Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Chris Finill the Outstanding Ultra Distance Runner

Chris finill and Steve Pope run across America in August 2011. 3000 miles San Francisco to New York. 40 miles a dayway in 75 days. The are going to raise £10,000 for charity.
   Besides Ultra running, which is Chris' speciality, he likes cross-country running. Chris talked to Alastair Aitken for R.R.C after coming 2nd of 85 in the Southern Vets cross country Championships at Warden Park, Sussex on the 11th of December. He came through from fourth, with a lap to go, to 2nd at the finish " I was defending Champion. I was very pleased with the run because I was expecting to come in the first six but not really sure after that. Second is good (35.02). It' not like I was just beaten. Iain Campbell (33:50) who won the Over 50 title was way, way, in front of me. No hard feelings there either!"
   I looked back through the years to some of Chris Finill's outstanding races. I can remember the London to Brighton in 2002 when the conditions on the sea front at the finish were horrendous and the gantry at the finish blew down.The rain did damage to my tape recorder and of course the officials got soaked, let alone the runners. Chris takes up the story of when he came home in second place:-
   " The wind was coming in about 60 miles an hour from the sea, all the way in from London. It was the slowest ever winning time that."
   Other memories of Ultra racing?
  " The World 100k in Taiwan in 2003. I probably ran the best race of my life and came 14th. I was aged 44 and 11 months. I was an established Ultra runner then. I just ran out of my socks that day. I remember overtaking the French guy who won the World Championships two years earlier. It just felt so good passing him, knowing he was struggling. It was a hideous race held in 85 degrees. The humidity was dire. A lapped course with a massive ascent and descent on each of the four laps. People were finishing the race on stretchers with ice and on drips because it was that sort of a race. I battled through. I felt  stronger and stronger as the race went on. Dennis Walmsley was three places in front of me, who won the inaugural Vets Championships in that same race. That was good."
Another one was the 151 miles I did at Tooting, although I can not totally remember the finish. I was almost seriously ill after that race as they were worried about me gong into kidney failure as I was so dehydrated.
' At  93 miles I had virtually an out of body experience. I felt so good and it was the time Jeff Jerwood had come down to the track and counting. It was a very strange and wonderful feeling offset by the feeling at the end when I got myself seriously ill.'
   ' That was a real breakthrough over 150 miles a fantastic race. Most of my memories are around Ultra races.'
   Chris is an 'Ever Present' London Marathon runner (2:32.55 fastest London Marathon run) so, which one of those many London's did he find a great achievement?
    ' Breaking 3 hours and doing 2:58 in 1998. Obviously it is a barrier if you want a sub 3 winning streak as I did at that stage. I was quite ill as I had flu in that run in the 1998. I went off defensively. As the race went on I thought I can I do this. I am just going to stay within this pace and stay within 2 minutes of 3 hours to finish. That was as a good controlled race fro me, nothing performance-wise than what was going on in my head to achieve it really so, that was good."

Alastair Aitken

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