Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Inter Counties (March 2015) Part One

Senior Men - 7th of March 2015 Crofton Park, Birmingham

ANDREW BUTCHART of Central AC (Born 14/10/91), Scotland East, ran a canny race to win, in mild spring conditions and over a fast course.
There was a huge group to begin with that took a long time to break up. Amongst the leaders, at the front of that group were British Universities Champion, Jon Hay, Ben Tickner, Adam Hickey, the overall Cross Challenge Champion, this season, Dewi Griffiths, Charlie Hulson, who won the National a couple of weeks before, on muddy Hampstead Heath and Andrew Butchart.
Hulson forced the pace a few times but Butchart was always handily placed and ready to make his challenge. The result of Hulson’s efforts was that the first three drew away from the rest to dispute the race.
Butchart looked a likely winner in  the last 800.
       To my mind Andrew Butchart came to prominence, at ‘National’ level, in April last year, when he ran his 8.1k long leg at Sutton Coldfield, for the fastest long stage in the National 12 Stage road relay. He also showed his obvious ability again on the road with a win in the Abbey Dash 10k in 29.17 in November.

Did Andrew Butchart, from Dunblane, near Stirling, feel that the race at Crofton Park was the best result he has had?
“Definitely this one. It was really good. I had never won the Scottish (1st in 38:06 at Falkirk on 22/2/15) but I did not expect to win this race. The Scottish was 2 weeks ago. It set me up for this race’

He went to the European Cross Country Championships and despite his obvious talent bursting though, he only came 35th at the event at Samokov, Bulgaria on the 14th of December.
‘I came from nowhere for that one but, I had upped my training for the last 2 years. I keep pushing and see where I can end up.’
‘I found the Europeans very hard at altitude. I had never experienced that in my life but I did give it my all. The air was too thin for my lungs. I honestly could not have done anything better.’
‘Hopefully I will get in the team for China and see what happens there.’
In the track season:- “I will do 800/1500 and the 5k on the track and the 10k on the road (His best track times, up to now, 2014-1:51.39/3:44.75 800/1500 and 13:58.05 in BMC race in a Grand Prix on 19/7).
‘I have been a fitness instructor at Gleneagles but I am going to try and go full time with athletics for a bit. I have got a running contract so, I will do that, if I can afford it as I don’t have much longer really to get me out there and run the way I am running.’
‘I started running at 17/18 so quite late. I never thought I would be a runner but then I had a few races where I ran really well on little training so, I thought ‘Why not give it a go.’
‘Where I train it is perfect terrain. I am coached by Derek Easton who coaches a lot of good athletes.”        

DEWI GRIFFITHS (3rd behind Richard Goodman & Steve Vernon last year).
You must be pleased with second?
“Definitely, I only did my first proper session Christmas time.’
Last year you had a hard job, being selected for a big race in the Commonwealth and things like that.
‘I needed a good rest and you don’t lose what you have gained.’
You ran today and you were always in with a chance!
“I did not think of anything like China or anything like that. At the moment I think it is a bonus. I was training for the summer. Running with no pressure. Last year I was a joint leader for the Cross Challenge and I expected to be up there.
This time I was running free with no one expecting anything from me, like.’
“I made the Commonwealth Games (25th in 31:28.31). It was special but unfortunate I got injured a couple of days before I still ran and I made it.’ (PB for 10k was 28:48.59 on the 10th of May at the Highgate Night of 10,000’s)
‘My first race back in Cardiff, on the 18th of January was in the British Athletics cross challenge (3rd). This is my fifth race back and I just enjoy running again.”

CHARLIE HULSON, the impressive ‘National’ winner at Parliament Hill Fields, a couple of weeks before.
To-day how did it go?

“Not great.’
You were in the lead at times
“I just wanted to get a gap. I couldn’t. If I had got a gap I think I could have been able to push on a little bit more.’
You took the initiative several times?
“Exactly.”
Butchart is very fast?
“Exactly. At one point I did think I had a gap but he came flying past me.’
Even though you were third you won the ‘National’ and every club runner wants to win the National!

Fourth was JONATHAN HAY:- “It went alright but the boys ran well.’
Most of the time there were a dozen or so in  with a chance?
“It was a slow sort of start to be honest and it sort of picked up’
You were still there for a long time.
“It just was not my day to-day.”

AUDUN NORTVEIT
“I did not count the number of runners ahead of me in the early stages, as there were so many and then I started to move through the field. I was catching up with the lead group then, the front running group started to kick a bit. I did start to catch up with the runners in front of me and in the final part I managed to make my way. I finished strongly in the last 100m and was ninth overall.’

First 10 of 283 County finishers:- 1 Andrew Butchart (Scotland East) 34:26; 2 Dewi Griffiths (West Wales) 34:33; 3 Charlie Hulson (North Wales) 34:39; 4 Jonathan Hay (Surrey) 34:42; 5 Nick Swinburn (North east) 34:51; 6 Adam Hickey (Essex) 34:53; 7 Andrew Heyes (Yorkshire) 35:02; 8 Ben Tickner (Sussex) 35:09; 9 Audun Nodveit (Middlesex) 35:10; 10 Darren Deed (Bedfordshire) 35:11.

First 3 Counties out of 31 that had full teams 1 North East (5, 14, 20, 24, 27, 41) 131; 2 Kent 181; 3 Middlesex 218.


Alastair Aitken

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