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RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 5
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It was relays weekend - on Saturday the Surrey Road Relay championships at
Wimbledon and on Sunday the River Relay from Virginia Water to Kingston.

In the glorious tradition of British bodging, results from the road relays
are invariably produced with all the speed and accuracy of an English
football penalty-taker. Any club with a suspicion it might have won medals
is well advised to endure the interminable wait or else find that their
gongs have been given to somebody else. So it was that for the women's race
second and third places were announced as Wimbledon Windmilers ( who hadn't
even finished) and Dorking (who were 4th). A few more minutes of debate and
head-scratching produced the required result and skipper Sarah Seal was able
to collect the bronzes on behalf of team-mates Margaret Auerback, Linda
Cartwright and Clare Nicholson.   Margaret had kicked off with a very solid
18.51 for 4th place, Linda charged through to 2nd with 17.53, Clare had to
let two past but handed over close behind them, and Sarah ran a battling
Captain's anchor to pull back to 3rd. The vet women's team of Sue Healey, Jo
Allam, Julie Naismith and Sonia Rowland were a bit further back, probably
about 5th in the vets category.

For the men, Darryl McDonald was complaining of feeling sick before his
stage and proved it by being sick afterwards. In between, he ran a nifty
15.19 to lift the team up to 10th after Giles Marshall's opening 16.24 for
18th. Tim Bacon, Chris Owens, Andy Bickerstaff and Paul Graham maintained
the momentum with laps in the 16 minute bracket and we think they finished
7th.  

An Over 50s team of Martin Clark, Mike Peace, Steve Rowland and Clive
Beauvais were about 4th in their race, but were competing mainly to allow
Martin and Clive to clinch the Surrey Road league individual titles in the
Over 60 and Over 50 categories respectively - which, subject to
confirmation, they did. Marcus Gohar and Eliete Nascimento were away on hols
but I think they had already done enough to take the Over 40 and Women's
titles.

Detailed results to follow when we receive them (don't hold your breath!).

Clare Nicholson reports on Sunday's River Relay, jointly organised by the
Stragglers and Staines Strollers:  
"An exceptionally well organised event.  We had beautiful weather, which
made the earlier legs VERY pleasant, but as morning drew on, it became
somewhat unpleasantly hot running along the only semi-shaded and sometimes
completely exposed tow path.
The good news is that Ranelagh Age [the A team] won by around 8 minutes from
their nearest rivals Fleet with Elmbridge third. Milos Dusek stormed the
first leg around Virginia Water to finish only 2 - 3 metres down on the
leader. Kevin Jacques took the baton and took the lead putting a minute
between us and the Fleet team.  Andy Bickerstaff ran the longest leg [7
miles] and Fleet evidently chose to put their strongest runner on that leg.
The Fleet runner took that minute lead out of Andy and put another minute on
top of that by change over for the fourth [and shortest leg].  I hung on to
our position.  Chris Owens took over for the fifth leg between Hampton and
Ham starting a minute ++ down on the Fleet leader.  Fortunately [for us],
there was some confusion for the Fleet runner at Hampton bridge, which
coupled with an exceptional run by Chris, left us 5 1/2 minutes clear of the
second placed team [Fleet] at the final change over.  Paul Graham ran the
anchor and despite running in the hottest part of the day on the hottest day
in a while, took another 3 minutes out of the Fleet runner leaving the
Ranelagh team the clear winners by around 8 - 8 1/2 minutes.
The prize?  250 to a charity of our choice [Age Concern - we were concerned
at the age of some of the members of our team HA! ;-)], a bottle of
champagne and 6 bottles of wine, and very well earned it was too.
The B team headed up by Roger Brankin placed somewhere around 6th/7th we
believe, with a great effort from all involved [in leg order I think] -
Sarah Seal, Alastair Sinclair, Roger Brankin, Sue Healey, Matt Gisby and
Luke Gisby.
All told, in the words of Nick Parks, a 'grand day out'.  The Stragglers and
Strollers did us and all the other teams [of which there must have been 20
or so] proud.  It was big fun ..."

Again, detailed results will follow later.

Gleanings from 'AW': Mick Lane was 7th over 40 in 28.39 and Allan Lang 1st
over 60 in 32.18 in the Overton 5 miles on September 2nd.

David Wright is just back from Colorado, where he ran the Pike's Peak
Marathon in five and a half hours, almost exactly one hour more than his
last attempt 20 years ago. A pretty lame time for a marathon? Well, the PPM
starts at Manitou Springs (altitude 8000 feet+), climbs to the top of the
eponymous Peak (alt 14000 feet+) and back down again, total distance 28
miles. Another grand day out??

David points out that the Ranelagh fixture card appears to show us with
three away mob matches this season and only one at home. The SLH match
before Christmas is given as our club championship, which is invariably at
home, but the venue is given as Coulsdon. Can someone clarify?

COMING UP
Saturday September 16th 3pm Thomas Cup 6km handicap preceded by club photo
at the clubhouse. And remember to be prepared to have your individual photo
taken and to give a few personal details (those you'll admit to anyway) for
the club membership directory. This is the traditional "Opening Run" of the
winter season and there's usually a good crowd of members old and young
present - petrol supplies permitting!
Sunday September 24th  10am  Cabbage Patch 10 miles road race at Twickenham
including Callis Cup club championship. Entry forms in the clubhouse or I
can fax you one.
Saturday September 30th  Men's Southern 6-stage and vets 4-stage relays at
Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot .
Sunday October 1st  Women's Southern 4-stage and vets 4-stage relays at
Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot. 

Fixture cards for 2000 / 2001 have been sent out. If you haven't received
one, let me know.     

Simon Hedger gives us the latest Sydneyside news:
"All of a sudden, the construction hoardings are coming down, the City's now
very busy with tourists, the big screens have gone up at various locations
around town, the IOC's here, the press are here. Its all happening.
Ticket sales are now frantic. So much so that people were camping out over
night at ticket offices to try and get the last tickets for the swimming.
Last week you could simply queue for about half an hour for the same ones
!!!
The biggest risk is now the weather. We  have had two weeks of solid
sunshine and warm weather (21C, well it is the end of winter for us). Now,
Sydney in fact has twice as much rain as London, believe it or not. When it
rains here, it rains cats & dogs, plus a number of other animals. It does so
for 2-3 days and then it's sunny again. Not like London where, when it rains
it has a bit of a go, never really gets going properly and is easily
dissuaded (a bit like Ranelagh's approach to mob-matches). We need to get
the rainy bit out of the way therefore.
Hugh Jones will have to redo his blue line as I noticed a couple of sections
where it's had tarmac laid over the top of it. Also the Dept of Public Works
finished some roadwork in the Domain (next to the City), which is on the
Triathlon run-leg. Some dingbat suggested they put down sections of
terrazzo, because it looks nice. Two weeks ago, when it last rained, I ran
through the area and found, as did everyone else, that
rain+terrazzo=skating, not Triathlon.
Anyway, apparently they will now be carpeting the offending areas. You've
got to laugh.
I've got a dress rehearsal for the Triathlon on Sunday. We have to set the
whole course up so that the Triathletes can get a bit of a feel for the
course, without the danger of being run over (it spoils the fun). It should
be good (a 5.30am start, yeh right!).
Hope your Olympic training's going well (get up, turn the telly on, open a
beer, sit down).
More later"

And here is some more later:
"No casualties yet (on either side) in the sharks v triathletes match. I'm
not sure whether you're aware but for the triathlon thay are sending divers
down armed with the underwater equivalent of a cattle-prod to pursuade the
sharks to go and play elsewhere.
The dress rehearsal for the triathlon went well on Sunday. The triathletes
got a good look around the course and Sydney-siders got an early taste of
disruption of normal life. As we were standing by Hyde Park manning our
drink station, the most frequently asked question was "Where's my car been
towed to?" I didn't have the heart to tell them that not only was it going
to be a major exercise to get their car back, but it would also cost them a
$350 fine (about 2.50 with the current exchange rate). It would've  of
course been cheaper to risk driving home drunk!?!
Anyway, all's set for Friday's Opening Ceremony. The street entertainment
has started here in the City. I'm going to have to get used to drinking beer
before breakfast (haven't done that for a while).
Hobble Gobble!"

And from Kathleen Harris, also in Sydney:
"I would absolutely love to do the River Relay. Do you think I could get a
lift from anybody?!!
On the Olympic Games front, here's what's happening: 
- 5 Giant rings have been attached to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They should
be lit over the next few days. No doubt you'll be seeing it too.
- Giant television screens are being erected all around the city to ensure
noone misses out on the action. I'll be able to watch it from my office
window!
- Flags are being erected all around the city and all suburbs. 
- The infamous torch relay will be arriving in Manly on the 15th September
so I'll be out there amongst the crowds waving it onwards. And probably
Kerrie too! 
- The BLUE marathon line has been drawn! It's amazing the no. of people who
did not know what it was for. All sorts of suggestions were being put
forward until I explained the fine details! Amazing, eh! 
- And finally......Alan and Simon Hedger have been fully kitted out in all
their regalia! And very nice the outfit is too! 
Hope all's well with you guys. Please say hi to the others for me..."

Lastly, before we leave the land of Oz....those with long memories will be
delighted to hear that a great club character from the 1970s and 80s, Mal
Cother, is FINALLY living up to his promise to come back to the UK. He
arrives in a few days for a three-week visit and will no doubt be putting in
some appearances at the club.

Steve Rowland
e-mail: srowland@calorgas.co.uk