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.