Met League – Alexandra Palace – Sat 13 Feb 2016

It was a low-key turnout by ESM at the final Met League fixture at Ally Pally on Saturday, especially from the senior ranks – perhaps in the knowledge that relegation was inevitable. While there were some good performances from those who went, including the outstanding tenth place for Tom Jervis in the men’s race, the good news came mainly from the junior ranks.

The opening U11 development race once again saw Najiib Hersi, Mohammed Ibrahim and nine year old Harvey Williams lining up. Najiib took an excellent third place, continuing his recent good form, while Harvey again finished hot on the heels of Mohammed.

The U13 boys were led home by Najiib’s older brother Mahiis in 23rd, followed by “the usual suspects” – and in the usual order: Finn Combe, Mikey Kouwiloyan, and Masaki Kanai. The team finished tenth on the day and eighth in the League.

In the corresponding girls’ race, Fiona Coutts was joined by cross country debutante Estelle Belgrave. Given the absence of a third team member, the two did very well to bring the club home seventh on the day. Turnout in this age group has been very patchy from ESM this season, so unsurprisingly the final League position was 16th.

There were a few absences in the U15/U17 men’s squad, but they were boosted by the welcome return of Luke Adar after illness. Naoki Kanai was first home in 28th, with Luke 32nd and Sudeys Hersi 41st. The squad finished eighth on the day and were ranked ninth in the League.

The U17/U15 girls were also not at full strength but with Anisa Ibrahim leading them home in 11th and good packing from the other girls, they finished third on the day – enough to hold onto their second place overall.

There were only ten ESM representatives in the senior men’s race so we lacked a full team – and with two U20s and a clutch of veterans, Tom Jervis was strictly speaking the only senior man! His tenth place must be our best finish in many years, and it’s a pity so few club members were there to enjoy it. Elsewhere in the field it was a battle of youth and experience. New father Steve Elson worked his way past Raunak Mainali, only to be outsprinted at the end. The same happened to Mark Kencroft, who was left two seconds adrift after another fine performance by Conor McCarthy. The team finished bottom of the League and relegation to Division Two next season is now confirmed.

The women were even fewer in number. Carol Jones and Louise Prince ran their best, and Carol made sure she was first W55 by reeling in Heathside’s Caroline White towards the end of the race, but ESM finished bottom of the table in Division One.

We haven’t had a great Met League this season but club numbers have been growing steadily, and hopefully a few of our newcomers will discover the joys of cross country running come the autumn. Next season, Phil York will be taking over as men’s cross country team manager, and it would be great to find a successor to John Falvey to manage the women. Don’t forget we also need a new Clerk of the Course to set out the cross country races at Horsenden Hill, along with a group of helpers to break the task down into manageable chunks. Don’t be shy – full training is provided for all volunteer roles!

ESM results summary:

U11: 3 Najiib Hersi 6:47; 15 Mohammed Ibrahim 7:43; 17 Harvey Williams 7:49

U13B: 23 Mahiis Hersi  14:52; 28 Finn Coombe  15:07; 32 Mikey Kouwiloyan 15:34; 48 Masaki Kanai  18:17

U13G: 14 Fiona Coutts 15:44; 15 Estelle Belgrave 15:50

U15/U17M: 28 Naoki Kanai (U15) 18:05; 32 Luke Adar 18:45; 41 Sudeys Hersi (U15) 19:54

U15/U17W: 11 Anisa Ibrahim (U15) 18:51; 15 Laura Stewart 19:46; 18 Maryam Hussain (U15) 20:11; 22 Roisin Lynch 20:21; 36 Sarah Freegard (U15) 25:06

SM: 10 Tom Jervis 28:20; 161 Raunak Mainali (U20) 35:28; 163 Steve Elson (V40) 35:31; 167 Conor McCarthy (U20) 35:42; 168 Mark Kencroft (V45) 35:44; 198 Robert Brown (V50) 37:07; 236 Dave Foley (V55) 38:46; 292 Rob Howells (V60) 41:05; 322 Phil York (V50) 43:51; 350 Steve Treanor (V55) 50:35

SW: 89 Carol Jones (V55) 28:46; 103 Louise Prince (V45) 29:36

Full results here