Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and
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Thomas Mortimer & Jake Hayward (March 2018)

Tom Mortimer (Stroud AC) was 3rd behind Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton AC) and Emile Cairess (Leeds City) in the National Junior (U20) cross country, at Parliament Hill in February over 10k in 2018 but there is no denying Thomas ran a brilliant race in muddy Under 20’ Final Cross Challenge at Loughborough in March (1 Thomas Mortimer (Gloucestershire) 29:49; 2 Nathan Dunn (Lancs) 30:10; 3 Jake Hayward (South Wales) 30:18. Over 8km - First three teams:-1 Yorks 89; 2 Scotland South East) 92 3 Kent 107)

It was one of Thomas favourite races for him to remember “I went into the lead from the start really. For the first lap it did not feel that quick. I had a 15 metre gap by the top of the hill and looked round to see I had that 15 metre lead, I thought, I might as well make a break for it as, I had already got a little gap. From then I got quite a big gap. It is always tough to get back when you have got a big gap!”

When did it all begin for him?
“In 2012 I watched a documentary before the Olympics and, I had just come 2nd in my Marling School Sports over 800 & 1500.

What then made him do running rather than anything else?
“My PE teacher told me but, I was not keen. In my head, it was a weird sort of reasoning. I thought I am alright considering I don’t train. I did not expect to improve so much with training. Why train and be rubbish!
‘Looking back it makes absolutely no sense. I am never sure why I thought that. My Mother (Kate) convinced me, as I had nothing to do in the summer. She said I need to have something to do and so, she called up the club said ‘My coach Chris Brown asked how old was I.’
‘I was 13 at the time but he said ‘We don’t have any 13 year old boys, you can come along. I was really lucky to be able to do that.”

Did he have any heroes he followed?
“My entire group were great. It is a real sort of family really. I always looked up to them Probably Kipchoge, Craig Mottram and obviously Mo Farah were the top athletes I admired”.

Races special to him. To-day’s race in the Inter-Counties must be one?
“Definitely. There is a spring open meet in Worcester (25/4/17) it was my season opener. It is a lovely atmosphere, weirdly, that was  one my favourite races (2000m in 5:29.3 outdoors) I won that 2k. I usually end up No 1 in the UK for 2k but Mo Farah’s split from his 3k. It is embarrassing really, as it is 5 seconds ahead. My other favourite race is the Midlands road relays. The team got silver and said, how we wanted to get a medal all year so, it was a great one. One of my favourite moments. The team ones are always my favourite. It is great competing in a relay for a team, the atmosphere.”


JAKE HAYWARD WAS 3RD IN THE CROSS CHALLENGE BUT HAS A LOT GOING FOR HIM!

I notice as an Under 17 runner in 2015 he won 16 of 21 races outright.
He won the Cross Challenge (U20) at Cardiff on 14th of October from Thomas Mortimer.
‘It was a lot nicer for me as the ground was like a cricket pitch.”

It was a hard slog for him in the heavy mud at Loughborough but explains “Cross country is good, as it gets you strong mentally. Very tough to-day, no hiding. I am more of a track runner so it was pretty brutal for me to-day’
The start “I used to play rugby and football and swimming in Cardiff. The school started to enter me in competitions. I started to do well so, I realised it must be my best sport.
I started running seriously about 15/16‘
James Thie is my coach and he was a 3:37 runner.’

What race did he feel was his most outstanding?
“The European Juniors ‘Under 20’ 1500 (3:56.73 in First place at Grosseto, Italy 22/7/17)
Did he think he had a chance of winning before hand?
“I was in the mix but not the favourite. I led the whole race.”

Alastair Aitken

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