Summer League – Dulwich Park – Sun 01 Jun 2014

We enjoyed warm and sunny conditions at Dulwich Park on Sunday, where we competed in the first of this year’s five Summer League fixtures. Full results and times have yet to be published, but the club claimed second place in both the men’s and women’s race across the 5 mile course, and finished third in the men’s relay. The photo shows, from left to right: Team Manager Pete Drew, Raj Kumar, Samir Haddad, Santosh Rai, Steve Elson, Darren Halford, Tom Yates.

New member Samir was one of three athletes exchanging the lead throughout the race – including former ESM-er Mo Ismail, now running for Serpentine. This was whittled down to two as Mo was dropped, and Samir looked to have the race sewn up until the more experienced Rick Weston of Serpentine upped the pace and outsprinted him to the line. But it was a great debut for Samir. Steve Elson, back from an Achilles injury, also finished in the top ten for the club. The pair were backed up by the dependable Tom Yates in 25th, seemingly unfazed by a swift cycle ride from Ealing down to Dulwich in the company of keen cyclist Ian McNally. (Ian’s race was sadly scuppered by shin splints). The next three men home were all improving athletes: Raj Kumar (32nd) just lost out to Santosh Rai (33rd) in the last half mile. M40 Darren Halford (44th) led the charge of the veterans, having tracked Fiona Kennedy throughout the race. Editor’s note: I think I was unofficial pacemaker for one or two other men in the race, I’ll be charging a fee next time! James O’Neill and George Davidson, both recent entrants to the M55 category, placed 68th and 92nd. M50 Gary Stringer was 138th, followed by three venerable M65s. Bob Stanbrook (180th) and Laurence Messer (181st) crossed the line almost together, while Dave Wiseman completed the line-up in 195th.

ESM also took second in the women’s race, in the shape of W55 Fiona Kennedy, who finished 40th overall. W45 Claudia Manera (66th overall) was also in the top ten of the women’s race; having made a cautious start, she overhauled clubmate James in the second half of the race. W45 Jane Ruhland made a solid return to racing after an injury-stricken six months (106th overall), while Beverley Packwood (148th overall) and W65 Dorothy Johnstone (207th overall) completed the women’s team.

In the shorter races, Josie Hartfiel made a rare appearance in Ealing strip to tackle the one mile Tenderfoot race, while seven-year-old Newa Rai and younger sister Hangme made their competitive debut in the Fun Run.

The relays which concluded the event were the usual competitive affair, and the men’s team took third spot in a hard-fought battle. Samir Haddad led off but finished second to his rival from Ealing Eagles. Raj Kumar was able to take the lead on leg two, and this was held by Santosh Rai, Tom Yates and Steve Elson. Darren Halford faced some very tough opposition in the sixth and final leg and lost two places, but the squad were justifiably pleased with their efforts.

Many thanks to Pete Drew for helping Fiona with the Team Manager duties, and for collecting the 2013 awards on behalf of those members not present on the day. Many pockets were required in that respect – though fortunately one went round Pete’s own neck – so let’s aim for a bigger turnout at the next fixture, which is at Headstone Park in Harrow on June 15th.

2013 Award winners:
Men: 16-39: 1 Steve Elson; 40-44: 1 Angelo John; 45-49: 2 Pete Drew; 60-64: 1 Phil Manly; 65-69: 3 Bob Stanbrook; Boys: Y3: 1 Jack McKim; Y6: 3 Ryan Leung; Y8: 2 Maxi Steel; Y9: 2 Stan Perrin; Girls: Y5: 1 Cameron Thomas; Women: 45-49: 2 Patricia Thomas; 3 Jane Ruhland; 55-59: 1 Fiona Kennedy; 64+: 1 Janice Newman; 2 Dorothy Johnstone