What a day! Beginning with the feeling of misery that from almost 30 runners we did not expect to get ten to score to make up two complete relay teams, let alone an anticipated three or four. Yet, there was a silver lining for the M55 team at a National Championship whilst we eventually contrived to close out a 6-man M35 team with two athletes who had ran the debilitating London marathon six days previously and two 64 year olds, one of whom who had only turned up to spectate!
The cold, cloudy, occasionally drizzly day was a test for spectating but no problem for racing over the ‘short lap course’ for the National senior 12 stage relays at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield. The HHH 55 year old men took to racing at 12:25hrs precisely, as the ladies event came to a close. Our first leg was ably covered by Vic Maughn who demonstrated his old zest and determination after almost 3 years out of serious competition and having limped home in this very same relay 3 years ago. Micky Boyle, took the storming second leg so consistently despite this being another comeback to racing. Such is the nature of veterans competition! Mike had moved up the field to set Gary Ironmonger up to start the 3rd and final leg in 3rd place. Diligent work got Gary to second after the tough uphill first mile of the 3 mile plus course. Gary’s racing instinct fought to close the gap on the remaining man in front, Andy Tyndall of SLH. Gary’s early zealous pace may not have assisted his overall time but Gary was in no mood to race without a serious challenge to win the race. Gary eventually ended up with the 2nd fastest lap time of the race to Andy Tyndall himself. But after his victory even Andy Tyndall himself admitted he raced on the adrenalin brought upon him for fear of knowing it was Gary at his heels. Both athletes are real class acts in this age group.
In all veterans categories HHH could battle with the best of Britain but other commitments, injuries, London marathon fatigue, recent senior 12-stage late call-ups on the same course earlier and even an SAL T&F match the same day all conspired to limit athletes’ availability. We lost at least 17 potential athletes to compete for us here today. Team manager Valdis Pauzers was initially somewhat dejected by being unable to contrive any further complete teams at M35 or M45. But as we entered Sutton Park for the race Nigel Goodwin unwittingly greeted us and had arrived to spectate. Within ten minutes that incomplete M35 team was now complete. We had coerced the now bemused 64 year old Nigel to run with borrowed kit and running shoes. Well done Nigel!
I cannot but praise the exemplary efforts of James Ward, Deron Fagan, Joffah Ratcliffe, Tony Harran, Valdis Pauzers and Nigel Goodwin each of whom unleashed their all, as much as had Vic, Mike and Gary previously in the M55 race. Unintendedly running in their ascending order of age and by chance in ascending order of lap times we managed to close out another HHH team, in one of the most prestigious British Masters competitions of the year. And one where our HHH profile must be ever present and ever competitive. We may have been the event’s closing out team, but yet another silver lining yielded us just reward to help ourselves to the race officials remaining sandwiches!
Above and beyond, we repaired to The Station public house at Sutton Coldfield, where we enjoyed a beer, home-made Latvian cake and companionship as we reflected on the day’s many positives. The returning train to Euston further tested our athletes’ bladder control to the limit by having all five toilets on the train to be out of service. Undeterred, team building, debate and joviality soon resumed at Victoria before we all got home on a happy a note and tired legs.
Thanks and praises to those that made it another memorable HHH veterans’ ‘grand day out’.
Waldy Pauzers. HHH Vets Team Manager.
P.S. We didn’t come last in M35, we had the 31st complete team 9 minutes behind us ! !
Edited Results:- BMAF Road Relays held at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield on Saturday 28th April 2018.
M55 Team Results:
1 South London Harriers M55 ‘A’ 55:10 1 David Ogden (2) 18:38; 2 Gordon Hennessy (1) 19:04; 3 Andy Tindall (1) 17:28
2 Herne Hill Harriers M55 55:33 1 Victor Maughn (7) 18:59; 2 Michael Boyle (3) 18:53; 3 Gary Ironmonger (2) 17:41
3 Cambuslang Harriers M55 ‘A’ 56:47 1 Frank Barton (9) 19:07; 2 Brian Hughes (2) 18:36 ; 3 Alick Walkinshaw (3) 19:04
M35 Team Results:
1 Salford Harriers & Ac M35 ‘A’ 1:39:19 1 Bruno Lima (3) 16:06 2 James Kovacs (2) 17:09 3 Chris Livesey (1) 16:23 4 Billy McCartney (1) 17:14 5 Carl Hardman (1) 15:19 6 Matthew Shaw (1) 17:08
2 Thames Hare & Hounds M35 1:42:39 1 Martin Shore (13) 16:51 2 Simon Wurr (9) 17:19 3 Charles Morris (4) 17:22 4 Phil Sly (3) 16:40 5 Nic Gould (4) 17:54 6 Phillip Tedd (2) 16:33
3 Tipton Harriers M35 ‘A’ 1:42:45 1 Stuart Hawkes (1) 15:43 2 Phillip Clamp (5) 17:56 3 Martin Williams (2) 16:08 4 Gary Whitehouse (2) 17:23 5 Paul Rogers (3) 18:47 6 Karl Welborn (3) 16:48
30 Herne Hill Harriers M35 ‘A’ 2:11:16 1 James Ward (29) 19:01; 2 Deron Fagan (26) 18:28; 3 Jonathan Ratcliffe (23) 18:53; 4 Anthony Harran (26) 21:20; 5 Valdis Pauzers (27) 23:17 ; 6 Nigel Goodwin (30) 30:17