Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Inter Counties CC Part 1 (March 2017)

12,000m at the Prestwold Hall Course, about 3 miles from Loughborough Station.
The first 10 of 283 County finishers.
1 Andy Vernon (Hants) 37:50; 2 Alexander Teuten (Hants) 38:14; 3 Andy Maud (Surrey) 38:19; 4 Sam Stabler (Owls AC) 38:30; 5 Phil Wicks (Surrey) 38:47; 6 Dejene Gezimu (Mersyside) 38:58; 7 Mohamed Aadan (Middlesex) 39:09; 8 Darren Deed (Beds) 39:16; 9 Jonathan Taylor (North East) 39:18; 10 Carl Avery (North East) 39:21.
283 finished and, the First three Counties of 32 declared were 1 North East 160; 2 Surrey 177; 3 Middlesex 200.

ANDREW VERNON:- “ I pretty much led the whole way. We did the first loop and I was leading the pack through there. Went down the hill to start the big loop’
It was after that he went clear
Andy Vernon won a silver in the European 10,000 on the track in 2014, as well as a bronze in the 5000 so, with that type of pedigree, it was not surprising he was the favourite for the 2017 Senior Inter-Counties cross. He won the under 20 title, before winning the senior race in 2009 and 2011. He was 2nd to Mo Farah in 2010 but, won the National that year.
You have always showed the talent, right from your London Colleges days at St Mary’s so, what are you going to enjoy doing for the rest of this year in 2017?

“I am going to do a half marathon next weekend.’

You were 2nd in the European track so, with that in mind do you want to do any of the Championships coming up, even though you have achieved an awful lot already?
“My main aim is the World Championships. I will target the 10 but I would like to do both if I could.”

“Things have gone well for you!
“In the past year it has been good, touch wood “

He ran two good personal best in 2016. A 5000 in 13:26.16 and 28:19.36 for 10,000. He is coached since 2013 by Nick Bideau, who has a wealth of international experience.

ANDY MAUD who came 3rd at Prestwold Hall
“I was always in the top six with Phil. At the end of the first big lap I was in the top six. It was just the case of trying to chase medals. I just felt a lot better than I did at the National (16th)

You had a later start, in getting into the sort of condition you like to get in. You are nearly there but not quite what you would want. Am I right in thinking that?
That was due to work to begin with.
“To begin with. It just takes me awhile, as I have not got years of background. I needed to run the National for to-days race.”

PHIL WICKS was fifth.

My memories of Phil Wicks were that he was a mainstay of the winning Belgrave Harriers teams that won the Southern and National road relays, back in the early to middle 2000’s.
“You were hot stuff on the road Phil and you are gradually making a comeback to being in good from again.“

“I had a bit of a break, if you like, because of having a young boy in the family. He is 1½ years old now. That has just taken a little bit away from training, as hard as I was doing, before he was around. Now I am gradually getting back into hard training again. This is the best race I have had for awhile. I ran the National (29th) but the course did not really suit me. Too muddy for me, where as today was perfect for me, with the rolling and undulating terrain.”

Unless you were in the Surrey cross country Championships which you appear to always run away with.
“I won the Surrey Championships for the sixth time this year.”

You have a difficulty with your running at times. You are one of those ‘classic’ runners who, are exceptionally talented but are too far ahead in races, like when you won the Maidenhead 10 or the Surrey cross, when you are that far ahead of the opposition, it means that when you are in a group in an event, things often appear more difficult for you?
“I totally agree. I have never liked running when I am in a bunch because, when I dominate races I am out the front. I just go away. In a bunched race I find it a bit more of a difficulty mentally,”

I think eventually you will get over that one!’
“I have the odd race when I overcome it and ran well. It is just something I have got to get better at I guess”

“When you won the Maidenhead it was by such a huge margin, nearly everyone could have gone home before the second runner came in.
“Those kind of races when I can dominate them really, they give me good confidence but, then when I run at National level.“

My comment on top of that was, that Richard Goodman is sometimes in the same position as you. In many of the North London cross country races recently, except for a couple he was on his own just after half way. Jim Hogan, used to think Dave Bedford’s ‘Big’ Championship trouble was that, he would win so decisively so often in other races but that he should have had more races with someone breathing down his neck so, he could go to the major Championships where he had people around him all the time!

‘What races would stand out as most special for you and meant a lot to you?

‘For cross-country, when I was 2nd in the National in 2008 and 2009; both times behind Humphries. In 2009 I ran 62:51 for the half marathon. Looking back now I should have run the marathon round about that time because I think I would have done a quick time but’ No Regrets’ (He was also setting a PB of 13:58.3 for 5k in the Watford BMC Grand Prix on 13/6/09).’

How about your wife Emily?
“She is doing really well, having come back since having our son. Even back training, running well. Unfortunately she picks up illnesses from him. He comes back with a different illness every week but she is still running and got ambitions to run well,”

Alastair Aitken

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