The Vets Leading the Way

Mahamed Mahamed walked in to the tent to collect his number and was met by Pete Mackrell, full of excitement following his brief chat with race favourite Andy Vernon. “Here’s your number, good luck. Andy Vernon’s over there, reckon you can beat him?” was Pete’s short jokey conversation with the shy Southampton AC athlete who just smiled and walked away. A couple of hours later and that same quiet runner stormed around the six mile course at Teardrop Lakes in 29:18 to take victory and push Vernon down to third. When you consider that Elliot – who has broken most of our club records recently – was nearly three minutes behind, this is a whole different level of running!

The cross-challenge at MK has become a regular fixture on the national calendar as is increasing in popularity. The women’s race was led home by international athletes, Jess Judd and Gemma Steel and there were top runners from throughout the UK spread through all the age-groups. As a club we do fantastically well to put on this event each year and Richard Inchley in particular spends many many hours organising it with the help of Jackson Ryan from MKAC. Additionally though there are a lot of others who also volunteer their time to make sure it all happens perfectly. We have lots from our club but also a number from other clubs such as Jim Buttleman from LFR and Jim Miller from MKAC who have helped out the last few years for little more than a sandwich and a pat on the back. All of these people deserve much gratitude from those of us who just rocked up to run without seven hours standing in the cold.

Having said all of that, this should be about running and particularly the efforts of our club so here’s a quick run down. We had five under 11 boys out in the shape of Toby Evans, Logan Dewar, Archie Wright, Ash Carter & Alfie Plumridge with Toby first home in 41st out of over 100 runners. Their efforts earned them 13th place out of twenty teams on the day in the mob match.

In the U11 girls Sophia Watt had an excellent run to finish in 24th place and was joined by Harriet Butlin in 59th. They also ended up 13th on the day. There was also a pair of girls in the U13’s with Julia Bell leading home Imogen Chesterton. The U13’s remain in 9th place after two fixtures in the league.

In the U13 boys Oscar Butlin finished in a strong 22nd place in division 1 and was ably supported by Sid and Arty Mead. They lie in 10th after two fixtures. Harry Bell, Max Rose and William Rossiter made up the U15 boys team and they all finished very close together around the 20 minute mark and earned vital points for the club.

We currently have a gaggle of U15 girls running for us regularly and this is fantastic to see, particularly with the levels of commitment they are showing. Niquole Carter, Alicia Down and Zara Brooks all ran very competitively and finished fairly close together from 27th to 36th place to make up the team and Amelia Butlin ran consistently to finish in 44th and take crucial points of other clubs. Amy Killick’s 15th place represented a strong performance for her to lead the team home and earn them 5th place on the day. Out of 14 clubs this is a great result in a difficult age-group.

It is also great to see a small group of U17’s out representing the club. In the women’s race, Dana Carter – who is a regular at most training sessions now – completed the tricky 5K course in 27 minutes. On the boys side of things Daniel Horner managed to finish in 24th place for the second time in a row while Alfie Blaber came home in 44th to help to add to the overall LBAC points total.

The senior races were a fantastic demonstration of our increasing strength in depth. It is not long ago that we were struggling to get a team of four women in the CCCL but we now regularly have over ten. Saturday was no different, with twelve runners and despite a couple of leading performers missing their spots were ably filled. The commitment to the club was really shown by two of the team having just flown in from the states and one coming out after celebrating a significant birthday the night before!

Fiona and Liz didn’t quite make the pre-race photo. Sorry

Amy Inchley, Amy Farnfield and Jo Sharples battled their way around the course in very close proximity before Jo’s tiredness kicked in and the Amy’s opened a small gap. The league is about the team though and the rest of the team quickly closed out in the shape of Liz, Coralie and Katie. It was also excellent to see three debutantes on the results sheet with Jenny Rawdon, Leanne Pospisil and Uzma Peeran all finishing strongly. Despite the strong field, Nikki Inchley showed her level of improvement by still managing to record her highest ever finish in 79th out of 153. Fiona Towell and Alison Bell also put in good performances ensure that the team finished in 7th on the day, but just 40 points behind 4th.

Seventh seems to be a bit of a threshold for the women’s team with them not having finished higher since January 2012 in Slough. On that occasion a team of Gail Duckworth, Jo Breslin, Amy Inchley and Jane Sauer earned 5th place. The question is whether that threshold can be crossed in Luton, Keysoe or MK later in the season? The big excitement within the women’s ranks should be that the vets team are now clear in 3rd place overall on 762 points and very close to 2nd on 778……….

It’s great to say that there were too many men to mention, with 25 donning the spikes for a run round MK, but a few highlights include:

  • Debut from Neil Green after a year of nagging!
  • Five new scorers in the top ten, which bodes well if we can get everyone out
  • A fantastic 2nd place in the CCCL field for Elliot a couple of weeks before his next marathon.
  • 4th place V40 for Ian Grimshaw
  • 5th place V50 for Steve Sharples

There were lots of excellent performances that resulted in the men finishing 4th on the day and retaining 4th overall for the season so far. As with the women, the vet men are doing even better by finishing second on the day and are now second overall 43 points behind Harrow AC. Can they possibly chase them down?

As a club we lie in 8th place after two fixtures and are 400 points behind Aylesbury and St Albans. This may sound a lot, but we scored nearly 3000 last weekend so gaps this size are very closable – if that’s a word! So please get the other dates in your diary who knows what can happen.

Well done everyone, it’s now on to Luton in December.

Hmmmmmm – Not too sure about those shorts Adam!! Photo by Kas – Thanks