First of all, apologies for lack of recent race reports but one way and another I have been hors de combat and the cub reporters I assigned to the job have not filed!
In headline terms, the season must be counted a disappointment. As reigning male champs we slipped to 4th behind Maldwyn, Wye Valley and Croft while once again we could not raise a female team to register in the Series.
On the men’s side we were obviously disadvantaged by the unavailability for most of the season of key performers, Eliot, Charlie, Rich, Tim and Mike all capable of worrying the top boys. But there were many positives to build on with the summer season in mind: above all the wonderful renaissance of Matt, taking 2nd Senior in the Series behind the redoubtable former fell race champ, Tim Davies, becoming County Cross Country Champion and winning one of the fixtures, a great effort with tooth marks in his vest to prove it!
It was also fantastic to welcome marathon man Tom Grady to the winter scene and what a welcome it was at Monkhall! Tom raced strongly in the last two fixtures, making the top 10 even when not at full fitness. Among our strong vets contingent, Russ had a superlative year, mostly making the top 10 and absolutely dominating his V45 category even though he is nearer 50! He has shown huge dedication to recapture some of the fluency of his golden youth and I hope his recent article for the blog will be an inspiration to others. Another athlete who was a mainstay of the team a few years’ back Is Dave who even now in his fifties was a regular member of the scoring 4 and despite not perhaps being at full fitness still managed to carry off the V50 Series prize. In the V60’s we are used to Geoff leading the way and his single-minded pursuit of the Series goal led to yet another gold with some excellent performances along the way though not at Monkhall where he had a bit of trouble pulling his size 12’s out of the mud.
In the women’s series, the V50 competition was of a remarkable standard with Sue Davies, new to the age group taking top honours always finishing high up the field but with a battle royal behind her between two Couriers, Ali and Tracy, with Ali just snatching the silver leaving Tracy in bronze despite a brave effort in the final race where she was close on Sue’s heels. What role models these two Couriers are for our younger women!
In the County Championship we took 2nd Vets team, with Russ, Dave and Kev covering themselves in mud and glory. These three runners completed all five races as did Neil who had a Series-long battle with Kev for the Peterchurch championship, winning out in the end, 3-2, despite Kev taking the County medal.
Results for the Woodford Green Cup and John Norton Trophy competitions are listed below. These are awarded for merit and consistency across the season, 20 points, 19 and so on down available each race in the men’s comp and 10, 9 etc in the women’s. Cups and medals to be presented at the AGM 28/2/16.
Woodford Green Cup
1. Matt James 99
2. Russ James 93
3. Dave Williams 85
John Norton Trophy
1. Tracy Miles 46
2. Ali Cooke 38
3. Sam Jones 15
Well done all and every runner who managed to get round the tough Hereford Courses. Not all can!
Thanks, as ever, to Clive and Mike for orchestrating and managing this great league, popular across two nations and you can’t say that about many local leagues!
Onwards then, the Hammer, next Sat, the 5K Series and the summer league and there may be a couple of races in London and Cardiff that some Couriers are doing. Good luck, all!