Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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National Senior Cross Country Championships - 22nd February 2014 (Part One)

STEVE VERNON has now got the 'National record' for being 8 times in the frame in the Championships, since the race was first run in 1877.
The 12k race over three long laps at Wollaton Park, Nottinghamshire, had a muddy stretch in it but the rest was lightly undulating
park land of long areas of grass, on a surprisingly dry surface, after all the recent rains.
   The pace up front on the drier parts was very fast and it was surprising that a large group was not really broken up till entering the last lap. Richard Goodman made a move and Vernon went with him and they pulled clear of the rest. Goodman was the one really effected by the 'Older tail enders' and not able to get his line and was tripped, losing a few valuable metres on Vernon, who quickly pressed on to the finish. Goodman could not get back on terms and able to add a victory to his convincing Southern and British University titles. It was Vernon's turn to win again and achieve his magical '8'.
   About that Steve had this to say to me "It was fantastic. I was so pleased."
   He added "I just knew I had to take control and run at my pace and ignore everyone. Adam Hickey took the lead at one stage but Nick Swinburn was in the lead for quite a while, then Richard Goodman and I got away on the last lap."
   'The win gave me a boost. I know I am 33 now and you have to take each one as your last one. You just don't know when you are going to start going down hill. I treated to-day as my first and last 'National' It paid off.'
  RICHARD GOODMAN "I lost 10 metres at least when I fell and, my head dropped when I saw Steve pulling away. It was a bit annoying. The first lap was fine. On the 2nd lap I tried to make a move and whoever would come with me! I felt I needed to win but you can't win them all. I felt I did race tactically better than ever but there were so many people on the second lap."

1657 runners finished.
The First 10 were:
1 Steve Vernon (Stockport Harriers AC) 36:23
2 Richard Goodman (Shaftesbury Barnet) 36:31
3 Andy Hayes (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield) 36:37
4 Nick Swinburn (Morpeth Harriers & AC) 36:46
5 James Wilkinson (Leeds City AC) 36:48
6 John Gilbert (Kent AC) 36:51
7 Jon Pepper ( (Phoenix AC) 37:00
8 Nick Torry (Serpentine RC) 37:01
9 Jonathan Brownlee (Bingley Harriers & AC) 37:03
10 Michael Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers) 37:04.

First 3 Teams (six to score):-
1 Bedford & County AC 265
2 Notts AC 296
3 Leeds City AC 301.

GEMMA STEEL won her second 'National' in the Womens race and was thirty metres clear of Steph Twell, who was a good second at half way. Steel went on to win well.
   Gemma said  "It was on the first lap in the muddy part I got away and kept it going. I was third last year because I was coming back from injury. To win it again was a nice feeling."
She really loves cross-country and road as opposed to doing track
   "Definitely, as track to me is a different atmosphere so I don't do it."
Will she run the Inter-Counties at Crofton Park.  
   "I am training for the New York Half Marathon so I will not do it."
Whether she would do marathons in the future she said she would be advised by her coach John Nuttall (Ex national CC Champion) if to do that or not.
   "I felt a bit leggy today as I was really supposed to be doing the mileage for the half marathon but I got away with it fortunately."  

STEPH TWELL
Running on the Boards indoors must have helped you?
    "It definably helped my turnover. It is a bit sapping to-day on this sort of course. I did not really have the strength there and you need the  combination of both. I was happy to have run as well as I did so it showed there was strength there. I will turn the heat up on my turnover work. I am pleased with the result."

JESS ANDREWS
   "I was in fourth place but lost a bit of speed at the end. After my Southern win, as it was my first Senior National I was very happy with it."

708 Senior Woman finished.
First 10:-
1 Gemma Steel (Charnwood AC) 27.42
2 Steph Twell (Aldershot Farnham & District) 27:59
3 Lily Partridge (Aldershot Farnham & District) 28:11
4 Katie Brough (Vale Royal AC) 28:18
5 Jess Andrew (Aldershot Farnham & District) 28:20
6 Miranda Heathcote (Newquay & Par AC) 28:29
7 Tish Jones (Belgrave Harriers) 28:32
8 Jane Potter (Charnwood AC) 28:38
9 Katie Walshaw ( Holmfirth Harriers AC) 29:00
10 Sarah Tunstal (Kendal A) AC 29:03.

First 3 Teams:-
1 Aldershot Farnham & District AC 21
2 Charnwood AC 102
3 Rotherham Harriers & AC 127

Alastair Aitken

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