What a difference a year makes - last year sunny and 25 degrees, this year wet and about 12 degrees. Whatever the weather, this seems to make no difference to our runners.
We had team wins in the Under 13 Girls and Junior Men whilst the U13 Boys placed 3rd and there was an improved result for our Junior Women who were 4th. On the individual front there were wins for Abigail Reid (Under 13 Girls)and Ben Sloan (Under 17 Men), whilst Tilly Major (Under 13 Girls, Jimmy Geller (Under 15 Boys) and Kezia Beeton (Under 15 Girls) all placed 2nd, and Danny Raymond (Under 15 Boys)and Miya Maeda (Under 15 Girls) placed 3rd.
Racing to victory: Ben Sloan (photo: Sally Chapman)
Under 13 Girls
While Abigail (4344) surged to victory, Tilly beat the Hillingdon athlete by 8" in the end (photos: Sally Chapman)
Abigail Reid and Tilly Major started out quickly on the wet 1500m circuit and at the end of the first lap they had Hillingdon's Abdirahman for company. Going into the second lap Abigail pulled away to take 20 seconds off the course record that dated from 2014. Tilly, too, finished strongly and was also inside the old record - superb running from both girls. Moving up from the Under 11s, Molly Sherrin had an excellent run for 6th with Rosemary Kelly not far behind in 8th place. Talented footballer Amana Oguntuga, also moving up from the Under 11s, placed 15th - a good run. Sprinter Lexie Gibran should be praised by turning out for us and finishing 28th. Emily Millward, Maya McNelis and Megan Wright all did well for 32nd, 43rd and 45th. Team-wise we are 30 points up on VPH and hopefully we will have Emily Caton (unwell) and Isabella Worwood (family commitment) for our next fixture. There were around 55 starters.
Under 13 Boys
This was another tremendous effort from the lads, as all but one are new to this league. They are all improving and although, team-wise, Shaftesbury are well clear in this age group, we were only 10 points behind London Heathside who were 2nd.
7" separated Nate (5265) and Oscar at the finish line
At the end of the first circuit our four scoring boys were between 16th and 20th but all ran with belief on the second circuit, with Nate Harding placing an excellent 10th. Close at hand was Oscar Farthing with 13th, with Gregor Samson just behind in 16th. Godwinner Nkebani closed the team in 19th place. The other two lads, James Milne 29th and Harry Wood 41st, should also be complimented. There were around 60 starters.
This race combines U15 and U17 girls for which we had five runners, and the team finished 4th, which is an improvement on this time last year.
Under 15 Girls
Having moved up from the Under 13 Girls, Kezia Beeton had a brilliant run to place 2nd (6th overall), just 6 seconds behind McGovern from Hillingdon. Her training partner Miya Maeda also ran really well for 3rd (9th overall). In her first Met League race Olivia Howe stuck to her task in good style to finish 23rd.
Under 17 Women
Wren McLean Jackson 17th and Ellen Savidge 18th - 2 good runs from our girls who train and socialise together, and our task is to keep these two happy and valued. I am very proud of them both.
Again, this covers both the U15s and U17s, and after this race we hold an 8-point lead over the powerful Shaftesbury squad, who I am sure will push us all the way this season.
Under 17 Men
Ben Sloan took the lead early on and showed great confidence and belief to secure his first Met League victory - a superb effort. His twin brother Sam was not that far behind with an excellent 6th place. New lad Joel Doye had a super run for 11th with Kieran Allgood, now in the 6th form, having a fine run off reduced training for 15th. Amother 6th former, Rhys Edwards, should be pleased with 16th and 800 metre man Sidnie Ward was 17th. What is noticeable is that all the lads ran 30/40 seconds quicker than ever before. Huge praise must be given to a top clubman, Fred Taylor, in 53rd spot.
Under 15 Boys
There was another big field of 60 runners for this age group. First home and, like Kezia Beeton, moving up from the Under 13 Boys, Jimmy Geller had a fine run for 2nd place - less than ten seconds down on Greenstein from Shaftesbury. Danny Raymond was next home in 3rd place and, although he found the course tough, he stuck to his forward position in fine style. In 5th spot, and in my eyes the run of the day, was Evan Johnson, who would have pleased the Hertfordshire selectors. Reuben Fabian, who has recently joined the Sunday morning Trent Park sessions run by Richard Thurston, seems to have already got some benefit from this - he was 13th. Luca Gormley, who is a very talented hockey player, placed 15th. Next home, recovering from injury, was new recruit Liam Short in 16th - a fine run from the lad. Sid Cody, another to move up from the Under 13s, was a highly commendable 20th. Max Richards, Jay Russell and Chris Richardson, all producing great results in our local schools races, were 32nd, 42nd and 37th respectively. Ronan Edwards, wisely enjoying other sports, placed 43rd. Let's give praise to our final scorer in his first ever race for us in 50th - Luke Potts.
So overall we have an 8-point lead in the Howard Williams trophy, with Shaftesbury and VPH in 2nd and 3rd. Our turnout in total, including the U11s, was 70+ and this number seems to increase year by year.
I must thank Joe Everitt and the team managers who gave out all the numbers. The support from parents in all six races was fantastic and a joy to see.