South of the Thames team race, Morden Park, Nov 24- 2018
Kent AC men are second team but women just miss out on third
Kent AC’s men and men and women journeyed to the end of the Northern Line to Morden on Saturday to compete in the South of the Thames five mile team race. This fixture is always an enjoyable one as it sees our men and women running in the same race together.
Within the race there are sperate men’s and women’s races and there was success again for our men as they claimed second team spot. The race, which used to be known as the South of the Thames Junior race, has a considerable history to it. For much of its history, including the days when the Kent AC old guard were in their prime, the race had barring clauses. It meant if you had finished at a high level in certain races, or you finished high up one year in the actual race, you couldn’t take part subsequently. The format was altered some while back and the change that saw men and women running together came about in 2001. Unfortunately this year our women missed out on taking third place in their race by the narrowest of margins – just one point separated them from South London who took third place. Similarly, Katy Rowlands, just missed out on a medal coming home fourth. However, it was another race where Katy showed her undoubted potential. She wasn’t afraid to go out hard and for the first lap she was in touch with the eventual race winner. Whilst she dropped back a bit it was still a very strong run for someone relatively new to competition.
Although there were several of the regular Surrey League men missing, we nevertheless looked as though we had the makings of a decent team in the four to score – and so it proved. Our team of Jordan Weaver (7th), Ben Harding (12th), Dame Dibaba (13th) and Dave Morgan (18th) got the better of some pretty decent teams. They packed well but couldn’t match a Guildford team who are definitely on the up. The comfortable winner of the race was Belgrave’s Phil Wicks. Our guys were initially just a little way off a group that was forlornly chasing Wicks. However, they moved up places on the final lap – all managing strong finishes.
The most notable finish being Jordan’s. He really blitzed it over the last three hundred meters, passing a couple who tried to respond, but were unable to resist his charge. If the team competition had extended to eight to score, it would have been interesting as I think here, we would have come out on top.
Our next four men home were Pete Lighting (25th), followed closely by Calum Fraser (26th), Neil Phillips(43rd) and close up, Lee Haze(44th). It was an encouraging run from Lee, as it was for Ben McGeown who managed a top fifty finish coming home (47th) In total I believe we had 16 men compete which wasn’t a bad turn out when you consider the number of fixtures coming up.
As mentioned, our women came tantalizingly close to the third place medals. After Katy’s fine fourth place in the race, our next three scorers that saw us come so close were: Georgina Wiley (12th), Eliza Grant (23rd) and Claire Sutton (26th). In addition, we had also had a ‘B’ team who were eighth team. Sarah Dowling was (31st) then came Zuzana Nemekova (36th) followed by Susie Fairbrass (49th) and Sarah Young (53rd). A very encouraging performance – especially when you consider this was achieved without some of our women who are normally at the sharp end of proceedings.
Finally, if you didn’t like the course, or the venue, as your report author, Andy Gardiner, I have to own up. It seems I had a small part to play in its choice. I’d mentioned to Dennis Williams from Hercules Wimbledon that I often ambled round the park and thought it had possibilities in terms of a course. Dennis beavered away and found that decades ago it had regularly seen races put on. He then did the necessary leg work to get the race on. I’d say that Dennis deserves a pat on the back. The undulating park land made for a very decent new, or perhaps not so new venue.
- Guildford &G 33; 2. Kent 50; Belgrave 54; 4 Herne Hill 61; Hercules W 87
- Belgrave 35; Dulwich 39; S.London 63; Kent 64