Southern Counties Vets Track & Field League final report

Serpentine's women vets were one of seven women's teams from across the South of England who qualified for the Southern Counties Vets Athletics Club final at Ashford on Sunday. After a great day of competition we came 4th.

This is always an extremely competitive event with most other finalists coming from specialist track and field clubs. Sunday’s event had such stars competing as Clare Elms who has set world records for the W50 800m, and heptathlete and current British Indoor Pentathlon W35 record holder Diane Norman. Ros Tabor, well known to many of us upper age-group women runners over the years, was fresh from the European Vets Athletics Championships in Izmir where she medalled in the W65 category.

Serpentine fielded a team with some depth to it, with 17 competitors across the three age-groups (W35, W50 and W60). We did manage to cover all the slots but one – the younger age-group pole vault. At the end of the day we came a very credible 4th, with 208 points, 21 points behind 3rd place Blackheath and Bromley. As with last year the women’s competition was won by Epsom and Ewell, who achieved a score of 264 points. Cambridge Harriers placed 2nd.

Our team worked very hard over the long day of competition. In that rarified company wins were hard to come by but Pam Rutherford managed one in only her second attempt at the 2000m walk (and well supported by Marianne Morris who was second walking down an age-group as a W50). Catkin Shelley managed to blow the field away in the W50 400m as well as competing in the 100m and 200m and the 4x100m and 4x400m relays; and our hammer squad also delivered a couple of wins – Mary Davies in the W35 and me in the W60. The most prolific Serpie competitors of the day were Catherine Coley (high jump, long jump, triple jump, 400m and 4x400m relay) and Tolli Hickes (100m, 200m, 400m, 4x400m relay, shot and javelin!)

The competitive nature of the event also helped several of our team to achieve PBs and season’s bests – Vic Carter was spurred on by Di Norman’s presence to a PB in the 800m and Jane Nodder was on a roll with PBs in the 800m and 1500m and a season’s best in the 3000m, but the whole team performed extremely well and we were especially pleased to have some members new to the team this season at the final, notably Cath Ferguson, performing brilliantly in the next age-group down to her own, and Martha McKenzie-Minifie, on her way back to fitness post-injury.

Special thanks are due to Bev Thomas for keeping things together on the day (and throughout the season), to Ros Young for being travelling reserve and to Sammy Li for giving up a day to travel down to officiate at the event.

The team, in no particular order, was: Tolli Hickes, Alison Nolan, Catkin Shelley, Hel James, Catherine Coley, Victoria Carter, Martha McKenzie-Minifie, Jane Nodder, Margaret Sills, Cath Ferguson, Avril Riddell, Pam Rutherford, Marianne Morris, Teri Griffith, Hazel Paterson, Mary Davies and Jan Farmer.

Full results are at and will be on the Serpie website shortly.

Jan Farmer

Submitted: 11 September 2014