Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Southern Counties Track & Field Champs (July 2015)

Interviews at the Southern, 8 Counties Track & Field competition at Crawley on the 12th of July

DOMINIC KING (Three times a winner of this event)

A clear winner in a large field of 3000m race walkers. His time, for the winning county Essex, was 12:13.09. The second walker did 13:30.52!
His form of late Dominic comes in ”To-day I went off a bit too quick on he first lap.’
Since we talked last year how had things gone?
“Up and down a bit. It is my technique. It is a technical sport so; the problem is we are not getting as much lift face, which is technically not the rule. There are other athletes who are getting more of a lift, which probably helps with their knees as well’.
‘Yes, I am losing out on speed there. I have a lot of bio-mechanical issues to work on. Starting from the feet up. It is going to take time .I am going to work on it. I have been doing the sport for 20 years. Things don’t change over night.
Performances in the last year “Obviously the 3k is a very short distance for a 50k walker. The 50k is my preferred distance. It is good to support it here at the Southern Counties. It is a nice big field to-day. It is  one of the biggest fields I have seen for a long while. It is good to see the Counties supporting it’
‘I came to Crawley with a goal to get under 12 minutes. I did not achieve that goal. Mainly because by the first 600m probably, being a bit too quick. At the end of the day a 3k for a race walker is a bit of sprint. You have got to go for it.’
‘50k’s are quite damaging so it takes a while to recover from them. I only do one or two a year. There are not many. I did one in France in 4:11.53 (First at Arles on the 8th of March in a Championship of France )
I was on pace for the World Championship but it fell off. Probably, a bit of fitness and technique. It is worth focusing on the technique. I think I was a bit sluggish to-day. It is still one of my fastest 3k times for many years. (His fastest was 11.51.44 in 2006).
‘We try and attack that next month. You have got to be positive. It is a cruel sport. There is no forgiveness for not doing the rules properly’ (He was DQs’ at Bedford in the Under 23 Champs on 21/6). You get knocked down, you get back up and accept it and, that is my philosophy.”
They are being kinder to race walking after they chucked it out of the Commonwealth last time?
“In the end the IAAF wanted it put back in but there was not that time, place or money to do it. Fortunately it is back in 2018. That is really good. The irony is that the Commonwealth walkers are probably the strongest than they have ever been. We have got some really good Australian and Canadian walkers. The fact they are winning the World Championships for students in amazing times, is good for the Commonwealth and for walking in general.
Obviously Tom Bosworth is doing really well at the moment as an ambassador for the sport.”


He won the 400 hurdles ‘A’ race in 51.77 for Sussex, from Joe Yarde of Surrey who ran 58.20.
He had lane 3. His Best time he has done is 49.19. He did that in the European Under 23’s and he also ran in the World Championships that year when he ran 49.32.
A full time athlete now.
What was his favourite performance that was outstanding for him, looking back at 24?

“The European Under 23, getting a silver medal in 2013. It was my second year in the event (Tampere Finland 13/7/13; 1 Ernir Bekric of Serbia 48.76; 2 Seb Rodger 49.19; 3 Rasmus Magi 49.19). It was an ‘A’ standard in the final.
“I was a decathlete before that’ (Best was as an under 20 in 2010 with 7200 points)
What made him turn to the hurdles?
‘It was a change.
His start in athletics
‘When I was 12 I did a cross-country once at school on Sports Day and won it so, it was from there really.’
The Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier’s lead coach is James Hillier but he pointed out
‘I train with Malcolm Arnold in Bath .”


100m 1. Dean Hylton, 24,Born 15/9/90, (Surrey) 10.74; 2 Eugene Ayaful (Essex) 10.77; 3 Kyron Williams (Middx) 10.04. (Kyron was 2nd in the 200 in 22.39)
How did Dean go in the 100 at Crawley!
“I had lane 2. I went alright for a while but it was not great but, a good one as a training session.”
Achievements “I have achieved a lot this year. I ran a 10.26 which was a PB. Great things with my coach this year JOHN POWELL. He is my new coach for the track season. I did the 10.26 time at Battersea. I did it for a training session. It was shaking moving from 10.7 to 10.26.
(His listed best time on the Power of 10 was 10.58 in 2015 at Watford on the 1st of July. Also at the time of writing on Power of 10 his best 200 was 21.76 also in 2015).
He loves sprinting “I have been doing it all my life. I was out with injury for two years, when I was in Jamaica. I was born in Jamaica. It was an Injury with my hamstring. I was coming back into athletics in 2012.
I am looking forward to the Olympic trials next year and see how I get there. I did not go to the trials this year because I had a niggle so my coach said ‘Just sit it out’
Heroes he admired “Yohan Blake and Bolt. I love to watch them. I used to race Blake when I was younger. Those guys and Bailey Cole are the best in the World. I look up to them’
‘Blake went to the same school. I came to this country when I was sixteen and went to Linford Christie. I had a little niggle again and, sat it out and came back in 2012 and was with John Blackie (From Dean’s club) Blackheath and Bromley AC. I went to John Powell after that. He has been the best so far. I am getting there.’
What did he like about Bolt and Blake
‘It is their passion. They have great passion for the sport. They train really hard. They dedicate their life to it.’
If he raced internationally. Would he run for GB?
For next year, definitely yes. I have only been training for 4 months, no background this year’
It was interesting to note he had done some training with Tyson Gay.


1 Max Thomas (22), Born 4/9/92 (Sussex) 1:53.83; 2 Ed Dodd (Hampshire) 1:54.07; 3 George Elliott (Essex) 1:54.85
“It was good; I raced twice yesterday, so I felt a bit leggy coming in. I ran British League for Crawley yesterday up in Derby (1:54.25/3:59.80)
He did 1:50.82 at Eltham in a BMC Regional race on the 21st of August in 2014.
‘It was the Sydney Wooderson Memorial race.
I interviewed Sydney Wooderson that muat date me a bit!
‘My coach Peter Standen talks about him.’
When did he start running first of all
“I did a cross-country in year seven and Reg Wild from Hasting Athletic Club was there and I won. He saw My Dad and said ‘Bring him to the track’, when I was 11 years old I guess.’
A performance that stands out for him
“Medal-wise the UK Inter-Counties a couple of years back. That was the first time I did heats and final in the same day and, I actually managed to come 3rd. (1:55.85- 29/5/11).
Time-wise I like my 1:50 and 3:49:49.04 (Latter at 3rd BMC Gold Standard race at Watford in July 2014).
‘I like running quick’ I was in a cast for two weeks and could not do any running. I have only been back training three weeks.”


1st 100 Hurdles 14.26; 2nd long jump with 5.59 in the ‘A’ and 1st Shot ‘B’ 11.28.
Obviously being multi talented with a pentathlon indoors in 2011 with 4849 & 3665 for the heptathlon outdoors, one might wonder what her favourite event would be.
“The long jump has been going OK this season.’ (Best of 5.79; Her best ever was in 2010 with 6.01)
A performance that was special to her
“Probably the high jump. I did 1.79 (2009) I was 16. In 2010 I did 6.01 for the long jump. After that I moved to the sprints, and the year after I moved from 12.2 to 11.6 and went to the World Juniors.
And the year after I ran 11.59 (2011).’
My main coach is LLOYD COWAN
She first came into athletics
“I started at my school when I was 9 and joined my club when I was 12 (Harrow AC).
‘Harrow are doing quite well. When I was younger it was Enfield & Haringey, Blackheath & Bromley; then us and Shaftesbury.
Over the years people got older and do other things and, we were not that good but, this year, we are doing quite well.”

SOPHIE COWPER, 24 (Born 20/12/90) Lincoln Wellington/Notts/SLH.

3000m 1 Sophie Cowper (Surrey) 9:49.51; 2 Amy Clements 9:56.47 (PB); 3 Fiona Clark 10:16.51.
“It was close to my best. I have done 9:46.91 as my best. I did 9:48 last week at the Champ’s but I should be able to go quicker.
‘To-day I thought I would take it out”
Favourite event and perhaps her best performance.
Probably 1500. My 5000 in 16:18, that got me into the British Trials. Last week at the trials I did 16:35 or something.’
Did she start with athletics at the beginning
Yes but only did twice a week with the club to begin with. I have done a lot more since. My coach is Gary Warhurst from Lincoln Wellington.”

NICHOAS ATWELL (Born 9/4/86)

1 Nicholas Atwell (Surrey) 48.13; 2 Oliver Smith ( Sussex ) 48.35; 3 Markus Hunt (Essex) 48.75.
The Southern Champion, as I reported on the websites earlier.
He ran a personal best of 47.22, the day before his 48.13 at Crawley, in the British League Division One. He had come second in the ‘A’ race at Bromley behind Zac Curran (WSE) who ran a PB of 47.13.
Atwell ran a 21.49 200 as a Personal best on the 31st of May in the Bedford Games.

“It was nice warm weather at Bromley and I managed to run a 47.22. The week before I had the British Championships and I ran a 47.26 which was in good weather and also had been a personal best.’
He won at Crawley which was good too
“The wind was strong to-day so, coming down the home straight I felt like I was swaying, because of the wind but my momentum kept me strong and just managed to pull it through to the line.’
He believes in chipping away at his times, rather than looking ahead to a big change in his times but is interested in attacking the Herne Hill Club record!
“The club record is 47.11 and set in 1989.”

EVA MACK, (Born 27/03/85 in Czech Republic)

Women’s 2000m steeplechase:- 1 Eva Mack (Middlesex) 7:15.63, a Personal Best; 2 Vicky Smith (Essex) 7:22.95; 3 Amy Bream (Hampshire) 7:33.70
“My best time was is 7:27. I have only done the steeplechase three times.
ROGER WILLLIAMS her coach “She took up the steeplechase six weeks ago. We called in some expert advice just to point her in the right direction and that was from ERIC SHIRLEY (Olympic finalist in 1956 and a AAA’s Champion).
He came down the track and said ‘I am not getting into coaching’ but, he came down to just give us a few words of wisdom. Things like, lengthen your stride into the hurdle rather than shorten it. If you have got to adjust lengthen rather than shorten otherwise, you stutter and come to a stop.”
Eva’s start in athletics “When I was 13 in the Czech Republic.”
Alastair Aitken

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