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

Cross country at Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage on November 7th

Richard Goodman, won his fourth cross country race in succession at Stevenage.
There were violent storms and swirling winds in Fairlands Valley Park but it did not take anything away from the good racing on the day.
Goodman said “It was my first true test of the winter, as it was so hard and exposed in the strong winds against, in the final lap,
and they did not go through the woods this year”
After three quarters of a mile, there was a huge group of forty runners together, rounding the steep and slippery banking and,
before going out into the large field. At the front were Tom Butler, Mohamed Mohamed, Pete Chambers, Jake Waldron, and Richard Goodman.
It was fairly soon after that, a quartet of Mohamed, Goodman, Shaun Dixon and Glen Watts broke away.
Into the second of the three laps Mohamed and Goodman were running together and had built up a lead of 30 metres to Watts and Dixon.
It was on the third and final lap Goodman pulled right away from Mohamed, who was overtaken by Watts but Dixon, was caught by the fast finishing Oliver Fox, who was using the event as one of the two Cambridge University trial races, for the Varsity match, a couple of weeks later.
Woodford and Highgate are fighting for team supremacy and are likely to be doing that for the rest of the season with only a possibility that Serpentine might be in the mix.

Naomi Taschimowitz, third fastest at Mansfield, and her Shaftesbury team were 2nd overall that day, had won the first league race of the season at Claybury and again her nearest rival was Svenja Abel, the woman she trains with at parliament Hill Fields on a Tuesday. Abel got a bit closer this time, she thought that was because she liked the course as it was fairly flat and wet but, after the last Met League she had to take a week off because she was injured. then training was quite good for her after that and she feels, she is getting used to cross country after her long break from it.
Tschmowitz, who appears to be running better than last year said “I planned to have a hard middle section of the race.”
Highgate are going further ahead for the team honours.

It was interesting to see Thomas McCardle of Trent Park, win the under 17 race, after coming seventh at Claybury in the first Met League and, that he is coached by the current league Administrator Janice Bowman.

In the junior women’s race Dundrum AC, as guests, showed some of the form they had as being the best Southern Ireland junior cross team, when their club had the first five home. The winner being guest Abigail Taylor (15), who incidentally, is the daughter of the Ex-Irish International cross country runner Dave Taylor.
Perhaps the most noteworthy, amongst the younger athletes was Woodford Green’s, Under 13 boy Sidnie Ward, who won at Claybury and followed that with the fastest age group relay time in the National cross at Mansfield. At the Valley Park he had quite a bad fall very early on in the race but was able to sprint down the finishing straight to make sure of victory.

Additional Comments:- Sam Greenstein (10) from Shaftesbury Barnet was the winner of the Boys and girls development race, with Max Chinn (9), who won at Claybury, second of the 60 finishers.
Sam “I went down the hill and overtook them and won on the sprint finish. I was 4th in the first Met League at Claybury. My favourite sport is athletics.”

The first girl was Lydia Louw (10) who was ninth overall, the same position as she had in the first Met League and being the fist girl in that too.
Was it a harder race than the first one? “Yes it was! My coach is Abraham (Lead coach on Power of 10 Idris Hamud). ”I joined Hillingdon AC a few months ago.”
She was first girl all the way.
Her Father Len said “From the age of six she was always running outside. We used to live in Kingston, next to Richmond Park and, she was always out there running in the Richmond Park Run.
She used to run for Stragglers and, they were really supportive. Running once a week they would do an evening run, a couple of miles. She is going to climb Kilimanjaro on the 8th of December, raising money for Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Last year she spent three weeks with Kenenisa a Bekele in Ethiopia, just running with him and enjoying life. It was very nice.”

71 under 13 Boys competed, won by Sidnie Ward of Woodford, who won at Claybury “It was a harder race than Claybury as the wind conditions were twenty times worse. When we went off it was so windy I fell over at the beginning. I just carried on then two more boys overtook me. I thought I had obviously just got to go out there and run it. Coming round there was just us four and I picked it up in the last straight, coming round the bend. They said it wast 400 to go. But it did not look like 400. The last straight down the middle was really, really windy.’
‘Since the Last met League!
“I ran at Mansfield and won my leg and had the quickest time of the day for the Under 13’s “

There were 56 finishers in the under 13 girl’s race. The winner Ava White (12) of TVH who won in the First Met League at Claybury “This one was harder and the girl runing behind me was called Ava as  well. I thought I had overtaken her too early, as she was with me all the way and, then I just I let her go over there in the field to the finish. My last race was the previous Met League but today the ground was very wet. Roy Claridge coaches me.’
In the week her training “I do running Tuesday & Thursday and sometimes Saturday.”
Second in that was a new name coming into prominence here in the Met League and running for Highgate Harriers, Ava Mulvihill. “At Highgate School I am Captain of the netball team.
I find it quite hard because I have to go to every netball match as well.”

90 Under 17/15 runners in their race and, the winner was Thomas McCardel of Trent Park, ahead of two guest runners from the good Southern Irish club Dundrum AC.
McCardle (17) coached by Janice Bowman “I was seventh in the first Met League of the season. It was good today. I managed to pick it up quite a bit at the end. I ran much better than I did in the first one, there were not any hills so it was easier.”

66 finished in the under 17 girls race won by Abigail Taylor from one of the strongest clubs in Southern Ireland Dundrum that is situated near Dublin and, they filled the first five places at Stevenage and 9th and 10th place too. Gabriel Kyriacou was the first English girl Under 17 in 6th place. Taylor Coached by Eddie Mcdonagh. “My Father went to college in America and he ran for Eire .”

Alastair Aitken

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