South of England M50 Gold; A team member’s perspective

Rushmoor Arena has become a mecca for top level distance running alongside Sutton Park which hosts the national road relays.  If you have not run there (and that probably applies to an increasing % of our senior athletes), get there whilst you’re still running and enjoy the experience of racing over tarmac that many of our greats have mastered.  All races over the weekend of 20/21 September featured UK lead athletes, and there were a good number of athletes running for their clubs who have contested the Olympics and other major World and European championships.

Whilst the achievements of our own vets team are modest compared to many who grace the circuit, it was great to reassemble some of our guys who had graced Rushmoor and other stages as V40s in the red and black, considerably strengthened by HHH’s former teenage and senior star Tom Conlon and the 800/1500 firebrand Gary Ironmonger.  It is difficult to dispute that the Herne Hill V40 team, who won seven consecutive V40 titles at Aldershot, two national 8 stage, national 5km, cross country, cross country relay and other southern titles, is the most successful distance squad in the Club’s rich history.  Can we now extend this success into the V50s?

Sunday was a great start.  We knew Barnet  were very strong, and that we would have to run a fast time to win the race.  So it proved.  Our 85.10 winning time in blustery conditions, was the quickest for almost ten years (84.49 in 2005).  All four in the A team delivered, and whilst others had two runners who were quicker than our fastest, the classic relay format demonstrated the essence of great team running, where everyone fights for eachother.  We had superb back up, with Tom Conlon running an excellent 21.01 to split Mike Boyle and myself.  It has been said that form is temporary but class is permanent, and this statement must apply to Tom (still the club S/C record holder) more than any of our team members.  Interestingly, our four fastest cumulative times would have placed us fourth on the all time 26 year rankings (84.31) a time that was last beaten in the last century, 1999!  In the end though, team success comes from guys running for eachother and also pushing eachother in training, and through competition for places.  Thanks Vic, Mike and Gary for making it a great day, but also Tom and Tony, such longstanding and loyal club members, plus Waldy for his team management.  It is great to be winning again.

Keith Newton