Great day at Crystal Palace. Highlight was the winning the Mens 40+ Vets trophy.
Full results and report to follow.
SEAA ROAD RELAYS, CRYSTAL PALACE, 24 SEPTEMBER 2017
Kent AC were out in force at this year’s South of England road relays. The venue for the event had been switched from last year’s windswept Bedford – a setting which hadn’t exactly been a hit with runners and spectators. This year the races were held at Crystal Palace which of course had the advantage for our club of being virtually on the doorstep. That said, there were certainly a fair few teething problems (which would perhaps be best aired elsewhere).
In terms of the racing, the women were off first. Like the men our women were missing one or two key individuals – not least our star performer Amy Clements. However, the fact that we actually had an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ team out is a measure of how the women’s section of the club has developed in recent years. Our ‘A’ team was listed as finishing 27th, but in fact may have finished higher. The women’s convoluted course meant that it looked as though at least two clubs may have had runners who ran a lap short.
In the men’s race, as well as an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ team we also had a ‘C’ team, who acquitted themselves well. The men’s ‘A’ team had a slightly unfamiliar look to it this year. Nevertheless, the team comfortably secured qualification for the forthcoming National Relays, finishing in 13th place. The club’s overall strength was perhaps demonstrated when our B team briefly headed the ‘A’ team. The always reliable, long-serving club man James Connor delivered the fastest time of the day for the team. At the time of writing it looked as though Ben Harding – who ran a strong final leg – was second fastest, although it has to be added that two of our runners didn’t actually have their times listed on the results I’ve seen.
It seems with the readjustment of the results that’s gone on, our ‘B’ team finished higher than first listed, meaning that they also qualified for the National Relays. There were several impressive runs in the ‘B’ team, with Pete Lighting’s stand out first leg having pride of place.
Undoubtedly the best story on the day for the club was the fact the our V40 men retained their title. Chris Greenwood invariably runs a leg for the ‘A’ and V40s at these relays. However, this year he was allowed to just run for the V40s, and he didn’t disappoint. Chris ran the anchor leg and the fastest time in the race by some margin.
We have incredible strength of depth in this area – a fact amply demonstrated by the superb times recorded by our V40s who ran in the Berlin Marathon. If the races hadn’t coincided it would have likely proved a selectorial headache choosing who might have been in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ team.
Injury and a work commitment meant the V50s had an unfamiliar look to it this year. The field definitely looked stronger than last year. New V50 Jules Geevers ran a strong last leg to bring the team home in tenth spot. The V60s unfortunately couldn’t repeat the success of last year when they were second, but the club still placed fourth. This was with Julian Spencer Wood having breathing difficulties due to a recent fall. Being a trouper, he insisted on getting round – even perhaps when he shouldn’t have carried on. It was a great shame for the team as Julian had ben recording some excellent times in Parkruns of late. Knowing Julian, though, he’ll probably be flying again by the time of the Kent Vets.
Finally, in respect of the V40s, their win meant it was four in a row which matched Thames Hare and Hounds’ record of a few years ago. Before that Herne Hill actually won it seven times on the trot. That’s quite an achievement, and an ambitious target for our V40’s to see if they can match.