MEN’S SURREY CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE, DIV 1, MATCH 1, REIGATE, 14 OCTOBER 2017
ANXIETY REPLACED BY RELIEF AS WE COME A CLOSE THIRD IN OPENING LEAGUE FIXTURE
Pre race there was a slight air of pessimism about our prospects in the opening Surrey League fixture. The anxiety had been caused by the fact that we were going into the fixture with only one of the previous week’s six stage ‘A’ team lining up, and our stand out second claimer we’d learnt was also going to be missing through injury. However, it turned out the pessimism was somewhat misplaced. We should have had more faith in the guys that stepped up. Prior to the race some of us were fearing a defeat by a margin that might be hard to make up. Yet due to some incredibly strong performances from what skipper Beany likes to call the engine room, we were only a few points adrift of first and second.
The one person we did have from the previous week’s six stage team was our talisman John Gilbert. It undoubtedly gives supporters and fellow runners a boost when John’s in the line- up. He’s had to endure a difficult few months battling with injury. But when John’s on the start line you know he’s always going to give it his all. In Saturday’s race, despite not being race sharp, it was great to see John adopting his familiar tactics of pushing the pace and testing everybody right from the off. At the bottom of the hill near the end of the first lap John was leading but he had the company of an impressive group of runners. They included Surrey League legend, Paskar Owor, and fellow Belgrave international Nick Goolab. Despite a nasty fall, Goolab showed his class and went on to the win the race. Although race rusty, John held things together well and finished a very creditable fourth. Our next runner home, Dame Dibaba, was making his Surrey League debut – and what a debut it was! Dame was not far outside the top ten, coming in (13th). He’s is a familiar figure at the Hillyfields Parkrun where I think it likely he’s clocked up more wins than anybody. He’s also perhaps become well known for his boldness in mixing it with the top guys at the beginning of races. In previous races where we’ve seen these tactics employed he’s sometimes slipped back a fair way down the field. However, in this race this wasn’t the case. I had him around tenth near the end of the first lap and although he lost a little ground, it was only around three places. Dame was closely followed in by Gareth Anderson who was to finish (15th). Gareth is another who has had a challenging time with injuries over the last 18 months. However, I noted that Gareth has been in good form on the roads lately, and he clearly carried that form into this race. Our fourth scorer, Pete Lighting(25th), is also someone who’s been in excellent form on the roads lately. Next in was our man of the series last season, Neil Phillips. Neil, (33rd) has been a bit below par lately, but this Surrey League race perhaps indicates he’s back on track. Neil was closely followed by Rob Laing (37th) who ran a very impressive Berlin Marathon a couple of weeks back. Making up the scoring ten were Adrian Lowther (40th), Phil Sanders (46th) Dan Pettitt (48th) and Daniel Ansell (57th). It was really encouraging that Dan Pettitt who is new to the club was inside fifty in his first Surrey League race. Dan’s not long finished university and so is considerably younger than the majority of our scorers. While they are running incredibly well, I hope the guys won’t mind me saying they’re not in the first flush of youth. An injection of young blood has got to be welcome. And hopefully for the rest of the season Dan will be joined by the even younger, Noah Armitage -Hookes. Finally, it was good to see Lee Haze back in our colours. Lee’s been a member for quite a while. He was with us on the journey through the divisions, but for a period he’d disappeared. Anyway, he made a very respectable return and it was good to see him back.
1.Thames H&H 309, 2. Hercules W 316 3. Kent AC 318
WOMEN’S SURREY CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE, DIV 1, MATCH 1, REIGATE 14 OCT 2017
EXCELLENT PACKING SEES TEAM SECURE SIXTH PLACE IN OPENING SURREY LEAGUE RACE
Unusually, this first fixture in the Surrey League had the women’s team running at the same venue as the men’s – Reigate Priory, Surrey. This rarely happens so it was a shame that the lengthy gap between races meant little opportunity for the teams to get together.
As the men arrived, one straggler from the women’s team had remained – it was Annabelle Hadlow – actually fast asleep in the club tent! We weren’t sure if she was going in for the new fashion for power napping or whether a hard week and the tough course had taken its toll.
Anyway, the race that may have done for Annabelle was really a story of excellent packing from Kent AC’s point of view. The five to score team finished in 20th, 24th, 26th, 37th and 43rd. Teresa Murphy, who’s been running so well of late, put in another strong performance – 20th in this high calibre field is good going.
Katie Rowland and Isabel Bradley also ran really well to come home in 24th and 26th respectively. Then well inside 50 were Penelope Tech-Shi and Alexa Parker. Just outside the scoring five with an impressive run was Catherine Jepchirchir-Kandie, home in 46th. With the team having five inside 50, our ‘A’ team were sixth in the match – a match in which nearly 30 teams closed in. There was even more cheer for the club in that our next five runners home meant our ‘B’ team finished in 18th position.
A glance at the full results will tell the tale of a host of fine runs from our women – including some making their Surrey League debut. And it seems that the women may have a handicap competition like their male counterparts. By the looks of it, Susie Fairbrass may have stolen a march on the rest with a run that saw her finish just outside the top hundred.
All in all, a very positive start to the new season. Sixth was good positive start, but with runners to come in, including Amy, there’s no reason to think we can’t finish higher in the remaining fixtures.
1 THH 75, 2 SLH 93, 3 CLAP C 118 6 KENT AC 150
SURREY CC LEAGUE
1st Nick Goolab BEL 26 56
4th John Gilbert 27 17
13th Dame Dibaba 28 41
15th Gareth Anderson 28 53
25th Peter Lighting 29 19
33rd Neil Phillips 29 43
37th Robert Laing 29 59
40th Adrian Lowther 30 03
46th Phil Sanders 30 19
48th Dan Pettit
57th Dan Ansell 30 49
63rd Jonathan Beatty 31 06
70th Tim Lawrence 31 23 1st KENT AC 123
74th Calum Fraser 31 35 2nd Clapham C 309
77th Chris Minns 31 37
84th Lee Haze 32 12 4th Ranelagh H 411
90th Stuart Beaney 32 19 5th Hercules W 433
91st Ben Cook 32 22
92nd Ian Ellwood 32 24
112th Jules Gevers 33 10 8th Reigate P 680
123rd Tom Muddiman 34 09 9th Belgrave H 759.5
142nd Luke Armitage 35 23 187th Neil Gordon-Orr 40 10 197 finishers
145th Adam Garcia 35 36 191st Alan Curtis 43 10
160th Adrian Dracup 36 15 192nd Ian Wood 45 23
178th Paul Crompton 38 21 196th Ted Hadlow 52 07