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.


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