On a Cold and Frosty Day, HHH had M45 1st and 2nd, but (disappointingly) no team medals at South of England Vets XC, Horspath, 09-12-2017.

                                         Yes, we were back at Horspath, with the Inter-Counties women and Youngsters being a backdrop to our Veterans Regional Championships !
The brisk dry climate, enmeshed with a cold winter’s sun made this a day to keep warm and active and active we did resoundingly for a great club showing despite five call-offs from the M50’s and four from the M40’s. We almost surprised our opponents that we did not manage a team medal, considering we made such a sound win of M40 and M50 team gold medals last year. Yet, despite no current definitive M40 results we can confirm fantastic individual Gold and Silver medals for HHH star M45’s of Ben Paviour and Simon Coombes. Simon made every effort to stay ahead and get a gap away from Ben, where in the last run in Ben had timed his strategy perfectly to make Simon’s potential gold a silver, both being M45’s in the latter half of this year.
On the ever positive, HHH were still represented by 12 men. (And despite this being a men’s report we have to give credit and record of Helen Hadjam who had the courage to make a regional championship alone whilst other demurred to take an easier road. Helen was credited by a resounding run to come 6th in the W40 category and looked magnificent in her chase to the line, a welcome sight.)
The 11:00 o’clock M50/M60 start left the ground quite solid with just a little give on the topsoil where the frost had begun to melt and it directly saw the low set sun. Gary Ironmonger, on the rarest of offdays was 6th M55 but happily Joffah Ratcliffe storming through to follow Gary home having a sound and solid run on terrain and distance a little too easy for his talents. Vic Maughn closed the M50 team disappointed but this was his first proper race after 2 years of injury including surgery; he should be proud to have got in there and forced a performance we could not have expected more. Racing will bring on the progress for which Victor so enthusiastically craves. Andy Simms continues his progress and experience of these top class events, which in the M60’s Valdis Pauzers was happy with his performance after a 4 month layoff, and ably covered by Nigel Goodwin putting in the will and effort to make the race despite now working in Birmingham. A creditable, but disappointing 6th for the M50 team, but we shall definitely expect improvement next year provided we have healthy fit athletes.
Well done to local rivals TH&H who surpassed us to win the M50 team event and our 2nd claim member Andy Weir who hit the headlines with a fantastic win and now back to his expected racing proficiency.
Meantime we had  several Inter-Counties races before we reached the 14:10hrs highly competitive M40 race within which we also had five missing competitive athletes. Final results not confirmed for some reason, but as we currently understand: We saw a magnificent win from former 2nd claimer (TVH) and still close club compatriot Chris Smith. Then we saw that battle for HHH supremacy between Ben and Simon earning themselves 1st and 2nd M45 medals (overall 8th & 9th). We were followed to close in a team with Deron Fagan (back from injury) closing a sound and intelligent race in 38th place closely and just behind another vet star on an injury comeback, Robin Jones. Trevor Chilton earnestly made his way htrough the pack to have one of his best XC races to date, whilst closing us out was James Ward who endeavoured valiantly whilst not reflecting his best days of racing. Though we must realise, the all entries to the event are runners of quality, which is exactly why we need to show the RnB Hoops at such quality meetings. We can and will compete with the best.
A sound, though cold, HHH vets day was completed by a good ten of us warming down in a public house in Streatham, to save the drivers the frustration of having to behave for the team respective and bonding. An integral part of our veteran events.
Up the Hill.
Valdis Pauzers,
HHH Vets team manager.

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