Crystal Palace Stadium, SEAA Road Relay Championships, Sunday 24th September 2017.
A Sunny Sunday afternoon, was no time for lazing at Crystal Palace for neither athlete nor team managers. Certainly the stadium encompassing the relay start/changeover/finish had a buzz of passion and fervour after a series of young athlete and women’s relays had preceded the final attraction, a joint Senior and Veteran men’s start consisting of 136 teams (80 senior, 56 veterans).
The HHH M40 A team stormed through the pandemonium of the first leg with EuroVets double medallist Simon Coombes well into what the observant spectator could perceive as the lead confirming relay first legs as Simon’s winter speciality. Simon closed out the 2 lap course of roughly 5km per leg in 15m 45s, second fastest M40 leg of the day. Leg 2 went to John Kettle, who showed insignificant signs of rustiness from lack of racing over the summer, and stormed his leg to maintain that lead, though inroads were being made by Thames HH and Kent AC. Raj Paranandi took off for a fine and solid third leg and still held that lead, though trimmed to a handful of seconds by what was certain to be a three man final leg manhunt with our Ben Paviour being hounded down by the top Thames and Kent runners of Simon Baines and Chris Greenwood (fastest M40 of the day). Notwithstanding all Ben’s grit and willpower, an under-par Ben was overcome by the other two class athletes to close the Herne Hill’s M40 team with 3rd place bronze medals.
Concurrently, HHH M50 A kicked off with a key first stage consistent display by Keith Newton arriving to hand over at the sharp end of the M50 pack. Andy Simms worked his heart out to defend as much position as he could before handing 3rd leg to Tom Conlon. Both Tom and 4th man Gary Ironmonger made good headway and inroads back to the medal positions. A hard earned bronze was again the result for our M50’s, well done to all.
Meanwhile, HHH second teams in both M40 & M50 remained competitive and kept up the much appreciated profile of the R&B Hoops at this local venue. James Ward, Deron Fagan, Gavern Newsum and Robin Sanderson (off a 58km ultrarace win the previous day) had exemplary runs placing 15th and second M40 B team.Glen Keegan covered the first HHH M50 B team leg, to hand over to the running machine which is Joffah Ratcliffe who put in a storming run for his welcome return to R&B Hoops. Both Tony Harran and John Garber (M75) pushed on for the team with concerted efforts to close out our day of racing.
Much is good regards this venue, but so too are there failings. From the race entry, to the race results (which are still not resolved and I fear may not ever be detailed correctly), marshalling and race co-ordination this all needs serious review and upgrade! The stadium handover is a plus, if arranged properly, as are stands and the centre field.
Now we need to break for pastures new, Surrey Vets XC on 21st October (Petersham) and Southern Vets XC on 9th December at Horspath, Oxford. As a club, as a squad, as a team we will get better, so give me an early e-mail to get down onto those entry lists.
Still no formal final results, 4 days later. I know provisional results had gaps regarding individual leg times, and I suspect they will remain. (See ** times below, estimated on basis of joint 2 leg electronic timing. We even had declared team names missing completely.)
M40, 4 x 5km (approx).
1. Kent AC 1-05-12, 2. Thames H&H 1-05-43, 3. Herne Hill Harriers 1-05-51. 15. Herne Hill Harriers 1-14-20.
3rd. Simon Coombes 15-45; John Kettle 16-22; Raj Paranandi 17-15; Ben Paviour 16-29.
15th. James Ward 19-33; Deron Fagan 17-43; Gavern Newsum 18-13; Robin Sanderson 18-52.
M50, 4 x 5km (approx).
1. South London Harriers 1-11-17, 2. Hercules Wimbledon AC 1-11-37. 3. Herne Hill Harriers 1-12-35. 16. Herne Hill Harriers 1-31-35.
3rd. Keith Newton 17-37; Andy Simms 20-16; Tom Conlon **17-19; Gary Ironmonger **17-23
16th. Glen Keegan 22-01; Joffah Ratcliffe 18-41; Tony Harran 20-42; John Garber 30-11.
Valdis Pauzers. Vets team manager.