Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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South London's Historic Mob Match (March 2011)

In the 100th Annual Mob Match South London obtained a good low score of 2411 points to Blackheath's 4153 (56 to score for each team).
   It was interesting to look back and see who those individuals who had won the Nicholls Cup event and they included Alf Shrubb in December 1901. He broke World records for 1, 3, and 10,miles plus the 10,000m. He also won the International cross country Championbships in 1903 and 1904.
   Those that one it more  than twice in recent times included, Gordon Pirie three times (50-51-52); John Roberts (63,64,65,66,72,73, and 75); Bob Richardson (67,68,69); Richard Coles (77,78,79 and 80); Barry Attwell (76, 85, 91 and 92); plus Stuart Major (96,97,98,99, 2004, 5,6,and 9).
   This year it was Alex Gibbins (45:10) of Blackheath & Bromley on the 12th of February.
Gibbins, 34, who had his best ' National' position of 76th at Alton Towers, ran in flats on the dry but udulating course at Coulsdon. Mark Steinle (4th- 46:31) and Gibbins were at the head of a group at the top of Farthing Down. Gibbins pulled clear in the woods, after coming out of Happy Valley and, stayed in that position to the end of the race.
As they went down into Happy Valley for the second time, it was surprising to see Jason Simpson (45:39) up in second place which he kept to the finish, as he had only trained for a month after a year off with injuries that stopped him in his tracks and included a toe operation. Duncan Marsden (3rd in 45:44) went down into the valley for the last time in third place and, chatting to Steinle. The latter, who had been a brilliant marathon and cross country runner, had only been back training for about a month and was running really just to help Blackheath in the historic event.
 Barry Attwell, a previous prolific winner over the course, was 26th out of the field of 140 and another interesting name was Robin Walsh who was 134th. He is 71 years old and he won the Mob Match back in 1962. He was in Cambridge Universities team that dominated the British Universities cross country in 1963 (He was 9th in that won by Tim Johnston--the famous snow runner).In the interim period Walsh was a Professor of Chemistry at Reading University.
Another interesting name in the results, finishing in 108th place, was Helen Godsell, known as a veteran sprint record holder over 55!  Ruth Hutton (56:22,W45), a good triathlete, was the first woman in the race in 44th place in the mixed event.

Alastair Aitken

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