Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

The stage winners at the National 12 Stage Relay - Sutton Park - April 2010

Alastair Aitken talks to all the Stage winners

Leg One (NEB Winning team man Dave Mitchinson (10th in 26:21)

MATHEW BARNES of Altrincham (26:02)
" Training has been going so well. I have been racing mostly over the country in the Winter but it's not really my best surface. My coach NORMAN POOLE has always said this is like the main focus, where you have really got to put it in'
             About  leg 1 ' I have been fourth in cross-country relays and fourth in the Six Stage here. I have always wanted to win the first leg. I am 33 this Summer so, its quite pleasing to do this. My main goal is to do 14:05 for 5k and a good performance in the AAA's. It would be great to do that. If I ran 13:59 I would be really happy'
        The race on lap one:-' I went quite hard up the hill to the ice cream van and managed to drop off  John Wills (26:05), Jonathan Taylor (26:05) Tsegai Tewelde (26:08), the Kenyan and, Simon Tonui (26:11). I pushed on although they were close near the finish.'
           ' I did not start running till my late 20's because I was an International Modern Pentathlete. That was for the best part of 10 years. I retired from that in 2002, after I made the World Championship Final. I decided to retire from the pentathlon because I am a lawyer and, I could not combine a career with the pentathlon. Although it is a great sport and does not have enough publicity. I thought that would be the end of my career in sport but I was the strongest runner in the World pentathlon. I took up running and slowly built up my training because I enjoy it'
   There are some great characters in Altrincham. The Olympic marathon man Jeff Norman and his sons Dave and Andy Norman?
   ' Definitely. I am good friends with them but in terms of credit Norman Poole is a fantastic guy. A legend, taxi driver, coach and psychologist. The amount he gives to the sport with no reward gives him real pleasure in seeing his athletes do well"
Leg 2 (NEB Bryn Reynolds (11th in 15:18)
        BRUCE RAESIDE (28) of Notts AC (14:01) He went into the lead just before half way.
Bruce Raeside explains " My event I want to do is the 3000 steeplechase, which I did do as junior but came away from that when I had an Achilles injury. I have since run 3:42 for 1500 but I want to try for the Scottish team for the
Commonwealth Games, as both my parents are Scottish. George Gandy has been coaching me. I ran 26:27 in the Midland on a long stage and the next day did a 30:04 10k but, I got a lot of confidence from beating James Walsh in the
Home Counties International (March 27 at Mansfield). I had been mixing it with indoors as well."
Leg 3 (NEB Rory Chesser 5th in 26:47)
       MATHEW GILLESPIE (19) of Shettleston Harriers ( 26:38) who passed over to his brother Michael Gillespie (21-2nd in 15:02)
Mathew studies at the University of Glasgow and runs as much as he can. he was 14th in the European Junior cross country. He said he went into the lead at Sutton at the turn at the far side of the park. Neilson Hall of Bedford & County ran the second fastest stage on  this leg of 29:59).
Leg 4
       JAMES SHANE (20) Newham & Essex Beagles (14:33)
" I started taking them pretty early on. I found they were coming back to me which gave me a boost as, I had been as much as 25 seconds behind and then the team were supporting me at the top of the hill which gave me a big boost. I did not expect to get the lead but I had been doing a lot of training for the 800/1500 but, had a bad year last year."  
   James Shane's coach Martin Brown:-  " 800 is his main event this year. He has proved his fitness  and not a lot of 800 runners can do this (His National 12 stage relay success). That was what we wanted. Some good 5k's in this Winter. He is not really a cross-country runner because he is not too fluid on the mud. Before Christmas he did it for basic strength and we went indoors and did the BUSA over 3k. This is all part of the build up. He might give them something to think about over 1500!." (James Shane, born 18th of December, 1989 ,one week later on the 24th of April, ran his first 800 of the season in the BMC 800 at Copthall Stadium, leading all the way to win in 1:50.89)
Leg 5
     (NEB kairn Stone (2nd 27:02)
Eritrean TEWELDERBHAN of Shettleston Harriers (26:35) Went into the lead just after the lake. He has been running since 1996
Kairn Stone (27:02) " In the last bit he stretched it out. I had a solid run but would have liked to have run 20 seconds faster. I was 25th in the National which was okay. In the Summer I will do the half marathon. Maybe a few 10ks.It  was bit short for me today but 66.07 for the marathon was not bad!"
Leg 6
   FRANK BADDICK (24) of Newham & Essex Beagles (14:52)
" I caught the leader up the hill. I don't race much in the Winter but do a bit indoors. (Birmingham Games in February 1st in 1500 in 3:50.35) I am coached by George Gandy so we don't train specifically for the Winter. "(He has run 1:50.00 for the 800 and 3:42.69 for the 1500  outdoors so he has serious intentions in that direction.
Leg 7
   MARK WARMBY of Newham & Essex Beagles (26:32)

" I virtually took over with Shettleston (Jethro Lennox (27.30)). It would nice to have taken over behind . He sat on me for a third of the lap. I saw Dave and a few others at the top of the hill and it gave me that extra little push along the extended dog leg, which was quite nice and I pushed on. I am not in the greatest of shape. This is only my third race in about six months. I have got real problems with my toes and, my toes went numb pretty much form the top of the hill. They were really sore. My first three toes, coming down the hill, which  was a bit weird but I can't complain.
   Would he like to do the European Clubs?
'I am hoping to run this time. That is one thing I have always missed with the club. It would be nice to run for the club there, get a bit more sun as well!"
Leg 8
   NATHAN RIDING (21) of Newham & Essex Beagles (15:01)

"I thought I would run steady up to the top and try to stretch it out going down the hill to maintain the lead'    (Nathan Riding ran 1:54.34 for 800 in 2009 and has run indoors 3:52.37 for 1500)
About the Summer "I am looking for 1:52 basically"
 Regarding the club " I don't think I could ask for a better club, not really!"
Leg 9
" It went fine and so it is the Manchester 10k for me then the track"
Leg 10
   JAMES ELLIS 24 (NEB) 14:34

" Not too bad. Not as quick as I wanted to go. I am working at the moment. I am being coached by Michael East and I am doing 1500's this year' (Last year PB's 3:52.76/14:33)
' I had a few years out of the sport really through an accident. I was run over by an articulated lorry in 2007. Last year was my comeback year. The lorry shattered my arm and hit my head. I was not running for quite some time. It happened when I was on my bike, coming back from cross training, as I had a stress fracture at the time. It is good to be back.'
   'Mike East is very experienced and knows what is going to work for me. Building blocs really. Putting down the foundations'  
Leg 11
      KEVIN SKINNER (NEB) 27:55

"I was half minute down on what I had hoped to do. I had a good run at the Southern road relays but my form has been so on and off
   'I am not doing the London' now because I got a  chest infection and went on antibiotics but, that was not what effected me today. I just had a stitch. I was not ill today just had a bad run. We still should win it hopefully!"
Leg 12 That superb road relay man STEVE HEPPLES anchored NEB to victory (14:40)
" I had a cold all week and did not know if I was going to run on the Wednesday so, I am pleased to get round to do the boys proud.'
   'I am just getting back into things really' (He has run 13:34 for 5000 and 64 minutes for a half marathon)
' I am trying to get in that shape like that really. It is coming slowly. It is great the relays."
He ran 25 'National' road relays in a row for Tipton and often in the first three teams. He got 13 National medals and he remembers those days in the 70's and 80's and feels perhaps the atmosphere then was even greater than now with the great club event.
" I remember there were a couple of hundred people down there at Keepers Pool. You came running down there and it was like a 'Grand Stand' They were all lined up. Gateshead had a bus load of people. Besides Tipton there was great teams running well then like Aldershot and Airedale and Spen. Great battles between Gateshead and Tipton.' Incidentally Andy, besides being a good international steeplechaser was the President of Birmingham University Athletic club.

Alastair Aitken

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