Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Victoria Park ‘5’ (May 2016)

Darren Deed of Bedford & County AC, celebrated being 38 on the 7th of May when this race was run.
He finished ahead of 91 runners in very strong winds, that blew and swirled around the park so, his time was a modest one for him of 24:49.
The organiser of the race from Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets AC Joe Feltham pointed out that the course record was 23:01 in 2010. However, I can remember that and it was not surprising as, in the still conditions at the time there was a prize of £1000 to the winner that year and, as you can imagine, two Africans blasted their way round for the money prize; inches apart at the finish too! Feltham then said “The race has been going since 1966. We only had two years 2007 & 2015 when the event was not run so; I took it on to make sure that we had a 50th Anniversary race.

At this year’s event, that was very blustery, Deed and Chris Rainsford from Highgate (25:11) pulled away by the mile point. The group that followed contained no less than five Highgate Harriers in the first 10. They could still afford to have Brahma Pochee drop out with a leg strain and yet still, be in a commanding position for an eventual team victory. The race itself for individual honours was between Deed and Rainsford. In fact a very unusual thing happened for Deed. He got a stitch at 2 miles and stopped completely for 10 seconds. At that point Rainsford, who thought Deed had dropped out, pressed on, opening a lead by the end of the first of he two laps but soon Deed clawed his way back for a good victory. In the group behind those two, early on, was Robert Wilson (25:41), who came through for a clear third. Gary Towers of Eton Manor was the first M40 in 27:41 and Insurance man, Michael Bridgeland of Chelmsford was first M50 (29:00). A particularly interesting individual, I found, was 62 year old, Woodford Green runner, Dave Cox, who was first M60 (29:45). I was interested in his philosophy. He first ran in the Boys race at Victoria Park in 1967 and one of his best times, he felt, was doing 49:26 for 10 miles in the Walton 10 road race. He said “I like to race and like to run round the fields at the back of my house’ He added  ‘I think next year I might not be able to do it so, I just appreciate my running. I have learnt to do that!”

The first woman was Rachel Humphreys of Bedford & County (She was first woman in the last Victoria Park ‘5’ in 2014 but, puts her best run down to when doing 2:46 in the 2010 London Marathon.
She did 2:49 for a marathon last year but hopes to get back to do at least as fast as she did in her first marathon. When arriving at Victoria Park with her husband, they said for two weeks they had been on Safari so, she had done no training over that period “To-day it was tough out there in the wind but I did not know really for sure, how I was going to do. I was really pleased to come and win. I really enjoy the event.”

The first W40 was Jo Singer, from the local Victoria Park club, who has been running for 10 years. Jo was 2nd lady overall in 31:58.

The first W50 was Lisa Webb who, in her younger days ran for Highgate. Her time was 34:13. She was 4th in the 1988 Olympic 3000m trials in 9:11.45.

Some more comments Darren Deed “it was very windy, not like last time (2014) when I sprinted down the straight at Victoria Park with Adam Hickey (who won in 23:39) I did 23:42 that day which I consider a good run.
This year I have had some health Issues for six months and, only managed to run hard sessions but not been able put the rest of the work in.” He is going to try to have a four race build up in order to do the Berlin Marathon. He has two sons 6 and one 2½ that keep him busy.

Chris Rainsford has had a good season “In the Trafford 10k I did 30:08 which was a PB. I Had two good relays and last week did the fastest time in the Heanor Relays”

Rob Wilson, on joining Highgate Harriers, after being at Ealing & Southall AC, points out about Highgate Harriers “To be National Champions It was great. The club is in really good health. We all train together on a Tuesday & Saturday. To get 12 out to win the National road relay Championships can’t be beaten. Perhaps equalled by winning the National cross country but to get 12 men out with National Gold’s is phenomenal”

The First six teams out of 10 complete one’s, with three to score at Victoria Park;- 1 Highgate Harriers 14; Ilford 39; Victoria Park 46; Woodford Green & Essex Ladies 59; Serpentine 85 and Barnet & District 86.

Alastair Aitken

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