Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Middlesex 'Open' 10k with James Connor (September 2016)

Victoria Park 4th of September

JAMES CONNOR timed his run well.
He went in front immediately after the start, doing six minutes for 2k but Andy Greenleaf and Belal Ahmed ran really strongly between 2 & 3k to catch up with him. Ahmed soon dropped off but Greenleaf opened up a 10 metres on Connor, in strong wind in the middle of the park but Connor was, biding his time and, put down the hammer at the 7k point, going well clear for the rest of the race, with Glenn Hughes coming through for third.

Connor, who works in finance for a German bank was on 70 miles a week (which had quality sessions included in it) in preparation for the Frankfurt marathon on the 30th of October, where he hoped to be doing something similar to his best time of 2:18.26. He achieved that at the same venue in 2011. Greenleaf competes in the Ironman Championships in Hawaii in October.

The first woman, all the way, was Marina Johnson, a saleability consultant for an engineering company. She ran under 40 minutes for 10k for the first time in the Vitality 10, on the 10th of July this year (2016) and, improved on that with 37:46 at Victoria Park.
She enjoys doing triathlons, which are making her stronger and trains a lot off road in order to not get injured. She started running with Kent County at 15/16 but now loves raining and racing  with her club Serpentine and, remembers how they all came together three years ago to get 3rd team in the National cross country at Sutton Coldfield.

It was good to see Ros Tabor (Dulwich), 67, who has won World and European age titles, being easily the first over 60 woman, graded 94.2% but she had hoped to be inside 45 minutes. (She did 45:36) She said ruefully ‘you just have got to keep going’ and added, ’I prefer racing on the track where I am up against people in my age group, which makes it a better competition.” (It was impassive to see Ros was 196 out of 286 finishers, particularly as it was not a Park Run or a Fun Run but a competitive race).

JAMES CONNOR, 33, first took up athletics at school.
      “KEN PIKE (Kent AC Coach) was a teacher at my school, Sedgehill School’. I was in year 10 when I started at 14. I entered a cross-country and I was quite good at football. Because I had done well in my first cross-country. I got selected for Lewisham for the London cross country and at the end of my first year of running I was in the English Schools cross country. The year after as I was juggling with running & football, at 18 I stopped playing football and, I started to do running, ever since University really.
I upped the distance to the half marathon and did a decent marathon time of 2:18.
‘Anything under 2:20 this year for the marathon would be a good enough aim. It is a long time since did 2:18 five years ago (Done 2:27, a 2.21 and 2.18). Having just done three, there is a lot more to come!’

‘The last two years have been hit or miss with training. The first of the last three years I was ticking over, as my son was born then and, it was difficult as sleeping was quite hard but, a lot easier now. I was doing 40 miles a week and now 70 with quality sessions as well. It is coming together quite nicely’

‘With my style I prefer road to cross country with my long stride, rather than shorten the stride and sinking into the mud in cross country races. There are guys who can run two minutes faster than me over the country that, I can beat on the road over a half marathon.
‘Before the Victoria Park Middlesex race, I ran a sub 31 at Brighton but the wind was strong here. I felt strong in the latter part of the race and wanted to get as near as I could to 31 (30.30 on in favourable conditions). His PB was 30:30. in the Bristol 10k on 5.5.13.
His job at the German investment Bank has its head office in Frankfurt so, that is one of the reasons he likes to do that marathon and that it is a nice flat course. He has run a 10 miles in 49.59 and the half-marathon in 66.16.


“It was a good race with James Connor. He went out quick. Ben Al and I worked together and caught up with James. At 6K I thought I had got him with a 10 metre lead on him. That’ I could pull away. At 7k he put the hammer down’
Andy Greenleaf who works in finance in the City, is a good cross country runner but really excels at the Triathlon and in fact is just about the best amateur half Iron man triathlete in the UK.

“4 weeks ago I was 4th in a half Iron man and, the first amateur, in Dublin.’ He added “I am doing a full Ironman in Hawaii on October the 8th  (2.4 mile swim; Bike 112 miles and 26.2 marathon)

286 Finishers in the Middlesex ‘Open’ 10k.

First six men:- 1 James Connor (Kent AC) 31:12; 2 Andy Greenleaf (Serpentine) 31:27; 3 Glenn Hughes (Serpentine) 31:27; 4 Belal Ahmed (Hercules Wimbledon) 31:51; 5 Tom Aldred (London Heathside, V35) 31:57 6 Dave Morgan (Serpentine) 32:52.

First 3 Women:- 1 Marina Johnson (Serpentine) 37:46; 2 Celine Murray (London Heathside) 38:32; 3 Marta Bagnati (Serpentine) 38.41

Alastair Aitken

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