Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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North London Cross Country Championships (November 2013)

NORTH LONDON CHAMPIONSHIPS
Mad Bess Woods, Ruislip 23rd of November
                                         
TOMAS STASIONIS (28), followed up his third place in the previous weeks' London CC with a win in the North London Championships.
Stasionis, who competed for the Lithuanian team before he had a nerve problem and, did not run from 2006 to when he came to the UK in 2010. He considered that he was in the best form this year, since arriving in the UK.
He is currently on 70 miles a week and aiming for his first marathon in the London.
My interview  with Tomas:- "In the field to begin with Tom Aldred was in the lead and Mckinlay second just before you went into the woods!"
   "I did not run as fast to begin with. I was about 7th. One of the guys started to run the wrong way so, I thought I am not going to push hard and waited for them. When Tom came I ran with him for the first lap. Tom had gone into the lead at that point, I then ran with him. Descending the third hill I was in the lead. I was second last year so I  wanted to push hard all the way to win the race."
" When did you come from Lithuania?"
   "2010. I had been ill and had a nerve inflammation in my face before I came over. I stopped running in 2006, then I did not run again till I came here. In Lithuania I ran for the Lithuanian National Team. I ran for Lithuania in meetings with Latvia and Estonia."
"When did you first start running"
   "When I was 14. I had very bad health and spent time in the health centres. One day my coach was asking the other guys to start running but he did not ask me. 'I thought I will get up in the morning and start running. After three months I beat all my class mates by a lap."
"Your season has been good."
   "So far. In the London cross country (3rd) I ran two minutes faster than last year. I am very happy with that. I feel I have been consistent. I did not push too hard in the last two years. This week I will be running 70 miles. I am doing the London which will be my first Marathon."
In the race at Ruislip, after the start, Tom Aldred led the runners out of the field but straight after that, on entering Mad Bess Woods Ryan McKinlay, took over the lead. Then the first few runners went off course for 30 to 50 metres but, as the rest in the front had slowed considerably, which included Stasionis in the race, it was then after that the race started in earnest. On the first big hill the first three were Aldred and Stasionis together and Mckinlay was up to third position with James Laing next. Aldred led through the first lap before Stasionis took over and never looked like relinquishing the lead after that with Aldred second and a solitary McKinlay running in third place but taking Highgate to team victory. First 3 Tomas Stasionis (Eton Manor); 25.08; 2 Tom Aldred (London Heathside) 25.21; 3 Ryan Mckinlay (Highgate Harriers) 26.09. They were followed by James Laing of Hillingdon, William Green of Serpentine, Alan Wray of Harrow and Henry Dodwell of Highgate. (130 Finished)
   In the women's race, Alex Gounelas, who has won 14 Chingford League races in succession and ran the marathon at Abingdon last October in 2:52.59, was in the leading 4 after one small lap. She was running with Jo Kent, Katie Meredith and Hannah Viner. In the second larger lap Gounelas moved clear of Kent and Meredith. However, Kent was only 15 metres adrift with 100m remaining. Meredith, in third place led Highgate Harriers to their third victory in five weeks, with all their scorers within the first 8 places out of 81 finishers. Alex runs in the ATW Metropolitan League for Highgate Harriers but her first claim club is Eton Manor AC, who provided both winners of the North London Championships. 1 Alex Gounelas (Eton Manor AC) 21.55; 2 Jo Kent (Barnet & District AC, W45) 21.56; 3 Katie Meredith (Highgate Harriers) 22.08 4 Hannah Viner (U20) 22.21, 5 Heather Bijman (Highgate) 22.46; 6 Fionna Kennedy (Ealing Southall & Middx, W55) 22.58. (130 finishers) First 3 Teams:- 1 Highgate Harriers 20; 2 Ealing Southall & Middx 74 and 3 London Heathside 87.
Gounelas also said "I would like definitely to do another marathon."
I asked her- How Many miles a week are your doing?
   "Around 50"        
Have you a coach
   "No. My club does not have coaches!"
Where abouts do you train
   "Hackney Marshes. Along the canal on my own."
   
Jo Kent "I have done a few races this season. I am 46. I do some veteran races."
"Performances you have done that have pleased you?"
   "London Marathon this year 2:59.23. A few cross-countries last year but was concentrating on Marathon training."
I expect you have a lot of other interests?
   "I am a Fitness Instructor and coach kids as well. It's good exercise in schools and everything.
Running is quite a big part of my life. I have two children that ran today before this event in the North West London Young athletes league. Scarlet was in the Under 13's (7th of 43) Rufus in the Under 15's (21/32) so ,we are a family of runners."

Alastair Aitken

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