Alastair Aitken
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Chris Smith and Serpentine - Outstanding in the Met League Final (2011)

Horsenden Hill Met League 12th of February

         The Final Metropolitan League at Horsenden Hill, organised by Mike Barratt and his Ealing & Middx team had muddy patches to negotiate reports Alastair Aitken
   In the Senior Men's race 277 completed, which was a bit lower turn out than the previous two meets but still good as 277 completed. Credit should go to hard working overall organiser Gavin Collett and his band of helpers.
  After 500 metres, Scotsman, Chris Smith, took the lead over from Harun Abdi and never looked like being headed again. Harun Abdi slipped back to fourth place before coming through again to finish second. The 19 year old had learnt to control his pace, running possibly the best cross-country of his life so far and, another person pleased with his result was Mohmud Aadan who came in third. He usually expects to finish between 15 and 10 so, his improvement through hard training has paid off.
   Chris Smith has run well this year, after the threat of redundancy in the Civil Service had passed and, feels training at lunch times has been good. He also thought training with Frank Horwill's group had been beneficial. His club TVH made a concerted effort to stay in Division One, coming third at Horsenden Hill but unfortunately, they were still relegated to Division 2. The club did have the satisfaction of topping the Under 13 Boy's league table and were top of the Under 17's on the day. Two veterans who ran very well considering the high places they got were Ben Pochee of Highgate who was first M40. He was 11th in 30.50 and Policeman, Iain Campbell, who is 51 was first Over 50 in 36th place. (First six in senior race:- 1 Chris Smith (TVH) 29:41; 2 Harun Abdi (NEB) 30:07; 4 Hugh Torry (Serpentine RC) 30.26; 5 James Trapmore (SB) 30.28 and 6 Daniel Augustus (WG &EL) 30.29.
   In the Seniors Woodford Green (6305) held on to first place in the league for the third year but Serpentine (6227) were threatening behind them with good points in the first three league races.
   Serpentine had 71 runners in the race at Alexandra Park and 53 at Horsenden Hill which, was truly amazing.Serpentines' men 'combined with the Women' won the coveted Howard Williams Trophy ahead of Highgate and Woodford Green.
Shaftesbury Barnet won the Howard Williams Trophy for Juniors.
   The Women's race had four runners racing together till over half way, then Sylvie Lloyd edged ahead, followed by Becky Glover, Esther Evans, who had only been cycling with no running since her Middlesex county victory in January and Helen Branco and, as three of those were Serpentine it helped them win the league for the first time. (100 women completed. First 4 Sylvie Lloyd (Serp) 22:08; 2 Becky Glover (Serp) 22.12; 3 Esther Evans (Highgate V 35) 22.21, 4 Helen Branco (Serp) 22.28 First three teams 1 Serpentine RC 1590, 2 Highgate Harriers 1348, 3 Shaftesbury Barnet 1283.    Michael Galligari (16) who won at Alexandra Palace was a convincing winner again in the Under 17's before he came 7th in the Southern . His goal is to be in the first 8 in the English Schools.
   Calligari was not interested in athletics at school till, quite suddenly found he could run well in a schools race. His main interest was playing the trumpet, which he does in school concerts, jazz concerts and even in church. .
   In the Under 13's Danny Rowden went into the lead, after he came through the rugby pitches with three other runners. He was at  the back of the group but then went down the hill in the lead. 13 year old, Rowden did sprinting for several years at Primary school before he took up running longer distances. He likes track and has run 2:19 for an 800. He has won several Chingford League cross country races but it was his first victory in he Metropolitan League.

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