The History of PECO part 3: The Men’s Vets team

During this PECO campaign I have been asked so many times by so many people ‘How does the Vet’s team scoring actually work?’ Hopefully, during part 3 of the history of PECO blog we’ll answer that very question.

How does the Vet’s team scoring actually work?

Just like the regular Men’s and Ladies competitions, both Vet’s competitions have seen plenty of evolution over the years. So, to start our story in 2009/10, the Vet’s league, instead of being split into 2 division’s, like the open teams, the Vet’s are in one ginormous 18 team league (this is the same for the Ladies Vets league but with only 15 teams). Now the scoring works differently to the open teams where it’s the first however many runners from each club make up the scorers for the team. In the Vet’s league, runners from each club are split into different Vet categories in 10 year bands and it is a certain number of each runners in each category band that make up the scorers for the team. Sounds complex right? But actually it’s fairly simple and its best if you look at a league table and you can see how many of each age category make up the scorers. In the initial format for the Men’s Vet’s league the men’s scorers would comprise the first 3 40+ men (40-49), first 2 50+ men (50-59), and the first 60+ man (anything over 60 years old). Splitting the Vet’s into age categories has the result that for clubs to be successful, they must be strong in all categories. In some cases, clubs will be strong in some categories and weak in others, or possibly not even have any runners in a certain category. It also gives the opportunity for different groups of runners to be involved in the scoring which is a good thing. It’s possible that a club may not have a runner in a certain age category, and in that instance that club will be penalised. The club will score the maximum points plus 1, which means that if the last runner to cross the line in an event (regardless of if they are a Vet or an open athlete) were to finish say 200th , the penalty given to any club lacking an athlete in a certain age category will be given a score of 201. In the earlier days of PECO when there were less people competing it meant that the penalty of course was
bad, but wasn’t as bad as the PECO of today where there are greater numbers in the competition. For example, in the first round of the 2009/10 season clubs lacking athletes were given 161 a point penalty compared to the first round of the 2021/22 season where they were penalised a whopping 428 points!

I hope that’s cleared up this Vet’s scoring lark. The scoring format of 3 40+, 2 50+ and 1 60+ athletes actually endured until the 2018/19 season so I won’t really need to mention it again until the 2018/19 season. So, onto the story of the Men’s Vet’s team. The Men’s open team told a story of gradual but sustained progression, the Ladies open team gave us a roller coaster ride where anything could happen, but what would the Men’s Vet’s give us? I’m feeling sad to report that it is largely a story of decline, the team’s greatest achievements were in earlier campaigns compared to latter ones. However, that doesn’t make this grim reading, there have been highs and worthwhile achievements along the way. Also, when you have a story of decline you have the chance for future teams to emulate and better their predecessors.

2009/10 season

So going back to the start of the 2009/10 season the Virgin Active Road Runner Vet’s would start the campaign with a 9th place finish from round 1, which would start them bang smack in the middle of the 18 team league. Round 2 would see an improved 8th place finish, but would see the biggest penalty of the season as the VARR Vet’s were missing 1 50+ and 1 60+ athlete. Rounds 3 and 4 would see improved back to back 5th place finishes (1 60+ athlete penalty each round) before the best result of the season, a 3 rd place finish from round 5 in spite of a 60+ athlete penalty. This would leave the VARR Vet’s in 5th place in their inaugural season of PECO. I am sad to report (and give a big spoiler) that this would actually represent the Men’s Vets teams highest ever finish in the Vet’s league (in any format). So, I’d guess from here that the only way is down. This season’s 5th place is even more of an achievement when you consider that of the 13 men that took part in PECO this season, only 7 were Vet’s. The highest finishing VARR Vet was ranked 7th overall, this would be the first of 5 times that Hyde Park Harriers highest ranked man was also a Veteran (all of them in the V40 category). Another statistic I’ll be putting up for each season that you didn’t have in my Men’s and Ladies team PECO blogs is the penalty points incurred each season. The Men’s Vet’s team would have spells of getting penalties and spells of being penalty free over the years. In many years the Men’s Vet’s didn’t achieve their potential due to being unable to get an athlete out in a certain category (which was typically the oldest category but not always). Although I don’t mention it really in the blog, but looking at the tables over the years there are a lot of teams that will get penalty points, which shows by merely getting someone out to represent the club in all categories, even if they do not score particularly well, is far better for the team scores then getting a penalty. So anyway, for the 2009/10 season VARR Vet’s incurred 1 50+ and 4 60+ penalties throughout the season.

2010/11 season

The 2010/11 season saw VARR Vet’s transform into Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s. Hopefully now I have waffled on about scoring systems, Vet categories and penalties enough that I can actually get on with just talking results…. Oh wait, one slight tweak to the format saw the league reduced from 18 to 17 teams this season. I do apologise for putting in the spoiler of the 5th placed 2009/10 season result as being the high point of the Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s history, which of course means the only way from here is down…. However, 6th to 18th places are still very much up for grabs. Round 1 would see a similar mid table result that started the 2009/10 campaign, with the newly formed Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s starting with an 8th place finish (1 60+ penalty). But unlike the 2009/10 season, Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s wouldn’t consistently improve. Round 2, 3 and 4 would see 9th (1 40+, 1 60+ penalty), 11th (1 60+ penalty) and 10th (1 60+ penalty) placed finishes respectively. Round 5 would see the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s round off the season with a 12th (1 60+ penalty) placed finish. This would be the lowest finish of the season and also the lowest Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s finish whilst the Vet’s league used the one ginormous league format. Participation increased from last season with 10 of the 19 men taking part being Vet’s. The highest ranked Vet was 39th (V40). Total penalties this season were 1 40+ and 5 60+ penalties.

2011/12 season

The 2011/12 season would start slowly with an 11th placed finish from round 1 (yeah you guessed it, 1 60+ penalty). However, Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s would pick up momentum and get an 8th and 9th place from rounds 2 and 3 respectively (1 60+ penalty each). Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s would finish the season with much of same with a further 2 8th placed finishes (1 60+ penalty each) from rounds 4 and 5 to finish the season a mid table 9th place overall for the second successive season. Participation improved from 13 to 16 Vets from 28 men taking part. The highest ranked Vet was also the highest ranked Harrier overall with an overall ranking of 12th (V40). Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s incurred 5 60+ penalties this season.

2012/13 season

The 2012/13 season saw a slight tweak to the league, the league had increased from 17 to 19 teams. Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s started the season with the consistency of previous seasons with 2 mid table finishes, 8th in round 1 and 11th in round 2. However, there was one vital difference, there were no penalties (which hadn’t been seen since round 1 of the 2009/10 season). So, if this lack of penalty points persisted, could Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s improve upon the consistent mid table scores of previous seasons? The answer was an emphatic YES! With not just a 3 rd from round 3, but an impressive 2nd place in round 4! This would constitute the highest round position of any Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s side (male or female) in the whole of Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s history. So, with the highest round finish under their belts for the class of 2012/13, would they be able to improve or match the all time high league finish of the class of 2009/10? Sadly, the answer was no. Round 5 ended with a 6th placed finish and a 6th place overall, just one place short. There were no penalty points incurred this season which goes to show how much a side can improve simply by avoiding penalty points. The highest ranked Vet was ranked 4th overall (V40), which was not just the highest Harrier overall (Vets or open), but this represents the highest individual ranking of any Veteran Hyde Park Harrier (male or female) in the clubs history. This season saw a further increase in Vet’s participation from 13 to 16 Vets from 37 men taking part.

2013/14 season

The 2013/14 season saw a massive change to the Vet’s league format. The format changed from one ginormous league to 2 separate divisions (Premier and First), with 10 teams in each. I think this makes things more exciting for teams that weren’t contesting the overall league title as it brings in the concept of both relegation and promotion. Finishing 6th in the 2012/13 season meant Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s would be competing in the Premier division. As the league contained 10 teams and previous league finishes were 5th , 9th , 9th and 6th , this meant Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s would likely finish anywhere from mid table to relegation based on this form. This would certainly make for an interesting season. The scoring format would remain the same for both divisions. Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s would start the newly formed Men’s Vet’s Premier division with a 7th place from round 1, confirming my mid table to relegation fodder prediction. This would be followed by 2 8th places from rounds 2 and 3, followed by another 7th in round 4. Round 5 would see Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s best performance of the season with a 6th place finish. Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s very consistent season ended with a 7th place overall. For a second successive season there were no points penalties incurred. Participation actually went down for the Vet’s from 16 to 12 Vet’s from 37 men in both these seasons. The highest ranked Vet was ranked 8th (V40) overall and was also the highest ranked Harrier overall.

2014/15 season

The 2014/15 season would see the slight tweak of an additional team in the First division (now 11 teams), but this didn’t matter to Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s as they were in the Premier division (which stuck with 10 teams). The start to the season would put the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s on the back foot with a 9th place in round 1, this would see Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s enter the drop zone for the first time since it’s creation, but would they stay there? The fight to stay in the division had begun! 3 back to back 8th place finishes in rounds 2, 3 and 4 would see Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s just creep out of the drop zone, leaving them in 8th place in the table with 1 round to go. Would this be the end of Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s stay in the Premier division or would one more solid result see them safe? Well round 5 would produce a 4th successive 8th place which was just enough to see Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s safe. For the 3rd season in a row there were no penalty points for the club, sadly I have to report that this would be the last time in the club’s history this would happen. Participation would increase slightly from 12 to 15 Vets from 43 men taking part. The highest ranked Vet was ranked 8th (V40), this was the 5th and final time that the highest ranked male Harrier would also be a veteran, all were V40’s.

2015/16 season

The 2015/16 season would see a further expansion of the league, both divisions would comprise 11 teams. So, with the class of 2014/15 narrowly avoiding relegation, would the class of 2015/16 improve to mid table or were the club going to be in another relegation dog fight? Well, the season didn’t start well for Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s, with a bottom of the table 11th placed finish even though there were no point penalties. Unfortunately, I have to report the campaign didn’t improve, with 2 further bottom of the table finishes from round 2 and 3. It wasn’t looking good for the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s team, could they pull off a Houdini style escape or would we see more of the same? After 3 bottom of the table finishes the Hyde Park Harrier Vets added 2 more in rounds 4 and 5 to make it 5 back to back bottom of the table finishes. You won’t be surprised to hear it, but the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s finished bottom of the league overall. This was the worst season finish and the worst campaign for the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s (at this time). Penalty points were back this season with a total of 4 40+ penalty points, all scored in rounds 3-5, which clearly didn’t help the Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s team’s cause. Participation was down to just 9 Vet’s from 45 men, which was the 2nd lowest Vet’s participation in the club’s history. The highest ranked Vet placed 160th overall and was a V60 for the first time.

2016/17 season

The 2016/17 season would see the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s compete in the First division for the first time since its creation. This season saw the First division expanded from 11 to 12 teams. Unfortunately, with this being the first time that the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s have competed in the First division, this meant that even if they won the league, it would still be the lowest finish for the Men’s Vet’s team in Hyde Park Harrier history….. Not what you want to hear going into the new season. Would Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s bounce back at the first attempt? Well, if that was the plan, Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s were hiding it very well. Round 1 saw the team finish 8th , before a 10th in round 2. Round 3 saw Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s finish 11th , the lowest finish of the campaign. Seemingly Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s were sinking like a stone, it was probably a good thing there wasn’t another division below that they could be relegated to. Round 4 and 5 would see an improved performance, with 9th and 8th place finishes respectively. This would see Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s finish 10th overall which as I said earlier would be a record low for the team at this time. However, this would also be the all time low in the club’s history for the Men’s Vet’s team, which means (spoiler alert!) the only way was up. There was only one penalty this season, a 50+ from round 2. Participation increased from 9 to 13 Vet’s from 45 men. The highest ranked Vet was 320th (V40) overall, which would also be the record low in the club’s history for a highest ranked Vet (for both the Men’s and Ladies Vet’s team’s).

Jason Newell

2017/18 season

After the record lows of the 2016/17 season, surely there would be improvement in the 2017/18 season. The campaign would start impressively with a win from round 1! This would be the first time the Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s had achieved a round win. This would be more impressive as it was achieved in spite of 1 40+ penalty. However, even though this is a massive achievement, the 2nd place round 4 finish in the 2012/13 season remains the highest round finish for the team as it was recorded when the league was one massive 19 team league and this win was recorded in a lower division and thus a lower overall placing. So, with a win from round 1, a promotion charge was surely underway…. or was it? Round 2 and 3 ended with back to back 7th place finishes. This left Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s 4th in the table overall at this time, the dream was still alive though and could be achieved with 2 high results from
the last 2 rounds. Would round 4 get the team back in the mixer? The answer…. an emphatic NO! In fact, it was a complete capitulation. Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s finished round 4 a bottom of the table 12th! The team was massively hampered by 4 separate penalties, the most in any round by the Hyde Park Harrier Men’s Vet’s team in the history of the club, so it’s no surprise that this result was also the record round finish low for the Men’s Vet’s team, a bottom of the league result in the bottom league. With that result, I think it’s fair to say that promotion was firmly off the cards for the season, but where would the team finish this season? Round 5 ended with an unspectacular 8th place finish, this would leave the Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s team 8th overall. It’s an interesting contrast that the class of 2017/18 achieved both a round win and a bottom of the table round finish. But it does go to show how important it is to avoid penalties. Participation increased by 1 to 14 (from 49 men) from the previous season. The highest ranked Vet finished 184th (V50) overall. This season would also see an unwanted record for the most amount of penalties in a season ever for the Hyde Park Harrier Men’s Vet’s team with 7 in total (6 40+ and 1 50+).

Steve Rhodes

2018/19 season

The 2018/19 season would see another team added to the First division, going from 12 to 13 teams. However, there would be a massive change to the scoring system. The scoring system had been 3 40+, 2 50+ and 1 60+ across both divisions since the competition began. The new system would change the categories to 35+, 45+, 55+ and 65+. The number of scorers per category would also go from a standardised system to a progressive one. The First division scorers would comprise 2 35+, 1 45+,1 55+ and 1 65+ athlete compared to the Premier division’s 3 35+, 2 45+, 1 55+, 1 65+. With a relegation and 2 lower end First division finishes in the past 3 seasons, would Hyde Park Harrier Vet’s improve on this? The first 2 results would suggest not, with 2 7th place finishes from rounds 1 and 2 respectively. Things would improve in rounds 3 and 4 with an impressive 3 rd and 5th place finishes respectively. This would leave the Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s team firmly in mid table. A 6th place finish from round 5 would see the team finish 6th overall. The clubs highest placing since they entered the division. Penalties were massively reduced from last season’s 7, with 3 65+ penalties (rounds 2, 4 and 5). looking at the tables, a lot of clubs in the First division did struggle to get a runner out when the 65+ category was created, so just getting someone out can prove a massive advantage over other clubs in the same division. With the Vet’s age being lowered to 35 for the competition, it is no surprise that participation massively increased, reaching a record 21 Vets from 51 men. The highest ranked Vet was 94th (V55) overall.

2019/20 season

The 2019/20 season started quite poorly for the Hyde Park Harriers Vet’s team with a 9th place from round 1, but things would massively improve with an impressive 2nd in round 2. This inconsistent form would continue with an 8th place from round 3. If you are reading this blog I’m willing to bet you have read the Men’s team blog so I’ll skip the story of the West Park monsoon, but it saw the team finish 8th . Once again, I’ll skip over the Ed Sheeran and coronavirus stories as you’ll have already have read them. With no final fixture, this meant the Hyde Park Harriers Vets team finished 7th overall, one place down on last season. There were just 2 65+ penalties for the season (rounds 3 and 4) Once again there was a record Vet’s turnout with 28 Vets from 46 male participants which is the highest ratio of Vets to open category athletes in Hyde Park Harrier Men’s Vet’s history (the Ladies Vet’s would better it). Of course, this can largely be put down to last season’s scoring changes but nevertheless it’s very good for Vet participation. The highest ranked Vet was 69th (V35) Overall.

Rich Garratt

Onwards!

Due to the coronavirus, there was no 2020/21 PECO season. At the time of writing the 2021/22 season is underway and it has started with a bang for the Men’s Vets team with a win in round 1, which is only the second time the Men’s Vet’s team has won a round in the history of the Vet’s team (male or female). The fine gentlemen of 2021/22 join the class of 2017/18 in matching this achievement. This was followed up in round 2 with a 2nd place finish. It looks very much like a close title battle with Ilkley in the making.

Can the Men’s Vet’s overcome such a talented team to take the title? Is there a promotion charge on the way? Will the team capitulate? Will penalties come into play? Who knows! Round 3 is not far away, let’s see what the class of 2021/22 is made of.

Table of statistics below (you may have to scroll right to see them all)
Michael Vargas

Table of Results

Season DivisionHighest round finish Overall finishPromotion / RelegationHighest individual VetHighest individual rankingNo. ParticipantsNo. Penalties
2009/10 One League 3rd 5th [Redacted]7th 75
2010/11 One League8th 9th [Redacted]39th 10 6
2011/12One League8th 9th [Redacted]9th 13 5
2012/13One League2nd 6th Kevin Ogden 4th 16 0
2013/14Premier6th 7th Kevin Ogden 8th 12 0
2014/15Premier8th8thKevin Ogden 8th150
2015/16 Premier11th 11th Relegated David Wormersley 160th 9 4
2016/17 First 8th 10th Jason Newell 320th 13 1
2017/18 First1st 8th Steve Rhodes 184th 14 7
2018/19First3rd 6thSteve Rhodes 94th 21 3
2019/20 First2nd 7th Richard Garratt 69th 28 2