Team spirit and breakthrough Belles at Surrey League match 3, Richmond Park

Team spirit and breakthrough Belles at Surrey League match 3, Richmond Park

A spirited performance by the Belles in a windy Richmond Park

With a healthy mixture of engine room, new faces and welcome old friends, 11 Belles gathered at the start of the third Surrey League race. In an eventful day, with a number of best performances, the A team finished 8th and the B team 25th out of 30 teams. But this doesn’t tell the whole story.

Although the heavy rain of the previous day had mostly drained away leaving the course soft but not too muddy, the strong wind felt worst at the start in an exposed and high spot in the park, making things very uncomfortable. Twelve mm spikes were the order of the day for most of the course but the newly laid gravel on the paths around the back of Isabella Plantation made it tricky.

Leading the Belles home, Mhairi Hall had a terrific run, finishing in the top 20 for the first time and she was followed very closely by new recruit Alice Reed making her very encouraging debut.

Jess’s sister Alice had briefly joined the group in the summer but then spent the Autumn travelling, she is now back living, working and training in London and will be a huge asset to the team.

Team spirit

However, Saron Haileselase was ahead of those two and near the front at the start of the race but suffered again from a very debilitating pain in the diaphragm which affected her breathing and caused her to stop on the first lap.

Saron (second left) in a strong position at the start before an excruciating diaphragm issue. Photo: Chris de Mauny

Seeing Saron in distress, Vicky Goodwin stopped to help her and managed to cadge a lift back to the start where shaking with cold Saron was attended at length by Jurgita and very helpful first aid lady.

Vicky had come to run and support the team after flying over from Switzerland where she lives to give a talk and attend Bill law’s funeral the previous day. It is a privilege to be a part of this team who all help and support each other. Vicky exemplified this spirit, sacrificing her own race to help Saron, then an exhausted Mhairi who went out of her way to drive all the way Saron home.  

Megan James and Jurgita took care of Saron’s son Simon and everyone else in the team did their bit to help.

Fine racing

Back to the race. Emma Howsham had another fine run despite having to ease off training in the week to rest a sore heel. Always keen to race, Emma and Mhairi have become such important members of the team. Next, a terrific run from Jess Reed who has also battled one injury after another and had not been back in training for long.

A breakthrough run from the hardworking Mhairi Hall. Photo: Chris de Mauny

Closing the A team was Mimi Corden-Lloyd finishing in the 60’s – another improved performance and someone who loves to run cross country.

The next three finishers were close all the way round the course finishing within half a dozen places of each other. Leading them at the finish was another promising new recruit, Jessica Lowe, who has joined from the same Triathlon club as Hester Barsham-Rolfe.

How lovely to see past captain Hester joining the team again with her wonderful enthusiasm. Training for a big Duathlon, she had cycled against that strong wind all the way from Greenwich before running the race and then cycling the 20 miles back.

Sandwiched between them came the very reliable Lizzie Goldie-Scot, another vital ‘engine room’ Belle.

Finally, good to see Jurgita Levertaviciute a track runner sensibly treating the race as a steady endurance run. Jurgita competed at a high level from a young age in Lithuania and brings that knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the club, regularly helping others.

So, a mixed day. Yes, both A and B teams would have finished higher if Saron had been at her best and not had to drop out. But the overall positions have less significance than having a team of sensible, mature and caring young women who help and support each other rather than racing just for themselves.

Individual results

Overall finishNameTime
18Mhairi Hall34:25
19Alice Reed34:30
31Emma Howsham35:21
40Jess Reed36:06
66Mimi Corden-Lloyd37:19
74Jessica Lowe37:46
76Lizzie Goldie-Scot37:59
80Hester Barsham-Rolfe (2C)38:08
122Jurgita Levertaviciute40:49

Team results

1HHH A411 7 8 10 15
2THH A933 5 23 30 32
3H/W A1079 17 26 27 28
4FUL A1296 16 20 42 45
5C/C A1434 14 25 46 54
6SLH A14911 24 33 37 44
7RAN A15512 22 35 39 47
8BEL A17418 19 31 40 66
9KEN A18613 29 43 50 51
10HHH B26434 48 57 58 67
11E&E A3232 65 78 82 96
12DUL A32836 68 70 75 79
13C/C B35061 62 71 72 84
14G&G A36038 56 64 81 121
15H/W B39649 69 87 94 97
16FUL B39652 53 86 100 105
17REI A41455 59 91 99 110
18THH B43973 89 90 92 95
19W4H A45641 60 101 124 130
20ADV A50321 112 117 120 133
21DUL B53288 102 104 109 129
22RAN B54777 98 114 126 132
23KEN B54983 85 103 115 163
24SLH B55763 106 111 137 140
25BEL B56774 76 80 122

Team scores after three matches

1Thames Hare and Hounds252
2Herne Hill283