Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Keith Gerrard (October 2011)

(Born 24th of March  1956)
   Keith Gerrard was Newham & Essex Beagles fastest runner in their team that came third in the National Six Stage road relay, on the 15th of October at Sutton Park, near Birmingham and on the 23rd of September in the Southern six stage at Aldershot he took his team to victory, having moved up to first position on the anchor leg.
   However, even at 25, Keith has already quite a long history in the sport and matured through his days at St Marys College and recently at New Mexico University in the States, where he was studying for a Masters Degree in Sports Management.
   He made the England teams for the World cross country three times and in the UK winning team in the European under 23's twice.
   After saying that when did he first start running?
    " I did not do any structured training till I turned sixteen.
    'I started a few runs when I was 15 but still played football at that point. It was not till I was 16 that I said to myself that I was going to become a runner. '
   ' When I was sixteen I went to the English Schools Championships as an intermediate and got a bronze medal (8:48.04/3k at Nottingham) and that was only after a few weeks training properly. I thought I'll crack on with this. That was when I put the football aside and got on with running.
   When he went to America was that a big turning point in his athletic career!
 " Definitely from a! performance perspective"
   You did have a good cross country record before that!
" Obviously I made a few British teams as a junior and went to the World cross as a senior but in terms of track performances I turned things around in America and, came back faster than when I went out. From that point of view it was very worthwhile."
   Your club Manager Bob Smith told me last year you would be back to run for the team. He is a great motivator in your club!
   " His passions are unbelievable!"
  You ran a pb of 13:58.33 for 5000 this year in America is that special (Mt. Sac Relays Walnut, Calif).
   " I am not trying to seem arrogant but I wanted to go a bit better than that. I only got one real chance out there. in April. I did not feel too good on the night or in the race but then I was still really happy because it was my first time under 14 minutes so, by no means, am I knocking it.'
  You are good at cross country?
  " I enjoy cross-country but I do think I will go to the marathon in the future. I get better as I go up the distances .5k is alright but 10k is better and again half marathon is good too." (28:27.03/10k; 63:39/half-marathon in Newcastle Great North Run..Both this year).
   I think I get stronger as I go up the distances."
  Do you train with the other lads at Newham & EB?
 " Not really no. There are a couple who live around me..Rory Chesser lives just up the road from me. Sometimes I run with him. The team live in different areas but when we come together for competitions we are really supportive of each other.
      He pointed out some good runs he had on the track which included the NCAA at Des Moines where he ran 28:36.33 for 10,000. " I got seventh there. It was a tough field and it a not far outside my pb" He ran 28:27.03 at the Payton Jordon Invitational at Palo Alto on the 1st of May which was his pb.
  One must not forget that he won the Under 20 Junior National Cross Country in 2005
  " I won that by quite a way at Crofton Park"
  Mike Turner, who was a Captain of the English Cross country team and Cambridge University team when they were the best in the country back in the 1960's and is considered a 'Guru' of athletics, told me that it is very important to win a race to build your confidence for the future?
  " That National is right up there even though it seems a long time ago now."
    Nick Anderson is put down as his Lead coach on ' Power of Ten' but he had this to say
   " I have  been running quite a few years now so I have built up my own knowledge. You know when to take a rest day. You know when you need to work hard.'
   'It is a fairly simple sport, there is no need to complicate it."

Alastair Aitken

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