Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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North of the Thames Championships - Kingsbury (Feb 2011)

The North of the Thames Cross Country Association was founded in January 5, 1894 so, the cross-country is a historic event but fields have dwindled in recent years, mainly because of the date of the event and also, the clutterd programme of  over the Winter season but again, there is usually a ' Quality'  winner as it was this year.
In the North Of the Thames Championships of 1925 had 333 runners competed in the in Men's race and now in 2011 only 100!
Names to have done it.- In 1977 Dave Bedford used it as his comback race, the last year he made the inernational cross-country team. Malcolm Thomas won it, the year he won the 'Freezing National' at Sutton Colfield. Tony Simmons, Keith Cullen, Graham Tuck, Grenville Tuck, Phil O'Brien are other notable names who have done well at the event and Julian Gentry won it three times at least, Tim Briault (64-67),  Walter Geroge (A World  record holder over many distances, in the 1800's) and Charles S Silsby (of Hampstead Harriers) won in 1896--99 and 1903). All famous names over the years who have won the event
SHAFTESBURY BARNETS' ORLANDO EDWARDS was the winner this year and had a comfortable victory in the mud at Kingsbury on the 26th of February reports Alastair Aitken
   After the first small lap, before entering the two large laps Edwards was in fourth place, twenty metres off the pace but cruised into the lead after a mile and a half and was never again headed.
   At half way he had a lead of 40 metres over Peter Tucker Met Police of the winning team), followed by Aodh O'Neill (Serpentine) and Jim Cooper (Harrow). O'Neill overtook Tucker for second place with half a mile remaining.
   The North of Thames Masters title was hard fought between two 'M50' runners, Julian Critichlow (Harrow) and Iain Campbell (Met Police) plus an M40 runner Chris Beecham (Highgate Hariers). Julian Critichlow, who finished sixth overall, won the battle and will be competing for a good position in the British Masters at Birmingham but has his sites mainly set on the Helsinki Half Marathon in May.
   Edwards, who is training for the London (1½ hours in the morning) and did a 2:23 back in 2009 might instead go for a place in the GB team for mountain racing He is undecided at present.      
Sarah Swinhoe (40) (London Heathside) who ran 2:52 for a marathon back in 2008, went into the lead in the first lap in the two lap women's race .That was at the bottom of the fields in Fryent Park and, despite her shoes coming off in the mud twice won the race well but as a guest, as the second runner Fiona Kennedy (53) Of Ealing, Southall and MIddx won the official North of Thames title.
   William Pinder (ESM) led all the way in the U20/U17 race and puts his improvement down to training with his new group coached by Steve Mann.

Alastair Aitken

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