Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Metropolitan League (November 2017)

Welwyn Garden City
The second league match

RICHARD GOODMAN, who was badly spiked in the National Cross Country, according to Shaftesbury official & coach Simon Keene, who was with him in the ambulance, also had a lack lustre track season after that, except for a personal best 5000 in 13:59.4. He was back running brilliantly, as a cross-country runner, in the 2nd Met league of the season.  

Paulos Surafel, followed by Abdi Abdulle set a furious pace ahead, for over a lap with Goodman sometimes as much as 20 metres adrift, wondering if he was going to be strong enough to run well. He still executed perfectly and that was, to go ahead after 1½ laps then he never looked like being headed again. Afterwards Richard said, regarding cross-country “I just want to run and enjoy it’ but added ‘You have to train the pain and relax in that pain threshold”

Ed Shepherd, 2nd, coached by Richard Thurston, had his best position in the league to come through from 10th early on and Audun Nortdveit, in his first cross-country race for two years, was still around 15th after two laps, came through to 3rd by the finish, just ahead of t he first Cambridge University runner Oliver Fox.
The league record sized field of 529 was brought home by John Steed, still the oldest in the race at 82. He remarked “I don’t know really how long I will carry on. I noted awhile back I had done 1000 races then I stopped counting.”
One person fairly close to John’s age was Doug Milsom, at 78. He actually beat seven finishers at his tender age. He ran from 1955 till he was 37 years old for Finchley Harriers and ran 2hrs and 1 minute for the Finchley 20 but was diagnosed with athletics induced asthma so, he did not take athletics up again till he was 65 and runs with a pacemaker fitted seven years ago”  

Richard Goodman, who won all his four Met Leagues last season, looked back
“I consider my best race ever was 2014 in the Final cross Challenge and Inter-Counties that I won and if, I could only get back to that form I could achieve good things.”

On the rather complicated new course, the leaders in the women’s race were told they had to do another lap, just as they thought they were finishing. Fortunately it did not make a tremendous difference to the result as, the order of the first three, as they went through, was the same at the finish. Again, there was a record field of 249.
Tamara Armoush, who hopes to move up to 5000 from 1500 next year, ran better than she did at Claybury, when she was fourth, to win well. She considered she did more good training since then, under the watchful eye of her coach Matt Yates but, felt Hannah Viner was the favourite to win at Welwyn but, Hannah had just come back from America in the week. She considered Hannah was training well. It was only when the group split up before the closing lap Viner lost contact and Vicky Pritchard, who was an international as a junior, before having two children and starting a business, established second place and Revee Walcott-Nolan had moved into third place. Niamh Bridson-Hubbard, from the Cambridge University’s guest team, was also well in the hunt till over half way.

Yusuf Bizimana (U17/15) had been with Liam Garrett, who studies at Latymer school, till he used the speed that got him 1500 English schools title and ,went clear with 800 to go.
Grace Ingles (U17/15) won well. Her coach Jeremy Sothcott said “I have great faith in her.
She is capable of winning all her Met Leagues and coming in the first 10 in the National” Jimmy Geller, is at Davenant School, Loughton. He again showed how game a fighter he is, as he pulled away from a group to win the Under 13 Boys race, from the Claybury winner Abdiram Hamud.
Zahra Malcolm won the Under 13 girls race and her coach John Stow said “She is not a cross-country runner but an 800m runner so; I was pleased and very surprised to see her win.”
The Under 11 winners Gianleo Stubbs and Tilly Major were both winning Met Leagues for the second time consecutively. Tilly Major’s pedigree is most enlightening. Her Father Paul Major ran 1.13 for a half marathon & 2:36 for a marathon. Her two Granfathers Dave Chapman, the international steeplechaser and Eric Major were both in the Woodford Green scoring team that came third in the National senior cross country of 1961.  

The Howard Williams combined Trophy points, mean that Highgate Harriers & Serpentine are joint leaders in the senior competition and for the junior trophy Woodford Green & Essex Ladies lead with 95 and Victoria Park are in second place with 91 points.          

Alastair Aitken

Back to Reports Index

Back to Archive index