South Of Thames 5 Mile Team Race, Polesden Lacey, 26th November 2016

Belles Secure Bronze

South Of Thames 5 Mile Team Race, Polesden Lacey, 26th November 2016


L:R  Megan Bailey, Sophie Harris, Zoe Smith, Charlie Dickinson, Iona Cousland, Helen White ” Bronze Medalists”

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Report by: Charlie Dickinson     Picture Credits: Matt Welsh

Another wonderful day for the Belles with an individual silver for Zoe Smith and an unexpected team bronze on this very tough hilly course on the beautiful North Downs setting of Polesden Lacey.  This small Belle’s team who, although pre-warned about the severity of the course , had agreed to run this race were given the unexpected boost midweek.

Zoe Smith asked if she could join the team. Unlike the draconian SEAA and EA, the South of Thames are more flexible with late entries, and so Zoe was in, her troublesome knee now better. The other four met at the Junction and were in their usual good spirits making their way to the race in Charlie cabs.

All five Belles ran brilliantly. Zoe, at the front, kept the new Ranelagh woman in sight the whole race, only losing out by less than 20 seconds and in the process beating GB international Amy Clements just back from Doha. Not surprisingly we later discovered the winner was a fell runner, very much at home on this course. Zoe looked fast, fit and strong, it was one of her finest ever races.

Our next finisher was new member: Sophie Harris who again showed us her terrific potential. Now working for Comic Relief, Sophie is an experienced dancer having studied and performed both here and California . She certainly demonstrated a Quick Step around this course finishing a fine 12th.

Iona Cousland gets her name from that magical Scottish Island, the burial place of Viking Kings and 1980’s Labour Leader John Smith. This race, unlike most others, men and women run together. Starting sensibly on the downhill section, Iona buried many male runners as she moved through the field, finishing very strongly in 14th place.

Helen White has been a terrific team member this winter supporting every race. This was her best race to date, keeping Iona in sight the whole way, and with her strength managing the hills so well. She finished strongly in 18th just a few places behind.

These four were delighted to win a very well deserved bronze team medal, better than they ever expected to go into the race.Finally the ever reliable

Megan Bailey,  who again had a very good race finishing more than ten places further up than on the same course last year. Megan’s finish was the best of anyone’s as she successfully muscled out two other runners as she sprinted to the finish, real strength and determination got her there. Megan didn’t receive a medal but she did score maximum points for our new ‘B’ team competition which she now leads.

Results: 1. N. Jackson (Ranelagh H) 30.50, 2. Z. Smith (Belgrave H) 31.09,  3. A. Clements (Kent AC) 31.26, …. 12. S. Harris  34.12,  14. I. Cousland  35.15,  18. H. White  35.34,  42 M. Bailey,  38.09.
Teams: 1. Kent AC 35,  2. Ranelagh H 38,  3. Belgrave H 46.