Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Third Night of 10,000 PBs (May 2015)

On the evening of Saturday the 15th of May at Parliament Hill Running Track, was the third ‘Annual’ 10,000m Night of Personal Best’s, with the British and England Championships included this year and, it was again an exceptional success.
It was a unique blending of serious competition, with a gala atmosphere, created by the friendship between the people in the crowd who all had a real interest in the sport. Something, not witnessed in the commercial World of televised spectaculars these days.
        Dave Bedford OBE and World snooker Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan handed out the medals.
Bedford, the last British World 10k record holder said:-
               “I think as an event, it is developing well. This is the best weather we have had in 3 years. I think the work by Ben Pochee (Chief Organiser) on this event should be particularly applauded.”
Perhaps the most exciting race of the six in the evening was the Women’s ‘A’ race over 10k where last year’s, European under 23, Cross country Champion, Rhona Auckland from Edinburgh, outran previous European Under 23 Champion  Jess Coulson in 32:28.32. All the races were exciting and the first graded event was a good starter. Out of a large field  Davide Covolo, an Italian International Alpine skier, running for Serpentine RC won impressively in a Personal Best of 33:52.77.
Liverpool’s Johnny Mellor, made a late attack in the Men’s 10k ‘A’ race to win in 28:46.80 from Welsh International Dewi Griffiths (28:55.24). A local Highgate Harrier clubman, Norwegian, Audun Nordtveit, came in 10th in 29:23.11 out of a field of 22. All the runners were inside 30:36.

Race 1. First three Men:- 1 Davide Covolo, 31, (Serpentine RC) 33:52.77; 2 Andrew White (Eastleigh RC) 35:00.52; 3 Richard Jones (Eastbourne) 35:41; 48.
DAVIDE COVOLO did a Personal best by a minute “I started running two years ago. I was a professional skier. I did competition across Europe for Italy. I moved to London from the mountains and I had to find a different challenge. So, I decided to enter track & field. I joined Serpentine RC two weeks ago. I felt it was a very good choice. I was skiing when I was 20. I did Alpine Skiing ‘Slalom’ and was roughly top 200 in the world.’
‘I had some back problem then I had to switch. I was studying at University, where I did physics in Turin. Then came to London to the London School of Economics. I now work for Deutsch Bank.’
‘My parents did skiing. When you come from the Alps, either you ski or you ski’ nothing else to do.’
In his two years of running has he done cross-country? “No but I would like to try one. My track times are getting better and better. Last year I was around 35 minutes for 10k now 33 today so very happy.”

First three women in the same race. 1 Julia Davis (Mornington Chasers) 36:24.38; 2 Danielle Fagan (Armagh) 36:30.51; 3 Hannah Viner (U20, Highgate Harriers, club record) 36:41.35.
JULIA DAVIS, 28, “My personal best was 36.23.” She did 36:24.48. “I first started running properly just over a year ago. TOM CRAGGS coaches me. I did the London Marathon last year but only running about twice a week in 3:03.28 and this year Tom started coaching me and I ran 2:44:32 this year.’ I would like to point out when she first started she ran 3:34.32 in the Shrewsbury Marathon in 2013. ‘Tom is really encouraging and pushes me in training to do more out of my comfort zone which is really good. I have done a lot more.”
Mornington Chasers as a club are improving. “They are a lovely club and near where I work. I am first claim Newquay Road runners in Cornwall, where my family are from.
When I am in London I run for Mornington Chasers. I work for a Fashion Company.”

Race 2 1 Alexander Miller (34) (Clubs Belgrave and Datchet)  32:41.66; 2 Neil Aitken, V40, (Clapham Chasers) 32:54.82; 3 Thomas Wright U23; (Bexley) 32:59.33.
ALEXANDER MILLER “It was at blowy out there tonight. Look at the trees. Basically it was a long solo run. A few guys went out too hard for the first lap so, wait and see what happens. I went in the lead with 10 laps to go.’
‘I have been running about 5 or 6 years. I played football at University. Kept myself fit. I had a go at the half-marathon which I did in 90 minutes and I thought I will see where that takes me. Years later I won the Windsor half marathon (73:30 in 2012).

Race 3 1 Declan Reed, 41, (City of Derry Spartans AC) 31:27.10; 2 Andrew Peat (Birchfield Harriers) 31:29.69; 3 James Rodgers ( North Somerset ) 31:47.50.
“It was a good race. I used to run when I was younger but then started back when I was 30. I am 41 now. I first ran 11 years ago. I have won the Irish Masters cross country recently and the Northern Ireland seniors in February.
MY Father was a runner from Stockport . He used to run when I was younger so he got me running when I was a youngster then I lost interest, after secondary school. I lost interest till I was 30. I picked up the Ron Hill books. He was a hero of mine. I met him in Trafford a couple of years ago. Ron Hill was a big inspiration for me.
‘I won the Northern Ireland 5000m on the track and that was my sort of breakthrough. I did the Dublin Marathon in October and ran 2:26. I hope to go under 2:25 this year.”

Race 4. 1 Kojo Kyreme (Shaftesbury Barnet) V40, 30:08.94; (Conrad Milton is his coach) 2 Alastair Watson (Notts AC) 30:18.71; 3 Peter Newton (Morpeth Harriers) 30:20.04.
KOJO KYREME:-“At 37 years of age I ran 29:29.55; He certainly ran the last couple of laps so quickly he was unlikely to be caught. “I started running in 1985. It was the track season after the Los Angeles Olympics.
My brother, Kwasi, was involved in the local athletics club. He is my older brother by 18 months. He came home and said I have done this for the 100metres, the long jump or the relay. I just wanted to be a part of it.
When I was old enough I just followed him along.
Outstanding memories “I front ran a 20 miler in Worthing in 1:46 in 2005 that stands out for me. I have been in lots of Southern Championship relays with Shaftesbury and got a team silver with them in National cross-country Championships. I beat Mark Steinle once as a youngster at the Ampthill Trophy meeting in 1987. That stands out as he was in the top of our age group in that period. ’Looking back further “I ran a 2:28- 800 when I was 11, against kids who were a year older. I had stepped up from 100m training. I was at the rear of the field at the bell and the lads were a foot taller than me but then, I went into the lead and ran the final bend grimacing. That is one of my favourite photos. I always remember, when pain comes stick in you’ll get there.’
Heroes “Cram was my big hero and Carl Lewis.”

Race 5 ‘A’ race:- 1 Rhona Auckland, U23, PB; (Banchory Stonehaven/Edinburgh Uni/Aberdeen) 32:28.32; 2 Jess Coulson (Stockport & Manchester Univ) 32:41.59; 3 Alyson Dixon V35, (Sunderland Strollers/Sunderland Uni) 32:55.36;
RHONA AUCKLAND “The race; - “It was a consistent pace. It is how I like to run. I worked with the three of them for the first part of the race.” She has made steady improvement over the 10k on the track with a PB last year of 33:09 and at the Night of the PB’s she improved to 32:28.32.
Winning the Under 23 European cross country title last year in Bulgaria. Was that special to her “Definitely with this one”
When did she first start “9 but not really seriously until I was about 17”
Edinburgh is a lovely place “I enjoy living there. I graduate at Edinburgh in the summer in Medical science“
KEN HOGG and JOYCE HOGG are her advisers “I think she is fantastic. Unbelievable’ said Ken. ‘Nothing Rhona does surprise us. She is very gutsy and works hard and never gives up. A tremendous worker. She has the determination to keep going. Her organisation through her training, through her life. She is fantastic. She does everything so well. We coach quite a few people but not a lot of 10,000 runners. More 400, 800, 1500 runners. Most of our group train in Aberdeen. She is at Edinburgh University so, we don’t see her as much as we would like to. Not the ideal situation but she has got such a positive attitude. She is so strong and can do her training on her own. She has got some guys in Edinburgh she can train with.”

JESS COULSON, coached by Mick Woods “It went alright but really hard work. I thought I would have to give it a go. I had come all this way. I wanted  a good time and so, I wanted to see what I could do. I just wound it up and did not realise how fast I was going till the last lap and I died.”
“A few years ago you had some good performances and won the Under 23 European cross country championship. “That was it and after that an operation. I had a stress fracture in my foot and had some screws put in it. It took a year and a bit with rehab and last year I was building up and had a bit of injury problems before Christmas. I have only been running six weeks now.”
What would she consider her best races so far “The European cross, winning that was such a great effort and before that I did the ‘Great South Run’ All around 2012 so hopefully, I can get back to that?
I was going to run 33 today so that was OK.” (She got inside that!)
“I first started running seriously at about 17, as I played a lot of hockey. I first qualified for the GB team when I was 16 and I started properly from then and gave it a go and never looked back really.
Hopefully I will be selected for the European Cup.”

Men’s ‘A’ Race First 3:- 1 Jonathan Mellor 28, (Liverpool Harriers) 28:46.80; 2 Dewi Griffiths (Swansea) 28:55.24; 3 Ben Lindsay, 29:02.93; (Scott Overall advises him).
JONATHAN MELLOR “I wanted to get the win behind me.” You did not burn your bridges early on! “It’s a long way-25 laps.”
I am interested in the fact you are such a good road relay runner at National Level.”
“I just go from the start. I enjoy the team event as we have got a great bunch of lads at Liverpool. I enjoy that.”
When did John start running?
“I used to play football but I joined the harriers when I was 17. When I was 18/19 I got some consistent training in. I have been doing about 90 miles a week. I used to run a 100 but now it is 90.
Something special to him
Probably the half marathon. In 2012. I ran under 63 minutes in New York (62:59 in March 2012). That was probably one of my better one’s.”
Other people who run well at Liverpool “Danny Cliffe and other good lads.”
Steve Vernon that ‘Great Cross Country runner’ coaches Jonathan so what are his qualities “Hard as nails. He has been through a lot. People don’t realise how serious. It was a very serious illness this last year. He got diagnosed in October. It was a rare blood disorder back at the end of the Summer He is fine but to come back from that... To get back to where he is, is magnificent. He does 90 miles a week and does a track session with me on a Tuesday. Not rocket science just consistent training that is the main thing.”

DEWI GRIFFITHS “28:55 was just outside my PB but I am happy with that. Things have been really good. I had a month at altitude last month so, I was hoping for a PB but that did not quit e happen. It was just getting under 29:00 again. I might get selected for the European Cup 10k. The crowd was good. The laps kicked off really well. I was half way, with about 10 laps to go that I realised how many laps to go. The last couple of laps hurt.
It was bad weather last year so it was nice to have a good day for it this year.”
Alastair Aitken

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