Shrewsbury School

67th Alumni Race at Roehampton

Saturday 14 December 2019

The Hon. Secretary, Liv Papaioannou (EDH. 14-16 & Huntswoman) met The Chairman outside Putney Bridge Tube Station, carrying her Tupperware Box of freshly baked mince pies.

Tom Hughes (Ch. 13-18), was waiting in sunshine for the No.85 Bus, to go down to Roehampton with us. On route, we saw Ed Mallett (S. 08-13 & Huntsman) get onboard, already in shorts, which seemed brave as the chilly wind teased his legs. On arrival at Thames Hare & Hounds headquarters, we were greeted by Olly Russell and family, who was running as a “Guest”, being Master-in-Charge of The Girls Hunt and this day’s run deemed to be his Special Birthday Present! One of our regulars, Ben Hebblethwaite (R. 86-91) had encouraged his friend, Tom Fea (I. 86-91), to join the Team this year.

A return visit from Huntsmen Cal Winwood (I. 09-11) and Ed Mallett was appreciated and his brother, George (S. 07-12) came to support, along with Kris Blake (S. 09-11), who were both taking care with recovery from injuries. Oscar Dickins (R. 11-16), yet another Huntsman, ran for the first time this year, after promotion from supporting duties last year! James Humpish (SH. 08-13) and Tom Hughes have become regulars at The Alumni Race and also this year’s “double achievers”, having also attended OSH Day two weeks ago.

The bib numbers and safety pins were distributed, along with the new chip-timing-strips, to attach to running shoes, which is an improvement by TH&H. In the bright, but chilly conditions, George had done a recce of the course and alerted the team that the ground was fairly soggy. After a certain amount of herding of The Team Members, photos and warm-ups were taken. A new start-line was being used this time, being to the far north side of the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields, which was designed to negate bottle-necks that had occurred in previous years’ early stages of the race.

At 2.30 pm the very wide start line-up set off across the field and into undergrowth of Wimbledon Common, with its muddy paths and varied obstacles which soon strung out the competitors into their respective positions, regarding their individual abilities, for this very traditional 5-mile cross-country course. After some 20 minutes, the leader, Joe Morwood of Royal Grammar School, Guildford, was spotted coming down through the wood to a sharp bend into the playing fields, to take the final 500 yard sprint to the finish funnel, in front of the club house, in a time of 25 minutes and 44 seconds. Ed was trying hard to chase his foe in front and achieved an admirable 8th place, as our first finisher for The OSH Team.

Oscar came in to view to finish at 17th place in 29:51 and then Ben at 21st in 30:51, who was 2nd in the V40 category. Cal and Charles Tongue (G. 2000-05) descended from the woods to get to the finish at 24th (in 30:55) and 25th (in 30:57), with Cal being registered as our fourth counter for our total Team points of 68. The good performances continued, with Tom at 66th in 33:32, Liv at 90th in 34:47 (which was 4th place for the Ladies category), Olly at 96th in 35:12, James at 151st in 38:41 and Tom Fea at 198th in 42:40. All of these times and placings are good, considering that there were 304 competitors, with 259 finishing and 34 teams competing, with the last man in at 1 hr 15 mins 18 secs. It was observed by The Chairman, acting as “Team Manager”, that Sedbergh had fielded a huge team of about 30, who all seemed to be up front and made 2nd place, behind RGS. Winchester were 3rd and Shrewsbury were six points behind at 4th place. As I have said before, this shows that the better results that The OSH have achieved in recent years could be enhanced by getting a bigger team, where, not only could we get a first-time win, but also clean up in the other categories as well. Here’s looking to next December’s Race!

Have a look at all the results on  https://data.opentrack.run/x/2019/GBR/alumni/scores/  and do see all of the photo album on our OSH Facebook page.

Peter Birch. (Dayboys 1966-71, Huntsman, OSH Chairman.)

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