VHI 2016 Report and Results
Veteran Home International 3rd and 4th September 2016 Northern Ireland
We arrived in Northern Ireland on a beautiful warm Friday afternoon and were able to appreciate the gorgeous views over Carlingford Lough, the glacial fjord which forms part of the border between the north and the Republic, to the hills beyond. Several of the team had time to go to a magnificent viewing point a short drive from the hostel. Known locally as the ‘Top of the World’ it provided a sweeping panorama of the surrounding countryside including the Mourne Mountains.
Sadly overnight the weather closed in and in the morning we faced leaden skies and thickening clouds. The last time the individual race for the VHI was at Rostrevor, the weather was so atrocious and accidents befell so many competitors that the public event scheduled for later in the day was abandoned. This year fared a bit better in that everyone returned safely but low cloud and driving rain gave the course an extra physical and navigational challenge, and the famous Cloughmore Stone which was meant to provide a splendid setting for the finish was completed shrouded.
I was absolutely delighted that virtually the entire team delivered great or good runs in the individual race with everyone contributing useful points. Most notably, in the men’s competition we came first in 5 of the 7 classes and had 3 second places. In the women’s race, we had 3 firsts and 4 seconds.
M35: 1st Richard Robinson M40: 1st Nick Barrable, 3rd Geoff Ellis, M45: 4th Charlie Adams, 5th Neil Conway M50 1st Clive Hallett, 2nd Quentin Harding M55: 1st Tim Tett, 4th Kevin Harding M60: 1st James Crawford, 2nd Philip Eeles, M65: 2nd Andy Hemsted
W35: 2nd Michelle Spillar W40 2nd Helen Marsden, 3rd Emma Harrison W45: 1st Melanie Slade, 4th Lucy Wiegand, W50: 2nd Sara Campbell 5th Lesley Ross, W55: 2nd Jackie Hallett, 3rd Alison Harding, W60 1st Alison Simmons, 3rd Janet Rosen, W65: 1st Jenny Wren
The individual men managed a significant win in terms of points: England 78, Scotland 56, Ireland 47, Wales 29, and England’s women won equally well: England 76, Scotland 56, Ireland 41 Wales 36.
Individual overall: England 154, Scotland 112, Ireland 88, Wales 65
These strong and solid performances gave us an excellent platform for the relay competition the following day. Hillsborough Forest Park could not have been more of a contrast with its mixture of runnable forest, network of mapped and unmapped paths, areas of windblown and seasonal undergrowth. Due to the constraints of the area, the planners had decided to go back to the ‘old’ system of running legs in different orders which made it very hard to get a sense of who was winning, several competitors notably the Welsh teams didn’t realise the map was two sided so were disqualified, plus the computer decided to malfunction making it impossible on the day to confirm the results. In the end, the four nations agreed to assume there was no mis-punching and each have a representative to judge the order in which teams crossed the line. It was extremely satisfying that all eight of our relay teams finished before any other nation had all their counting teams in. Congratulations go to Tim Tett, Alison Harding and Nick Barrable for the MWM 1st place overall and to Lucy Wiegand, Neil Conway and Alison Simmons for the WMW first for England and second overall.
Relay points: England 122, Scotland 80, Ireland 74, Wales 30
So we won 3 trophies: The Rose Bowl for the individual race, The Pewter Qaiche for the relay, and the Micklegate Bar for the overall competition.
Overall points: England 276, Scotland 192, Ireland 162, Wales 95
As to the team, England included one runner who had not run for any England team before: Jenny Wren, who was delighted with her individual first place.
Our thanks go to Wilbert Hollinger, overall organiser, and all the other event organisers, planners, controllers and helpers for putting on the events and welcoming us so warmly. One day we will get sunshine and clear skies to appreciate the beauty of the Cloughmore Stone at Rostrevor.
We look forward to Scotland next year and expect it to be a tough competition.