bizimania putting in a gutsy run to finish 1st in the Under 17 race. The younger runners also scored highly, the under 11s were 3rd on the day and charged into 1st place in the overall standings, Louis Reynolds (6th) and (2nd 9 year old) in front of Edgar Sayers (10th) and Edison Rhodes (15th). The under 11 girls also ran well with Ruby Jones leading them home in an impressive (5th) place, putting  them second overall. The under 13 boys with a rapid run from Harry Glyn (7th) finished in 9th place but 7th in the overall competition. The under 13 girls demonstrated some excellent VPH teamwork with Lila (9th), Sade (10th) and Nancy (11th) to secure 3rd spot. The junior men and women finished 7th and 5th respectively. 


The women full of confidence from winning performances in both the Chingford League and North London X Country champs utilised another high turnout to finish second on the day in Division 1 (perhaps a Met League team PB) above of Serpentine and Highgate, and jumped into third in the overall standings. The scorers were Rachel (18th), Helena (24th), Sophie (34th), Holly (41st), Kelly (44th) and Hannah (49th) all safely inside the top 50. Notably Sophie had a storming run and personified the VPH team spirit, after taking a tumble at the congested start she stayed composed and worked her way back up the field and pipped 2 Heathsiders on the last lap picking up valuable team points.


The Ladies B and C teams also scored highly with newcomer Annaka running strongly to finish in (56th), followed by Sue (59th), Catherine (72nd) and Faye in (83rd). They were closely followed by the C team finishing in third place in Division 3 with Cheryl (89th), Jo (106th), Ellie (112th) and Charlie Bewely (142th) on her first met league appearance for the club. In the overall standings, the B team are 1st in Division 3, with the C team in third with a chance of promotion.

The Ladies hunting in packs
The Ladies VETs team also improved coming joint 2nd with Heathside on day and jumping to third in division one. Holly Weir, coming first in her age category (V35) followed by Kelly in 3rd and Catherine 3rd in (V45). Sue also did us proud grabbing the 4th spot for the (V40s) and Faye in 6th. Alison (198th) and Annie (156th) both had strong runs and Alison also showed her multi talents and provided some much needed delicious brownie and macaroon post-recovery treats. 

Alison's recovery treats

The men also had the big guns out for this prestigious fixture with the welcome return of club stalwart and legend Jeremy Gold who made the long trip down from far North (worth it for Alison’s macaroons) to grace us with his presence finishing with a swift sprint much to the joy of the VPH supporters. He was so fast his performance sparked a manhunt, the latest from Major was that no arrests has of yet been made and Jeremy has been cooperating with their enquiries!

The 'Uknown Runer.'

The Men’s A team was led home by Paul with another strong run to clinch 5th spot – he was so speedy his running app flagged it as a cycle. This was followed by James Cordwell (70th & 2nd V40), trailed by Paul Gaimster (87th & 3rd V40) fresh from Chicago glory. The remaining scorers included Al Myers (93rd), Andrew Barrington (108th), Tony MacDowall (112th), David Jones who with his sprint finish overtook 3 men (138th), Stephen Shanks (153rd) and Bruno (166th) and Duncan scraping into the top 200 (196th) outsmarting Bewely with his sensible pacing strategy to ensure that he #beatBewley and the Men #beatBarnet into 8th spot and 5th overall.


Further back in the field the men’s B team were jostling for positions and despite a mix up with the numbers finished in 3rd place and maintained 3rd spot overall in Division 3.

The best team performance on the men’s side easily went to the Vets finishing 3rd on the day and 3rd in Division one.

With a few key male players out last weekend it is even more vital that everyone makes the effort to attend the next fixture in Uxbridge (complete with river crossing) on 2nd December, the Ladies have proved that a high turnout can make all the difference in the team competition – let’s keep up the VPH charge.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Newsletter 110: Nice News for November

Hello all,

Clocks may have moved to GMT but that will never hold us back! The cross-country and winter road-running season are already in full swing. So, here's a few of the key highlights in the coming weeks and other club news.

This Saturday 4th November - Veterans AC - XC Race - Loughton - 11am start
This annual one-off XC race held on the familiar course at Loughton at a much more sensible time of 11am. Open to men age 40+ and women age 35+. It is free to run and registration is on the day. A few more details can be found on the Veterans AC website. There are limited changing facilities at Loughton (short walk from Loughton tube) and usually someone selling tea and cake afterwards. What more could you ask for in this crazy and complicated world?

Also - North London XC Champs are being held in West London. This is a pre-entry event but please get in touch if you would like to run.

Tuesday 7th November - Chingford League Race 3 - Redbridge Cycle Circuit - 7:30pm (women) / 8:00pm (men)
We've had a fantastic start to the season in the Chingford League. With two races under the belt we are already in great shape, leading most categories. Race three and we're back for the second Redbridge fixture.

Saturday 11th Metropolitan League - Race 2 - Welwyn - 1:55pm / 2:35pm
After possibly one of our most impressive starts to a Met League season ever, let's keep up the incredible momentum for race 2. Yes, there's a little further to go to this one, but keep any eye out on Facebook and other outlets for transport and travel details. Travelling together just adds to the fun and team spirit. This is a new venue, a replacement for the slightly dull Stevenage fixture, let's hope. All the details can be found on the Met League fixture page.

Thursday 16th November - The Great VPH Bake Off - Club Bar after the evening session 8:30pm ish
Back for yet another event, the annual carb-loading fest is an opportunity to show-off both your baking and consumption talents. Organised once again by Dr Charlotte Bewley, members are encouraged to bake and bring along their offerings. If that's not your scene, then please come along with an empty stomach and full wallet, ready to contribute and raise funds for the excellent Medecins sans Frontieres, a fantastic charity for whom we have raised many hundreds of pounds over the years.

Saturday 18th November - London XC Championships - Parliament Hill - 1:15pm/2pm
Last chance to enter this annual XC bash at beautiful Parliament Hill. Open to first claim club members only - please see this post on the Facebook page for more details. If you'd like to just enter, there's still time - do so here: - DEADLINE WED 1st November.

Saturday 25th November - Club Championships 3.5 mile race - Victoria Park - 10:30am start
The second race in the club's own Winter series (to complement the 1 mile, 5 mile XC, 10 mile and 20 mile) and another chance to get some Boswall points for those all-important bragging rights. Run on the mile loop + figure-of-8 loop entirely within the park on a Saturday morning. More details can be found on the noticeboard here

Club Virgin Money London Marathon 2018 Places Ballot
A number of you have asked about club marathon ballot places. I'm pleased to report that the club will be allocated 4 places for the 2018 event. The details are not fully confirmed yet (the places are not officially available at present) but please keep an eye out on the noticeboard and Facebook page for details of how to enter the ballot. In the meanwhile, please familiarise yourself with the requirements, which will be updated soon following a change to the criteria to ensure a fairer distribution of places between men and women.

And finally (1)
Club's most improved athletes. For Road and Cross Country it was another tough, tough year for the decision makers, but the awards went to Matthew Walker and Rachel Thomas who both proved over the year what commitment to training can do for your results. Over in Track & Field the awards went to Neil Kirkham and Hazel Robertson, whilst for the junior T&F athletes Yusuf Bizimana and Kai Dubarey Gay set shining examples to us all - WELL DONE ALL.

And finally (2)
It's been a very busy start to the season, with the club's athletes flying the club colours in Berlin, Chicago, Frankfurt and Beachy Head. If you get a moment, please do take a look at the club Facebook page, too many achievements to list here, but all of them inspirational in their own way.

And finally (3)
A big thanks to Laura Morgan who stepped down as Women's Director of Road & XC running, who stepped down after years of service to the club, to focus on her next big event - having a baby. We wish Laura all the very best for the coming days, weeks, months and years. in her place, we welcome Cheryl Evans to replace Laura, many of you will know Cheryl as a regular at club races and training sessions, please welcome her and give her your full support.

So, that's November sorted, I'd say. I hope to see many of you at some of the events listed above (and no, not just the cake-eating one!)

Men's Road & XC Captain

Find out what your clubmates are up to on the Club Facebook page
Get the latest news and updates, follow @VPHTHAC on Twitter
Get news, updates and race results on the club noticeboard - handicap results are here:
Keep an eye out for forthcoming fixtures on the club website

Monday, 23 October 2017

Metropolitan League XC 2017-18 – Race 1 Claybury, October 14th

VPH&THAC get X Country season off to a cracking start with a record-breaking turnout at Claybury!

Saturday’s Met League saw over 100 club members tackle the bone-dry undulating Claybury course. The results across the board led Neil Cook (Met League Pressure Group Administrator) to hail the VPH team performance as, “one of the greatest days for our fine club.” This was even more impressive due to the record number of participants, 506 men and 211 women, the corresponding fixture last year saw 472 and 160 respectively.

The juniors kicked things off and led by example, the Under 11s finishing 1st with Louis Reynolds putting in an exceptional individual performance to achieve 2nd!  It was also a 2nd for the Under 13 girls and 3rd place for U11 and U15/U17 girls, continuing their dominance from last season and topping the junior league overall.

Annie in action for the women

Inspired by the juniors, the women also put in a strong team performance, the Women’s A team finishing in 4th place in Division 1 (above Heathside). Buoyed by newcomers Helena Eastham (16th), Annie Byrne (27th) and Hannah Somai (36th) who on their met league debuts were able to catapult the women 6 places from last year! The remainder of the A team was filled by Rachel Thomas (12th), Sophie Donges (28th) and Holly Weir (34th).

Gritty runs from Charlie Maling, (42nd) Sue Bint (43), Emma Dunk (47th)  and Rachel Rowling (57th and first post baby Met League) saw the Women’s B team finish top of Division 3 making the B team favourites for promotion and demonstrating our great depth. New joiners Nat Forester, Amelia Evans and Emma Robinson (first X country for club) all had great runs and showed great promise for the future fixtures.

The VETs also asserted themselves on the league with some fantastic running from Holly, Sue, ‘Come back Queen’ Catherine McLaughlin (82nd) and Agata Slota (117th) to finish 4th a mere 16 points adrift of third place. With some key VETS out of action this weekend, the women will be looking to build on this placing at the next fixture and keep up the VPH charge.

The men’s race witnessed the second stand out performance of the day from Paul Martiletti with an astounding run, after sitting in 11th position after the first lap he was masterfully able to work his way up the strong field to finish in 3rd position overall. The great work did not stop there and fresh from his Isle of Wight success Joe Dale came home in a very impressive 33rd, followed by the reigning Chingford League champion James Cordwell (48th) and Fabien Lassonde (63rd). Alun Myers on his first x country outing in a while proved that his talents were not just on the roads finishing just behind in (64th), showing great promise for the rest of the season. Steve Hobbs (68th), Michael Channing (74th), Tony MacDowall (90th), and Ewan Cameron (95th) continued their fine form and were scorers for the A team. Special mention must also goes to newcomers William Kirk (76th), William Woodcock (78th), and Aaron McGrudy (80th) who played a vital role in helping the men’s A team finish in an incredible 3rd place overall in Division 1 streaks above our local friends and rivals Barnet and Heathside.

There were also some fine performances in our B team with David Jones (99th), Neil Cook (117th), Gareth Evans (119th), Anthony Withstandley (122nd), Craig Norris (124th), Simeon Bennett (157th), Andre Dahlkamp (171st), Duncan Steen (175th) and Jordi Mila (195th) which rocketed them into 1st place of Division 3 cementing themselves as serious promotion contenders. 

The Men’s Vets also proved there was still some life left in the ‘old gits’ and surged to third place in Division 1 respectively.

Men's cheer squad

Undoubtedly, it was a truly memorable day and evening for VPH&THAC and a massive thank you must go to all the supporters, new kit designers, baby/dog sitters, brownie makers, photo snappers, marquee erecters, Club captains, junior coaches and number distributors that were key in helping to contribute to a fantastic team performance across the board. Not forgetting Cheryl Evans who organised a brilliant team social and at the same time managed to do some recruiting for the next track season. 

I urge you now to get the next Met league fixture in the diary, November 11th at Welwyn Garden City, at the picturesque Stanborough Park (great day out for the kids too), let’s keep up the strength in numbers as that is what makes the difference. #VPH4EVA

Post race & Brownie photo

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Issue 105: May time is play time

Hello all
A quick update on fixtures and events for May.  The warm season is here (apparently) and the calendar fills with lots of exciting events to replace your winter of marathon training...

This Thursday 4th May - Assembly League Rae #2 - Victoria Park - Race starts at 7:45pm
Time for the first of our home fixtures.  We had a fantastic turn out for the men at Race 1 in Beckenham winning both A and B teams on the night.   Not so great for the women I'm afraid, with lower numbers they took 3rd A team and 5th B team on the night. SO, as always we need a much bigger turn out to hold our own against the other clubs in the league.  Remember, it's fast, fun and free to run this 3.5 mile race.  Please remember to bring pins and your club top.  Get to the club nice and early to register and get armed up.  If you cannot run, please could you come and help.  I will need folk from 7pm to help with finish funnel and from 7:30pm to act as marshals or timekeepers. No previous experience necessary. We also need help in the bar pre and post-race to hep with catering and serving drinks - you will still be able to run. Please reply to this message or message me via Facebook.

Sunday 21st May - Southern Athletics League (Div 3 N) - Match 2 - Mile End Stadium - PM
The league coms to Mile End for the first of two meetings there this season.  Track & Field Captains Tony MacDowall and Charlotte Nicholls are always looking for more athletes to compete, and with the events on our doorstep this is the opportunity for you to shine.  We are always particularly keen to find distance runners to join in 800/1500/3000m (women) and 800/1500/5000 (men) or  .  We can do very well in these events with the right people.  Please get in touch with Tony or Charlotte via the club Facebook page, via Twitter (@MacDowallT and @CharlLDN).  

Thursday 25th May - Monthly Handicap - 5 miles - 7:15pm start
We had a great showing of juniors, seniors and helpers at the April event, the first 5 mile handicap of the year. Hopefully the May fixture will be a little warmer than April!   As usual, all the details and results are available on the noticeboard, please see this post.  And also as usual, we will need 4-6 helpers to marshall and to timekeep for the event to go ahead, please get in touch if you can spare an hour or so. I'm particularly keen to hear from new members or those who haven't yet volunteered.

Saturday 3rd June / Saturday 1st July / Saturday 5th August - Orion Forest 5 mile series - 10am Start
A great series of races in Epping forest, often popular with club members. Easy to reach via the Chingford Line, advance entry is recommended as it's a bargain compared to entering on the day. A nice course and a warm welcome is always guaranteed at the events (+ one or two hills). More details and online entry at this link. See you there!

Last call for the Thunder Run - July 22/23 - Walton-on-Trent
This fantastic 24hr running event is now sold out.  Luckily for us though we have registered teams and still have a few places for lucky members.  Get in quickly if you would like to run.  Please see this post on Facebook and contact the unstoppable Mr Neil Cook if you would be interested in joining one of the team.

New Bar, old problems
Hopefully some of you have experienced out incredible new bar already. Thanks to an amazing amount of effort from Chairman Dave and some others along the way the new space is up and running, with the opening night at the annual London Marathon after-party.  As always, there are many who work behind the scenes to keep these things going, remember many other clubs have nothing like the facilities we enjoy, but they always needs volunteers to keep them going.  At the moment the roster is looking rather bare and without a few extra pairs of hands in the coming weeks there may be Thursdays when we will have to close the bar.  Please get in touch with Susan Leese or Malachy Wolohan

And finally....
Big big congratulations to club member Duncan Steen who married his wonderful fiancĂ©e Eliza over the bank holiday weekend.  The wedding was many hundreds of miles away on the western Scottish coast but was attended by many club members.  Duncan even found time to wear his club colours at a race held in the morning of the big day. Best wishes from us all. 

Also, if you have 8mins 7 secs to spare take a look at this nice little London Marathon 2017 video put together by, you guessed it, Tim 'Riverdog' Miller - Marathon Effort...

That's it for now

Men's Road & XC Captain

Remember, there are many ways to keep in touch with your club:
  • Find out what your clubmates are up to on the Club Facebook page
  • Get the latest news and updates, follow @VPHTHAC on Twitter
  • Get news, updates and race results on the club noticeboard
  • Keep an eye out for forthcoming fixtures on the VPH and THAC | Fixtures
  • Lastly - follow us on Instagram, if you are that way inclined @vph_th