Southern Road Relays, Crystal Palace, September 22nd
Our senior teams perform well while our V40 men just keep on winning
Kent AC were very well represented at this year’s South of England relays. Not only did we have a very strong senior men’s team, we also had B, C and D teams demonstrating the depth we now possess at the club. We had a senior women’s team and a B team while we also had nearly a full complement in the Vets races. In addition, a very pleasing aspect this year was that the club fielded two promising Junior boys’ teams.
Our senior men’s team although without Alex Yee had a look of quality about it – one we hoped would be challenging at the sharp end. They acquitted themselves really well with a seventh-place finish. But it was surely a measure if the strength of the field that there were six clubs ahead of us – albeit Hercules Wimbledon were ahead of us by the slimmest of margins following a titanic struggle at the finish. After Chris Greenwood had taken on a familiar role for him of first leg runner and steering us home in eighteenth, Owen Hind then blitzed round the course with one of the fastest times of the day and brought us up to ninth. There was a bit of fluctuation but when Jordan Weaver took over on the last leg, we were in ninth. He made up considerable ground passing two. Then as he came on to the track at the finish, he pulled out all the stops to try and get passed Hercules Wimbledon’s last man. He failed but it was a glorious failure! Perhaps the exciting finish was a foretaste of the contest we hope to be having with Hercules in the fast approaching Surrey League. And on that note, it was interesting to see that our respective B teams were like the A teams- separated at the finish by the narrowest of margins. Except we just edged out their B team. The B team finished an excellent twenty second – a position that meant that they comfortably qualified for the National Relays. The winners of the race were an impressive young Aldershot outfit while Serpentine were second.
Emphasising our strength in depth, our C team came 37th and our D team 44th of the 74 that closed in. A glance at the full results will show that there were some very encouraging runs from runners in our C and D teams.
Our senior women comfortably made it into the top twenty (17th) that saw fifty -five clubs close in. On the hotly contested first leg Katy Rowland ran well and brought us home in fourteenth which was to be our highest position. On the fourth leg Alexa Parker’s quick run saw her take two to see us finish in 17th. Our B team were a creditable forty seventh. Our strength in the W40 section was highlighted by a tremendous display from our women that saw them secure silver medals behind Arena 80 AC – a formidable team containing GB international Caroline Hoyte. Our medal winners, Victoria Buck, Ali Farrell, Dee O’Brien and Jen Smith were a model of consistency – all running very similar quick times. It was a shame circumstances dictated that our W50’s couldn’t race as they undoubtedly would have been in the medal frame.
We had a lot to enthuse about on the day but perhaps pride of place should go to our V40 men for continuing their amazing streak of winning this event – this was their sixth in a row. The personnel may change but they just keep on winning. Mind you, looking at the records it seems they still need one more to equal Herne Hill’s run. But with the strength we have in this division – equalling and going one better is surely not beyond them. There were two newcomers to the team this year Neil Phillips who ran a fine opening leg and Jonathan Beaty on the second leg. Legs three and four were taken care of by Rob Laing and Chris Greenwood who of course had run the opening leg for the senior men. Although Chris had run 17:11 on the opening leg in the senior event he still managed to record the fastest vets time of the day of 18:04.
The 50’s race was certainly of a high standard this year. The medal winning teams contained some very quick runners. Even our friends from Herne Hill who are usually so strong in these events didn’t figure in the medals. Our quartet were fourteenth. They all ran solid legs and I believe were faster than last year’s team. However, the competition was very stiff. Unfortunately, the after effects of a virus meant your correspondent was even slower on the opening leg for the 60’s than anticipated. Although my three colleagues all ran more than respectably, they’d been left with a bit too much to do. However, I have little doubt that they will be challenging for a team medal at the Kent Vets later this year.
All in all, another very good day for the club. A strong showing from our men’s senior team, accompanied by a B, C and D teams doing well. A top twenty finish for our women, silver medals for our W40 women and of course an incredible sixth win in a row for our V40 men.
Full results are on seaa.org.uk B