They arrived by train and car and welcomed the return of the British Masters Road Relay Championships, after C-19 postponements of the last two years, to the glorious venue of Sutton Coldfield’s Sutton Park. It seemed all the clubs were pleased to be back in some semblance of the ‘old normality’. Yet, the shadow of C-19 was still to cast its shadow over the teams performances. … .. . A chilly late morning breeze greeted the HHH veterans at Sutton Park, yet fortunately, that wind blew the dark rain clouds over beyond the venue without causing any precipitation.
The three-leg Men’s M55/M65 teams raced together and set off at 12:25 hrs by which time the blustery wind was marginally warmer, assisted runners up the early major hill climb of the considerably undulating course, yet remained disruptive to the racing overall. Keith Newton (19m19s) kicked off the HHH performance, putting in the expected solid baseline first leg closing in 9th place (whilst testing out his new ‘cheating shoes’), handing over to stand-in Waldy Pauzers since Rob Nagorski unfortunately tested positive to C-19 on the eve of the race, get well soon, Rob. ‘Overage’ replacement Waldy (23m37s) gave his usual committed performance, had a better run than he expected, but couldn’t help the team position to be anything but lower at the end of leg 2. Third and last M55 leg featured Tom Conlon, who really only wanted to be ‘here for the beer’, not having trained after a prolonged spell of injury. But Tom (22m04s) showed his natural talent (and willingness) was still unaffected to close the M55 team out in a respectable 24th from 33 teams at the national championship.
The Men’s race prelude completed, the four-leg M35/45 twin races in one event kicked off at 14:25hrs. Simon Coombes took on his usual first leg mantle. Simon avoided the over-exuberant early charge to pace himself exquisitely working through the field to an overall eighth but first M45 team runner to handover (16m50s). Second and third placed runners, Andy Haney (Chorlton Athletic) and Simon Baines (Thames Hare & Hounds), were within 7 seconds of Simon and the only M45’s under 17 minutes for the leg. Andrew Perfect led but was quickly joined by TH&H’s reputedly fastest man, Phil Tedd and Salford’s Mark Russell. The racing was fearlessly fast, the Salford man was broken at half way and Andrew slowly drew away, but (3m42s 1500m man) Tedd was having none of it and pulled into the lead with 500m to go. Andrew (16m40s) responded, got onto Tedd’s shoulder and outkicked him for a four second lead, magnificent! Handing over to our steaming Johnny Kettle (16m51s) who stretched that lead near to 20 seconds but then TH&H’s Neil Chisholm closed that HHH lead over the tricky fatiguing closing stages to 12 seconds. Ben Paviour (17m33s), final leg man for HHH took off at his usual race effort, TH&H’s Simon Wurr in hot pursuit, as was Leeds City’s Mike Burrett. The desire, heart and head was there, but after Ben’s C-19 followed by a chest infection, the legs and lungs just weren’t up to this stiffest of tests. Ben was caught by Wurr after a mile and struggled to respond beyond hanging on in for a while, further depleting his power output.. A great effort from Ben (17-33), and still Fabulous National Silver medals and a 2nd place will go down to HHH in the record books. Well done team !
And to cap it all that fascinating and uncompromising 2nd leg battle between our Andrew Perfect and TH&H’s Phil Tedd (16m37s) produced the fastest and 2nd fastest M45 individual leg times of the day, earning Andrew (16m40s) a superb second individual place silver medal. Well done, Andrew.. . So that makes 2nd to the power of three for Andrew, 2nd leg, 2nd fastest and 2nd team. Tedd got the fastest leg, by three seconds, and 1st team whilst Leeds City’s Burrett got 3rd team and 3rd fastest leg medals on the 3rd leg. … Perhaps we’ll put Andrew on first leg next year and see if he can repeat to triplicate that number one, too. …
The Railway (pub) beer garden and the late afternoon sun, tempered our assessment of the day’s racing before we caught trains and travelled homewards. But, we can assure you another epic day of HHH veteran’s race and travel had just taken place. Well done to the All who made it another Grand Day.
HHH Veterans Team Manager,