Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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National Women’s 4 Stage Road Relay (October 2014)

National Road relays; (6 and 4 stages) Preamble
Aldershot, Farnham & District AC followed up their wins in the Southern Men’s Six Stage and Women’s 4 Stage Road Relay at Sutton Park on the 4th of October. The surprise package was Highgate Harriers, who came second in the Men’s Six Stage, never having been in the medals before in the 44 years of the event being held. In fact they were fifth in 1990 as their best previous performance.  It was a shame that there was a problem with one of the Bristol & West AC runners that meant they were not in contention for possible medals. The fastest runner of the day regarding the men was by Central AC (Scotland) runner Andrew Butchart who ran 17:08 but his team came fourth.

Women’s National 4 Stage Relay

Leg 1. Maryse Haynes of Windsor, Slough and Eton came in first in 14.24 with Ashley Gibson (Morpeth) 2nd in 14.29 and Stacey Johnson (Birchfield) 3rd in 14:47 but not far away was Louise Small in 7th for Aldershot in 14:53.
75 clubs teams started the race.
Maryse Haynes (20) “I was expecting everyone to go off in front of me at the start but sat in front and thought I would just go for it. I don’t really win stuff a lot so it was definitely a surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew there were girls close behind the whole time and I made sure I did not look back. Keep pushing. I had a cold but thought I would have a run out for the team.
‘I have been running since I was 11. I came into running through my parents. My Mum Helen Fulcher runs for Handy Cross Runners and my Step Dad Frank Fulcher runs for Handy Cross. They support me which is so important. My school encouraged me and I went on from there. As I go to Birmingham University I have come on a lot. In my third year now. I am studying sport and material science.’
A memory for her ‘I won the first leg at Mansfield last year, that was quite an enjoyable one. I enjoy everything really whether it goes well or not. It is my favourite sport as I am useless at everything else can’t catch or anything like that (So often the case, as it is with me in my day. I was only good at running and in the school cross country team for a couple of years!!)
      Bud Baldaro is my coach. We do stuff in Crofton Park and along the canals. I am really looking forward to the season actually. It is always nice when you are not expecting anything. You don’t get out to run in front much.”

Louise Small of Aldershot “I had not been training for the last three weeks because I had a bit of a problem with my quads so, I only got called up yesterday afternoon as Amy Griffiths had to pull out with illness so, I decided to do it yesterday and I wanted to run out to see how my fitness was. I have got a bit of work to do. I was a far enough up to give Steph a bit of work to do.’
        ‘I was fairly happy with my track season because I got a PB in the 10k (34.50) and the 5k (16.10) so I was reasonably happy with that. It was my first track season in five years. That was some achievement to get through the track season for me and so now, my focus is leaning towards the Liverpool European cross country trials, as I am still an Under 23 so, I want to try and get in the Under 23 team”

Leg 2  Steph Twell  (The fastest of the day 14.04) She went into the lead for Aldershot which was something they retained right to the finish).
      “It was quite close all the way up the hill. I hadn’t really overtaken till, just before the big dipper in the middle at the back. I had to go off quite hard. I had to make sure I did not get into their race and then found my own rhythm.’
      ‘It must be a pleasure to get back to doing something like this road relay, that you really love doing?
      ‘Absolutely’
      ‘It is hard on the track because you have got to be very sharp at very high level’
      ‘Definitely with the track. I was always ready to go but it was the timing with injury. Training-wise was great’
      Do you still look back at the achievement of a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games over 1500 in 2010. Something you will always remember?
      ‘I think it always useful to use as a confidence boost but I try to move on from that, as it is too long ago now. I don’t want to think about it’
       When you have done something in life you can always come back from it.’
       ‘Absolutely, you have got to be proud of the moment and be content. You are always looking forward but you can always lose your contentment so, it is nice to be in the moment.’
       ‘This sort of race is really good for your morale, when you can overtake lots of people’
       Martin Duff of AW then comes in with a comment ‘Aldershot can always put a good team out and not everyone does that’

       Her Answer
       “I know, we love it’
       ‘We love supporting this race. It has a lot of history to it. Again it is an opportunity to run yourself hard alone, which you don’t get an opportunity to do that often. It is a different type of challenge. It is good fun, really good fun.’
       Mike Woods as a coach is a tremendous power behind the team. His enthusiasm. He seems to read a race which is an unusual thing’
       “Absolutely, our team is always read well by him, as far as our strengths are’’
       At different parts of the race!
       ‘He is a great coach and I think he knows what is going on and he is very perceptive’

Leg 3 Emelia Gorecka

       “Good. Commonwealth and Europeans’ are a sticking point but a learning curve.’
       Each Year something has happened for you. A European Junior 3000m Champion in 2013. I suppose must always go down as one of your special races?
       “Definitely for now and a good experience there.’
       How are your studies at Royal Holloway, part of the ‘Great’ London University set up?
       ‘A lot of this year is geared towards my studies. Nothing is to overtake my study priority which is still up there. Especially February, March, April time will be gearing towards my exams and I will be getting fit.
It depends on how my University degree goes. I am doing psychology at Royal Holloway, which is one of the main aims of this year and obviously races come as well but I am not prioritising any one of them which is a really important balancing act’
‘I am living at Egam so I am focusing on getting a good degree while running.’
       Do you prefer cross country to track for training
       ‘I like both now. I am a cross-country girl and I think I always will be. I enjoy the track a bit more over the last two or three years but I obviously do cross-country and get a lot of strength in to get up the mileage.
       ’It does not become a duty or a pressure running when you have the two aspects and also living near home.
       ‘I am living at Egam but go home quite a lot. Balancing both makes it good’
       ‘I used to do runs round Virginia Water, when my Mother lived there and it is really lovely, running over the light road undulations with the trees meeting above you?
       ‘I go round the lake in Windsor Great Park, Saville Gardens. If I don’t do Aldershot training I go there.’

Leg 4 Lily Partridge
        You ran brilliantly last time I met you winning the Inter-Counties at Crofton Park. What happened in the Summer?
        “The Summer was mixed. It started off really well. I got the times for the Commonwealths and the Europeans then, I went to Sierra Nevada and I came back and I had heavy legs. It was fine and I got over that and I then tore my calf in Macedonia. I had a bit of injuries and then family things towards the end of the year. It was brought to an end quite early on. I made progress that was going to take me to next year so I am happy about that.’
The Summer was not what I wanted at all but it started promising and I got my first GB Senior on the track in Macedonia but then in Macedonia I tore my calf mid-race.’
        ‘Cross country or track do you feel are important to you
        ‘When I was younger it was more cross-country and I enjoyed it and enjoyed the cross more, a bit of fun when I was a junior but now the focus is track. I have just got to get it right next year. It is starting to get right. This year it was just bad luck. I knew I was always going to have that’

First Six teams Aldershot Farnham & District ‘A’ 57.13; 2 Birchfield Harriers 59.26; 3 Aldershot Farnham District ‘B’ 100.14; 4 Bristol & West AC ‘A’1:00:22; 5 Swansea Harriers ‘A’ 101.23; 6 Rotherham Harriers ‘A’ 101.42.

First 3 Fastest as above Steph Twell, Lily Partridge, Emelia Gorecks of Aldershot and then Maryse Haines on the First leg. Next fastest Ashley Gibson Morpeth then not mentioned above 6 Lydia Turner (Birtley AC) 14:32; 7 Katrina Wootton Coventry ‘A’ 13.44; Laura Whittle (Royal Sutton)14.36; Rachel Felton (Shaftesbury) 14:42 and Stacey Johnson Birchfield ‘A’ 14:47 (Out of 271 times)

Alastair Aitken

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