THINK cross-country - think mud, writes Chris Cottrell.
But for the London Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill on Saturday the ground was firm - conditions that perfectly suited Chris Smith.
The Thames Valley Harrier romped home in the senior men's race well ahead of his nearest rivals in a lightning-quick time for the still difficult hilly course.
The other TVH men from the Shepherd's Bush club were less successful although Calum Nicol was 53rd, and Manuel da Silva followed up his seventh position last time out in the Metropolitan League by coming 65th.
And there was even better news from the fairer side of the da Silva family as
Manuel's sister Lisa continued her sensational season in the women's 5k event.
In a hugely competitive race, da Silva battled into the medal positions to finish third and was supported by fellow skyblue vest Tracey Tory further down the field.
Although they were missing a number of strong runners, TVH were disappointed with their men's team finish of ninth.
RESULTS: Men's 10k: (Thames Valley Harriers only) 1 C Smith 31:31mins; 53 C Nicol 35:47; 65 M da Silva (time to be confirmed) P Wetton 37:22; 153 R Bell 41:11; 175 P Hill 42:35; 224 S Maddison 46:04.
Women's 5k: (All TVH) 3 L da Silva 21:10; 55 T Tory 24:22.