Summer League so far – A reflection – Mon 16 Jul 2018

ESM looking frisky at Dulwich Park

I’m not able to run the final Summer League race at Battersea, writes Shona Cowper, as I’m attending a wedding at a festival that weekend (although I’ve discovered they have organised morning runs so I’ll still get some miles in!). Therefore, I thought I’d write some words about the races I have managed to attend this year: Perivale, Headstone Manor and Regent’s Park.

Some of the ESM crew at Perivale Park for the opening race

Way back on 3 June, we (ESM and Ealing Eagles) organised some spectacular weather to kick off the Summer League at Perivale Park’s 5 miler. Well done, us! I don’t really know what to do with myself when racing in such hot weather but turns out lots of people do as ESM brought it home with a first place position from Jamie Taylor-Caldwell in 26:49. There were 4 ESM men in the top 10, in fact: Jamie T-C, Ben Waterman (4th place, 28:21), Jonathan Horan (6th place, 28:25) and Luke Nicholas (8th place, 29:53). ESM had a total of 12 runners coming in the first 100 finishers and a total of 32 runners in the event. I would say those stats are pretty good. What ESM also do well, it would seem, is a food spread. I’ve not seen what happened at Dulwich but frankly, our food spread was the stuff of legend. Never has a carved watermelon been so lusted after.

Onto Headstone Manor, and another 5 miler. Although we initially worried that ESM runners weren’t going to turn up, in the end we fielded a solid 21 runners AND took the first three places! – Jamie T-C (26:37), Mo Hashi (26:40), and Mo Ali (26:50). Personally, I was trembling a bit going into this one. Firstly, because it was actually a bit chilly that day. Secondly, because Bev Packwood (our Great Captain) had said that this race was hilly and her least favourite. Thanks, Bev. But actually, due to some roadworks or something, the race had to be shortened to the 5 mile route, resulting in the removal of the problematic hills. Thanks to the Council for that.

Jav enjoys one of the ESM gingerbread men kindly baked by the hosts at Dulwich Park

And then Regent’s Park yesterday for a full 10k. It was a perfect morning for a run. I write that, but actually it was bl**dy hot and I had to run through some puddles that had formed from the kid’s playground being cleaned as a ‘cool down’ mechanism for the legs and shouted at the kids beside the water stops with the water guns, “Spray me!”. There is probably nothing I won’t do in hot weather to get some relief from the heat. As I write, the results say they are ‘Initial results’ and haven’t been checked yet, but I don’t care so let’s write about them anyway. We had 19 runners in total at this one. Elliot Jones came in 13th at 36:56, followed by Nick Steel at 37:28. It’s good that we can write Nick’s result here because he did his usual last minute appearance and we all had our usual ‘Nick said he was coming but he’s not here yet’ conversation before the race. Mark was the first M50 runner in at 38:46. Just looking at my own results and I came 2nd in the SF category after someone who was a Guest runner! A Guest runner?! I’m making a complaint immediately.

Mark tests his ability to sprint while holding down cake

It wouldn’t be the Summer League without those vomit-inducing relays, so let’s take a moment to reflect on them. These post main event….add ons (?), although vomit-inducing, do make the Summer League probably the most community-spirited, camaraderie-based events I’ve ever ran in. Shouting at your team mates to overtake young children and feeling the energy drain from your legs about 150m into the 400m lap and wondering why the hell you keep signing up to this madness is what memories are made of. I’m so pleased the Summer League races are back so a big “thank you” to Bev for doing the thankless job of rallying the troops and always being so enthusiastic. See you there next year!

Bev doing a grand job as Team Manager

More information about the Summer League can be found by clicking here.