Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Inter Counties Championships (March 2016, Part Two)

Outstanding, National and Northern ‘Under 13’ Champion, Tommy Dawson, was surprisingly beaten at the British Inter-Counties and Cross Challenge at Crofton Park on the 12th of March but, there was a very good reason for that.

Under 13 Boys 8000m

HARLEY NORMAN, the winner, is at Whitgift School. “I was really happy to win today. ’I went into the lead round the little loop, before we came into the finish.
Are Whitgift good at athletics “We won the English Schools Cup, this season, last year? That was in the team event so, it is quite good school for cross country”.

ANGUS WILLIAMS (3rd)He is at school at Doctor Challoners. He was 3rd “I stuck with these guys in the race.’
Is his school keen on cross-country?’
‘We enter the same event. This year we did not have a great team. We were fifth. One of the teachers ran for Britain.”

TOMMY DAWSON from the Leeds City club was 2nd but had some lovely races this year “I have been coming back from injury. After the Nationals I got injured and I have not trained since then. Norman took me in the end today.’
Memories of the National, which you won “It is never nice not to win a race but, it does not matter. My Dad PETER DAWSON coaches me
Although you had been doing a lot of training you have been injured “Just in the arch of my foot. I have got a big rest now, as it is the last race of the cross country season.
PETER DAWON “His season has not been bad and, to be beaten was not part of the plan but he had an injury. He has not trained for a couple of weeks. He has had Physio. He probably pushed it a bit too much today. You have got to have a go at it. He will be back.”

First six individuals of he 312 finishers. 1 Harley Norman (Surrey, the Southern Champion) 11.07; 2 Tommy Dawson (Yorkshire) 11.22; 3 Angus Williams (Buckinghamshire) 11.31; 4 Scott Nutter (Yorkshire) 11.33; 5 Archie Parkinson (Northamptonshire) 11.36; 6 Henry Johnson (North East) 11.41.

Under 15 Bys, 4500m

Southern Champion, ZAK MAHAMED of Southampton AC, whose Father used to run in Ethiopia, was born on the 29/10/2000. At Crofton Park, hee won by 8 seconds from Lachlan Wellington. Both running for Hampshire, the winning county that had 4 in 21 out of 248 finishers.
Zak won Cross Challenges at Milton Keynes and Liverpool. His coach is PETER HAYNES. Who said “He has been going well but he has had a couple of disappointing results. But as you always say, there is always the next race. He had won this, three years on the trot now. Through from junior boys to intermediate.”
Zak felt his training had been going well. (In the National tithe winner was Joshua Cowperthwaite in 16.6 with Zakariya Mahmed 2nd in 16.24). His two brothers were watching. He pointed out about his most satisfying result “The National, but I came second. To-days race was a good run for me.”

1 Zak Mahamed (Hampshire) 15:36; 2 Lachlan Wellington (Hampshire) 15.44; 3 Josh Cowperthwaite (North East) 16:00; 4 Joseph Owen (Essex) 16.11; 5 Finn Birnie (Cornwall) 14.81; 6 Callum Mithcelmore (Shropshire) 16.16.

Under 20 Women 6,000m

BOBBIE CLAY, from the Invicta East Kent Club said, things were going well and she talked about the race. “I went into the lead quite early on.”
In July last year she won the European Juniors, over 1500, in Sweden. Was that one of her most memorable win?
“Definitely. It was so good and also Amy Griffiths of the UK coming second so, we were at the presentation together (4:17.91 and 4:20.47)
The presentation and honour for us. It was really cool. I have got my last summer as an Under 20 this year and the Euro Cross as an Under 20.
I have enjoyed the cross-country this season and I was away in Kenya in January. It suited me in Kenya and I really enjoyed it. It is hard, as it so easy to overdo it our there.”
How about her sister ALEX CLAY?
“She is coming back from injury now as, she had been injured a long while, which is a real shame. She is coming back really slow and, really patient and taking it really steady.
To my mind, I think you would like to go on and be a good senior?
“I would love that. That is what I want to do. Keep ticking away carefully and do what I am doing.
“Your coach is good!” My coach is brilliant. He is Rob Denmark. “He looks after me now.”

ROB DENMARK. You are looking after her well!
“She does all the work’.
You can bring all that experience to the fore when she is a senior, as you obviously know what it is like running at very high level?
“It is good she is running well now but what she does in the next few years, she has got to be patient. She knows and she listens. Sometimes she makes mistakes.
Her qualities
“I think she has an amazing engine. Her VO 2 Max is really, really high. She has got a really good stride as well the thing we have got to work on is her contact.
We have got to get her stronger. It is a lot of work. We want to get her a better hip position. It is all about her hip. She ran really well today, very pleased.”

1 Bobbie Clay (Kent) 20.28; 2 Gemma Holloway (Essex) 24.38; 3 Phoebe Law (Surrey) 25.93; 4 Gillian Black (Scotland West, the winning area);  5 Niamh  Bridson-Hubbard (Kent) 21.59; 6 Heidi Davies (East Wales) 22.06

It could not let Rob Denmark go bye without asking him which race in his career he felt was the outstanding one.
“My best one was the Commonwealth Games that I can remember. To win a major Championship was amazing (In 13:23 but his best was 13:10.24 in 1992. He was also a silver medallist in the European at Helsinki in in 1994)
‘I just think, as an athlete you do not feel like you would win a major championship. When you do, even though you have trained years and years, it is still a massive surprise. I would say that is the one I remember the most.”
Basildon AC, the club you ran for had some amazing athletes
“A whole plethora of runners. Eamonn Martin was one of those.”

Alastair Aitken

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