Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and


The Liddiard cross country Cup was first run in 1947 and since then Mike Barratt (who sadly died a year ago) won the event more times than anyone else. The 'Evergreen' Ealing, Southall & Middlesex runner, won it 9 times between 1952 and 1965. Some famous names have appeared on the trophy over the years, that include Andy Ferguson; Eric Shirley (who won in 1955 and still competes in veteran track competitions); John Merriman; Tony Simmons; Dave Bedford; Julian Goater and John Downes. The commemorative Cup was awarded to the winner in 1947, the year after E.J. Liddiard died. Liddiard was the longest serving founder member of Queens Park Harriers. The host club, that first started in 1887.
   It was on October, 26th 2013, the race was won by a Queens Park Harrier for the first time, since Tom Harwood won the race in 1954. Shaftesbury Harriers have easily the longest team reign of 21 Men's team victories, since the start in 1947 but this year, in all 7 categories Highgate Harriers won the team awards for the Liddiard/combined with the 2012/2013 deferred North of Thames cross country Championships, held in conjunction with the event.
   The first ten  runners in the Mens race out of a field of 133  were:- 1 Antonio Silva (Queens Park) 24.46; 2 Tom Aldred (London Heathside) 25:05; 3 Ryan McKinlay (Highgate) 25:10; 4 Robert Thompson (Hillingdon) 25:18; 5 Ali Yayhe (Thames Valley harriers) 26:20; 6 Under 20 runner Joe Saissi (Hillingdon) 26:22; 7 Jim Cooper (Harrow) 26:26; 8 Rob O'Grady (London Heathside) 26:30; 9 Fergal Smithwick (Highgate) 26:35 and 10 Henry Dodwell (Highgate-The 2012 winner) 26:31.
   In the Women's race the first four past the post were Ashley Scott (Highgate) 17:02; 2 Georgia Fear (a remarkable 15 year old, running as an Under 17) 17:04; and 3rd Sheena Murphy-Allsport (Thames Valley Harriers) 17:18 and fourth, Under 20 runner, Emma Dixon of Highgate in 17:39. As a matter of interest age-wise, Fiona Kennedy (ESM), a 55 year old, was 10th and first over 50 in 18:50.
   ANTONIO SILVA, won this year's Men's race over the Fryent Park course at Kingsbury. After the first small lap, in the rain, Silva led with Tom Aldred next with a group behind that, comprising of Robert Thompson, Jose Saissi, Ali Yahye and Ryan McKinlay. Silva continued to lead well through the first of two large laps with Aldred and Yahye evenly spaced out behind that. It was in the last part of the race McKinlay moved up to third but, by then both Silva followed by Aldred, had put in valuable metres ahead.
   Antonio Silva's friend and interpreter, Artur Domingos, pointed out that Antonio Silva has come to work in England in the last four months but his home is in Northern Portugal. He runs for Sporting Club de Portugal back home. He has run for Portugal in European and World cross country competitions. He finished 57th in the World cross-country this year (2013) in Poland. He enjoyed to-day's race as he loves cross-country running."
   The Women's winner was Ashley Scott "I am only just coming back to it" said 22 year old Scott "I raced for my University in America, Tulsa University, Oklahoma and am studying for an MA now at LSE".
   About Georgia Fear in the race she remarked "We were helping each other out a bit but she tightened up at the end but, she was gaining on me at the end too".

Alastair Aitken

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