It is an old adage that you should not bite the hand that feeds you but it is true to say that since the merger of Southampton Running Club and Team Solent the concentration on track and cross country and road only at the national level has meant that Southampton has struggled to hold its own within the Hampshire Road Race League. The adage is worth remembering as Southampton’s own race came perilously close to ejection from the 2018/19 league and thus an important revenue stream would be cut off from the club. There is simply no excuse not to at least field a mens team (4) and ladies team (3) at each of the races. All things being equal between races a clubs participation at the league in overall numbers could have a bearing over whether being selected or not. We shouldn’t take the risk and support other clubs races in the way that they support ours despite the unpopularity of the Netley 10k amongst club representatives .
On a much happier note I can confirm that the Southampton Ladies triumphed headed by the formidable Sarah Kingston both on and off course. The ladies have emerged as champions 2017/18 after languishing in 7th (Division 2) in 2015/16. The plan was hatched to be promoted to Division 1 as champions in the following season 2016/17 and then break the stranglehold that Winchester had held over Division 1 for more than ten years. It is a great testimony to Sarah’s leadership that the team managed to win six races and finish second in four. The ladies were a real team with many of the ladies making multiple appearances and going beyond the call of duty to appear. Winchester lost any hope that they had of retaining their crown after England International Louise Damen dropped out of the Eastleigh 10k after starting so that the Lordshill 10k became a formality and Sarah duly obliged with a victory jog around the course!
The final positions in Division One Ladies
Southampton Athletic Club 10 points
Winchester & District Athletic club 11 points
Hedge End Road Runners 23 points
Notable Achievements amongst many include Sarah Kingston finishing in runner up spot in the ladies competition as well as Tracey Corker finishing in tenth a seasoned vet both in a rarefied atmosphere high above the lowest placed in the final table (101st). Jen Elkins managed to win an incredible five races with two course records whilst my personal tip for great things to come some time ago Bryher Bowness won the second most prestigious race in the HRRL (after Eastleigh) with a course record at Gosport.
The only positive things to say about the performance of the men in the 2017/18 League is that they didn’t get relegated (4th) and the maverick but supremely talented Richard Waldron triumphed in the mens individual competition winning four races* (Beating all HRRL opposition not necessarily 1st overall).