Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Start Fitness Metropolitan League (December 2015)

Wormwood Scrubs

PETER CHAMBERS won an enthralling battle, in strong winds on the exposed Scrubs course.
Coming into the second long circuit were a group ahead, which included Glenn Watts, Peter Huck, Mohamed, Shaun Dixon and Chambers.
It was just after that point Huck tried to break up the group and then, made a second effort to draw away but Chambers was accelerating into the bends and, made his determined move at the 4 mile point.
He held on to the finish but still the pressure was on for all the first four home, as they hit the final 600 into the wind, with Huck getting the better of Watts and Dixon.
Chambers said “I found it slippery on the Liverpool course in the trials, being the 14th Under 20 runner but made last year’s European under 20 team. I felt happier over the fast firm going at the Scrubs.”

First 6 of 443 finishers:- 1 Peter Chambers (Highgate H) 24.02; 2 Peter Huck (Newham & EB) 24.10; 3 Glen Watts (Shaftesbury Barnet H) 24.11; 4 Shaun Dixon (Highgate Harriers) 24.16; 5 Mohamed Mohamed (Hillingdon) 24.28; 6 Tom Phillips (Woodford Green & EL) 24.31.
Audun Nordtveit of Highgate ruled himself out of trying to get in the frame and finished 14th, although gaining valuable points for the leading club in the league. He had trained hard in the morning and was just running through, as he was going to compete for Norway in the European Championships in France the following weekend.

CHAMBERS remarked “There was a surge coming through finishing line at the end of the first big lap. I tried to ease off coming round the corner. The man who came second put a bit of a spurt on.
Then he put another spurt on and I thought, just hang in there! hang  in there! The flat course seemed to suit me, especially when it is nice and firm. I took the lead on loop, woody bit, on the way back. I tried accelerating, at every corner. I heard my watch bleep at 4 miles so, it was .7 or .8 to go.’
‘4 minutes of effort, 5 minutes of effort sort of thing’
‘At Liverpool it was a bit too skiddy’ for me and I was 50th-14th under 23, so fairly happy. I would say this was one of my best races this year but I have only run four or five times. One every two or three weeks.
Probably my biggest victory of the year was at Wormwood Scrubs in this Met League.’
‘I got an infection that knocked me out in January and February then, did not quite get it to-gather on the track. If I have a good track season I like to have a solid cross-country season and, because of the winter my track was rubbish.’

“Windy! For me it was good and a really dry course. When we went off we were really looking at each other. On the second lap I thought there were too many people coming up the fields, on that second lap. I pushed on a bit to split it up a bit. The idea was to test and see what everyone else would do.’
It was the 2nd time he has been 2nd in a Met League
“It was when I was second to Audun, the Norwegian at Alexandra Palace.’
How had he been running lately?
“It was my first cross country and I did the Great South 10 miles in 50.20. That was going off the back of an achilles injury. I’ll do a few cross-country races now.’
What stood out for him? Probably the North of England cross countries. Three of those in the North of England Champ’s 5th, 6th and then 7th.”

Back to talking to Pete Chambers ‘My best race was the Liverpool cross a challenge last year. I was second in that race but was first Brit. Then I went to the Europeans. I was 26th and I was a bit frustrated as, the top 10 or 15 might have been possible and, we would have got a team bronze then.’
‘I train at Highgate on a Tuesday with sessions. Croydon are my second claim club now-First claim Highgate. I have joined for the ‘Big’ Championships.
‘At the moment my bigger weeks are about 60 miles. I have three weeks on and then an easy week-40-45, with three quarter sessions. I find that if I am consistent at the moment it should bring me on.
‘My track times are not that good to be honest. 15.08 For 5000.  I want to run well under 15 next year. The thing is to stay injury free then once we start the track season I will sit down and see.
Ben Pochee is my coach now.

SVENJA ABEL, who had a six year, lay off cross-country races, till this season, was a good winner in the Women’s race. Svenja pointed out ”Naomi was not there but Tracy gave me a good run.”
However it was a surprise for her, as she explains “I was not sure I would run, right up to the start of the race and, whether my back would stand up to it. I was knocked off my bicycle by a car Friday week ago, bruising my knee and affecting my back. I did not run again till yesterday, when I went for an easy run for the first time as, the bruising on my knee had cleared up but I was not sure about the effect on my back. ‘It was a great thank you to my physio!’
In the race Ashley Scott Wilson and Hannah Viner were with Abel, for the first 300m of the race but Abel went away after a mile. Abel appears to have won more Met Leagues over the last 8 years than anyone - 8.
She was fourth in the German 5000 Championships sometime ago and as a U23 less than 23 she won the ‘German’ Nationals once.
“If I can stay fit I may consider doing the Nationals in Germany, beginning of March but I need to be fit for that to do it!”

Tracy Ward:- “It was definitely a higher standard than the race at Trent Park last week. To-day it was really good but tough in the wind. It felt quite tough and isolated on the second lap for me but I felt a lot stronger than the last Met League. I was 6th that was my first race after injury. Last week helped to tune up for to-day. I prefer it like this, not muddy.”
At half way, as they came back close to the Scrubs Abel, had a clear lead but Tracey Ward was a good second. Spaced out behind that were Reeve Walcott-Nolan, Tracy Barlow, Scott-Wilson and first Under 20, Hannah Viner.
After three league matches out of five Highgatee Harriers Men & Women look in a strong position to win the league, moving further ahead on points.
First 7. Svenja Abel (HH) 23.50; 2 Tracy Ward (Hillingdon) 24.10; 3 Revee Walcott-Nolan (Newham & Essex Beagles) 24.34; 4 Tracy Barlow (TVH) 24.38; 5 Ashley Scott-Wilson (HH) 24.56; 6 Hannah Viner (HH U20) 25.14)

An impressive run was by Jamie Philpott (U17) who considered his 7th place at Liverpool his best ever result.

Third successive victories in the league were achieved by Gabriella Kyriacou (U17); Ava White (U13) and Katie Price (U11).
Other comments: - Katie Price (TVH) “I do training at school. ‘At school I came first in the Ealing Borough. ‘Running is my favourite sport.”

Dylan Michel (SBH) “It was my second one in the Under 13’s. About a mile I went into first place. I go to Mill Hill County School. (The same school as Calligari). I was 4th and 8th in the other leagues.
I train twice a week. I do football and table tennis. I prefer football.”

Ava White (TVH) who has won all the league races so far said “Ava Mulvihill of Highgate and myself ran together all the way round. (Both timed at 13.13). ‘I gave it my all and we started sprinting really hard.”

Ava Mulvihill (HH) Her mother pointed out that she played a netball match that morning and was player of the match “That was my school in Highgate’ said Ava. She plays for AP Saints netball club (Alexander Palace) so there is a lot going on in her life. It was a very close race Neck and Neck! She will be running in the Southern Inter-Counties.”

Alastair Aitken

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