Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and
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Nick McCormick at the Victoria Park '5' (March 2011)

Nick McCormick came down to London to compete in the 45th Victoria Park 5 miles road race on the 26th of March, not because there was £1000 on offer for the winner but to get more valuable experience running against top Kenyans in a predictably fast race. The end result was that, out of 225 finishers, the first four finished very close together.
Three Kenyans led by Cimon Kasimili in 23:28 from Edwin Kipkorir (22:29), Gordon Mugi Mahugu (28:30) with Nick McCormick fourth (28:31 a personal best 5 mile time for him)
 " It was great, exactly as I wanted, a really competitive race. Seven guys-Me Nielson Hall and five Kenyans. To be quite honest that was why I did the race. I spoke to Stuart Major and he said there were a few Kenyans coming over. There was a chance it could be a fast time. Last year it was quick. The first mile was quite tactical, everyone was gauging their effort then, everyone was waiting for the last 400 where there would be a burn up.It is easy to panic when they are working together and you are in the middle wondering what is going to happen. They look about and put in little bursts which is something you have to get used to."
   McCormick who has been at Loughborough University and runs for the northern club Morpeth Harriers, the famous Jim Alder's club and is coached by Lindsay Dunn. McCormick was born on the 11th of September 1981 and took up athletics as a teenager " I started running when I was 16 with Tyndale Harriers. it was a local club at Hexham. I got into it and ran in the English Schools. I then went down to St Marys and ran for Woodford Green but things went wrong and so, I decided to go back north and joined Morpeth in 2003. I have won a lot of National road relay medals with them which was really good. (He showed potential as an Under 17 running 1:57.10/3:58.24 for 800/1500).
   What then were the highlights in Nick McCormick's career?
" I feel I am coming back into a good level of form. I would like to think that my highlights are ahead of me.
Looking back to 2005 they were great times. I ran a mile in Oslo and beat Rui Silva, the year after he got third in the Olympics. I did 3:52.02 for the mile and 3:33.9 for the 1500. That is a long time ago and I think it is important to look forward'
   However there were other times where he ran well
   " Winning the AAA's 1500 in 2005 ahead of Mike East and Baddley and some other good guys in that race.
in 3:37.05 (At Sports City on the 10th of July.)
   'This year (2011) I won the British 1500 indoors and, outdoors in the English Championships last year at Gateshead. The English are now an official National Championship so, it was good to hold the trophy afterwards that Roger Bannister used to win and later Crammie, Seb Coe and Peter Elliot.To have won that after all those guys I look up to. I have done a lot of training with Mottram and I admire Mo as well"
   Altitude Training is good  but for how long should you do it?
" I went to Kenya in January for endurance training in Iten where the Kenyan guys train. If you get the training right its OK. It is 8000 feet so its really high. Spending 31/2 to 6 weeks is enough.'    
   'It is an eye opener because you can go down one day for a session, as I did with my coach Lindsay Dunn and we were open mouthed when we got to the track, as there were 3 or 4 groups of 50 Kenyan guys knocking out 800 metre reps or whatever. I said 'God It's amazing' Lindsay turned round and remarked " It's just like Gateshead was 30 years ago, all the groups. It was a hot bed for running as Bedford's group was in London'
   'A lot of Lindsay's training ideas do come from conversations he has had over the years about those days. He tries to stick with things that he thinks work. Charlie Spedding was coached by him and Tom Mayo who ran a 3:37 more recently. Its tempo, hills. similar things Brendan used to do.'
  Gives you confidence?
   " Definitely.When you  run fast times in these events, like when you run with these Kenyan guys. They attack by sprinting at the end but I am a lot closer. The more you do it the more you get used to it."  

Alastair Aitken

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