Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Inter-Counties Championships - 8th March 2014 (Part Two)

(Selected race interviews)

8th of March, Cofton Park          Under 20 Men 11.05   8000m
Liverpool Harrier MATHEW SHIRLING, was in better form than he was when he came seventh in the National at Nottingham. He had a very good win in the British Inter-Counties in the Under 20 men's race. (BEN DIJKSTRA was another to impress but in the Under 17's race, after winning the National and Midland Championships. Perhaps the surprise of the day was by HARRIET KNOWLES-JONES when winning the Under 17 Women's race, after only coming third in the National but beating the winner of the 'National' )

The first race in the programme at Cofton Park was the Under 20 event.
(187 completed)
Matt Shirling "I went into the lead coming round for the last lap. I felt good so I justkept pushing on. They were dropping off so I was on my own by the end. It was a decisive move."
"Previously ' In the Under 15's in the Inter-Counties I came 2nd and again in the Under 17's. second so, I finally won it as and Under 20 which is not bad.''
'I actually started running as an Under 15 but only decided to take it seriously as an 'Under 17.'
'My coach is ADRIAN WEBB. He has helped me since I started. It is easy to say I may overtrain. I do enough but I don't overdo it. He would tell me when to back off.'
'I have got a lot of friends I train with- STAN JARVIS, RICHARD EVANS and JAIME WEBB.
His hero "Maybe I have got to say MO FARAH. I never really looked into it regarding Coe or Cram. Mo Farah is my generation."
ALEX GEORGE "It was a really good race. It was tough. I felt good.'
'The Mini Marathon (Last Year) was where I really broke through and I won it, thought I could start running well and win a race. Till then I was a nobody, no one knew who I was and I came out and I won a race. I have had a really good Winter. I made the GB team in Edinburgh and first home for GB there.'
'It is pretty much my favourite sport and I don't do any other sport. My coach is PAUL de CAMPS.
'I do 35 to 40 miles at the most. I have got room to improve.'
 'I started running about three years ago now."

JAMAINE COLEMAN was 13th in the 'National' but ran well here to come 3rd.
     'My memories of the race. It was quite a slow at the start and bunched massively. The three of us in the top three to finish, made our mark and controlled the race with that first small lap. The second lap-the first big lap, it began to slightly string away but there was still a group of ten runners but us three made our move. The beginning of the third lap Matt who won it was ahead. I went with him a little bit but could not hold on. Then it was Alex and me and we had a little battle ourselves. The chasing group were running really fast behind me'
    His love for running "It is what you achieve from it. You get out what you put in. A lot of hard work and the rewards come. Got my first GB kit this year and felt great with this Inter-counties. Getting a medal and prize money.It is what you want from your running, it is amazing.'
    'I started with the Under 17's. It is coming into my third or fourth season this year. My coach ANDY BIBBY works at British Aerospace with aeroplanes so he could not be here to-day. He does so much for me. He has had so many 'Great' athletes in the past. I fully appreciate everything. he does'
His best memories 'This race and the 'Great ' Edinburgh Cross meant a lot to me and I won the English Schools steeplechase (5:52.29 on 6/7/13) and 'National' on the track 3000 steeplechase in (9:27.94). I won the 'National' steeplechase at the bottom of the age group.That was up there as one of my best runs. It was a tactical race with a burn up towards the end and I won that National. (In June/2013)
Inter-Counties 1 Mathew Shirling (Merseyside) 28:38; 2 Alex George (Gloucestershire) 28:42; 3 Jamaine Coleman (Lancashire) 28:44; 4 James Hall (Yorkshire) 28:44; 5 Corey D'Eath (Kent) 28:45; 6 Alex Carter (Wiltshire) 28:50. 1 Kent 58; 2 Yorkshire 102, 3 Lancashire 122.

UNDER 13 BOYS 3000m 11.35
In the Under 13 Boys race the race was out of 300 Boys That showed it obviously was a popular age group.
ZKARIYA MAHAMED won from the 'National' Champion JOSH COWPERTHWAITE. It was a shame the five times ATW Met League winner, JAMIE HARPER (2nd in the National) was ill and unable to contest this one.
Mahamed came to England with his brothers from Ethiopia in September 2010 and did several Park runs last year in the Southampton area, being the first for his age in those and his first serious competition was when he came third in the SEAA Inter-Counties cross country in December at Biggleswade. This year he showed great promise with winning in the Southern at Parliament Hill Fields. He is coached by PETER HAYNES.
    Mahamed went into the lead quite early on at Cofton Park.
  His hero is he said was KENENIISA BEKELE
  He said he started running six months ago (Born 29/11/2000).
 'I run at Cantell School in Southampton.'
 You came 7th in the National at Nottingham but you did so much better to-day!
     "I was really tired that day and my body was not really well."
At Cofton Park:-1 Zakariya Mahamed (Hampshire) 10:38; 2 Josh Cowperthwaite (North East) 10:45; 3 Harry Digby (Berkshire) 10:50; 4 Henry-James Cowie (Kent) 10:57; 5 Callum Abberley (Staffordshire) 10:57; 6 Luke Davies (East Wales) 11:00. Teams:- 1 Surrey 68; 2 Berkshire 98; 3 Kent 102 .

UNDER 20 WOMEN 6,000m 13:10
(150 completed) This was a double act for the 'Clay's, as they train together too.
BOBBY CLAY first and ALEX CLAY was second.
 ALEX came through to second in the closing stages of the race as she said " I was really pleased.We had a bit of a disappointment at the Nationals so, it was good to come back and do ourselves justice, so it good to still be back in form."

   Bobby Clay as you were beaten in the National it must have made you more determined to come back for this one.
" Yes. I was definitely hungry to win to-day. It was fantastic Alex coming through today.It was lovely."
  Is this the end of your cross-country season
   "I have got the English Schools next week.'
 Then you will do track
   " Definitely, I love track. My favourite is the 1500. I did 4:16 last year.
  Bobby when did you actually go into the lead today. The course was good?
    " I actually enjoyed it'
    'I was in the lead pack, all bunched together. I never felt like I did pull away but when I crossed the line I realised I had a bit of room there."
AMY GRIFFITHS 3rd like with the National but won it last year.
      "They were amazing girls.I won the Under 17's last year. I thought I would have a shot at a medal and go for it."
As you were third in the National too. It must be quite a good season for you.
           "Yes and, I love the track and I Will do the 1500 and 3k."
     1 Bobby Clary (Kent) 19:52; ; 2 Alex Clay (Kent) 19:58; 3 Amy Griffiths (Leicestershire) 20:01; 4 Grace Baker (Sussex) 20:15; 5 Jess Gibbon (Oxfordshire) 20:42; 6 Jess Judd (Essex) 21:05.
Teams:- 1 Yorkshire 50; 2 Sussex 65; 3 Kent 73.

UNDER 13 GIRLS 3000m 13:35
ALEX BROWN was beaten in a sprint finish in the National at Nottingham, that almost needed a photo and also it was after having a fall in a muddy patch, where she lost valuable ground in the 'National'  
 The Herne Hill Harrier came back well to win the Inter-Counties event.
'I did want it.I was really pleased. I went into the lead on the hill coming to the lake. Another of my club Herne Hill did well ELOISE O'SHAUNNESSY came sixth'
Would you like to do track in the Summer
 '1500 and maybe 800'
 Do you train with your friends at Herne Hill Harriers
 ' I sometimes train with them on Sundays but can't get there in the week because it is too far away'
1 Alex Brown (Surrey) 11:24; 2 Laura McNab (Avon & Somerset) 11.32; 3 Tilly Simpson (Yorkshire)11:35; 4 Almi Nerurkar (Sussex) 11.41; 5 Josie Czura (Hampshire) 11:41; 6 Eloise O'Shaunnessy (Surrey )11:49.  Teams:- 1 Surrey 43; 2 Merseyside 59; 3 Sussex 93.

UNDER 17 MEN 6000m 13.55
JORDAN ROWE, the Southern Champion was runner up in the National to ZAC MILLER  but in this one they changed places.
  About the early stages in the 'National' Jordan said In the 'National' I led it out. I did not know what Zac was doing behind me but to-day. I knew he was good runner and if he gets away... so, today I just stayed with him or behind him with the wind and used a sprint finish."
I remember asking you at the Southern how long you had been in athletics
"It is three years next week.Before that I was doing swimming but not very competitively. Going to the local club and swum three times a week.'
What made you think you would make a good runner
 "I qualified for the English Schools with no training. It was after that the school told me to go to a running club and from there I just got better and it has gone from there really."

ZAC MILLER, the National Champion
" It went quite well but a bit disappointed with the result."
You are an accomplished boxer too. You train quite a lot!"
" I train quite a lot but not that many miles. I do more circuit training, more core stuff. I think it gives me the edge when it comes to running. I do the same amount as most for running but not an awful lot (About 40).
Do you think you will continue boxing a lot as you are an amateur Champion for your age
' I'll still continue with boxing but maybe, starting to fade away a bit more now, as I am getting better at running. I will keep doing both till I have to make a choice."
That boxing must give you the competitive edge
' It makes you mentally stronger."

IOLA LLYR HUGHES (The Welsh Cross Country Champion from North Wales who led the Cross Challenge in this age group with a total prize of £2000)
"How did the run go for you'

 'Hard, very hard.'
 Season for him
  ' Very good. I rate this as one of my best races so far'.
    ' In the group for a long time and I tried to stick with them but the first two were too fast for me. I tried my best and gave my all.'
    1 Jordan Rowe (Essex) 18:15; 2 Zak Miller (Greater Manchester) 18:25; 3 Iola Llyr Hughes (North Wales) 18:33; 4 Jack Crabtree ( Surrey) 18:37; 5 Mahamed Mahamed (Hampshire) 18:41; 6 Decalan McManus (Worcestershire) 18:46. Teams:- Scotland East 44; 2 Surrey  79; 3 Yorkshire 85 (266 completed)

UNDER 15 GIRLS 4,000m 14.15
A tremendous talent who seems to win all her races in her age group is SABRINA SINHA and this race was no exception as she followed up her 'National' win at Nottingham.
  " I went into the lead up in the first lap when we were coming up the muddy hill. I felt good and pushed it but you can never tell who is going to be there.In the second lap so I kept pushing it."
Did she enjoy other sports too
" I do swimming and enjoy it but running is my main sport. Running comes so naturally for me.".
1 Sabrina Sinha (Kent) 16:52; 2 Grace Goddard (Berkshire) 17:21; 3 Niamh Brown (Surrey) 17:26; 4 Kate Waugh (North East) 17:26; 5 Georgia Rafferty (Staffordshire) 17:35; 6 Katie Whiteoak (Greater Manchester) 17:36. Teams:- 1 Kent 43; 2 Berkshie 76; 3 Yorkshire  78. (276 Completed).

Alastair Aitken

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