Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Hercules Festival of 3k’s (August 2018)

Wimbledon August 1st

The seven 3000 races put on were considered by the organiser Ben Noad, to be  the First Hercules & Wimbledon Festival of 3000’s, following the success of the Hercules Festival of 5000’s and, even before that  Ben Pochee’s original night of 10,000 PB’s had an influence.
The conditions in the evening at Wimbledon were perfect for good times and it certainly, turned out that way...
In the Final Race 7, a dozen athletes were together till 800 remaining and Roger Poolman then went clear of John Sanderson (8:13.12) and Andrew Penney (8:13.55) with 130m left to do. Poolman, the Ex-Cambridge University runner’s personal best of 8:11.63, improved on his 8:18.01 3k of the 27th of June.

Probably, because there were so many of the athletes well matched Mohamed Ali, was able to slot himself into the upper middle of the field consequently, he came home in 5th of 22 starters in 8:15.02. which is a World Best for a 14 year old, bettering Chikashi Ikeda’s world best of 8:21.22 done on 25th May 2012 in Japan

Ali “I got hit a couple of times in the closely bunched race. I only came to-day to get that record, as my birthday is on the 8th of August. I never thought I would get the record as this whole week I had been tired because, I came down from Scotland from the international last week so, I am happy! ”
His coach from Ealing, Steve Mann “This year, to be honest, we have not been chasing times at all. It was all about getting him into the position of making sure he made the International.
Also, a lot more learning tactics and the right way to run. We knew that coming off the cross-country season he was in good shape.”

The fastest woman of the day was Emily Hosker Thornhill (25) in Race 4 with a time of 9:03.06 beating her previous best of 9:11.16 on the 18th of July.
“I was pleased with the time but, the pace was chopping and, the first 1k was too slow for me to get under 9 minutes. I have one more chance to do that this season. I was 6th in the Final of the AAA’s in the 1500 and, got some PB’s this year. The season is nearly finished Cross-Country is September till the end of March and track ‘feels like it is May to July!
Mick Woods coaches her. She continued ‘Obviously when you know you are so close to it is really hard. I knew if I could do 66 or quicker in the last lap.”

A PB in that race was done by Shaftsbury Barnet’s, Naomi Taschimowitz, who was sixth in the National cross country. She did 9:09.21 & Hannah Viner did a PB of 9:25.23 in Race 3, following her 4:47.48 mile on July 27th in Olympic Park. It was also interesting to see W35 runner Fiona de Mauny (HHH) coming in 3rd in the mixed field in the first race in 10:08.61. She said “It felt really easy till 2k then it felt really hard.” She won the W35’ 800 in the World Masters Indoor Championships in Madrid. Her best time for 800 is 2.09
About the 3000 at Wimbledon that she did a personal best in also, something fairly remarkable was the winner of that first race Daniel Mann (Dulwich), who at 40, ran his first track race ever the week before. That was over mile in 5:01 so, at Wimbledon it was just
his second race. He did 9:53.99, in that first race at Wimbledon he was ahead of the other 18 finishers. “I have been running a couple of years but never on the track.”

In Race 2 Samuel Evans of Kent (34) won in 9:38.66. “The pace felt quite easy. I did not want to go out too fast and blow up.’ He added ‘I first started running at school in my teens”
The improving, 16 year old, Algerian, Bilal Bentchakal came home in second place behind Evans in 9:45.71.(PB). His Father Hakam Bentchakal, who is a great fan of fellow Algerian Noureddine Morceli, the 1996 Olympic 1500 Champion said  “Before Bilal was in the UK and in Algeria, he was in France in 2014 for and has been 2 years  here. It is not about time. I am really happy with him, because his performance is coming up and in the last two years he has dropped 30 seconds. He has a nice curve on the Power of 10.”

In Race 6. 18 ran and the winner was Niki Faulkner of  Bexley in 8:35.39 with Highgate’s Alex Crossland   2nd in a PB of 8:35.80 and 3rd ‘Under 20’ Highgate. Runner, Terry Fawden, sliced a chunk off his personal best from  8:55.69 by doing 8:37.38. Terry is now studying at Loughborough and before that at Highgate School...

Faulkner said “It was my personal best by a long way but I don’t really do 3k’s.bu, I  knew it was there. This is my first 3k of the season I am more a 1500 runner. I have run 3:56.33 (In the BMC Regional race at Eltham on 18/7) so far this year. I knew the speed was there but whether basically I could hold out for 3K.’ He did add ‘You don’t need to have so much endurance but for 5k I think I would be in trouble. I have been training with the Highgate group down here because, I have just moved into North London. I have also been training with Imperial & TVH.
I am a PhD’s student graduate at Imperial. I have always run 800’s but then moved up.
I did 1:56 for 800 and, it was about time I moved up, as I was not improving. . All of a sudden this season I dropped six seconds on my 1500 PB and 15 off the 3k; 15 seconds off my PB and 15 off the 5k.”

Martin Shore (42) 1st in Race 3 out of 19 finishers “I started running when I was about 16. I did swimming then triathlon then got into running. My club Thames have got a very good vets team but we are recruiting some young guys as, we don’t have a junior section. We get people who leave Oxford or Cambridge. . I was at Cambridge and ran in the Varsity match. My highest position was 11th. I was at Magdalene, when Mike Turner was President. I have had a few injuries in the all in the last 5 years 5 years so, it is nice to just race still. I am a teacher art Kings House School in Richmond.”

In race 4 Charlie Eastaugh of Hercules Wimbledon did a person best of 8:48.98 in front of the other 15 runners. When did he decide to go and suddenly take off. “Twice I think 1k & 2k.’
‘I run shorter distances usually 800 as 3k is a long way. I have done an 800 in 1:55 this year so that is my preference.  

Max Costley, the tall, free flowing, Southampton runner, ran a smooth race to win Race 5
In a personal best of 8:41.27. He went away from t he rest of the 18 competitors with 600 remaining.
“I ran as a  kid then decided to have a break then came back when I was 18 and now I am 23
I broke 4 minutes for 1500 t his year (BMC Grand Prix at Loughborough on the 23rd of June-3:59.77).
I was an 8:55 3k runner before today. His brother Sam Costley was 6th in race 6 in 8:40.25.

Alastair Aitken

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