Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and
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Southern Track and Field Champs (June 2014)

The prizes were given out at these years Championships by Southern Counties Association President Donna Fraser, that impressive international sprinter, with a long stride, who helped light up the crystal Palace Stadium, over the years.
One of the most interesting and spectacular events at Crystal Palace, near the stand opposite the finish, is always the pole vault. It was two of the first three I interviewed after they competed. The first three in the Senior Men's competition were Liam Yerwood (Chelmsford/Loughborough students (Born 10.9.94) 4m70; 2 Stephan McLennan, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, (Born 17.11.78); 3 = Leigh Walker, Crawley (Vet 35) 4.40; Chris Mills, Windsor , Slough & Eton (Born 12.11.76)

           LIAM YERWOOD

           "I jumped 4.70 today and went for a PB of 4.85." (His best was 4.80 coming 5th at the Welsh Games and Commonwealth Trials back on the 31/5/14).
"I first started vaulting in 2009 at FitzWimark School in Essex. It was a strange one to get into. One of my PE teachers did it. I tried everything really. I did the decathlon a couple of years ago. I only did it for the Essex team and got about 5900 points."
Regarding the Southern Counties Championships "I won it as a senior indoors and I won it last year as an 'Under 20'. This year is my first year doing it as a senior.
"I did my best of 4.80 first, about 4 weeks ago and equalled it again about 2 weeks ago."
His competitions included the English Schools. "I was Captain for the Essex team for the English Schools last year and came 3rd at the English Schools and I came 2nd at the Senior Inter-Counties last year."
His special hero over the years?
He went to the Olympics at Sydney and was a British record holder 5.61 in 1999). That was the guy I looked up to."
"I have been up at Loughborough so we have been doing running work, weights, gymnastic work, we jump twice a week. All the conditioning stuff to make sure we don’t get any injuries. A lot of conditioning and core work so we can compete, pain free."
At 19 you must have a good future!
"Exactly, plenty of years left."
Your Family:- "They are always watching sport but none of them are into athletics but they still turn up and support me and drive me here there and everywhere."

LEIGH WALKER
"I Started athletics when I was about 14."
A special performance for him "Vaulting 5 metres for the first time in 2004 that was in a British League match. The first time I did it was in the London Inter-club Challenge at Battersea. It was the LICC record for a while anyway. My best is 5' 01 that was about two weeks later at Kingston (3/7/04)."
Had he any heroes "I used to look up to Nick Butterfield a lot and I did quite a bit of training with him. He was a British record holder for quite a long time."
When did he decide that Pole vaulting was his event "When I was at school and enjoyed athletics. The teacher said I was good at gymnastics  and so, I did pole vaulting."
Competing in the Southern Counties before? "I had competed for the Southern Counties. I competed for Ireland, as I have got an Irish Grandad. I realised I was not going to get in the British team so, I declared for Ireland. When I did that I got injured in 2004. Since then I have not been able to do it so, I don’t do so much training but do a few competitions, now and again. I had not done the Southern Championships for 7 or 8 years."

Southern Counties 3000m Women's Final: - 1 Emily Wicks, Aldershot Farnham & District AC  (Born 27.1.85) 9:39:33 (After a slow first lap she eventually went well clear of the field. Her best time for the event was 9:32.25 back in 2008)  2 Emily Hosker Thornhill, Aldershot Farnham & District) (Born 27.10.92) 9:45.81; 3 Sarah Mercier Guernsey (Born 4:11.90) Personal Best of 9:46.50.

EMILY WICKS

The season was going well for her!
"I have just done a marathon (Greater Manchester Marathon on the 6th of April in 2:38.21). I was quite pleased with that. I wanted a bit quicker but it was a bit windy."
"I have been doing a bit of speed work so I thought I had a bit of pace in my legs.
"Her start in athletics "I was about 10. I did not do very much when I was young till I was about 18/19 and got to a good level. I suppose I am fitter than I have ever been really. I think with the marathon training, I will get back to a bit of speed work. It really makes a difference as I have the stamina behind me"
It is a bit of a myth that the marathon blunts you for the track, in many cases, more a base training in your case?
"I am quite surprised. I have done some quite fast track work."
How about her talented husband Phil Wicks?
"He has just had an ankle operation. He is back in training for about three weeks now and 'getting' fitter."
When did she first meet Phil?
"I was about 21 and it was at a race in Germany. We got married when I was 25. I am now 29. He is dedicated. He goes out twice a day and keeps me going. If I don't want to get up in the morning, one of us does, which makes it easier."
Over the years the outstanding events she has done.
"Probably the Inter-Counties cross country when I came fourth last year."
"When I made the World Cross team I had done heavy marathon training and really surprised myself. I was not thinking of making the World cross team but then it just sort of happened on the day. The World Cross. I did not run as well as I wanted. The race goes off so fast but with the marathon training I did not have the legs to do it but I loved it. It was great as I had not really trained for it in a way. In the European we got team bronze."
Aldershot in relays over the years has been so successful for you, "Especially as a junior. So many relays. Another race I really liked was when I first won the Surrey Senior again I was not expecting it. Three of us battling it out. It was a surprise."
PETE ADAMS Emily's Father was a good runner, at a time when the UK had many good international middle and long distance runners so, over the years what would he pinpoint to, as a race that meant a lot to him. "In those days it was junior men and senior men. We had the Inter-Counties  cross country (Under 17) and I was running for Surrey. I was third in those Inter-Counties Junior Championships. Mike McLeod won it and Julian Goater was second. I was third and Dave Black was fourth, Nick Rose was seventh, Bernie Ford was fifth or something. I remember it was at Leicester in 1970. Bearing in mind the sort of runners I was running against it was one of my best performances. Surrey won the team."
Pete Adams times he did "10k was 29:13; It was a Jubilee Cup and I was running against this Australian guy. We ran together all the way round. He just out sprinted me at the end. My 5000 was only 14:12. I gave up track when I was in my early 20's and did not run much track after that.
He must be pleased his daughter Emily and his Son-in Law Phil are so good at athletics!
"She has turned a bit to the marathon now. A new experience. In the last couple of years she has done three marathons. One every six months. You start losing your speed work."
Winning the Southern she is obviously not affected a great deal by it?
"That’s right. As I said she did three marathons with six month intervals so, of course, all the time her training was geared to the marathon so she lost quite a bit of faster work with speed work in your legs. That was for about 18 months but, if you do that for too long you lose a bit of your 10k pace so she has put it back again I think now."

Southern Counties under 20 Women's Final

1 Sophia Parse-Wayne, Shaftesbury Barnet in a personal best time of 9:44.57 (Born 20.02.97) 2 Claire Wilson, Cambridge and Coleridge; (U20) 3 Jessica Burgess, Woodford Green& Essex Ladies (Born 5.3.97).

PARZI WAYNE is a rival of another good Under 17 girl, Canadian, Georgia Fear of Highgate Harriers.
When did Sophia Parzi-Wayne start running first of all "I started running around 7/8  but did not pick up again running till I was 13. I am 17 now."
What would she consider her outstanding races so far "I won the English Schools last year over 3k (Birmingham 6th of July). I won the London Youth Games cross country (At Parliament Hill 16th of November) last year. (In 2012 she was ranked No 1 1500 'Under 17' steeplechaser with a time of 5:21.58).
When did she say she would like to concentrate on athletics as opposed to other sports?
"When I started to enjoy it and get better at running, then I won the London Youth Games over the country. To-day I was not running for the time but for the medal. I was happy with it. It was not a bad time I guess. I was happy but could have gone faster. It was an 85 second first lap- (9:44.57).
Nina Anderson (A World and European Masters  champion) is her new coach and Ryan McKinlay (The Highgate and Woodford Steeplechaser) advises her as well. She feels that is a good balance.
The race that gave her the most pleasure:- "I think English schools because last year I had taken time off running with injuries. I thought I would run the English Schools to see where I came and, I was not expecting anything. I won by a good 100metres. That was probably my favourite."

Alastair Aitken

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