Saturday 10th December 2022.
As the temperatures dropped as much as the HHH entries to this race did, our persistent and intrepid athletes made sure the quality and results upheld our strong performance tradition at these Southern Area Cross Country Championships. Of the nine racing athletes a grand total of five took home individual age group medals, and the M50 team doubled up to take home gold team medals, too!
Pride of place must go to mother of two Gaby Reynolds, travelling with the family to the race, hampered by a child based delay leaving home, hitting traffic on the way and arriving literally a minute before the (fortunately) delayed start of her race. It couldn’t get any more dramatic! Gaby probably started off on the adrenelin rush just needed just to get to the start line. Working at the front throughout her 6km race, that adrenelin rush was probably topped up a couple of times as the route marshalls sent the leaders the wrong way twice. Neither Gaby’s lack of warm up and her superb sub 80 minute half marathon of the previous weekend would have been conducive to the sprint for overall victory, so her marvelous silver medal for this technically challenging course is the star HHH performance of the day, though why we have so few women racing here remains a continuing enigma, which needs resolving. Great running from our top performing veteran lass, congratulations, Gaby.
The final veteran men’s race, with several inter-county championships races run in between the veteran women’s and men’s races, did not disappoint for HHH, and kept up the standards of previous performances here at Horspath.
For the final race of the day, the crisp and chilly morning had barely warmed by the hard working sun, which eventually appeared from the early fogs, yet was too low in the (now) blue sky to effect little more than cast shadows on the long woody climb to the equally frozen ridge on the two lap men’s route totalling 9.6km in distance. The course then descended into steep yet softer grassy slopes which were inclined towards the afternoon sun, and thus actually ‘took’ a spike readily. The muddy, root-ridden meander through the woods was completed by flat fields and a pair of ditches, gratefully empty of stream water. Indeed, a proper cross country course!
Ben Paviour and Simon Coombes, both in their new M50 category excelled from the start; challenging and defeating all but a mere handful of M40 runners. Ben, easily 1st M50 at 34m 39s (5th overall, and clearly over his C-19 sickness spell) with Simon in an equally dominating 2nd in 35m 18s.
Ollie Morrison (7th M45, 38m 26s) demonstrated his returning fitness followed in by Joffah Ratcliffe (2nd M55 39m 24s) making up a triumphant M50 team trio, deservedly earning a welcome team gold for our M50 squad. Closely behind followed M45 Jon Key (40m 5s) and M40 Ian Jacks (42m 58s) successfully closing in an M40 team in 8th place which we need to do to keep our high profile at top veteran championships, well done!
Further down the results, but with equal effort and determination, Richard Stansfield maintained his joy for racing in fine fettle closing out at 8th M55 (46m 6s). And closing out, yet still medalling in M65 3rd place was Vets Team Manager Waldy Pauzers (3rd, 48m 48s) starting to get his racing legs into action with his latest start to the cross country season for more than 20 years!
Lacking in quantity, but more than made up by quality, we still deserve a little acknowledgement as a top veterans club. Five from nine participating athletes earned individual medals, two teams closed out with a glorious team first for the top M50 men’s team.
Returning, by the now ‘Oxford regular’ Blenheim pub we strengthened squad morale before we took off to Paddington to watch the England – France world cup football quarter final, of which we will not say any more. But HHH still put their mark onto these top championships for yet another year. Congratulations to all who took part and made the effort, we all found it more than worthwhile. Why not come and join us?. …
Next HHH vets race: Vets AC XC Champs, 21st January 2023, Wimbledon Common. 8km 2-lap course all run together. Enter individually and let them know you are running for HHH. Team and individual medals up for grabs. Good recuperative hostelries nearby and easy to get home!
HHH Veterans Team Manager,
Full SEAA Vets Results here: