Trent Park MET League - by Kieran Santry

Whilst the Eagles were make the long journey on the Piccadilly line to Cockfosters, Ben Rawsthorne was out on the course and put in a fine performance in the U13 race, a massive well done to Ben for continuing to run MET without any other clubmates there to run with or support him. Having Ben run the course first was great as he provided us with great advice on the course and shoe selection. Thanks Ben.

A smaller than usual ladies team took on a tough 6km course. 

Marion Bolster was first Eagle lady across the line, Emily Schmidt made the journey from Oxford to represent the club, the effervescent Sue Park was next home (does she ever not smile in a race?). A late addition to the team was Nicola Phelan and she impressed the crowd with a strong sprint finish up the final hill.  Jess Hood finished just ahead of Lisa Snell and ladies team skipper Sarah Mack.

These results maintained the ladies mid table position in division 2. The vet ladies were third in this fixture but most importantly it keeps them top of division 3 and on course for promotion. 

Bright sunshine greeted the start of the men’s MET league 5 mile race at Trent Park.

A strong turnout of 18 men made our way to the start line. Is it just me that loves the gun going off at the start of a Met league race? I’m there watching the gun and it still frightens the ‘bejaysus’ out of me when it goes bang!

Then the usual surge as everyone fights to get into position. Testosterone levels elevated, deep mud, elbows flying, elite athletes, veteran runners (one man over 80),  crowds cheering, tree roots, and 3 slippery bridges to negotiate, you've got to love a bit of XC. This was the first proper muddy XC of the Met league season. Cam proclaimed on the tube journey to Cockfosters that he hadn’t seen enough mud in the UK but this surely made up for it.

Two twisty turny undulating laps and a long uphill finish sorted the men for the boys at this race. The ladies now smug after their run were out on the course to roar us on, ably assisted by Ellen, Skye (booing) and Dante.

Jose once again was the first Eagle home in 122nd place overall but he had to fight hard for it this time as the ever improving John Foxall was on his back going up the final hill and came in a mere 3 seconds behind him. Colin Overton is coming back to his best and was next Eagle home. Tom Easten, yes you read that right made his Met league debut (after a lot of nagging!).
He promised to finish in the top 150 but narrowly missed that by one place! In fairness he was wearing trail shoes not spikes so we won’t be too hard on him this time. Briaín O‘Dowd continued his improved form and romped home next although he did mutter something about doing a heavy hills session two days beforehand, Phil Evans  is the dark horse in the men’s team and had a storming finish.

Mr Santry had to be content with 7th place. New boy Stephen Ralston found the pacing tough and went out a bit too hard and suffered for the last 4.5 miles but you are only as strong as your last scorer so this was a particularly impressive Eagles debut. Remember his name this boy will improve.

Chris Lambert was in soon after Stephen and help to push other team scorers down the table. We welcomed back Sam Pearce who is returning to form after doing a lot of heart rate training over recent months. 

Cam Easton was loving all the mud. Dominic Wallace helped the Vets team move up the table with his fine finish. Paul Peasegood finished strongly just in front of the Met league ever present James De Vivenot.

Neil Enskat showed off his trade mark finish climbing the last hill, Paul Dodoumou continues to show form at xc while Baljit was pleased with his performance on this gruelling course. Nigel continues to defy his years with another strong run.

After a group warm down it was off to the ‘Cock Inn’ (I’ll spare you the not very appropriate jokes!) for a few pints of ale and porter and a race debrief. A massive thank you to our Chairman Thom Martini who organised everything on the day and was out on the course shouting abuse (I mean encouragement!). It was great to see the team spirit in the men’s team, some who rearranged holidays, post-phoned flights, cancelled dates and some even interrupted marathon training to come and be part of the team!

The team results are out and we managed to consolidate our 2nd place position in the league and more importantly narrowed the gap on the league leaders Highgate ‘C’ from 225 points to just 36 points.

Highgate ‘A’ are top of Division One and are going for a record 5th win in a row, Highgate ‘B’ are second in Division 2 narrowly behind our good neighbours ESM so they will be gunning to stay top of our division and complete the clean sweep across all three divisions.  In fact we even get a mention on their website! They mean business at Ally Pally.

So it all boils down to the last fixture at Alexandra Palace on the 11th of February. Start sharpening those spikes!