Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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Metropolitan League- Wormwood Scrubs (December 2016)

Start Fitness Metropolitan Cross Country League
Wormwood Scrubs
3rd December 2016


MOHAMUD AADAN, who last won a Met League race in February 2015, was successful again in the 3rd of 5 meetings, over the flat course of tufted grass at the Scrubs on the 3rd of December.
After a fast start Abdi Abdulle, set a furious pace but already close behind him was Aadan followed by Jake Shelley (35th at Liverpool). Mohamud Aadan said “Three of them went off very hard and I tried to stay with them. I knew Abdi was a strong runner, as a 1500 runner on the track as well. At the finish I was making sure no one was close.” By the end of the first of two laps Aadan decided to open up a gap, so he was not outsprinted in the closing stages. “I was happy to win today.”  Jake Shelley was running strongly in second place. That move by Aadan was decisive, as Shelley could not quite get on terms with him again. Dale Clutterbuck and Rob Bahelbi came past Abdi for 3rd and 4th places. It was interesting to see Terry Fawden have a good run as a first year junior in 15th place. At the other end of the scale came 81 year old John Steed 440th of the 441 finishers. He shouted out at half way “I am not being lapped.”

Aadan said “I came back from three good months running in Kenya, at the beginning of November, but as before, I got ill in the cold of the UK. I have done no running since Liverpool. It was not my day and  after illness I was running well on the first lap at Liverpool with a  hope of making the team but in the second lap I could hardly move my legs, my whole system shut down, my breathing was effected and, I was not feeling well at all. I jogged round for 33rd place. I thought, in the race, there was no point in coming up all the way from London and not finishing.”
“I do like cross-country but there is something in my system that I can’t resist flu.”
The thing is that Mohamud originally came from Somalia then Ethiopia and was firstly in the UK in 2007 so maybe, it is difficult for him to always acclimatise. (Just a thought). He joined his one and only running club Thames Valley Harriers in 2008 and never looked back.

Jake Shelley from Shaftesbury Barnet “It was me Mo and Abdi from the very beginning of the race. I wanted to deliberately go off hard today because, I went out slowly at Stevenage and so, I wanted  to experiment really. We did go hard at the beginning and slowed in the middle and almost caught up  Mohamud Aadan but he got a bit of a gap. All good Winter training for the Summer track.
A road 10k next week for me. His favourite event “The 5000m. 13:46 is my best. Mohamud has done a good time as well.”

In the Women’s race it was not concluded till the final 800. There were five runners together going through at half way Vicky Pritchard, Tamara Armoush, Revee-Walcott Nolan, Emma Dixon and Hannah Viner. Armoush proved the stronger at the finish but close behind were Pritchard and Revee-Walcott Nolan. Dixon improved at each Met League from 6,5 and now 4.’
Emma Dixon, the London University Champion, said “Hannah Viner and I worked together on the first lap and we were at the front and I was optimistic. I was really happy and thought ‘Could I do it this time. But the other girls went past (3). I have been 6th, 5th 4th now so, hopefully the next time it will be third. Hannah was not far behind at all. Next time we could work together and try and keep with those girls.”
Armoush, who was 34th at Liverpool, which she was pleased with, because she felt that she had not really been running at her best since she was an Under 15 and then very near the best in the country for her age but, injuries and things curtailed her progress since then. She works in consultancy for credit risks at the bank and, like several others in the first 10 is now coached by ex-international Matt Yates (Who ran 1:45.05 for 800 and was a 3:52 miler).

London Heathside lead Highgate in the women’s match and Highgate are drawing further ahead in the Men’s league. Highgate are at the top for the Howard Williams Trophy, for combined Men/women and, for the junior trophy, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets lead.
There were many impressive runs by youngsters at the Scrubs.
In the Under 13’s Ruari McGonegal won his first Under 13’ Met league. In 2014 he won all of his three ‘Under 11’ Met League races.
“I went in the lead after quarter of a lap.” He is at St Ignatius school. Mr Kemp coaches him.
His strengths? ’He makes us train on the hills and it builds up our stamina. It is in Finsbury Park.”
Who then was  his hero in athletics then ”Guy Learmouth , who runs for Scotland (1:46.65 best). He is my Godfathers nephew.“

Hamza Kadir, the National Under 17 1500 Champion, coached by his Dad Ali Kadir, showed he can also run well on the country when, he won his race and was following up his 3rd place in the London Youth Games at Parliament Hill. He went into the lead coming out of the wood.
“My best events are the 800 (1:54/3:56 1500). I won the Nationals over 1500 this year and got through the heats of the English Schools and, got to the final of the 800 but I came 7th. The 1500 is my best event”
He is at School at Christ’s College Finchley. “At school they specialise in basketball but they have a few good athletes at the 100m and the sprints. I am the only middle distance runner they have”

Mia Manttan, of Haringey & Enfield won the girls Under 13 race and she said she was at Highgate School “I am in the athletics and netball teams. I am coached by Mike Smith at the club.
She added ‘The school is supportive. I did not run in other Met Leagues this year because they clash with other things. I ran the Met Leagues last year but did not come in high places. At Wormwood Scrubs she was 8th/9th early on in her race but came through strongly and was unlikely to be caught in the latter part of her race.
Two who really stood out with potential were the Malcolm twins, Grace and Claire Malcolm. As 14 year old’s, it was their first ever cross country for a club and they were first and 2nd Under 15, behind Under 17 runner India Weir of TVH. The only race they previously was being 1st and 2nd for their school in the English schools Cup Semi finals (District). They joined Woodford Green & Essex ladies three weeks ago.
John Stow “These girls have got potential without a doubt. If they are looked after they will be fine” said the Woodford Green & Essex ladies coach. They do a fartlek session with Richard Thurston and an anaerobic session with me.”

Alastair Aitken

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