Summer League – Headstone Park – Sun 24 Jun 2012

Alison Hopkins finished first lady to spearhead a strong performance by Ealing, Southall & Middlesex’s senior team in the second Summer League series race at Harrow. 
Both the mens and ladies teams finished second on the day over the 10K course, with points for the tenderfoot children’s races and relays helping the ESM team to 5th place overall.

It was a cold and wet start to the day as Ealing’s runners arrived at Harrow’s Headstone Manor Recreation Ground wrapped up as if they were attending one of the winter cross 
country races. The rain held off though and the sun was even spotted as Ealing’s team of 18 runners set off among the field of 164 runners for the 3-lap race.

A number of Ealing’s usual leading competitors in the men’s race were missing with injury, with last year’s series winner Matt McCabe still absent, and fashion conscious 
Mark Delahunty having picked up a foot problem after wearing a trendy pair of shoes.

A cautious start to the race from Ealing’s male runners that had made the start line saw many of them move through the field as the race progressed, notably Steve Elson and Angelo John who both had strong last laps. Steve was once again the first Ealing runner home, finishing 4th to continue his good form with a time of 36.21. Only two places behind him was Angelo whose sprint finish saw him break 37 minutes for the first time (36:59), with Tom Yates (38:37) running a well-judged race for 13th place.

Ealing’s leading trio were well supported by the rest of the men’s team, followed over the line by Peter Drew (26th, 41:33), James O’Neil (32nd, 42:49), Eamon Bradley (34th, 43:08), John McKim (37th, 43:52) and Chris Brown (41st, 45:02). John in particular put in an excellent performance to take over a minute off his PB.

Our men’s team was completed by Andy Leung (63rd, 49:02), Gary Stringer (67th, 49:54), debutante David Baker (82nd, 54:58), Laurence Messer (89th, 57:54) and Dave Wiseman (94th, 62:29). Overall, our men’s team were only out scored by Serpentine who got just two more points – remember next time you are in a sprint finish that every place counts!

Not to be outdone, the men’s second place was matched by our women. Regular racer Alison Hopkins led from the start to go one place better than last time out at Dulwich and lead the ladies field home. Aside from having won, Alison was happy with her time, having pushed hard on the last lap to break 40 minutes in recording a time of 39:46.

The green and yellow Ealing colours were prominent among the leading women throughout the race, with us finishing 4 ladies in the first 10.
Also going one better than at Dulwich, Patricia Thomas (43:36) took a top three position, with Lynn Wilson (45:56) running well for 6th place.

It seems like it just wouldn’t be the Summer League without an Ealing runner hitting the floor, and Nikki Baker put herself in early contention to win ‘Slip of the Day’ even before we got to the relays! It was actually a nasty first-lap fall for Nikki but she picked herself up to come home in 10th place with a time of 47:11.

Completing the Ealing women home was Dorothy Johnstone (60th, 62:57) to ensure only Mornington Chasers scored more points.

Our senior runners were well supported by two great performances from junior members of the club. Running for the first time, Jack McKim was 2nd in the boys 1500m tenderfoot race. Not far behind Jack was Cameron Thomas who took 3rd place in the girls race. The excellent performances mean that both Jack and Cameron now lead their age group standings for the series overall.

The highlight of Summer League races for many is the relays, with Ealing fielding a men’s team and a mixed team this time round. The course was more wet and muddy than some of the Met League races last season but Ealing’s runners coped well with the conditions.

The men’s team comprised John, Eamon, Chris, Tom, James and Steve, and against tough opposition they finished in 3rd. That performance was bettered though by our mixed team. Led off by Alison (who successfully avoided any holes), great legs by Gary, Andy, Pat and the two juniors Jack and Cameron saw Ealing take first place for our first relay victory of the series this year!

With the tenderfoot and relay points included, Ealing’s 5th place overall on the day means we now lie in 4th position for the series, behind Dulwich, Mornington & Metros. Our women currently lead overall, with the men lying in 3rd.

The next fixture is at Perivale Park on Sunday 8th July (11am) and hopefully a strong turnout of both senior and junior runners from the club will help us close the gap on the leading clubs…

Report and more pictures in Facebook by Andy Dodd. Click here for results spreadsheet: Summer League Results 2012.