Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Metropolitan League- Stevenage (November 2016)

12th November 2016

RICHARD GOODMAN found the second Metropolitan league of this season the most testing race in Fairlands Country Park “It was the hardest course I have done for a while, from the very beginning.’
‘You were in a large group for sometime early on
‘I was getting nervous. I was scared and thought, I might not win, as there were too many guys around me. I thought this is fast, I might not be able to get away with it.’
You then showed the ‘Goodman fluency’ on that last lap’
‘It was fast. You go up and down and up again. Long shape. It reminds me of what is to come in two weeks at Liverpool. It was hard today. I was pushed from the very beginning.’
Is it because the course is unrelenting and fast. Claybury was easier for you, as you won by a bigger margin?
‘There are some rest places in that and, therefore you are able to hide. You can stand in the middle here (At Fairlands Country Park) and watch every part of the course.’
‘You can have a World cross country here and thousands of people can watch every minute of the race.’
However when he finished he also remarked “I wanted to dedicate this to the 2 girls who lost their lives this week in a car accident with, the two black ribbons on my vest. My Ex-coach Mike Woods was the coach to the girls. Thinking of them in the last lap and, how they would have enjoyed running round the course.”

At the start, a very large group set off very quickly with Paul Martelletti going to the front brriefly in the constant drizzle. It was down to four in the second of the three laps and as they rounded the corner into the open fields Adam Kirk Smith was in front and, had been for a while but then Goodman surged and overtook him and was not headed again. Kirk-Smith improved from 3rd at Claybury to 2nd at Stevenage and an even better improvement was by British ‘Under 23’ 5000 Champion, Phillip Crout, who was 6th at Claybury and 3rd at Stevenage. He put that down to good training with his friends at Cambridge University, where he has been studying physics.

John Steed, who is 81 and brought up the rear of the field in 441 position in 48:47, He pointed out about Hillingdon’s, Doug Milsom, who was 77 was the first M75 in 435 in 44.35.
John said ‘Milsom had done 52 races in 12 months which, included Park Runs and, was reserve for the Home Vets International.

The first veteran 40 was, Ben Noad, who came 32nd. He was once 43rd in the World cross country championships a few years ago now but, it is the Highgate Harriers team spirit that keeps him going.
(Of the 441 finishers the first three were Richard Goodman 25.42; Adam Kirk-Smith 25.53 and 3rd Phillip Crout 25.54)

To Adam Kirk-Smith ‘It was one of your best races. What are your memories of the race?
“I was closer to Richard today than at Claybury. I was listening to his breathing and things.
I felt so relaxed coming into the first big lap. I saw Marttellti and knew what shape he was in. He made a surge. It is always a danger if you think you are controlling it but people are very aware of what you are doing and so, when you are then taking the pace on. I think I made a bit of a tactical mistake in the first lap, when I was in the lead too much and then, I thought I would stay behind Richard. In the middle of the second lap my legs were not feeling that great. Give it a few minutes and take it back slightly. I looked back and I was not going to be caught by ten different people that is always the nightmare in a race. You turn round and suddenly everyone is there. I was happy with the race.
You had a better run than when you were third at Claybury
‘I certainly was much closer to Richard.’
I saw him make his move just behind you, in about a group of 4. You looked behind to see who was there and he was 5 metres behind you. He looked relaxed when he made his move and then went round the corner to take the lead into the open fields.
“Technically he had been running much longer than I had. and a lot better. He has done a lot more than I have. Obviously you have got to respect that. When I felt good I thought I could take it on, feeling so good but, he was always had that in him. For me it is an extremely positive building block for going for the Commonwealth Steeplechase (For NI)

To Phillip Crout what are your memories of today’s race. 3rd was good.
“Yes; I was 6th four weeks ago but that was quite early on in my season and, it was nice to come down with the university (Cambridge). ‘I felt good today and tried to follow the Richard Goodman break but it did not quite work out for me’.
There was a big group that went off fast
“It was nice to settle down early on.”
Have you had a good year?
“I had a really good track season as I won the Under 23’ 5000m in the summer.
I am beginning my transition to seniors. It takes a little bit of time. You get used to running against guys who have been on the circuit for 5 or 10 years. I am really enjoying it. I still love doing it which is the really important thing... It is my final year at Cambridge. The running club there is very supportive and a really good community and, it helps because you talk to others who are at Shaftesbury, who go to Uni’. 40 or so of us came down for this. It really helps.”

Besides Richard Goodman there was one other who followed up his win at Claybury and that was Under 13 Herts Phoenix lad Ethan Primett.

Highgate Harriers still lead the Men’s teams but with the women, only one point separates London Heathside from Highgate at the top of the table.

In the women’s race, although Naomi Taschimowitz was not quite race fit, after her Summer injuries but, it did not look as though she would be beaten in the race at all and at half way, she was inter changing the lead with Vicky Pritchard, before going clear with Emma Dixon and Stacey Ward running together behind that, just ahead of Hannah Viner. In the closing stages of the last lap Revee-Wilcott Nolan, who was 3rd in the first Met league, came through strongly. She was told by her current coach, Matt Yates (The ex-international 800m runner) that the last lap was the important one to go. Being an 800 runner and 4th in the British Championships, there was no stopping her, at the finish on the fast ground. Stacey Ward was a good third.

Revee Walcott-Nolan “Going into the last lap I was 4th or 5th I think and picked them off.
That was what my coach Mathew Yates wanted me to do, to sustain the pace near the end.
I was not expecting to win before the race,’.
What is your favourite distance?
800m (2.2.32 her best) I will continue that in the Summer and maybe 1500 (Best of 4.17 for 1500). The most pleasing was the British Championships when I came 4th in the final (2.3). I have just graduated from St Mary’s.”

Vicky Pritchard (4th) “At one point I was in the lead going into the last big lap. It was fast to-day. I enjoyed those bits but had not quite enough speed.”

Naomi Taschimowitz “it was my first hard race back. A few more weeks of training. (And perhaps in a longer race). I am not disappointed with the race as the girls ran really well.
Revee did well last weekend as well at the relays.”
(First 4 out of 182 1 Revee Walcott-Nolan 21:42; 2 Naomi Taschimowitz 21:45; 3 Stacey Ward 21.51’ 4Victoria Pritchard 21:56.)
In the Under 11 Girls and Boys Woodford Green & Essex ladies lead and, by a large margin in the Boy’s section however, the winner at Stevenage was Thomas Day of Slough, who was 2nd in his last Met league in January.
In the Under 13 Boys Ethan Primet, who won at Claybury won again with his club mate Daniel Gill 2nd and Ruairi McGonagle of London Heathside, who had been so successful in the Under 11’s 3rd.
Ethan Primet took control “After the small lap, we then had the big lap to do.
Other sports at school “At PE we do basketball.’
‘At Herts Phoenix I have three coaches, Adrian, Geoff and Salvatore. They work together.
Train with a group “Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and I train on Saturday with Adrian, with a boy called  
Jaime and sometimes I am with Geoff. It is at Ware Sports Centre.”

Elena Roncarati of Shaftesbury Barnet won the girls Under 13 after coming 2nd at Claybury
“I came 2nd in the last Met league. I decided that I would start quite fast, because, I am a longer distance runner. I was just able to keep the pace. I am coached by Colin Godfrey. Roncarti goes to East Barnet school. I train with Colin six times a week.
‘I went into the lead (At Stevenage) turning round the first corner, I think I was 2nd and picked that up and kept the lead.”

Lucy Gryce was 2nd “I just remember going round and holding that position, to keep as close as I could to Roncarti. She was ahead of me in the second lap. Gryce  is from Slough Athletic club and goes to Eagle House School in Sandhurst.
Other sports she likes to do “I like to mix sports but my main sport is athletics.
I am hoping to do the heptathlon so; I compete in pentathlons at the moment. I finished third in the Power of 10 at the end of the season. She won the last Met League she said. I am Captain of hockey at my school and play for a Reading team and Berkshire,”

Hillingdon’s Somalian, Mohamed Sharefall won the under 15/Under 17 race in 12.35 (From George Kerry (12.43 ESM) and Liam Garrett (London Heathside in 12.48))
Mohamed was 2nd at Claybury. Impressive for a 13 year old, he was noticeable running  with his easy long stride and his orange shoes.
Is running his favourite sport “Yes. I have been doing athletics for a year now, my best race is over 3k and I have done 9:04. I am coached by Idris Hamud.’
Cross country or track “I like both of them’ He is at Dormers Wells high school in Ealing.’
‘I would like to do the English schools cross country Championships”

George Kerry of Ealing Southall & Middx was 2nd “I felt strong. I ran well but it was a tough course today. The first lap he took it out very hard. He got a gap on me and it was hard to get back to him. ‘
When did he start running “As an less than 13’. I am 15 now. I moved up to my current coach Steve Mann. Things have been going really well. training hard at the moment.
Got some good sessions going. So far this season I have not had a bad race. I ran well at Mansfield and I won the North of the Tames Junior race. I got my tactics right on that one. I have run 2.2 for 800m. I have not had the chance of doing a 3k but next year I will.’
‘I am at City of Westminster College at the moment at Paddington Green. Its nice. I'm studying for a Sports extended Diploma. I hope to move up next year, depending on how my season goes.”

Jessica Leane of ESM won the Under 17 girls race (2nd Phoebe Littler of Highgate Harriers 14:57; and 3rd Sarah Butler from the winning SBH team 15:05.)
‘I went into the lead pretty much at the end. I had not walked the course in advance so; I had no idea where I was going. I stayed in the group because I am not going to run a race on my own, that does not end well. It was easier if I stayed in the group and try and race a bit when I was ready.
‘I started Sixth form in September. Steve Mann coaches me. I came over to Ealing because there was not really any group at Harrow. I was in a young under 13 group for quire a while and I thought it would be better in an age appropriate. I suppose my best run was being selected for the British Inter-County County Championships at Birmingham (Crofton Park). All these big names so, I was happy to finish third for my county of Middlesex.’
She has an honest remark about why she does not go with other sports very well
“With other sports I am terrible as my co-ordination is not good (I know the feeling)

Alastair Aitken

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