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.
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Wow, we do like a good club debut and we sure unearthed a goodie on Saturday with @alice_reed0, sister of @jessreedphysio. Alice tracked top scorer @mhairihall every step of the 8k, to place Belles' second scorer and 19/205 in the race. Kudos to her, and may she return for much more! 📷: Chris de Mauny #xc #crosscountry #crosscountryrunning #running #runner #ukrunchat #runnersofinstagram #belgraveharriers
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.
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.
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.
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.
|80||Hester Barsham-Rolfe (2C)||38:08|
|1||HHH A||41||1 7 8 10 15|
|2||THH A||93||3 5 23 30 32|
|3||H/W A||107||9 17 26 27 28|
|4||FUL A||129||6 16 20 42 45|
|5||C/C A||143||4 14 25 46 54|
|6||SLH A||149||11 24 33 37 44|
|7||RAN A||155||12 22 35 39 47|
|8||BEL A||174||18 19 31 40 66|
|9||KEN A||186||13 29 43 50 51|
|10||HHH B||264||34 48 57 58 67|
|11||E&E A||323||2 65 78 82 96|
|12||DUL A||328||36 68 70 75 79|
|13||C/C B||350||61 62 71 72 84|
|14||G&G A||360||38 56 64 81 121|
|15||H/W B||396||49 69 87 94 97|
|16||FUL B||396||52 53 86 100 105|
|17||REI A||414||55 59 91 99 110|
|18||THH B||439||73 89 90 92 95|
|19||W4H A||456||41 60 101 124 130|
|20||ADV A||503||21 112 117 120 133|
|21||DUL B||532||88 102 104 109 129|
|22||RAN B||547||77 98 114 126 132|
|23||KEN B||549||83 85 103 115 163|
|24||SLH B||557||63 106 111 137 140|
|25||BEL B||567||74 76 80 122|
Team scores after three matches
|1||Thames Hare and Hounds||252|