Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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SEAA Cross Country Championships - Juniors (January 2012)

A GREAT BATTLE BETWEEN NIALL FLEMING (11th European U20) and KIERAN CLEMENTS ( 9th European)

It was not till the last half mile that Niall won this Under 20 Southern race at Stanmer Park.
First 3 Niall Fleming (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers)  26:03; 2 Kieran Clements (Ipswich Harriers) 26:07; 3 Harvey Dixon (Aldershot Farnham & District  AC) 26:13. Team:- Aldershot Farnham & Distinct. Niall had started the season by getting a lot of experience running with the seniors in the Met Leagues and then came 5th in the European U20 Trials.
   Niall Fleming:- " Clements was really strong. It was at the top of the hill on the first lap I moved up. On the second I was feeling quite strong. Feeling quite good and comfortable still. It then got harder and harder as the second lap came on. I went into the lead on the hill again, got a little gap. He was so strong and he came past me really strongly. I spurted past him coming down the hill and sprinted to the line."
   Kieran Clements who started running in 2008:- " Coming down the last hill I thought I might get a little gap on him. However, it is really going well so far this season although I did have a dodgy race in Spain. I wanted to make amends for that"
 
 Under 20 Women Emilia Gorecka , who won the Under 20 European, still qualified for the Under 17's but decided on doing the oder age group in the Southern.
    First 3:- 1 Emilia  Gorecka (Aldershot Farnham & District) 22:01; 2 Louise Small (Aldershot Farnham & District AC) 22:34; 3 Jess Chen (City of Portsmouth AC) 23:29.Team:- Aldershot Farnham & District AC
   Emilia Gorecka:- It gave her the confidence running so well against older women and she added
   " It was 4k at the European so it was good to get this one (8000m) under my belt."
   Was the European win her favourite result so far?
      " Definitely . My coach Mick Woods has been very helpful and supportive. My memory of the European was that I went off quite far back but with a lap to go I was 3 seconds behind the leader. 400 to go I went for it and won by a second."
       Louise Small " I was very happy with that. She got away early on. I train with her so I knew what to expect!
' I felt strong in second position and to hold on to that. I will be running for St Marys in the British Universities cross country Championships"
        Jess Chen " It was a really good season so far as I am a first year runner in this category. I was third at Cardiff in the McCain Uk Cross Challenge.
       Gerry North is her coach. Gerry won the National in 1962 and was also a very good international over the country as well as being the National ' Over 50' Champion at one time.
         " Jess is dedicated. She does everything I tell her to do. She is currently at Oxford University'
          ' She did train with Mick Woods but she said she always felt tired when she was racing then but, since she has been with me she has been improving."
       Under 17 Women :- 1 Alex Clay (Invicta East Kent AC) 17:12; 2 Jessica Judd (Chelmsford AC) 17:26;
3 Grace Baker (Aldershot Farnham & District) 17:32,
Team Aldershot & Farnham & District
   Alex Clay:- " I went into the lead just coming down the hill..'
   ' Peter Mullervy is my coach now and he is good with middle distance training with a lot of track work. I have only just changed over to him at the beginning of the season."
   Jessica Judd is considered an outstanding prospect and has won big races but she came unstuck with this one. Her Father had a long drive back to pick up her spikes " I wanted to do well for him as he went back and got my spikes that I had forgotten to bring'
  ' I felt better warming up than before winning the Southern Inter-Counties. I thought I would just go for it at Stanmer Park and it did not feel fast at all but in the last lap it felt as though everything had shut down. I don't know if it was running into the wind. It was not to be today!"
 
Under 17 Men 1 Jonathan Davies (Reading AC)19:54; 2 Scott Halstead (Bracknell AC) 20:10; 3 Michael Callligari (Shaftesbury Barnet AC) 20:28 and 4 Southern Inter-Counties winner, Tom Hook (City of Norwich AC) 20:28.
Team: Aldershot & Farnham AC.
      John Davies  was challenged by Scott Halstead till after half way. You could visibly see them running round together at the front from the bottom of the hill and well into the second lap.
John Davies-  " I have been improving in the last track season and this cross country season.'
'I won the schools race over 3000m last year and last week I was fifth in Spain in my first Under 20 international"      '  
      Tom Hook " I went hard up the hills and the long one in the woods was a killer. I was pleased with my result as I was so near Michael Callegari who was third"
     
Under 15 Girls 1 Bobby Clay (Invicta East Kent AC) 14:05; 2 Katie Shield-Rankin (Aldershot Farnham & District AC) 14:22; 3 Gemma Holloway (Thurrock Harriers) 14:29. Team:- Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow.
       Bobby Clay (14) " I went into the lead half way round first lap. I was 11th in this race last year''  
My coach is James Roberts and now I train with the older boys so I have to chase them!'
   ' I won the Kent Championships and have been running since I was seven years old.'
   ' At school in Sandwich I am doing GCE in Sport studies, German, History and RS.'
     
Under 13 boys :- 1 Canan Solomon (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) 10:10; 2 Jack Boswell (Aldershot Farnham & District AC) 10:19; 3 Sam Henning (Chiltern Harriers AC) 10:20. Team Aldershot Farnham & District.

JOHN STOW COACH TO THE TALENTED CANAN SOLOMON

  I first met Canan Solomon after he won the first London City Metropolitan league cross country at Claybury
   John said " We miss a few Met Leagues because we were focusing on today, National, Inter-Counties, English schools- Those big races that is why.
  His instructions for Solomon in the Southern " To follow the leaders for the first mile and a half then into the woods and then on the down hill still to come, take the lead and take control and, he executed that good'
   He certainly has a great rapport with his coach, who was a runner in his day and an Insurance middle distance track Champion in those days, when Insurance was full of good athletes!
" Solomon  can cope with what we ask him to do very well'
John continued ' At 13 he is still young and got years in front of him. I want him running in 10 years time. However, it is great to hear what he is doing'
   'He is just training 2 to 3 time a week and that is all we want him to do. The important thing is he enjoys what he is doing and he will be there or thereabouts in the National and Inter-Counties"

Alastair Aitken

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