The second fixture of the Met League is usually the one where it begins to feel like the winter season. Arriving at Stanborough Park at the start of the day, despite the stunning colours of the autumn trees, and the odd puddle after Friday’s rain, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was late September, such was the sunshine and warmth. So up went the flag, and down went our bags on the groundsheet-less grass. What could possibly go wrong?
This is always a busy fixture as the numbers are swelled by runners from Cambridge. 266 women finished on Saturday and, encouragingly, eight of them were from WGEL, equalling our Claybury squad. With five to score in the second division that’s an A team and three fifths of a B. The addition of Suzanne Phillips, poorly with a chest infection, would have been the icing on the cake, but we’re more than happy to bank her strength for the hard winter yards to come. Two and a bit laps of an undulating, winding and very cambered open course, mainly dry with a few greasy parts after the overnight rain, with a few refreshing spots beginning to fall.
Results (scroll down and across)
First home, by this time in the heavy rain, was Alicia McArdell (60) but with fifteen non-scoring Cambridge runners ahead of her, worth 45th for points and a huge improvement on her fourth scoring 75th place at Claybury. She was followed closely by the ever strong Rachel Lund (63) (48th for points) back for the season and perhaps the better for a bit of altitude after climbing Kilimanjaro last month. Rachel was followed by fellow strength-junkie V35 Zoe Watson (83) (64), dropping thirteen places from her excellent Claybury outing, by her own admission the price of a quick start, but doubtless the effect of carrying a niggle having squeezed in the Chelmsford marathon between fixtures. On the heels of Zoe came Becs Wilby (86) (67), six places up on her Claybury debut and doubtless with more to come. Closing for the green and whites, having caught Jenny Thomas in the home straight, was Kate Stockings (152) (126), in her second race of the week and making a welcome return for the season.
Pushed into the B team in the closing yards was V50 Jenny Thomas (154) (128) thirteen places back from Claybury and vowing to get more hill sessions into her legs. She was followed by V50 Alex Wardle (166) (138), edging one place higher than fixture one and the stronger for a summer of consistent training. Closing for the Woodies, now in torrential rain, V50 Susan Edwards (219) (189). still moving very tentatively in the hope of avoiding surgery, was clearly doing something right after a performance thirty places higher than last time.
We finished in third place in the B Division and moved up to a promising third place overall, 39 places behind Vicky Park B and 74 behind leaders Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers. With promotion potentially in our sights we look forward to being able to show our true strength as the winter kicks in.