After consistent daily rain over the previous week, we had a wet, partly waterlogged course and, yet, thankfully, a rainless race day centred around Merton Park’s bandstand, this Saturday 19th October 2019.
Races kicked off at 2:00 o’clock with the Women and M60 plus men taking on two laps of this new venue and course for the Surrey Vets Championships. A fast start never really calmed itself, wet grass, mud, puddles and mounds were a fine reintroduction to a proper cross country course which also included climbs, twist and turns throughout the quoted 3.1km lap. A proper XC test quite unrelated to road and track. Furious it was and the rejuvenated Mary Setyabule settled in after 2km taking HHH honours to lead all the way home from there (W50, 6th) closely followed by Jess Winfield who was trying to pace her efforts following Mary but not quite able to surpass Mary (W35 8th). Waldy Pauzers had to give way to the superior effort and preparation of these young ladies to run in 8th M65, claiming he was training through the race to gain eventual fitness (excuses). Sam Whiting had been chasing him down but couldn’t sustain the ‘sprint’ to the finishing line coming in close behind (W40 13th). Rebecca Barrow, who a year ago had surpassed all those previously mentioned came in at W45 11th and will surely get back to fitness and racing better soon. Sarah Allen W55 worked hard and diligently clocking 7th W55 to complete the women and the women’s W45 team scoring 5th overall. Closing out our race was our ‘reborn runner’ Phil Parish, an ex club president from more than 20 years ago. Now living near Bristol but still carrying the Red & Black blood. Welcome back, a good start for 2 months training closing out 14th M65 on his grand HHH comeback!
Following, the M40 and M50 race got off the mark. Similarly taken on at a frantic pace from the start. Over the first testing lap where Ben Paviour was prominent, though (ex-HHH) Kevin Quinn, on his debut to M40 Vets racing was far ahead and racing resplendently for SLH. Kevin raced on home alone ever expanding his lead resplendently and consistently throughout the 3 laps totalling 9.3 kms. Ben pushed and split from the leading pack with Epsom’s Steve Winder who eventually overpowered Ben who consequently finished second M45 taking home a fine silver medal and third runner overall in the race. The inveterate competitor Gary Ironmonger possibly conceded some net finishing time by trying to follow Guildford’s birthday boy (M50) Terry Booth, one of Gary’s race equals and companions when he is fit. Gary still came home with an M55 silver and confirmed he is on his way back to full fitness. James Ward diligently put his shift in to (M40 14th) whilst Duncan Rimmer (M40 18th) was outpaced by a rejuvenated Tony Harran (M55 10th) to the finishing line. However, Duncan did close out our M40 scoring team in 5th place. Deron Fagan valiantly continued and completed despite succumbing to an old injury he had hoped he had overcome. A rejuvenated Marcelo De Santos (M45 23rd) and Ian Strong (M55 19th closing out the M50 team at 6th) were more than welcome squad members in a somewhat depleted veterans group.
Sensibly the ladies went for recovery tea locally at the nearby leisure centre whilst the men had a ‘proper’ debrief at The Trafalgar, South Wimbledon an old time favourite in HHH’s heyday of local success. Hopefully the recollection will rub off on us this season.
Roll on Horspath, Oxford on December 7th. Let’s get the right showing (men and women) to state our quality in the South of England Veterans Championships where we have so often made great account of ourselves (and had a great day out).
Vets Team Manager.