Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Inter Counties (March 2015) Part Three

Some more selected Comments from the Inter-Counties

In the Under 20’s Men race held over 8000m.

JOE STEWARD, who was 3rd in the National at Parliament Hill Fields won at Crofton Park (His Best track race times 1500- 4:05.6; 3000 - 9:05 & 7:21 2k Steeplechase) coached by HARRY KELLY.
He won the battle for places, which was not easy to do, as the front runners knew they had a chance of representing the country in the World Cross Junior Championships in China.
    JOE STEWARD (18) “It went fantastically. It was a good run’
‘I was in the front pack most of the way round really. It was probably the last lap when I took it up a bit. The pace was going a bit slow so far. I knew I had a bit left in me, an extra gear so, I picked it up and took it on and saw who responded to that.’
           His life in athletics “I first started running when I was six years old and just running in school. It was at Elmwood Primary school, Manchester. I found I really enjoyed running and went from there. It was at Middleton Harriers, only a small club just locally.’
  The confidence first really came in: - ‘It was back in primary school in one of the local races. I always did loads of sports as a kid and in every team. It was when running started to get a bit more serious in High School which was, Middleton Technology School.
He added “I loved competitive sports, all kinds of sports.”

      JONATHAN GLEN, “I come from Greenock just outside Glasgow.” (His personal bests on the track are 1:58.8, done on the 31st of July 2013 at Linwood. 3:56.30 1500 on 12/8/14 and 14:52.67 on 31/5 both at BMC races).
        “I can remember, near enough, every single bit of to-days race. It was just that it was a tough race, I just hung in with the front pack and we broke away. It was a really good race. ’I ran here last year but did not perform very well as I had the Scottish National a couple of weeks before. I had given it my all and peaked for that and never had anything left.’ He won that.
I was burnt out last year and it was one race too much BUT this year my coach MARK POLLARD (Ian Cameron is also an adviser) advised me between the events. (The Scottish National which he won again) He also explained “Mark comes to most of the races I do, always supporting me, always there. I am really lucky to have to have two mentors.”
His Job:- ‘The job I do is as an Apprentice Electrician. The dream would be to be a runner, that is every boys dream but I need a trade behind me, so, I have got something to fall back on at the end of the day”

ELLIOT BOWKER “It went well to-day. I have not raced since the trials in Liverpool. I made the team for the European. I went to Bulgaria but I unfortunately had to drop out because of injury. Then I was injured.’
He added ‘It was a great experience but having to drop out was not ideal’
        ‘I have managed to be training now for six weeks. I hope to go to the World Cross and race, not drop out and have a good go at it this time.’
He said:- I started when running first at Hertford Primary School Sports Day and stuff. I was winning all the races. I then joined the local athletics club Vale Royal and met my coach ANDY CARTER (Someone who came 3rd in 1971 European and 5th in the 1972 Olympic Finals. I interviewed in ‘Athletics Weekly’ in September 18th  1971- edition Vol 25 No.38 !).
Elliot said ‘He is a role model for me” (Elliot Bowker’s times In 2014 - He ran 3:55.02/8:23.82/1500/3000 in BMC races).

First Six: 1 Joe Steward (Greater Manchester) 23:07; 2 Jonathan Glen (Scotland West) 23:10; 3 Elliot Bowker (Cheshire) 23:13; 4 Christophe Olley (Kent) 23:26; 5 Abel Tsegay (Kent) 23:28; 6 Jack Rowe (Surrey) 23:30.

Counties First three:- 1 Kent (4,5,9,15) 45; 2 Scotland West 55; Surrey 76


TOMMY DAWSON, won the under 13 age group race, two weeks after winning the Under 13’s in the ‘National’, for his club Leeds City. He has had an amazing recovery, after a serious accident, to have his glorious cross-country season.

He hit his head on the side of swimming Pool, while on holiday in Spain and had 50 stitches in the top of his head. The doctors said it would take him from a year to two years to get back fighting fitness. It is not two years yet!

About the race at Crofton Park, over 3000m, Tommy Dawson remarked “It was good. I started leading on the little bendy hill then going down that long hill I kind of spread it out. Coming up that hill and going down the straight Hamish tried kicking. I kept with him and then going down there I stuck with him. I eventually pipped him off.”
Regarding the course as opposed to his National win:- ‘The National was very different as there were very steep hills and muddy. This one at Crofton Park is a better course but I prefer the mud at Parliament Hill. That was my sort of thing but this was a better course!”

1 Tommy Dawson (Yorkshire) 11.48
2 Adam Caulfield (Northlands) 11:56 (3rd in the National)
3 David Dow (Cambridge) 12:01.
First 3 teams Yorkshire (1,7,20,31) 59; Surrey 61; Kent 84. 300 finished the race

The Under 20 women’s race, like the mens race was fought out by several who hoped to make the World Cross Country team for GB. PHOEBE LAW was surprised to win the battle.
She won the London Championship at Parliament Hill Fields last year and came 2nd at the same venue in the National but was overall Cross Challenge Champion in her age group.

PHOEBE LAW “I was definitely surprised to win. I did not know how I would do but, I felt OK the whole way round but not amazing. I just got lucky. I was not expecting it at all.
       “RICHARD HOLT is my main coach at Kingston Poly AC. “However she said ‘I am very lucky to be able to attend a Sunday training session at Aldershot,”
Phoebe started running 2½ years ago. ’My PE teacher Mrs Deighton at Surbiton High School kept on saying to me I should really go to the club. She was really helpful. Kingston Poly that I joined is not too large and not too pushy.”
It was noted that Harriet Knowles Jones was always well placed and came in a quite close second but as she was not wearing chip she was disqualified but was still selected for the world Championships. More than likely due to her form all season.

BRONWEN OWEN “I have had a good season.’ The race today was really tough with the wind. For 5 or 6 of us things were quite cagey, as we were guaranteed qualification. It was a close race for the six of us.”
“I started running at 13 in 2009. MIKE WILLIS saw me at school and said I should join Scarborough AC”. (She won an Under 13 Ingram League race in 5:32.9 in August 09; she won the English Schools cross country at Catterick in January 2013 as an under 15. Her personal best for 1500 & 3000 were achieve in 2014 of 4:32.87 and 9:28.24 - The latter at the Trafford Grand Prix, Stretford on the 6th of May).

NANNAH NUTTALL the daughter of Ex-internationals John Nuttall and Alison Wyeth; but coached by BILL FOSTER according to the ‘Power of 10’
About her Father who coaches. Did he have an influence on her running “A tiny bit but he likes to stay out of the way? He lets me get on with it.’  
‘I have moved to Loughborough and DAVID HARMER coaches me now as he has just moved to Loughborough.’
Hannah Nuttall then said “I do not enjoy cross-country so much but looking forward to the Summer. I much prefer road and track. I have done two indoor races 2 weeks and 3 weeks ago and they went really well. I equalled my PB at the European Trials with 9:28 for 3000 at Sheffield on the 15th of February. (Her time for 1500 was 4:26.8 - She did run 4:23.15 outdoors in the Watford Open on 27/8/14 but she still can run well at cross-country as won the Lotto Cup race this year in Hannut Belgium on the 25th of January. Her Best 800 is 2:12.9. That was done last year in the BMC Grand Prix at Solihull on the 19th of July).                              

Alastair Aitken

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