Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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Inter Counties (March 2015) Part Two

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

PARTRDGE WINS DUEL IN THE SPRING SUNSHINE

LILY PARTRDIGE, National Cross Country Champion, and overall Cross Challenge winner, won the Inter-Counties cross country, only two weeks after her National triumph.
It was in fine spring sunshine over the lightly undulating Crofton Park course.
However, for the second half of the race she had to really dig deep, as she was challenged by Louise Damen, who had won the Southern CCC at Brighton.
They ran, shoulder to shoulder, at Crofton Park, for over a mile before, finally Partridge went clear in the last 150m of the 8,000m race.
275 County runners completed the event.

LILY PARTRDIGE (AFD) running for Surrey “It was amazing really, really tough out there. It was quite fast running but then we had the hills. It was really exciting to be part of a duel.”

LOUISE DAMEN (Winchester) running for Hampshire. She was pleased with her run. “Very funny season for me. It is only my third cross country race of the whole season. I did not do any cross country before Christmas as I was injured. I did the Hampshire League and the Southern in January. I have just been out to Kenya for a month so, a bit of a broken season really.’
‘I wanted to run to-day because I particularly love cross country. I don’t get the chance to run it very much.’
Athletics Weekly did not mention in their preview that you as a contender at all?
“Went right under the radar!“

To Lily Partridge:- “In the old days in the 1960’s 70’s, if you won the National it was difficult to get yourself up, two weeks later, for a major race. That happened to a previous National winner BERNIE FORD (AFD) on one occasion. It was after he had won a very competitive National, with all the best middle distance and cross country runners in the UK taking part. In the International (World Cross) a couple or so weeks later he was well down in the International?
“To be honest we- (Mick Woods and Lily)- had 2 weeks and so, I trained very easy the week of the National because, the course on the mud at Parliament Hill was so hard, then I just ran into this race not having trained hard with any heavy mileage since the National or anything. There was no point as the ‘National’ was so tough under foot. Just a couple of sessions. Putting any mileage on top would just have killed my legs. I trained very sensibly since the National.”
MICK WOODS your coach was encouraging?
“You could hear him from the other side! Training has been going well so both of us thought we were capable of doing it so, I was positive.”

Louise Damen has run well in cross countries at international Championships. Back in 2003 she ran 15:53.11 in a BMC 5000 at Solihull on the 6th of August that year.
In 2013 another good one was 33:04 for first Woman in the Abbey Dash road race and she also won the McCain UK Cross Challenge at Cardiff so, what did she then consider her most satisfying performance?

“Wining the National in Sunderland in 2013. I won by about a minute, that was the race that was really good so, it is probably that one.” (1 Louise Damon 29:31; 2 Sonia Samuel ( Sale Manchester ) 30:31; 3 Gemma Steel (Charnwood) 30:40).

SARAH ASTIN “It went pretty good. When I was in fourth place, Michelle Ross-Cope was quite far in front of me. It was a long finishing straight that somehow, I found a lot of energy but don’t know where it came from.”
She marks this one down as more satisfying than her third in the National at Parliament Hill, two weeks before, because of her sprint finish. “I was tired this week. I was going into the race thinking I don’t know how it will go.”
(Two good personal Bests were set by Sarah Astin her in 2014.. They were:-4:25.80/1500 at the BMC Gold Standard races at Watford on the 18th of June and 9:29,7/3000 at the Trafford Grand Prix at Stretford on the 22nd of July).

First 8 runners 1 Lily Partridge (Surrey) 25:07; 2 Louise Damen (Hampshire) 25:10; 3 Sarah Astin (Lancashire) 26:06; 4 Michelle Ross-Cope (Staffordshire) 26:07; 5 Emma Clayton (Yorkshire) 26:11; 6 Louise Small (Hampshire) 26:15; 7 Georgie Bruinvels(Surrey) 26:19; 8 Madeleine Murray (Scotland East) 26:19.
New into the senior ranks at cross-country was Jessica Judd of Essex who came 11th in 26:27 and second in the Cross Challenge points overall was Imogen Ainswworth of Avon of Somerset who was 15th in 26:37.

First 3 Teams:- 1 Yorkshire 211 (5,19, 29, 33, 44, 81); 2 Hampshire 217; 3 Scotland East 254 (27 Counties Closed in)

Alastair Aitken

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