There was a terrific turn out from Queens Park Harriers at the first of the Summer League races at Harrow this Sunday morning. It was a certainly mizzly and that soon turned to full on drizzly which whilst cooling for the run got quite persistent as the morning went on. We were very, very grateful for that bright red gazebo, Richard E. had managed to sort out picking up from its home in Dobree Avenue. Thanks to Jane “Iron Man Woman” Hansom and Timex for the gazebo – never knowingly under appreciated. (Jane won her age category today in an Iron Man event in Leeds today – she won the swim, the bike and the run! Epic). So 16 hoopy men and 15 hoopy women assembled on the wet grass for a group photo – we were missing a few notable members, not least Sophie Barnard and Emily Godwin (both injured) who did come along to support, take pictures and later be rewarded. We think 31 may be a world record for a Summer League race – we are waiting for confirmation of this statistic. We headed across the field to the start – and soon were underway. Its a reasonably pleasant course although the pavements can be a challenge – the weather was great for a run, cool and breezy with some mizzly drizzle later for the slower runners, cooling down those red faces. We had two Hoopsters in the first four men – Johnny Suttle coming 2nd and Nathan Pask in 4th. Sam Sutherland was not far behind in 12th looking his cool as a cucumber self. Everyone else finished in quick succession with some great personal efforts, the “Golden Girls” (google them if you don’t know) stuck together with probably a little too much chat for a race, finishing close to each other and proving that keeping your breath under control does work. Our esteemed Bill O’Connor finished yet another race looking relaxed and happy in the light rain.
Sandwiches, cakes and flapjacks were quickly munched – trying to create some heat in the bodies as the rain drizzled on – a nice warm cup of tea was just a dream sadly – but refreshing orange squash watered the thirsty and dehydrated. The tenderfoot race was dominated by the Junior Division of the Hoops (another triumph of Coach McLaughlin’s dedication and encouragement) the race was won from the very first step by Owen Quinn with his Alex Quinn in 3rd and Noah Barnard storming in close behind in 4th. Spectacular.
The relay teams were decided after some Hoops headed for home. Would the women be able to keep up the winning ways of the previous year despite some missing maestros? Soon we were gathered round the track with some key supporters heading to the final bend for extra encouragement. The women started up the relays and the hoops fielded a great team of Eleanor Buck, Kathryn Harrington, Danielle Howe with Madeleine Fforde finishing the foursome – they started at the front and stayed at the front – no problem – winning women. Brilliant. Next the men. Another stellar performance with Johnny Suttle, Sam Sutherland, Paul Scullion, Stewart Bowring, Alan Lawrenson and Nick Stallman. They also started at the front, stayed at the front and won. Boom. Second relay in the bag. And so to the mixed relay – Noah Barnard went first soon followed by the rest. This team had three members of one family with mum Louise H laying down a great lap for her boys Owen and Alex to follow in her footsteps. Alban ran a fast lap and despite being in second place up until Simon Godwins lap they were all cooking on gas. Simon Godwin started his leg a good way behind the leaders but as we watched and cheered and shouted he slowly made up the distance and was closing in on the leader as he approached the support crew on the corner – he was giving it plenty and holding onto the cheese sandwiches despite his incredible effort – over took the leader to give a great handover in first place. Owen could then go for victory! Mixed relay – won – grand slam – won all three. Hooptastic. There was a short wait for the Awards from 2015. Queens Park Harriers did so well – we had medals and awards in lots of categories – more details on the website. So onwards and upwards to Dulwich on Sunday 10th July – can we beat 31 HOOPS? I think we can. Come on down to Dulwich – your club needs you. And the grub is delicious.