Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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The Victoria Park '5' A World Renown Road Race (March 2011)

After this year's 5 mile road race in Victoria Park, on the 26th of March, the President of Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets Athletic club, Peter McHugh de Clare said "That must have been about the most exciting race in the 45 years history that the event has been held." reports Alastair Aitken.
   225 completed the race but after 2 miles  it was a group of seven who broke away, running at a furious pace. Then it became a tactical battle but still run at a pretty fast rate.
Stuart Major, that well known runner who works in South London, told top class, 1500m man, Nick McCormick of Morpeth Harriers that, if he wanted a good competitive road race this was the one to do. How right he was as McCormick had four Africans up front with him and the only one, other than an African to stay with him was Nielson Hall, the twice Southern cross-country Champion. 'Classy' road runners Paul Martelletti, Shaun Collins, Michael Coleman and Kevin Quinn had all been dropped off by then.
   Pascar Owor led at one point and ended up with a PB and Gordon Mugi Mahugu also led for a while but could not get rid of the others in the group, which included Reading Half marathon winner, Cimon Kasimili, Edwin Kipkorir, Mehretab Solomon, McCormick and Nielson Hall. The latter was hanging on but finding the pace hard at that point.There were still six of them in the hunt as they came down the road to the finish and only four seconds separated the first four home at the finish.
   I asked the winner Cimon Kasimili (29) When did he think he could win? His reply was " I never knew till the last 10 metres of the race.' He added about his athletics " I have a passion for road racing. I don't race on the track or country at all but I train on the track and do long runs with Wanjiru in Central Africa. We do things like 20 x1000 metres on the track with 2 minute recoveries between each. I ran 61.18 for a half marathon last year but would like to break the hour before returning home to Africa."
   £1000 was the prize for both Men and women who won on the day. One of the major sponsors of the race was Phil Hernon, the Managing Director of Kinsale Brokers Ltd, who is a founder member of Ravens Racers, The running club in the City of London that is growing all the time..
   Edith Chelimo, the first women in the Victoria Park 5'  pointed out " I ran 15:48 for 5000 back when I was a junior in 2004 (10th in World Juniors) I had a problem with my stomach from 2005 to 2008 but now getting back into good form. The second woman was Justina Heslop who won last year " Chelimo was just a bit too strong for me today. My season has really just started. I was 10 seconds down on my time of last year, there was a bit of a wind but overall, I felt it was pretty good."
First over 50 was Michael Bridgeland of Chelmsford AC (27:28) and 1st over 60 was Michael Desmond (Barnet & Dist) 30:01 who also won the 'Over 60' title in the British Masters cross country at Birmingham recently.
   First 8 Men:- 1 Cimon Kasimil (Kenya) 23:28; 2 Edwin Kiprorir (Kenya) 23:29; 3 Gordon Mahugu  (Kenya/VPH &THAC) 23:30; 4 Nick McCormick (Morpeth) 23:31; 5 Mehretab Solomon (VPH &TH) 23:36; 6 Pascar Owor (Belgravel) 23:43; 7 Nielson Hall (Bedfore & County) 23:54 and 8 Paul Martelletti (VPH&TH) 24:37.
    First 3 Women 1 Edith Chelimo (VPH&TH/Kenya) 26:40; 2 Justina Heslop (Clapham Chasers) 27:10; 3 Svenja Abel (Chelmsford/ ex-Highgate H) 28:44.

Alastair Aitken

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