Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Metropolitan League XC 2018-19 – Race 1 Claybury Park, October 13th

Highest Met League turnout ever gives Simeon a send-off to remember!

The first Met League opener at Claybury is always a special and hot one, but last Saturday was one for the history books – it was Simeon Bennett’s last match in charge as Men’s Club Captain. Post-race over a double croissant, Simeon reminisced about the, ‘days when he used to text everyone (from a phone with buttons) to persuade them to attend’ and paid tribute to the spirit of VPH&THAC. Today nearly every other runner seemed to be sporting the jade/blue singlet, testament to Sim’s hard work, effort and patience over the years.
Sim saluting the VPH support on one of his many London marathons

The spirit was out in full force for a record attendance on the inevitably dry, undulating mixed terrain course. The Under 11 boys had a solid start finishing in 3rd place overall with Louis Reynolds coming an incredible 2nd place by the narrowest of margins. Definitely one to watch for the rest of the season. The Under 11 girls went one better to finish in second spot in the team competition and Ruby James had an excellent run to finish in 2nd place. The under 13 girls and boys finished 4th and 12 respectively. First home for the Junior men was Luca Minale in 22nd helping them to obtain 12th position overall. The Junior women with another second place overall in the team standings and a fantastic run for Myla Stiling who came 5th overall in the individual competition.

In the Ladies event, project V was bearing some fruit, even with some notable heavy weights missing. Newcomer Laura Kaye had a storming run and effortlessly worked her way through the field to finish an impressive 6th. Returning member Kat Gunderson also put in a strong performance to finish in 13th and was the first V40 by some margin. Rachel Thomas 5th, Kelly Clarke 29th, Hazel Norton Hale 32nd (with her highest met league finish to date and only a week after Bournemouth Marathon), and Hannah Somani 33rd secured 3rd spot and a promising start for our A team.

The Ladies B team compiled of Holly Weir 39th, Annaka Charters 44th, Steph Velez 63rd (debut run), Cheryl Evans 67th and Charlotte Maling 77th also produced some sterling runs to finish in equal first spot in Division two. Even the possibility of having 2 women’s teams in Division 1 is remarkable as only 2 seasons ago the Women’s A were locked in a relegation battle and the B team were only promoted last season.

The team performances of the day go to our Women’s C team and Vets both leading the charge in their respective competitions. Newcomers Rebecca Fode, Lydia B-Sawyer, Annie Gammon, Christa Ronan, and Kay Verdon (returning), all contributed to a fantastic team effort which ladies club Captain Cheryl summed up as, “an excellent turn-out of all 31 ladies working hard, throughout the field against the competition.”

Despite the delayed start the men stayed focused to match the women’s third spot with Yusef Bizimana stepping up to the senior level to lead the men home in 24th place (4th U20), followed by Joe Dale 28th, (of Love Track fame), Aaron Mcgrady 35th, Fabien Lassode 40th, Steve Hobbs 41st (1st Vet), Carl Selya-Hammer, 43rd, William Kirk 48th, William Stanley 56th and Andrew Barrington 61st , Neil Cook 83rd (7th Vet), Anthony Withstandley 92nd , Gareth Evans 95th and David Jones 100th . The B and C teams are currently dominating the top 2 spots of Division 3 and as always are trusty Old Gits (sorry Vets) annihilated their nearest rivals by 25 points to finish 1st spot.

Sim putting in a 'Sim Surge' up the hill

Our success across the board is further shown in the Howard Williams trophy at both Senior and Junior levels sitting in 3rd and 4th respectively.

The next Met League fixture takes place on November 11th in Welwyn Garden City a spicy course with an assortment of grass, woodland, undulations and some short, sharp hills and mud if the weather forecast is anything to go by. Last year we managed to pull off some scalps here as the journey outside of London put some of our rivals off. Let’s keep up the hard work and continue with the great turnout at the next fixture as this is what really makes all the difference with the results.


Friday, 19 October 2018

Newsletter 119 - Of Course, October! Nice, November!

Hello all

Welcome to Autumn! Don't worry we've got a really busy few weeks ahead of us to take our minds of the worsening weather and fading light... Starting very soon with:

This Thursday 18th October:

Project V - 7pm depart from the clubhouse

Project V returns for another a week. A challenging training session led by resident coach Steve Hobbs. The session is open to all but we particularly encourage women to attend as it is developed with them in mind. The club strives to develop its excellent current and future women during the cross country season. Please be ready to depart the clubhouse at 7pm promptly in order to run the session and be back in time for the club AGM.


Club Annual General Meeting - 8:30-10pm

The annual general meeting open to all first claim current members. It usually lasts around 90 minutes. More details including agenda and minutes from last year can be found on the club website here. I do hope as many of you will make the effort to join us as we reflect upon the previous year and look ahead to 2019 and beyond. This is also a chance to ask questions of the board of directors and make your voice heard, or just to find out a little more about the club if you are new.

Saturday 20th October

Chingford League - Race #2 - Jubilee Park, Leyton - ~5 miles - 2:30pm start

The second fixture in this mixed road/XC league and we're running locally at Jubilee Park (E10 7BL) hosted by our friends at Eton Manor AC. No need to pre-enter this race, please arrive by 2pm to collect your number, get ready and warmed up. More details on the Chingford League Facebook page.

Thursday 25th October:

Monthly 2.9 mile Handicap - 7pm depart from the clubhouse

As usual, the last Thursday of the month will be the handicap; a chance to battle it out over the classic 3-lap course around Well Street Common. Hopefully our incredible juniors will join us as well to make this a fun an inclusive event open to all ages and abilities. New and regular members alike all welcome. Please get to the clubhouse by 7pm in time for a departure up to the Common at 7:10 to get the event under way. As usual, previous results can be viewed here:

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 mega-Mum 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. £1 a slice (minimum) but you are encouraged to give what you can. Last year's winner was the incredible Susan Leese with her chocolate and raspberry brownies.

Emergency medical aid where it is needed most. Independent. Neutral. Impartial.


Most Improved Athlete Award - Club Bar after the evening session 8:30pm ish

At some point during the evening, we will also award the Most Improved male and female Road & XC athlete. This eaglerly-awaited award is given each year to the athletes nominated by their fellow club members deemed to have made the biggest improvements over the previous 12 months. Last year's winners were Matthew Walker and Rachel Thomas. As usual we invite members to get in touch (with me or Women's captain Cheryl) and nominate athletes they think have made good improvements over the year (regardless of their actual times). We have delayed the award until the week after the AGM, this is because many athletes will be running half or full marathons at Amsterdam this weekend. Nominations are open until SUNDAY EVENING 21st OCT. Please supply supporting details to back your nominations where possible.

Saturday 27th October

North of The Thames XC Championships (and Lydiard Trophy) - Fryent Country Park - 2pm/2:30pm

Another running of this historic race in a lovely venue. It is fairly simple to get to with a tube out to Wembley and a 15 minute walk to the start area. Women will run around 3 miles, starting at 2pm. Men will run around 5 miles, starting at 2:30pm. There are team and individual prizes up for grabs and entry is free to all paid up club members. Hurry though, as deadline for entries is very soon. Please complete this simple form: You will need spikes or nobbly training shoes at least to run this grassy course.

Saturday 3rd November

Veterans AC Local Mob-match - Loughton AC - 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?


North London XC Championships - Hackney Marshes -1:45pm / 2:30pm

This race returns a local venue for 2018 so what better reason to attend? The event will be based at Hackney Marshes centre and use a course set out around the Marshes and Wick Woods. Women run approx 5km starting at 1:45pm, Men will run approx 5 miles starting at 2:30pm. Individual and Team prizes are up for grabs as usual. And, as usual, there will likely be some essential re-hydration occuring in a local hostelry afterwards. You will probably need nobbly shoes or short spikes for this flt course. If it has been dry up to the event you may well get away with trainers. Either way, YOU MUST PRE-ENTER by completing thissimple form: - deadline is this weekend

Tuesday 6th November

Chingford League Race 3 - Redbridge Cycle Circuit - 7:30pm (women) / 8:00pm (men)

Back at the cycle circuit for the third fixture, after a successful first race here in October. Same arrangements as before. Please keep an eye out for more details and lift-sharing opportunities nearer the event on the club Facebook page, as led by our excellent Chingford League Captain, Joyce Berry.

Saturday 10th November

Metropolitan XC League - Race #2 - Welwyn Garden City - 1:55pm / 2:35pm

After possibly 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. We return to Welwyn to the pretty Stanborough Park (replacing Stevenage). This is our priority league this season so please make every effort to attend - come early and support our excellent juniors as well. All the details can be found on the Met League fixture page.

Saturday 17th November

London XC Championships - Parliament Hill - 1:15pm/2pm

A chance to run up the hills and through the in one of London's most iconic and scenic parks - Hampstead Heath. Women will run ~6km (1:15pm) and men run ~10km (2pm). Competitive racing, challenging course and a great atmosphere are all guaranteed, you will need your spikes, grit and determination for this one. You must pre-register to run by completing this form:

Saturday 24th November

Chingford League Race #4 - Trent Country Park, nr Cockfosters - 2:30pm start

Oh my days, more Chingford League, you say? They are certainly piling up at this end of the season. Another great course this one, on a journey through time to the end of the Piccadilly Line. Men and women race together around the 5 mile distance, starting at 2:30pm. Spikes will be essential on this hilly and squelchy course. Next Chingford race is not until January.

Thursday 29th November

Monthly 2.9 mile Handicap - 7pm depart from the clubhouse

See details above - same as October

Club Virgin London Marathon Places - Draw

Some of you will know and some have asked about the club marathon ballot places. It seems that for the 2019 marathon, the club will be allocated 5 places . The details are not fully confirmed yet (the places are not officially available at present and the number may change) 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. The criteria and draw process have been updated since last year to ensure a fairer distribution of places between men and women.

That, as they say, IS IT.

Happy running, you beautiful people

Men's Road & XC Captain, VPH & TH AC