April kicked off with the SEAA 12 Stage Championships at Milton Keynes (click here for full results).
The team finished in the silver medal position behind the usual winners Belgrave. There were some good individual A team performances on the day, with Matt Janes’ splendid opening long leg one of them. Matt ran 24:05 to bring the team in second behind early pacesetter Dave Mitchinson. Quickest short leg went to Lewis Cadman on leg two. The team lead midway through the race with Steve Body’s excellent 23:59 effort. Will Levett, Huw Lobb, Liam Smyth, Neil Miller and Alex Tanner kept the team well up in the medals to hint at what could be possible later in the month at the AAA’s Championship.
The B team were 14, with Matt Raw making a comeback to competition. Alan Cross and Tim Cook, who was concerned at not being A team material, also featured, as did Steve Ames, still looking to shed some poundage. The C team saw a James Fewtrell appearance.
On the same day Greg van Hest and James Lawler were in action. Van Hest was disappointed to withdraw from the Rotterdam Marathon, apparently feeling unwell, while Lawler was seen splashing alongside a dirty old river.
Lawler received a boost for London by winning the Thames Towpath 10 from some guy who doesn’t like a sound road race beating. However, the teamodell man was involved in a altercation with the bitter runner up after the race, the intervention of bystanders prevented the runner up, who accused Lawler of ‘cheating’ by colliding with someone who decided to run alongside the leader, from being a runner up on a second time in one morning.
Two weeks later Lawler, along with Olympic hopeful Huw Lobb and good friends Tim Cook and Tom Burke, toed the line for the London Marathon.
Lobb went off at a frantic pace and passed half way in 66:40 (2:13.20 pace). Things were looking good for Lobb, and he rallied to finish fourth Brit in 2:15.49 – just 49 seconds short of Athens. A great performance. Lobb was reported to be planning on gaining a full stone in weight in the aftermath of his 26.2 run before re-building.
Lawler was slightly disappointed with a 2:24.46 finish, as he was hopeful of a 2:22 after a poor build-up in the final weeks. “I’m pleased to have finished in good shape though,” said Lawler afterwards. Feelings of glee were restored a week later as Arsenal win the title at White Hart Lane.
Tom Burke managed 2:37 and, as teamodell.com published the April report, it was still being decided if the team had medalled in the AAA’s team championship. Early indications were that Bedford had landed at least the bronze.
Tim Cook had a day he’d rather forget, and finished in 2:52. For all the London results click here.
One week later saw Bedford descend on Sutton Park again for the AAA’s 12 stage Championship. Click here for results.
It was a great day, with the sun shining brightly. However, on arrival the team were informed of a one minutes silence in memory of 13:19 5000m performer Sam Haughian, who had been killed in a car accident the previous evening in South Africa. Teamodell.com sends out its condolences to Sam’s family and mates – a quality runner and, apparently, a really top bloke.
Matt Janes got Bedford off to a stormer with a 26:37 opening leg. Janes was well pleased with his efforts, which saw the team come in third.
With Steve Body out at short notice, Will Levett out with injury, Huw Lobb and James Lawler unavailable after London, and Greg van Hest nursing an Achilles problem, runners who did not reckon on a AAA’s start were handed a chance to perform. Step forward Matt Raw, James Fewtrell, Jim McMahon and Richard Powell, who all performed well on the day.
The team finished fourth, a superb performance given the number of withdrawals. Tony Forrest was delighted with the result, and many were left with a feeling of what could have been.
Jim Fewtrell’s anchor leg was especially pleasing for all teamodell boys. Jim has barely been able to train for over 18 months, yet managed to hold onto fourth and record a respectable time, and a bloody good time for someone with so little background.
During April teamodell U17 Terry Stanley was a brilliant second in the Flitwick 10k in 32:50.
March saw the final XC race of the winter – the Inter-Counties at Nottingham.
Lewis Cadman had hopes of a World XC place in the U20 race, the first of the day. However, illness has wrecked Lewis’ season, and he didn’t quite have enough on the day. Despite giving it his best shot, Lewis couldn’t quite hang with the leaders, and eventually stepped off the course.
The U17 men have had a quite sensational season, and didn’t disappoint. Terry Stanley reversed the positions with Andrew Inskip from the National in February. Terry came a superb 6th, Andrew 11th. James Murray, after a difficult period with illness that affected his National placing, was a superb 32nd.
The senior men’s race was the last of the day. Matt Janes was looking for a solid run, and got what he wanted with 49th. Dan Dalmedo had an off day in 122nd, Dave Battersby, a late call up for Bedfordshire, ran a superb 171st.
Summing up the XC season, Coach O’Dell remarked “It’s been solid, by not spectacular.
“The youngsters, Terry, Andrew and James, have been brilliant though.”
Unfortunately in the English Schools XC a week later, Terry and Andrew failed to finish after a long, but very successful, season on the mud.
Towards the month’s end Matt Janes managed 31:04 in a windy Eastleigh 10k and Huw Lobb ran 66:38 in the Bath half marathon. James Lawler had a shocker in the Wilmslow half marathon after a period of heavy marathon training, and went into April with confidence low.
Teamodell were on tarmac for the first day of the month following the muddy antics of the Southern XC the week before.
Swift times were off the agenda as the country was battered by strong winds, but the boys still managed some good performances despite the strong gales that slowed both the Alsagar 5 and Dewsbury 10k races.
At Alsagar, a notoriously quick race, Will Levett was 21st in 25:05. Neil Miller tried to put the Southern XC behind him with a 25:35 effort for 30th; Alex Tanner made a rare road race appearance with 26:13 for 42nd. Chris Davies won the race in a shade under 23:30 – exceptional running given the conditions.
Further north, in Dewsbury, James Lawler ran 31:01 for 6th in a race won in 29:48 by Stephen Hepples.
A week later in the Bedfordshire XC Championships, Matt Janes grabbed second from teammate Darren Deed. It was a frustrating race for Matt, who had been struggling to recreate his training form onto the competitive front. “I felt a bit flat,” he said.
Matt had to work hard to hold off the challenge of Paul Farmer for his silver. “I really had to dig in [to hold off Farmer],” Matt added. “I had to kick in the last 800 or so to get away from him.”
Steve Herring was fourth in the race, run on a course that Matt said, “was just like Nottingham” – the venue for March’s Inter-counties XC Championships.
In the U17 race, Bedford had a 1-2-3 with Terry Stanley winning from teammates Andrew Inskip and James Murray. Read Dave Stanley’s report here.
In the U20 race, Jim Horsman won the Bedfordshire title; finishing second in the race behind Bucks man Andrew Whetstone. Liam Smyth backed up Jim with another solid race.
For a full round up of the day, click here to read Matt Raw’s report.
Neil Miller took second in a Sunday League XC race behind 2.17 Marathon performer Piet Jacobs.
Teamodell’s crack squad of youths were in dominant XC form again the week following the Counties in the Bedfordshire County Schools Championships.
In the senior race Terry Stanley was 1st, Andrew Inskip 2nd, Jim Horsman 4th and Liam Smyth 5th. In the Intermediate race James Murray was 1st – leading all the way. The race demonstrated again Murray’s excellent form over recent weeks.
Chris Lamb made the first teamodell indoor performance on the 15th. The track specialist clocked 3:59 for first place in the Birmingham indoor games 1500m under the watchful eye of Coach O’Dell.
National XC Championships – Leeds
Andrew Inskip got the day off to an absolute flyer in the U17 race with a brilliant seventh place finish. His gutsy run saw him move through the field and finish hard and fast to cap a brilliant few weeks.
Terry Stanley was less pleased with his run in 23rd. Terry showed real maturity after seeing his team-mate, who he had been ahead of in the Southern XC, get the better of the rivalry this time, and hung around to help the senior men ready themselves for their effort.
James Murray, who had been progressing brilliantly before being knocked back with a cold, finished a tired 109th – a false position following his illness.
In the junior men’s race, Steve Phillips managed a sound 42nd place. Liam Smyth was 51st. A chubby Steve Ames, still fighting weight problems was 119th. Lewis Cadman had wisely opted not to run following illness over the previous weeks, but was looking to come back for the inter-counties.
In the senior men’s race, Huw Lobb was looking to better last year’s bronze following a stint of training in Tenerife. The quality field meant Huw had to settle for 17th.
Backing Huw up was a solid team effort. Will Levett was 23rd, Darren Deed 30th, Matt Janes 42nd, Dan Dalmedo 90th, Neil Miller 93rd, Steve Herring 110th, Richard Powell 178th, Dave Battersby 273rd, Tim Cook 382nd and Alan Cross 407th. The team were fourth overall, and the winning nine-to-score team.
Matt Janes was well pleased to put his recent form behind him. “I’m happy with that, it’s where I should be finishing really,” said Matt. “Now onto the Inter-Counties.”
Full results for all races at www.race-results.co.uk/results/2004/natxc04.htm.
Around the same time, teamodell’s overseas member Greg van Hest showed training for the Rotterdam Marathon on 4th April was going exceptionally well with a 62:48 Half Marathon victory in Holland.
2004 kicked off with the County XC Championships weekend. However, the Bedfordshire Championships, which would feature many teamodell men, was postponed until early February.
Before this, Huw Lobb ran a shade over 30:00 in winning the Serpentine New Year’s Day 10k – just two days before putting himself on the start line of the Great North XC against Paul Tergat and co.
The Herts Championships was missing Neil Miller, but James Lawler represented Bedford and County – and teamodell.
In an unexpected quality field, Dave Mitchinson (Newham & Essex Beagles), who would get to know Huw Lobb better before the month was out, ran out winner from Matt Normington (Watford Harriers), Tom Bedford (Shaftsbury Barnet) and Adam Bowden (Harrow). Lawler, who was shocked by the early pace, worked through to fifth.
“That’s my first competitive XC since the National in 2001,” said Lawler. “I don’t run too well on the mud. I was shocked by the fast start, so I just waited for the group to explode, then picked off the remains, which nearly included Bowden.
“As Herts have a good chance of winning the Inter-Counties once Matt Smith is added to the team, I’m going to have a run and go for a medal,” he added.
One weekend later Teamodell were out in force in Saturday’s Chiltern League XC in Slough ahead of the Southern XC Championships at Parliament Hill.
Matt Janes won the race by eight seconds from team-mate Lewis Cadman. Neil Miller was fifth, with Alex Tanner in ninth. “I just front ran it,” said Janes afterwards. Onlookers, including teamodell’s long-term injury case Matt Raw noted how Janes had been ‘eager to get going from the gun’. The race gave the quartet some much needed XC practice ahead of the Southerns.
On the same weekend newly Puma-sponsored Huw Lobb took Dominic Bannister’s record in the Morpeth to Newcastle Road Race. Sporting a pair of very dodgy socks, Lobb recorded 1:07.23 for the win over Dave Norman on a very tough, windy course. Click here for a race report from the local newspaper.
The whole month of January was leading up to the Southerns. The nine-mile slog has been a Bedford and County tradition for years, and the club’s runners are expected to show up and give it the big one.
Recent years have seen the club among the medals, with 2002’s gold medal performance still fresh in the memory.
Before the senior men’s race, the club’s U17 picked up the bronze. Terry Stanley (7th), Andrew Inskip (9th) and the rapidly improving James Murray (10th) pleased Coach O’Dell with their gutsy efforts. Click here to read David Stanley’s report, click here for full results.
In the next race Lewis Cadman, with ambitions to make the GB Junior Men’s World XC team this March, managed fourth behind Ipswich pair Tom Sharland and Sam Jacobs and Steve Ablitt of AFD. Full result here. Steve Phillips was 25th. Liam Smyth was also in the race, managing a respectable performance for the track man.
It was a solid run for Lewis, and shows he is over his early season country worries where his form dipped below what he and Coach O’Dell were expecting.
The senior men’s race saw teamodell joined by Huw Lobb, Will Levett and Dan Dalmedo for, what looked on paper, a team capable of a medal. Unfortunately it didn’t quite happen as planned.
Huw flew around the course to become Southern Champion with one of his finest runs. Winning by two seconds from Dave Mitchinson, on a day when standards were certainly up on recent years, Lobb looked as fit as a fiddle and fresh from his Morpeth to Newcastle win two weeks earlier.
Behind Huw former Vauxhall ace Will Levett managed sixth despite severely reduced training in a bid to stave off injury. Despite a fall he was always in the leading ten, and showed his class to the end.
Levett, who now lives in Shrewsbury and has made the effort to travel across to Telford to train with Chris Davies, had spent nearly four hours behind the wheel to reach the start line, and was concerned with a worrying Hamstring complaint. “I’ve only been running 40 miles per week,” said Levett before the race.
The team’s third scorer, Matt Janes, was a tad disappointed with 31st. Matt had ambitions on placing much higher, but on the day he didn’t quite perform as he had hoped. Dan Dalmedo’s 43rd place was a sound performance and kept the team in the hunt for medals, with Newham & Essex, London Irish and AFD the leading contenders.
James Lawler was fifth scorer in 53rd. Lawler was another hoping to place higher, but too many road miles has reduced his ability over the mud – or that was his excuse.
Neil Miller had a fairly miserable day and never got into the race. His 68th position was well down on what he’d expected and capped a period of frustrating form for the Miller-man. “Wolverton, the Victory 5, the Chiltern League and now this,” said Neil after the event. “I’m going to take a break.”
Outside of the scoring six, Tim Cook got the better of Tom Burke (101st and 104th) in a ding-dong battle. Alan Turnbull (132nd) and Dave Battersby (138th) completed the quota of teamodell men on the day. “I thought I was sixth scorer,” said a confused Cook at the end of the race. Click here for results. Click here for photos
After a day of mixed fortunes, the team will be hoping to manage better performances in Leeds on 21st February – the National XC.
Expect Huw to be among those chasing the AAA’s gold.