Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and
Reports

Rory Leonard & Grace Brock (March 2018)

Rory Leonard

The first 3 in the very muddy, Final Cross Challenge and Inter-Counties
For Under 17’s was 1 Rory Leonard (North East) 20:34; 2 Thomas Keen (Cambridgeshire) 20:55; 3 Zakariya Mahamed (Hampshire) 21:11 (281 Finished) Teams 1. NE 51; 2 Yorks 71 and 3 Hants 89.

Rory Leonard comes in “I was running alongside three or four of the other lads. The plan was to wait till the hill, then try and kick off. Luckily there was no real race before then. It got down to just me and Tom. I went up and round the bend and then picked it up. I was really happy with the result.’
‘I was hoping for a good race in this Year’s National at Parliament Hill but I fell over and got concussed and had to pull out of the race. This one was a good way to get back”

How did it all begin for Rory Leonard?
“It happened about 2½ years ago. I played football then, I lost a lot of interest in it. My Mum and Dad said I should go along to Morpeth Harriers and see if I like it. I loved it straight away.”

Jim Alder of Morpeth Harriers, who was a good international, must have been a hero of Rory’s
“Yes, a great guy”

Although it says on Power of 10 Lead coach unknown, you must have had some influence from your parents. “I am coached by my Father who used to run. (Tony Leonard, who had some respectable senior times of 13:36 for 5k and 28:28 for 10k.) His mother ran under the name of Sharon Little and, came 2nd in the Northern one year)
“Mike Bateman Coached me at the start and, my Dad has taken over.”

Did Rory prefer cross-country?
“Not necessarily. A little bit more luck with it. In my first track season I got injured because I was still playing football, I never had a good first track season. Last season was a bit better 1500- 4.00.17 (BMC Grand Prix race at  Stretford19/8/17.& 8:43.0 for 3000; winning at Jarrow in the North Eastern Open Grand Prix Series on 25/7/17)
“When my Father took over there was a big change in the track for me.
Being close to home it is easy to contact him with questions. Where we live in Rotheby, Northumberland there are hills. A lot of my training is based in our village. It is really convenient because, I have been doing a lot of hill work this season that has improved my strength a lot, from when I was struggling last year and the year before.’
Morpeth Harriers are a good club!
“The North East are good in my age group winning the Inter-County team title. For me Morpeth Harriers are really good and nice to be apart of it.”

Grace Brock

Grace Brock of Cornwall AC, started the 2018 year with a win in a 3.9 Cross-country in Seville, Spain-The cross International de Italica, on January the 21st then on the 27th of January she won the (U17) South of England Championship race, in the blustery wind & rain at Stanmer Park, Brighton. She then came 2nd in the National cross country championship. at Parliament Hill Fields, over 5k in 18:37, behind Ella McNiven of Liverpool Harriers, who won in 18:27. Then, Grace Brock’s crowning achievement came, in the mud at the Inter-Counties & to be the top girl overall in the Cross-Challenge at Loughborough.’

In the Final race of the season, the first three were 1 Grace Brock (Cornwall) 21:57; 2nd Holly Smith (Cheshire) 22:17 and 3 India Pentland (North East) 22:40. Teams:-1 Yorks 59; Surrey 131 3 Cheshire 183.     (278 fished).

Grace Brock on the IC/Final Cross Challenge U17. “I got out early on with the first 15 or so and gradually worked my way to third then, closed on the front two. Tried to make a break and with 2k to go went to the front.”

She started competing several years ago. “I was 11 in Primary school at St Peters in Sussex. ‘

John Knowles is my coach down in Cornwall. Dave Leech laid the foundations. He made me believe I could get to this level.

Training areas:- “There are beaches nearby my home I can train on which is good. Camborne Beach near Newquay. In the town where I live it is in a quite a hilly. Penzance near Land’s End. It’s a nice place to live, a nice part of the World

Alastair Aitken

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