Another solid display by the HHH veterans but the star of the show was M55 racer Tom Conlon. Running in a depleted M55 team, which if it had been supported by missing athletes was sure to win medals. Tom took over from President Valdis Pauzers’ hard worked effort (20-58) in blustery winds and the first leg of three for M55 teams. Tom (17-03) took sixteen places (!) over the complex three mile lap to hand over to Tony Harran and posted a superb third fastest M55 time of the day. Tony showed is he is returning to the racing levels he is more familiar on the final leg (19-43) to bring the team home at a creditable 11th place in the prestigious National club relay championships.
The blustery winds promised rain, there had been drizzle and rain but there was a full orchestra of conditions throughout the M35/M45 relay at 14:00hrs, excepting sunshine, of course! For difficult personal circumstances our M45 team was depleted to only two legs but the quality of first leg Fergus Power crossing the line in 15th place (17-01) in his first serious race for 15 months was excellent. Andy Simms, recovering from London Marathon trauma and niggles (20-03), remained determined and enthusiastic. Both these newcomers to this event were attracted by the friendly, but serious, competitiveness of this event, let alone the camaraderie of their fellow clubmates. Both are determined to run next year and do better, true athletes they are.
Meanwhile, in the M35 team, expert first leg relay racer Simon Coombes showed his quality and consistency by returning home in the continuing wind (one place better than last year) in 5th (15-31) and was in the mix of the keen sprint to finish off the first leg. A very welcome return of Liam O’Flaherty (who rejoined HHH last year, from when Liam was a top quality contemporary of Tom Conlon, Dave Glassborow, Geoff Jerwood et al in the 80’s, despite the fact Liam now lives 160 miles from our home track! A real one club man.) saw him take the second leg in a highly competitive situation. The baptism of fire, in such an intensively fought veteran’s championship cumulated in a highly creditable first showing for this second leg at 18-46. Deron Fagan took on the mantle. Deron’s (16-59) determined running improved our standing by four places, as the blustery winds calmed but were replaced by drizzle. Dave Adam, our Scottish veteran international was off on the 4th leg. The drizzle became proper rain, the wind was less but such conditions were of not concern to our Dave. Taking a further two places, but personally disappointed with his very sound 17-34 leg, was a reflection of his keen competitive spirit. Fortunately, leg five was taken by ex-triathlete Dan Hallam as now the heavens really opened and maybe he swam a few puddles straddling the whole road of the course on this leg! Dan, the drowned rat, was not put off, storming home in 17-19 finishing with the speed he has been working on for his track season. Ben Paviour, another class act with family commitments limiting racing opportunities, was down to close out the team. Burning through another three places and having made all the practical positional team improvement, three places, Ben coasted home over the last half mile in a solid 11th place (and 16-23). As Ben himself said, ‘We can do a lot better but the most important thing is to be there and be seen to compete.’ Despite a few missing, we tick the boxes there. Thanks to all, we have the potential in all age groups. Now, medals in all three M35, M45, M55 is there on paper with abundance. Grasp the nettle, lads, that would be one hell of an achievement !
And finally, though only momentarily, the sun came out.
HHH Veterans team Manager.