Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Start Fitness Metropolitan League 4 of 5 (January 2016)

Run at Horsenden Hill, Perivale on the 16th of January

RICHARD GOODMAN, who won the first two Start Fitness Metropolitan league races, made it a third in convincing style.
He said “I have had two hard races then came into the Met League relaxed and, I enjoyed it.
This was proper cross country running, not on the harder stuff. I love races like this, more than anything I ever run in’ He made that remark about the undulating course of grass and, thick mud in places.
Just after a mile covered, going up the incline, amongst the leaders in the large front group were Matt Gunby, Tom Philips, Michael Callegari (who later dropped out) and John Eves. Just behind that but, still in the group was Richard Goodman. It was on the second lap Goodman struck and moved well clear, running comfortably over the mud in the bottom fields. It was also in the second lap Nick Torry moved right through to second, just ahead of Eves, the Hertfordshire Champion. On the third lap, with Goodman safely away, Eves ploughed through the mud behind that, which meant he was able to get away from Torry, on a vital stretch of mud and, before Torry could use his speed on the drier parts of the course. In that third lap Shaun Dixon had a spell ahead of Eves and Torry with Andy Greenleaf close at hand but Eves was the stronger coming into the finish.
Goodman also said “In the last hard couple of races I had poorly prepared for them, The European (He was 11th in the Under 23’s with a silver team medal) He said. I could not have done any better, as I took it up hard and faded in the last lap ‘It was good and it wasn’t’ but, he indicated there is still a lot to come. He said ‘To-days race was good fun. I relaxed into this race and wanted to run well.” That he certainly did!

John Eves “I knew on the last hill, if anyone is going to beat me now (Other than Goodman of course) they would have to do something really special because, I felt so easy. It will be muddy at Parliament Hill for the Southern, which will be to my advantage. I am going to Brussels to race next week. For his Irish club near Dublin called Dondrum. It is the Southern and probably then go to Alexandra Palace for the Met League. Since I came to England I have loved e cross-country. It is so good, the battles, like everything running should be about. Lisa (his wife) and I moved here four years ago. We teach up in Hertfordshire. I do a little bit of coaching at school. It is football and rugby with the kids at St Edmund’s College.
             It was interesting to note John Steed, who was the oldest man in the race, having turned 80 last May, managed to beat 12 younger men out of the 406 finishers.

In the Women’s race the leading junior, Hannah Viner (19), dictated the pace till three quarters of the race had been run but close behind her, all the time, was Stacey Ward with Ashley Scott-Wilson
Running on her own, for the whole race in an isolated third position but, it was good she had recovered from a back injury she sustained in the Middlesex. Tracy Ward was strong towards the finish and celebrated her birthday that day by finishing the race sixteen seconds ahead of Viner. Tracy Ward is coached by Gerry Archer of Hillingdon, near where she lives and Geoff Jerwood at Herne Hill Harriers. She remarked “It has taken a while to get through to now as, I really struggled. I had two months off at the end of the summer. I had about five years when I was not running much at all as; I had two lots of surgery and, did not really get back. That is a while back and that is why I don’t feel my age (31) because I missed so many years of running. It has helped in a way. I was running as a junior Under 15 & 17. I was fourth in the English Schools on the track and fifth in the AAA’s. I did win the Southern 3k as a senior. I have never been at top level. ‘I am studying for an MA at Brunel at the moment and, managed to get up to 70 miles a week for the big races coming up.”

Additional comment from my interviews

In the (U17) men’s race Jamie Philpott, who won two of his last three league races, was in the lead all the way but, was challenged at one stage by Hamzir Kadir, who had a bad fall in his mud. Abel Sinko-Uribe (U15), coached by Chris Rainsford, came right through the field for second. He admitted his second place was the best result he had ever had, in his whole life by far.”

Nicola Ravenhill of Ealing Southall & Middlesex, was an impressive winner in the (U17) women’s race and Steve Mann, her coach was pleased with the way she is progressing.

Sidnie Ward, appeared a good winner of the Under 13’s, not having competed since he won the first Met League at Claybury. He had been ill but had still managed to train but not race. His coach John Stow of Woodford Green & Essex Ladies, who coaches Sidnie Ward and, another 46 athletes from the club, has excellent credentials as a coach as, he remarked to me his best times ever were 1:53/3:48 for 800/1500 in the 1970’s.

Ava White (TVH) won all her four (U13) league races.
Someone who impressed, as the best Under 11 girl was Lydia Louw always the first under 11 girl in the league, Lydia who is 10, at the end of last year climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research.

Under 11 Boy & Girls Metropolitan League Development race:- Abdirahim Hamud (10) of Hillingdon, won in 7:48, out of 49 starters. “I was leading the whole race. I was second in the Middlesex. I am at West Drayton Primary School.
My Dad coaches me.” It was one of his best races. “I had a challenge and held a bit on and, kept fighting till the end of the race so, it was a good race”. Lynda Louw who was first girl was also from Hillingdon AC.
More comments:-          
Under 13 1st Sidnie Ward of Woodford Green & Essex Ladies 11:22. 69 finished. “How did it go for him?” Considering it was the first race back; I have been training continually but being able to do that to-day is absolutely brilliant. I was at Claybury (He won there) in the Metropolitan League but I have missed two of the Met leagues because I have been poorly so, this is the first race back since then. To-day I was sticking with the leaders and, it was just sort of getting the mental side correct which was a bit wobbly but then I determined myself for it. You have got to believe in yourself. When did he go ahead? You go round the rugby pitch and do another loop and, you go round the third field, come back in and as soon as you go up the hill I took off from there and going down the hill  I just went for it.”  His Father said his Grandfather died three weeks ago and so he kept a ‘St Christopher’ in his back pocket when he ran.”

Ava White (TVH) was the First under 13 runners out of 42. How did that race compare with the other three Met Leagues she won in succession “I did not like the course to-day but I found it easier than the last Met League one. I took the lead near the beginning. It was freezing".

Under 17 Men was won by Jamie Philpott (Herts Phoenix). 58 finished. Were you surprised you went into the lead so early on? “I saw Terry (Fawden) was not there, so I thought I might as well take the lead. To begin with it was me and Shaftesbury’s Hanz Kadir, the two of us kind of leading. He fell over then I went to the front. Although I was happy with it, there was so much mud it was horrible. Definitely spikes to-day.”
           Second was Abel Sinko-Uribe, 14, (Highgate). His memories of the race. “It is definitely my highest position “I started off not too great. After the first small lap on the long straight I was catching people and I kept catching people then, ended up in second place. The first person was too far ahead of me to catch him. How do you class this one? “I think it was my best race ever.” Coached by Christopher Rainsford. I go down the track Tuesday’s and Thursday’s every week sometimes Saturday’s as well. This was my first good race of the season so far.”

It was 6,7,3,1 for Nicola Ravenhill of Ealing in the combined under 15/17 Women’s race for her. “I knew a few people were not here and thought I would just go for it and see where I am.
She started to motor away from Lidia Kyriacou before entering the finishing area with a circuit still to do “I thought because it was downhill it will be easier to go there.
I was third in the Middlesex Championships. I think it was a decent race but a few things I did wrong. Half way through I was right off the pace and at the end they kicked on a bit and I did not react quickly enough. She is at Elthorne Park School near Boson Manor. Taking her GCSE. Steve Mann her coach is pleased the way she is going on and giving her a bloc of training in view of the big races coming up.

Alastair Aitken

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