VHI Report 2009
I have now managed the team for 12 years and this event was one of the most pleasurable. First and foremost we had a clean sweep with strong wins in both the relay and the individual, secondly it was England’s turn to host the event and I was pleased that the accommodation arranged at the Hartington Youth Hostel added considerably to the atmosphere, and finally the overall relations between the teams and team managers, whilst fiercely competitive out in the field (or rather moor and woods) is genuinely friendly and very positive in making sure it is a competition that we can all enjoy and be proud to be a part.
For those not familiar with the competition, teams have two runners in each age group from M/W35 to M/W60 for a total of 24 runners. The competition is scored on total points and everyone counts. In the individual with 2 runners in a class from each country this year a class winner scored 8 down to 1 point for 8th (or 0 for DNS/DSQ.) Relay teams have 4 runners, 2 men 2 women, with varying leg lengths and balanced across the age groups. Points for the relays total about half that of the individual, with 4 of a country’s 6 teams counting..
The relay was held on Longshaw and luckily following the atrocious weather of Friday evening the day began with clear blue skies. Last year, we had had a very close result, but pleasingly this year we had no accidents and a clear win.
A very strong Welsh team took first place with Scotland second but then all 6 of the England teams packed in behind with only the second Scottish team coming in between in 6th place.
Unfortunately one of the Scottish teams started the first leg with the wrong map and so their runner came back after only 16 minutes having run the short course and the second runner was not ready to hand over. The team were able to reorganise themselves to a certain extent with Sarah Dunn running a medium instead of a short course but of course it was felt that there had been some disadvantage.
No one wanted to scrap the competition and after some discussion between the organisers, and Scottish and England team managers, we resolved to allow for the time that was clearly wasted during the handover which meant that one of the Scottish teams was promoted in points terms but the actual order was left as it really happened. This did seem a bout the fairest compromise in the circumstances and Wales and Ireland were happy with what was agreed.
The individual competition was held at Eyam Moor, an exposed moor with some intricate woodland and open areas in the valley. Last year England lost the individual and so we were once again on tenterhooks that all should go well. There were some excellent wins with 6 class winners and a number of second places. The Scots were hampered by an injured runner who couldn’t start and by a couple of mispunches.
Well done to all class winners: Nick Barrable, Quentin Harding, Axel Blomquist, Mike Smithard, Janet Rosen and Hilary Palmer, and also to all those with second place: Alan Velecky, Kevin Harding, Amanda Crawshaw, Jane Morgan and Sheila Carey.
As a result we had a very good win and thus took the individual as well as the overall trophy.
Thanks go to everyone from DVO who helped organise the event and particularly to Mike Napier for all the technical stuff – it saved me from much tricky mental arithmetic, and to Mike Godfree, ably supported by Liz, who oversaw the whole event.
The competition does exert a pressure and I felt everyone played a part either by running consistently in the relays enabling us to pack together or putting in a super performance in the individual competition. So thanks to my team for living up to and beyond all my expectations.
England VHI Team Manager