Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

THE 46th VICTORIA PARK '5' (April 2012)

TEWODROS SHIFERAW of Ethiopia, followed up his win of 2006 (23.42) in the annual prestigious race promoted by Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets AC when he ran an even faster time of 23.28 this year. The race on the 7th of April was in fairly cool conditions and run on the concrete and stone pathways in the park. The interesting thing was it was an identical time done to last years' winner Cimon Kasmil of Kenya.
   A group of eight were together for the first mile till Shiferaw, Bernard Chemugo (Kenya) who was 2nd in the Reading Half-marathon (63.37) the previous Saturday, Mehretab Solomon, on the comeback trail and Paskar Owor
broke away together.Tewodros put in his final effort with 400m left to do and went clear with the other three following him in.
First Six out of 174 finishers: 1 Tewodros Shiferaw 23:28; 2 Mehretab Solomon 23:35; 4 Pascar Owor 24:07; 5 Ben Noad 24.32 (Chip time 23:15); 6 Dave Mitchnson 25:06. (2415 Chip time)
Women- First 3 Women 1 Justina Heslop 26:18; 2 Alice Mogire (Kenya) 27:02; 3 Kate Avery 27:10. (Chip Timing).
has an interesting past history.
  " Like Justina Helsop I was stuck in traffic and had no warm up for the race to-day. '
   ' In Ethiopia I train with group which includes Haile Gebrselassie'
' I started athletics when I was 15 and came 16th in the World Junior cross country Championships in about 1994. '
  'I do 40 to 50 miles a week of running now.'
 ' My favourite type of running is on the road and my best is 62.09 for the half marathon but I would like to move up to the marathon sometime in he future." He was third in the All African Championships 3000 steeplechase in 8:27.33 back in 2003 at Abuja Nigeria.
BERNARD CHEMUGO from Kenya won the Hastings Half Marathon and was 2nd in the Reading Half " My best distance is the half marathon which I have done 63 minters for. I started running four years ago in Kenya"
SOLOMON MEEHRETAB was a Southern 5000m Champion in 2010 but only coming back to racing very recently and this was his first serious race and Peter McHugh de Clare the team Director of 'Run Fast' and a top official at Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets AC said "Last October/November time, when Meheretab was coming to train with the Kenyans who were in town. While coming along the Mile End Road someone opened a car door and Meheretab slammed into it and fell on the floor. The paramedics arrived to take him to hospital.He had a bad shoulder and side from the accident but despite having a lot of time off since then, he is gradually coming back to form and this was his first serious race. I think he is going to be really good as it is really only his first senior race."
Belgrave Harrier, PASCAR OWOR, was pleased with his time and position. He was sixth last year and fourth this year.
    He has run for Uganda in two Olympic Games and feels it is possible, if he runs abroad to make the 3:38 to get in to the Uganda team but has reservations about it all as, he feels you could do 3:34 or 3.35 in the heats and still not get to the next round and he does not really feel he would be capable of doing that fast this year and points out
   " I am studying Sports Coaching at Roehamptson and I realise I might qualify for the Olympics but not really worried about that as I think for an African, it is difficult 'Job Wise' unless you have a qualification and they would expect that in Uganda. It is no good doing a fantastic time and not having an education so, I am now needing a qualification rather than worry about going to the Olympics, which I have done before. I can then show that qualification to people in Uganda. I want to enjoy life and be independant which the qualification will give me. I am studying and working, coaching boys of 10."

JUSTINA HELSOP About her club Clapham Chasers . A very social club and they do a lot of triathlons. I was with them when I started and they are really supportive, paying for couple of flights to Ethiopia for me. I have had mixed racing and training in the last year because I was looking after a great friend who died of cancer in December. My best performance in recent times was probably when I did 32:40 in he Swansea 10k in September.
    If there  had been such a  thing as team prizes at the Victoria Park 5 this year Highgate Harriers would have certainly won with their four- 6 Ben Noad , 11 Ben Pochee (24:22), 19  Jon Laybourn and 24 Nick Gold'
so, I asked BEN NOAD if he got as much satisfaction now running in the Highgate team that won the Southern cross country Championships as he did when he was 43rd in the World cross a few years ago?
" I love it now. It gives me just as much pleasure. This is not the end of  our success recently, we are building on it as a team and, we have not reached the top yet but we are getting there."

Alastair Aitken

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