Metropolitan League 8k (men): 9 October 2010
Men's Division One Team Result
1 Serpentine RC 1685
2 Woodford Green with Essex Ladies 1651
3 Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers 1528
4 Highgate Harriers 1240
5 Serpentine RC 'B' 1209
6 Metropolitan Police 1090
7 Hillingdon 929
8 Thames Valley Harriers 882
9 London Heathside 830
10 Ealing, Southall & Middlesex 611
On Saturday 9 October, Serpentine cross country team travelled to Claybury in Essex for the opening Metropolitan League (www.metleague.co.uk) fixture of the 2010-2011 season. After being soundly beaten by Woodford Green in the final fixture of last season, the team was looking forward to getting a re-match on Woodford Green's home turf. The October race is always keenly anticipated: individuals are both uncertain as to their current levels of fitness and eager for personal rivalries to begin afresh.
The A team was lead home by Nick Torry, 2nd only to Shaftesbury Barnet's GB junior international, Richard Goodman, and in rapid succession Nick was followed by reliable regulars, Andy Greenleaf in 6th, Hendrik Zietsman in 9th, Hugh Torry in 11th, Aodh O'Neil in 12th and Richard Phillips in 14th. Further down the field we were packing well with new recruit Tony Bourne (first claim Horsham Blue Star) in 39th, Tiago Branco in 40th, Simon Barrett in 41st, Eric Phillips in 45th, Martin Gaunt in 46th and Will Jones (in his first cross country race for Serpentine) in 48th closing out our first 12. (Woodford Green's A team closed 12 in 51 while Shaftesbury Barnet closed in 106, leaving our A team at the top of the table at this early juncture.
Our strength in depth really kicked in with our B team, the only B team in first division, with new recruit Pau Herrero (fresh off the boat from Cataluna) in 54th, Duncan Hancox (still recovering from Berlin marathon and new to cross country) in 57th, Chris Graham (recently returned from honeymoon) in 60th and Robin Tuddenham in 61st. I credit (or perhaps blame) Andy Taylor in 71st for the pom-poms. Nicola Barberis-Negra came in 80th, followed by Steven Evans in 82nd, Brian Stramer in 86th, John Nugus (converted away from the roads) in 89th, Nick Smeeton in 91st, Neil Donovan in 93rd and Richard Fanning in 94th closed out our second 12, leaving them in 5th in the league and ahead of all but a handful of A teams. In the pub afterwards none of us could really believe we had closed 24 runners in 94 but we're not going to ask for a re-count.
We rely heavily on our other runners to push down the scores of other clubs (and step up to the mark when the divas among our A team and B team runners no-show - you know who you are!). Ebrima Noble finished in 103rd, Roger Coyle in 104th, Tom Coats in 111th, James Edgar in 112th, Dave Morgan in 118th, Richard Taylor in 131st, Nick Copas in 142nd, Joe Thompson in 156th, Gavin Edmonds in 157th, Stephen Brown in 159th, Ben Cope in 165th, and Josh Paparo in 167th and made up a theoretical C team.
Gavin Murrison came in 168th, Brent Plump in 174th, Alistair McColl in 185th, Stephan Schneider in 189th, Damon Reeve in 190th, Tim Renshaw in 197th, Gary Dench in 200th, Kieran Dignan in 202nd, Chris Saunders (father-to-be!) in 206th, Peter Bowles in 208th, Paul Fromme in 209th, Claudio Bellotti in 210th, Gordon Rohan in 214th, Theo Baines in 221st, Jeremy Burke in 228th, Brad Cobb in 229th, Darren Over in 235th, Nick Tucker in 238th, Fahad Ladha in 248th, Gavin Burn in 251st, James Adams in 252nd, Ben Gilmour in 253rd, Spencer Smith in 267th, Ian Hodge in 278th, Alex Mauzer in 279th, Alex Pearson in 306th, Richard Smith in 314th, Lars Menken in 327th, Robert Kennedy in 328th and Michael Soden was last man standing in 338th. We think this must be our largest turn-out at any cross country race ever and perhaps our best ever performance in the Metropolitan League.
Conditions were warm, breezy and overcast: underfoot the ground was firm with many opting for flats rather than spikes; the hill was still a killer. Many thanks to Malcolm French, our team manager, the Serpentine Ladies who supported us (the pom-poms were great but don't forget the baking next time!), Woodford Green who hosted us, the race marshalls and officials (the tape was definitely an improvement on last year's flags which were lethal) and the Crown and Crooked Billet who we tried to drink dry.
The next Metropolitan League race is on 13 November at Trent Park, our home fixture. Put the date in your diaries and be on the look out for further details about this and other races to follow. With a few of this fixture's absentees returning next time round we expect good things: onwards and upwards.
And if you're not already involved in cross country...
...but want to be? Get involved! Find me or Rich on a Wednesday at the club if you have any questions or drop me an e-mail. There is lots of information on the club website.
If you have any queries about these results please email firstname.lastname@example.org