Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Fifth Metropolitan League (February 2017)

Start Fitness Metropolitan league
Alexandra Palace Park 11th of February 2017

Janice Bowman, the Administrator for the League
“Things have gone very well for the league. Much better than last year. Everything has gone very smoothly. I am very pleased with everything.’
‘Other than Start Fitness, who is the main sponsors with £5000, we have also had a very kind donation from England Athletics for £2000, which has enabled us to buy a gift for the senior men & women, to be handed out at the end of the funnel.
We know who is going to win the mens race but, it is always a very tight race?
“It is tight for the teams as well. It will be quite exciting.”

RICHARD GOODMAN, after the final fifth league race of the season, won his fourth of four Metropolitan league races he contested and, took away the top prize of £575.
At the start, in the cold conditions, with the usual massive double hill to climb on each of the 3 laps.Goodman, was in fourth place, as they went up the hill on the first lap, behind Terry Fawden, Abdi Abdulle, and Peter Husk. When they came down the hill, onto the flatter ground, Husk had decided to make it a true run race and, started to put his effort in, only Goodman, stayed with him, with a 20 metres gap to the rest. Goodman attacked on the last hill and went clear but Husk, never gave up,  one second behind Goodman at the finish.
Chris Rainsford moved up to third in the middle of the race but John Eves, who had been back in twelfth position on the first lap, moved through and passed Abdulle, John Aldred and Chris Rainsford in the third of the three laps.  One should realise it was certainly tough for Goodman, as he lost a very close member of the family in the week and only came down from Leeds the day before, short of training to do the race and get round then to go back to Leeds the next day to be with the family.

Husk said about his sixth place in the Northern “it was a tough race and very, very muddy but I was happy with sixth but not as good as I did last year but it was a good quality field.’ He added “I felt springier today than I did when I came second to Richard at Trent Park. I like the course. I fell over on the first lap but, I wanted a hard run out really’
Richard is a Class Act?
“Definitely. He is a brilliant runner.”

John Steed, 81 years old, who did all the league races, brought up the rear of the 359 finishers but, had to stop for 4 minutes early on, because his heart rate was far too high on his monitor but, ran the last lap really comfortably. Steed in his day, was a very good competitive cyclist and, as a runner, won the Herts 10 mile road Championships in 50:05 and, was 12th in the Met League in 1973.
Highgate Harriers became the only club, except for Thames Valley Harriers, in the history of the league, to achieve a team victory for five consecutive years. That was, since the league began in 1966. It is noted that, over the years Woodford Green, Verlea and Shaftesbury Barnet, have had the most team victories, if you combine all the age groups.

Highgate Harriers women, have only lost the team title twice in the last 10 to 12 years or so, once to London Heathside and once to Serpentine but this year they made sure of victory, by having all their six scorers in the first 14 of 84 finishers. Molly Renfer, who won the previous Met League but, suffered in the Southern, was in good form. Hannah Viner, now coached by Matt Yates, who has  built up her training and the improvement shows. She attacked from the start, after coming 9th in the Brutish Universities, the previous Saturday and, with Renfer and Emma Dixon pulled away from the field in the mid part of the race. Renfer was really running very well, pushing off the hill for the closing flatter stages with Viner, coming in second, despite suffering a stitch in the race at one time and Emma Dixon, who was injured at the star of the year, just getting back here form, third.

Renfer, despite having had runs in the European seniors women’s Championships as a senior and Under 23’, considered her run in the 2015 NCAA Championships her best run, because she said, all the best runners from the Universities & colleges in the USA ran that.
About her events coming up. “I hope to run maybe, the steeplechase again, the 1500/5000 and some road races this year.’  She added “It has been good, training at Parliament Hill on a Tuesday, doing track sessions with the Highgate Harriers.”      

Two impressive nail biting battles took place in the younger age groups.
Godolphin and Latymer school girl from TVH, Kosana Weir (U17), and new find, Grace Malcolm (U15) were only a second apart in their race, interchanging the lead a lot. Malcolm’s club coach Richard Thurston explained “On a course like today it is the strength that counts and if you  are an under 15 you will not have the strength of a girl of 17, with the calibre of that particular athlete.”, and in the Under 13 boys, Rory McGonagle (13 on the day of the last Met League) and Ethan Primett (11), the Herts Phoenix lad, who won the Met leagues at Claybury and Stevenage over all, still an Under 13 next year, battled  it out all the way to the finishing line when McGonagle came away for victory. McGonagle, coached by Kabir Kemp, who came 4th in the Middlesex Schools, even though under age. He said “I have been training hard”

In the under 17’s Ross McGarvie (U15) a Slough Junior who goes to John Hamlin Grammar School and is in year ‘10’.He does a lot of swimming at school too. He  led for most of the race till Usuf Bizimana (U17) put in a withering finish in the last 250 metres, which he was able to do as, he has a 4:7.9 for a mile indoors on the books, which is an excellent time for his age.

In the Under 17 girls, Roisin Keohane the Dame Alice Owen’s schoolgirl, went ahead with 500 to 600 to go. She was the clear victor following her success at Trent Park. last time.

The Woodford Green under 11’s swept the board with the first three home Jimmy Geller, Lucas Gormley and, Chigwell school boy, James Brigstocke-Williams, filling the first three places, to help the clubs easy team victory league victory. Geller was 1st at Claybury and Wormwood Scrubs and 2nd at Stevenage.” This race was much harder because I was so cold” said the lad from St John Fisher School, which Lucas Gormley goes to also but Lucas, is even more, into hockey. He is with Old Loughtonians hockey club.
Nicole McGovern of Hillingdon was the first girl in 7th out of 77 in the combined girls and boys race.

The Howard Williams Trophy for seniors overall, went to Highgate and Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets took the junior title with Hillingdon AC second.

Alastair Aitken

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