Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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Metropolitan League (October 2017)

Claybury, Woodford, October 14th 2017
By Alastair Aitken


ADAM KIRK-SMITH, whose previous Start Fitness Met League best, was 3rd at Claybury and 2nd at Stevenage last season, won at Claybury.
In the mild Autumnal conditions but over the very hilly course, a record number of 508 finished the race with John Steed, who is 82 this year, bringing the field home.

At the front Nick Torry had the lead after a mile and a half with Adam Kirk Smith next, Abdi Abdulle and, Mohamed Daud Mohammed, running together just behind that.
On the last stiffest hill climb, Kirk-Smith drew clear and Paul Martelletti came through from the 20’s, early on to eventually finish third, having run 15.55 in the Mile End Park run in the morning and, three weeks previously ran the Berlin Marathon in 2:17.10.

About the race and talking about his future races in Ireland this year, Kirk-Smith, who ran a personal best of 8:37:41 for the 3000 steeplechase in July, said:-.
‘Nick got me worried so many times. I eventually got away from him on the big hill on the last lap. I will be running in an international in Ireland next weekend and, do the Irish Championships and the trials. Nick Torry, who is ranked No 1 M40 over 5000 this year, will be running the Frankfurt Marathon on the 29th of October.
In the team event Highgate push forward with an early lead in the Men’s and, are jointly leading with Serpentine for the ‘Howard Williams Trophy’

Tracy Barlow ran an intriguing race, before going away off the final hill. There had been a group of runners always in contention, till then. Hannah Viner, who took the lead on two of the hilly parts and, close at hand still, all the way round was, Tamara Armoush, who ran for Jordon over 1500 in the World Championships, with  Revee Walcott-Noland, and then Vicky Pritchard. Tracy Barlow said “The marathon is the event I train for now and Nick Anderson is a good coach for me. I had problems in the World Championships. I think it was because after, I had been doing 120 miles a week at Font Romeu (1,850m above sea level), I did not taper off enough before the race but you live and learn.
‘Regarding cross-country, ‘I am going to do the odd one or two that fit in with my marathon training”
‘I started running seriously at the end of 2014, things took off from there.’

Hannah Viner who eventually came second went past the start for the first time with a dozen or so women. Hannah “It started off at a nice pace. I thought as there is a big group something is going to have to change here. I found I was good on the up hills and not very good on down hills. On the first lap I led up the hill then, I let people overtake me on the down hill. I was leading at the big hill; up a back and, I let people go past me again.
As we came back to this hill, on the third lap and we went downhill, that was when Tracy went so, I tried to stay with her, which I couldn‘t. It was only going up to the big hill at the back I broke away from a couple of girls behind me and, trying to chase Tracy down, I out sprinted the Shaftesbury girl (Vicky Pritchard) at the end.’
Armoush said “It was tough with the hills. It has been a while since I have done cross-county. It was good to run with Revee as we train with Hannah.
How did you get on in the World 1500 ‘Okay. More like getting the experience.
I was trying to hang on, as my times were not as fast as the other girls, I ran 2 seconds slower than my PB I ran 4.21 and my PB is 4.18.‘

All the races in the younger age groups were interesting.
In the U17/U15 combined, Mohamed Ali and James Young reversed their positions from the corresponding race of last year at Claybury. Ali remarked “I came sixth in the Home international but I was not well on the day but, I look back as my best race when I was ranked ‘All Time’ No 1 in the UK, for an ‘Under 15’ for 3000m of 8:44.61 (On the 22nd of July 2017), which beat Mo Farah’s previous Under 15 age record of 8:47.48. “He added I am studying at Dormers Wells High School. I run for the school. I run a cross-country race for them sometimes. About two weeks ago I did one for them but it was an easy race so I won but, not like the Met League where I had to work my way up.”

The Women’s under 17/15 race was won by 14 year old, Freya Stapleton, in an impressive way. “I had a year out to rest from running seriously, as I had also lost the enjoyment of it but, came back this year with great enthusiasm for cross-country.
‘It was back in year 7 at school I won an English Schools title; quite a while ago.”
She is at school at Dame Alice Owen’s coached by Steve White. ‘Since I had a break I love it again and it's good to be back.’

An interesting thing was that Tilly Major (10), who won the girls Under 11 race had her grandfather watching, encouraging her. He was Dave Chapman, who ran in the steeplechase in the 1960, Rome Olympics & the 1962 Perth, Commonwealth Games.    

Other comments;- 31 ran in the Boys Under 11 won by Granleo Stubbs (10), SBH in 5:32; 2 Louis Reynolds VP &TH (9) 5:34; 3 Dylan Robins TVH 10) 5:36.
Granleo Stubbs “Running since year 3 & year 2. I am coached by my Dad. George, who is part of St Albans. I go to Christchurch Primary School, Barnet.’
Is running his favourite sport “One of my favourites, ‘Bulldog’ which is basically running; Dodge Ball and long jump’
Where did he go in the lead at Claybury ?
‘Straight away’
His father said, was quite fast.
Regarding his Father ‘We go for runs together sometimes’ His Father remarked ‘He is too fast for me now”
Leading team Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets

Girls under 11 won by Tilly Major (10) Herts Phoenix 5:47; 2 Asmas Abdullah Abdirahman (10) Hill; 3 Hattie Monday (10) Lon H 5.54 and 4 Molly Sherrin (9) 5.55.
Tilly She went into the lead on the hill. She goes to Heath Mount School. She is coached by Adrian Neumann. Which Sport does she enjoy “Running is my favourite sport’
Eric Major, her Father, was a good runner for Woodford Green and Dave Chapman, the Ex International steeplechaser is her Grandfather. “He believes that the youngsters like Tilly have to develop slowly, which is very important and to just enjoy it.’ Said Sally Chapman
Tilly’s mother.  
Leading team Woodford Green & Essex Ladies 56 ran.

Under 13 Boys
1 Abdirahim Hamud (Hill) 10.52; 2 Jimmy Geller, (WG &EL) 11.04; 3 Spike Blake (Lon H) 11.12.  72 ran and, for a long time, Geller was challenging till Hamud eventually put the boot down. Hamud is at Uxbridge High school. Running is his favourite sport. Coached by Idris Hamud."My favourite event is the 3k. I prefer doing it to cross-country.
Some of his wins ‘North West cross Country League race, Fastest leg in the Middlesex road relays, Middlesex cross country champion; Middlesex 1500 Champion
’What was the most pleasing results of those one’s. My time in the Middlesex road relays. We did not have a full team but I did the fastest leg and got a medal for that.”
Leading club Woodford Green & Essex Ladies 72 ran in the race.

Under 13 Girls
1 Cara Terry (Cookham) 11.50; 2 Nicole McGovern (Hill) 11.58 3 Kate Price  (TVH) 12.03 52 ran and leading team TVH.
Cara Terry (12) “I went into the lead at half way.’ She is at school at Holly Court School. ”Running is my favourite sport. I like 3k but my favourite is 1500. My best so far is 5.05. It was my last race over 1500 (Done in July).
Cookham are getting themselves on the map athletics?
It is a really good club and I really enjoy it. (She won her last Under 13 North West London League Race).

Howard Williams Junior Trophy Lead Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets 89 2nd Woodford Green & Essex Ladies 88.

Senior Men’s winner Adam Kirk Smith’s philosophy would be hard to challenge
“Anything you dedicated yourself to in life, asking yourself how much I am willing to commit. These small sacrifices, 8 or 9 hours sleep every night, have a nap in the afternoon, and keep hydrated. These things you can do but you have got to think about them. You have got to make that part of your routine. The race strategy you put the training programme together to get the best out of yourself.”

Alastair Aitken

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