Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

First Met League - 50th Year (October 2016)

Claybury Park, Woodford
15th October 2016

RICHARD GOODMAN, a man with tremendous potential, who won three Metropolitan league races convincingly last year but failed to get the ‘Jackpot’ because of a serious bout of flu.
“I could not get out of bed for a week so, I had to throw in the towel’
He had another good win at Claybury in mild conditions.
‘I graduated this summer and I am running, training and, working in childcare, looking after children.
It is flexible so I can train in the day’
About the race ‘I had not had a really hard run for a week and a couple of days; I wanted to have a hard run today. After one lap I wanted to put in a hard effort and moved away with a lap and a half to go.”
          After a mile and half, before they swept up the first steep hill there was a leading group that contained Goodman, Abdi Nageeye, Phillip Crout, Bradley Goater and just behind that Robel Bahelbi and Tom Aldred.
It was after a lap and half of three that Goodman, with his fluent style, put in a hard effort.
It was on the second lap up the hill Andy Maud, (In his first Met League), who had been running with Rob Bahelbi and Chris Rainsford, moved clear for second place with Adam Kirk-Smith coming through from twelfth early on, to third in the final third lap Andy said “Things are going in the right direction and it is my second proper training session in the last few weeks’
He has an intensive job ‘I help Charities to raise funds. Quite a lot of times, I have been at work till 10’0’clock at night. I run to Clapham or Wimbledon and then get a train to go into Surrey.
My nearest station is Thames Ditton. The actual parks round my way are brilliant places to run in Bushy Park & Richmond Park but, no good at 10’0clcok at night.”
Adam Kirk Smith who was third home said “My main focus is the steeplechase. The plan for next year. I did it when I was at school in Northern Ireland but I did no training for it then. I only did it at school in the summer when I was still playing hockey in the winter but at that time I would not have called myself a runner. I started running properly a couple of years ago.’
‘When I was back in Ireland this year I joined Derry track Club. I run with them out of the season.‘
‘My best race so far was the steeplechase in the British League when I ran 9:02.73 (At Hendon 9th of July, 2016)
‘My coach is Tomaz Pilbersek (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) a Slovenian steeplechaser who ran for Slovenia in the European cross in 2011.He worked with their National record holder who was in the Beijing Olympics.”

For the men it was exactly 50 years this month, since the first Metropolitan league event, that Howard Williams founded and, I ran in it at Hainault Forest. Gerry Archer (Hillingdon) and Terry Driscoll (Highgate) also did that one. Since that first time the enthusiasm and numbers have grown considerably. It was a record field again at Claybury and the oldest person ever in the history of running the Metropolitan league was John Steed, who is now 81 and, completed the undulating course in 467th of the 472 finishers. It was amazing how Janice Bowman and her team were able to sort out all the main results by the Monday afternoon after the race, as  the number of runners are getting to huge proportions and, the officials should be congratulated on their efforts in a ‘ truly exciting amateur event.’

Highgate Harriers already look in contention, to be able to equal Woodford Greens’ record of four consecutive wins in the Men’s senior event and are close second to London Heathside in the Women’s competition.

In the Women’s race at Claybury Rachel Felton set off, in the way she did, when winning Metropolitan league races in 2014 and, had a 30 metre lead over Tracy Barlow at the end of the first lap. Barlow had picked her way through from seventh, avoiding places where she could get injured. The reason for that was she was using the race as training for a marathon at the end of the month.
Felton dropped out injured at the top corner of the course and then, Barlow had a clear run to the finish.  Barlow works at the Wellington Hospital full time but on regular hours, rather than doing shift workwhich, she used have to do that did effect things. She does Pre assessment on patients before they go into theatre.
“At the moment I am doing 100 miles a week in preparation for the Frankfurt marathon on the 30th of October. I ran 2:33.25 in the London.”

Charlotte Buckley had her first Met league race as an under 15 year old and, ran impressively to finish in front of all the under 17’s as well! She was running with her Thames Valley club friend Kosana Weir for the first half of the race. Weir finishing 2nd and the first in the under 17 category.
Another notable run was by Jaime Dee who was the first junior in the senior event in 10th place overall.

James Young of Enfield & Haringey was the first Under 17 in 13:22 with the second runner
Mohamed Shrifali (13:44) 2nd and Jamie Harper, the talented Shaftesury Barnet runner 3rd in 13:58.
Young was leading at the half distance “I wanted to win this race. I had a really bad track season as I was in between coaches, then it clicked a couple of weeks ago and I upped the mileage’
‘I first started running when I was in Primary school when I was 7 years old’
A special event for him he said was “The Mini Marathon as I like road running. I did not get to do it last year when I peeked and, I think I came third in my London Boroughs age group the year before. I have not got to run it fully fit yet. I go to Latimer School.' I train about 4 times a week maybe. My new coach is Chris Rainsford (Highgate Harriers) I have been with him for a month. I train at Parliament Hill on a Tuesday and the rest of the time on my own.

Ethan Primett of Herts Phoenix (10:53) was the first Under 13 boy from Ruairi McGonagle (11:00) who won all his Met League races in 2014 as an under 11 boy.
Ethan Primett is from Richard Hale School. When did he start “I started in the beginning of year six.
I was selected to run a race in my school and from then on, I just continued running and I really just enjoyed the running of it; then the win was just a bonus.
My Mum used to run, My Granddad used to run, my step-Granddad used to run, Dad used to run. My Mum and my Granddad have run marathons, I know he won lots of medals and got his own running club down in Tonbridge Wells.’
When did he go in the lead at Claybury “On the first lap on the top of the hill and overtook the leaders. I fell over at the start and someone shoved me back. I just sat back and just ran and tried to get as far to the top of the field as I could. My Dad and I came up with some tactics. I needed to get to the front because it narrows down quite a lot. If it was a big field like this, it would not have mattered too much with the space but it narrows down by a considerable amount so I had to get to the top.”

In the Under 13 girls one of the first two to come in finished just outside  the funnel but in the end they gave the win to Zakia  Mossi of TVH who did 11.59, 2nd was Elena Roncarati (SBH) 2.01 and 3rd Lydia Louw (Hillingdon) 12:12.
“I was 2nd for most of the way.’
‘I started running when I was very little but not competitively till I was 10. I am coached by Roy Claridge. I go to Brentford School for girls. When I was young I used to go out running with my Mum Nicola. I joined TVH when I was 10 and I am now 13”  

An interesting phenomena was in the Under 11’s for Boys & Girls combined as the first 5 out of 77 were all from Woodford Green & Essex Ladies AC 1st wasJimmy Geller (10) in 5:26 and 5th the first girl Kezia Beeton (10) in 5:48.

Alastair Aitken

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