Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

National Senior Cross Country Championships - 22nd February 2014 (Part Two)

Under 17 Women 5k (11 am)

In the Saucony English National, at Wollaton Park , Nottingham, soon after the start Bobby Clay went to the front but Lydia Turner, who lives in County Durham and coached by THOMAS MILLMORE, was in a group just behind her  
   LYDIA TURNER:- "I usually go fast at the start but I kept calm and strong and let someone else do the pace work, till the latter stages. I did not expect to beat Bobby Clay as she is such a good runner. It was amazing!"
   Her start in the sport "I first started to run when I was 11 at the school cross country. I just continued because I enjoyed it so much.
   Her running at the club "At the club we do a long Sunday run and I do a couple of runs in the week. I don't really count the miles."
   Which run before the 'National' win did she think was special to her
      "In the Edinburgh cross country when I came third (1 Bobby Clay, 2 Alex Clay, 3 Lydia Turner)".
   You took it by the throat, as you always do and went into the lead for a long way. Were you surprised Lydia overtook you?
   "No! I knew she was sitting there and I knew she was waiting. She was playing the game I wanted to play but no one took it out so, I did not have a choice.
   You did take it out and ran a very hard race but you probably learn a lot more doing that as Don't you think?
   "You don't learn how to race, to be a prey rather than a hunter. A good learning curve and a lot to go back and sort out now. It was a tough race."
   "The pace was hot from the beginning. I felt so anyway. They started to pull away on the medium lap but I got closer to them on the downhill but they pulled away when we got to the final area. I was pleased with the way I had run."
   Her Highlights "Making it to Edinburgh (5th overall) and winning the Northern (25th of January) but Lydia was not there, that gave me something to do in that one".

First three out of 134 finishers.
1 Lydia Turner (Birtley AC) 17:25
2 Bobby Clay (Invicta East Kent AC) 17:29
3 Harriet Knowles-Jones (Warrington AC) 17:39
Winning team- Birtley AC 113 pts (1,18,32, and 62).  

Under 15 Boys 4.5k (11.25 am)

The winner was  BEN DIJKSTRA, from Loughborough Grammar School, who are very supportive of his running:- " I was really pleased with the race. I knew what I had to do so, I started to push it with 2k to go and tried to make it stick. I was pleased with that."
   His Heroes "Mo Farah and it has got to be the Brownlee brothers."
   Training; He likes the triathlon so, he has got a good idea here when he says "I get a lot of base fitness from swimming, as it reduces the impact of running so much. It is a good remedy that has worked for me."
(That was an interesting comment because,when I Interviewed Billy Mills (USA) in Tokyo when he won the 1964 Olympic 10,000m, he told me he had shin soreness the week leading up to the race so besides jogging on grass he mainly went swimming)
The races that stand out for Ben "Four National titles last year and one international "
(Amongst those who had improved was Terry Fawden of Highgate Harriers who was 33rd in his last National Under 13 race and finished 9th of the 436 finishers here.)

First Three:-
1 Ben Dijkstra (Leicester Corinthian AC) 13:55
2 Markhim Lonsdale  (Crook & District Sports AC) 14:10
3 Isaac Akers (Corby AC) 14:17
Team Bedford & County AC 55 points (5,6,13,31).

Junior Women 6k (11.45 am)

   GEORGIA TAYLOR-BROWN who is studying Sports Sciences at the Leeds Metropolitan University, was in the lead very early:- "I wanted to go off hard in the race because the start was a bit 'Iffy', up and down. I did not want to get behind people falling over. I went off hard and expected everyone else to do the same. I just then kept it going. Maybe I went a bit too hard. I settled into it and got a rhythm."
   It was one of her best results- "Definitely. I was very happy with the BUCS result. I felt really good on that day. That was perhaps my biggest achievement. (1 Georgia Taylor-Brown (Leeds Met) 21:27; 2 Emelia Gorecka (Royal Holloway) 21:29)."
   "My best performances include medals in the World cross and an my run in the European Cross (4th Under 20 and in winning GB team).
   Her coach is PAUL RODEN (Ex-International CC runner) "I talk to him and he is so good for me and understands what I can handle. I am looking forward now to going into the triathlon season. That is my sport I am a Triathlete."
   AMY GRIFFITHS:- Coming round for the first lap you were in a group some 30 meters behind Georgia and then eventually,  you came out of that group and got a good second place.
   "It was at the start of the large lap coming down the  hill. I was told by MICK WOODS to sit in and when I felt I was ready to go. There was quite a bit downhill and I knew my long legs would work well on the downhill. Till then there was a group of 8 of us.
   Her season " Beginning of the season I got injured with my calf muscle. Throughout Christmas and
January I was ill and off but now it's looking better."

First Three off 134 finishers
1 Georgia Taylor-Brown (Sale Harriers Manchester) 21:03
2 Amy Griffiths (Aldershot Farnham & District) 21:51
3 Grace Baker (Aldershot Farnham & District) 21:58.
Winning team Aldershot Farnham & District AC 17 points (2,3,12).

Under 13 Girls 3k 12.15pm

This race really needed a photo finish!
A perspective on the race, which may have been lost or won by GRACE COPELAND at the finish, was by the Herne Hill Harrier ALEX BROWN who ran exactly the same time as the winner.
ALEX BROWN, coached by PHIL KISSI, was the winner of the Surrey Championships, and London Youth Games and third in the Southern  She remarked about the race at Wollaton Park "It was hard. I fell over in a big puddle and lost the lead and I was beaten right on the line"

First 3.
1 Grace Copeland (Wimborne AC) 11:42
2 Alex Brown (Herne Hill Harriers) 11:42
3 Josie Czura (City of Portsmouth AC 11:46
Team Herne Hill Harriers (2, 13, 24,55)
431 Girls finished the race.

Under 17 men 6km (1.20 pm)

On the race ZAC MILLER "I settled in the pack for the first lap. As soon as I hit the second lap I started to push a little bit and kept kicking and then broke away. It was at the ¾ mark I went into the lead down the hill towards the log and kept there."
Southern Champion JORDAN ROWE, I could see with his green vest in the pack for a long time. "I was just trying to hang on really. Zac was pulling me along so I kept running. I will race at Crofton Park."
   ZAC MILLER (16 years old) "My coach is PAUL SHAW. He is a good coach and helps me a lot and the other thing is I train with DANNY LAWTON. He is a good lad and pushes me in training. Then you always have someone to make you work hard. I had no coach till I won the English Schools cross country Championships in March last year. I just started running 2 years back but when I got the coach he brought me on loads."
   Zac reckoned his run coming 15th in Edinburgh was a memory which was good. The race was an international Under 20 Junior race and he was the first under 17 in the race, as far as I can see in the results in Athletics Weekly.
Interesting facts from his parents on the day!

"Zak is a boxer and the North West Champion for five years in a row and a National finalist. He trains every day and his running helps with his boxing. He boxes as an Under 17 (54 to 57kilos). He goes out running every day (often) 15 to 20 miles. He runs in the morning does a couple of circuits in the day and runs in the evening with no rest day".

First 3:- of 272 finishers
1 Zac Miller (Trafford Athletic Club) 19:24
2 Jordan Rowe (Colchester Harriers) 19:35
3 Michael Bertram (West Suffolk AC) 19:45
Team Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers 90 points (9;15,26,40).

Under 15 Girls 4k (1pm)
Sabrina Sinha came into this National Championships with an unblemished record for 2014. Having won the Kent, Southern and Kent Schools' Championship. Her main coach is MARK NEWELL of Cambridge Harriers. Sinha (Born 9/04/99) is a particularly versatile performer, having done the bi-athlon and pentathlon in her young career so far. (She was 2012 Inter-Counties and National CC winner!)
   SABRINA SINHA from Bromley High School: "he race was tough. I had GRACE GODDARD with me all the way. I really thought I was going to give up. I decided to stick with her but I knew she had a sprint finish. Once I did get away I thought this is my chance. It was at that muddy bit so, we had just the top of the hill and back down again. I was really trying to work it. I got to the top I felt dead and really started tiring and thought somebody is going to catch me but going downhill you can really let yourself go and just sprint to the finish."
   She said in a thoughtful way "Each time you win it becomes more of an achievement. You have to work harder. You have to keep that title which is then more of an achievement. As I get older people are getting better and I have people in my age group at Kent, coming up really fast which is scary. It is very competitive at my age group and the level is really high."
   She added modestly "It could have been anyone's race and glad it worked out for me today."

First 3:-
1 Sabrnia Sinha (Cambridge Harriers) 15:10
2 Grace Goddard (Bracknell AC) 15:18
3 Niamh Brown (Aldershot Farnham & District AC) 15:27.
Team Blackheath & Bromley AC 53 points ( 5,10, 16, 22).

Junior Men 10k (1.20 pm)

JOHNNY DAVIES added this one to his many victories but only in the finishing run in, when he overtook Weynay Ghebresilasie, who incidentally told me he had been unwell for a couple of weeks but found the conditions much better than in the snow last year. However one can not say that Ghebresialsie has not got credentials that could worry lesser men than Davies. Ghebrselasie ran a 3000 steeplechase in 8:28.20 in 2013 and running for Eritrea in the Olympic Games in London he ran 8:37.57 in his heat.
JOHNNY DAVIES I noticed for a long time was in a group of seven that broke away but not dictating the pace in the race itself:- "In the second big lap I did not think I would be in it right. My head was telling me. I had a cold and stuff. I then thought just get back on it. Make sure you get back on it. The group in the race did not break up at all till the finish. On the second lap I was falling off the back so, at the end I was very pleased with the result. I'll do the senior race in the Inter-Counties but it will be a bit of a learning experience, then when I go to the track season I hope to get some PBs"

First 3:-
1 Jonathan Davies (Reading AC) 31:15
2 Weynay Ghebresilasie (Birchfield Harriers) 31:19
3 Douglas Musson (Notts AC) 31:24.
Team Tonbridge AC 67 points ( 8,14,21,24)
(187 finished)

Under 13 Boys race 3k (2.05 pm)

Here JAMIE HARPER, who missed the Southern through Illness but won every one of the ATW Metropolitan league races running to the front, straight away, in each one, had a 'National' history of coming 7th last year and 73rd the year before. He was up against Northern Champion, Joshua Copperthwaite, who was 8th in last years' 'National'. Both of those athletes have improved immensely to move into the first two slots in the frame at this year's event at Wollaton Park

First three of 300 finishers:-
1 Joshua Cowperthwaite (Middlesbrough Athletics Club) 10:58
2 Jamie Harper (Shaftesbury Barnet) 11:09
3 Turkey Kormaz (Herne Hill Harriers) 11:10.
Team:- Charnwood AC 135 points (13, 16, 40, 66)

Alastair Aitken

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