Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Start Fitness Metropolitan League (October 2015)

Cross country at Claybury Park, Woodford on October 10th
RICHARD GOODMAN showed why he is a ‘class act’ as he went clear of the field for the last of three laps at Claybury.
“I was not going to run 10 minutes before the start. I had an injury from a hill session on the Thursday and, I could not run yesterday but came to watch.
He did not feel that good trying it out beforehand but then remarked. ‘I did five minutes of easy jogging but my ankle was so painful. Had a 10 minute break. 40 minutes to go I did another five minutes and was fine.’
He added “I don’t train to train, I train to race. I would rather race in pain and not train at all to be honest.
It is frustrating when you get so many injuries.”  22 year old, Richard Goodman, added that he may still go for the European cross country Championships with high hopes but he has a mature approach, as he thinks he may be at his very best in a few years time, subject to injuries.
           On the first lap, well into the race, as they approached the steep hill, Chris Rainsford led a group of runners that contained Robel Bahelbi, Mohammed Mohammed, Richard Goodman, Glenn Hughes and Andy Greenleaf.
           As Goodman had won the corresponding race in 2013 over the same undulating course, he knew the best places to make his moves which, appeared to give him a distinct advantage. Glenn Hughes followed him when he broke away. Hughes was 8th in the first league last year, at Claybury. He has been the New Zealand Mountaineering Champion three times. He pointed to the British Championships next year as a goal for him but admitted it will be tough to make the team, as the UK team did so well this year. He won the Southern Mountain race championships a couple of weeks before Claybury and was 3rd last year in the British.
Mohammed Mohamed, followed Hughes after Goodman broke away from the rest on the last lap. “I came back from injury two weeks ago, after my training had been good and it was fine for me coming third to-day.
        John Steed, who finished naturally a lot further back (still beat three men a lot younger), had the distinction of being the first man over 80 (80 on May the 1st this year) to run in the Metropolitan League since it began in 1966, also to have done 155 Met leagues, which is more than anyone has achieved and, this year he completed despite having a fall on the uneven ground.
He was a three counties cycling champion as a young man and also came 2nd in the Army road cycling Championships. He has also been married for 57 years!

In the Women’s race, Naomi Taschimowitz ran ahead with Svenja Abel in the second of the three laps down the hill. Tachchimowitz, a civil servant, working for the Treasury went into a 30 metre lead, as they went into the final lap with Abel.
Naomi considered her breakthrough race was in 2011, when she won the Southern senior CCC at Parliament Hill Fields. It was that year she did her fastest time for 1500 of 4:16 but said about her second best time of 4:22 she did this year “I think concentrating on 1500 is quite good for me. It is distance I enjoy. It improved the bits of me physiologically that I have neglected for quite a while, having been injured for so long.” She also said “I am doing 30 miles a week at the moment and, advised twice a week by email from my coach Charlotte Fisher who, lives in Somerset.”
           Abel, who was a prolific winner in the league a while back, said “I have not done cross-country for six years, with no hills. I usually start slower and then get quicker but, I knew I had to follow from the beginning. I enjoyed it anyway. She took Highgate Harriers to a clear team victory with the first junior Hannah Viner of Highgate in third place. It  was Viner’s best position in the league and shows she has great promise for the future.
   I might add the Men’s team result for the first three was very close and sets up a battle between Highgate, Woodford and Serpentine for the rest of the season.

In the age group below, Terry Fawden, now coached by Chris Rainsford of Highgate Harriers, won his first Under 17, Met League race after disputing the lead with Jamie Philpott of Herts Phoenix but, got the better of him on the flat and down hill stretches. In third place was first Under 15 runner, Jamie Harper, who showed his determination against the older lads, like he did coming through the age group below.

There was a record field for the women of 183 and the second most runners in the men’s race of 427.

Considering Gavin Collett’s administration and results technique was a very hard act to follow, Janice Bowman and her team did incredibly well to get the first set of results out relatively quickly.

Now for some comments from the other athletes on the day and who they were.
In the youngest Foundation race for ages 7 to 11, Max Chinn won in 5:32 over the 1½k course, ahead of Abdirahim Hamud 5.39 and Nathan Douglas in 5:40.
65 competitors made up of boys and girls. The fist girl in 9th place overall was Lydia Louw in 5:51.
       Max Chinn is 11 years old and is from Woodford Green & Essex Ladies club. He is at All Saints School, Bishop Stortford. His favourite sport at school is running.
Going down into the woods at the start he was up amongst the leaders’ “I started progressing in the first 5 or 10 people’
‘I was not here last year as I was doing something else with the school.
I turned 10 in July. His coach John Stowe said “He has run 6.57 for 2k on the road and he beat some good guys to-day. He also plays football as well. He is just going to run and enjoy his running.’
‘With a good win today I am happy with that.”

The Under 13 boys race, run over 3k, was won by Sidnie Ward in 10.58 from Mohamed Sharifali 11.14 and Joe Heather 11.16. 59 ran.
Ward was running with Sharifali for a long time in the race “I took him when we came up and go round the hill. He backed off then. I needed to push it or I was not going to get anything out.’
He is at Burnt Mill Academy Harlow “It was my first cross-country run so far this season.’
‘I joined Woodford in the middle of the last cross country season.’ He is coached by John Stowe and Richard Thurston.
Stowe “He is ranked No.1 in the UK for 800 for his age’
Richard Thurston remarked “He had a bad run here last year which was a year ago and a bit concerned about that. He had to come out then, as he had a foot injury in the end. It effected him a little bit.
He did 2:07 for the 800 but is still learning really.”

37 ran in the 3k Under 13 girls race and Ava White won in 12:03 from Ava Mulvihill 12:06 and Lucy Gryce 12:16.
“I went into the lead on the second lap down the hill.”
Presumably it was her Father who backed up what her coach Roy Claridge told me “Ava had a burst appendix at Christmas and she had two weeks in hospital. She then got something else and had to take penicillin for six months. After that she broke her arm just before the summer and she twisted her ankle a couple of weeks before Claybury”
Although a lot went wrong however. she was up beat “I am at school at Sacred Heart High school. I ran for St Mary’s club as an under 11. I then went to Thames Valley Harriers and I have been there a year now.”

In the Under 17 Girls race, over 4k, was won by Gabriella Kyriacou in 16:17, from Erica Wallace 16:29 and Phoebe Littler 16:32. 61 finished.
Kyriacou said about the race ”It was after the first lap then, I kind of worked up the hill then, again on the downhill I got the lead.‘
She is at Queen Elizabeth Girls School. “I was ill a week before the race at Claybury. My track season was not good because of my GCSE exams. It was after that I got back into training.
Her coach Jeremy Sothcott of Shaftesbury Barnet. He said “I was pleased as she had only come back a few days after being ill, that is quite good.”

Alastair Aitken

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