Author Credit: Charlie Dickinson
The question was; ‘Should we bother to enter a team’. With illness, injury, lack of fitness, and finally the training camp in Portugal reducing the potential team to just seven entries, we did ponder. But, unlike Herne Hill, Thames, Clapham Chasers, Hercules Wimbledon and Ranelagh amongst many other local clubs, we did make the effort and wasn’t it worth it.
This event has it’s own unique special atmosphere with clubs from all over the country taking part. The brilliant sunny warm weather added to a very special and enjoyable day. We were hoping for a top twenty finish, we did much better, but most importantly, all six in the team came with a wonderfully positive approach and everyone ran well. A special mention too for Louise Blizzard a true Belle for so many years and who would have stepped in to run if needed.
Sam Amend has been suffering from Glandular fever and only declared herself fit three days before. Maybe not quite in the form, she would like but Sammi tackled that first long stage with her usual tenacity and common sense and finished a mere 30 odd seconds slower than last year in 18th place. I make that about 1.5% down, we’ll take that thank you!
Sally Underhill had found out a couple of years ago how tough this course can be especially if you set off too fast. This time she was rather more cautious in the early stages and ran a very well judged stage. Like Sally, Saron Haileselase had missed a lot of winter training and was also worried about frequently getting the stitch on hard runs. She coped very well finishing about the same time as Sally both with very solid runs.
With no other fit long distance athletes in the team apart from Sam, it was Jojo Rhodes who volunteered to run the other long stage. Jojo is an 800/1500m runner who has never run a 10km road race in her life. This long stage of nearly five and a half miles with its tough hills seems almost like a 10km and Jojo sensibly set out steadily on the initial upward climb to the memorial leaving a bit in the tank for the final part of the course.
Lizzie Goldie-Scot has been improving all season and so nice to see her racing more regularly this year now she is based in London. By stage five the gaps have become huge, but Lizzie ran a very good leg maintaining the position in the high teens the team had been in all afternoon.
The final leg was tackled by Zoe Doyle, looking in fantastic form and fresh from her three terrific medals in the World Indoor Championships in Daegu a couple of weeks ago. Zoe was worried by her lack of endurance training, so the weekend before did a nice steady ten miles. Well, whatever training she has been doing certainly seems to suit her as she sped around in the quickest time for our team and moved the Belles up to a very pleasing 15th.
So, a very good day enjoyed by all, and yes, we should always enter a team and support these events. The experience gained from running on this course and taking part in the most exciting running event of the year is second to none.
Finally, thanks to all the supporters especially Sophie Harris taking the photos and who would have just loved that long stage. Next time Soph.
L:R Zoe Doyle, Lizzie G-Scott, Charlie Dickinson, Sam Amend, Jojo Rhodes, Saron Haileselse (Minus Sally)
1. Leeds 2;12.44, 2. Swansea 2;16.21, 3. Winchester 2;16.35, 15. Belgrave 2;27.47 (S. Amend 32.40, S.Underhill 20.03, S. Haileselse 20.09, J. Rhodes 35.41, L. Godie-Scot 20.27, Z. Doyle 18.47)