Newsdesk 2003

 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com  
 MOB MATCH v THAMES HARE & HOUNDS   Saturday November 29th on Wimbledon
 Common. Start time 2.30pm.
 It's a quiet couple of weeks for club races, though we do have a few RH
 sprinting up and down the prom in the Brighton 10km this Sunday. There is a
 couple of alternative events to keep you occupied (see below), but otherwise
 save your efforts for our next mob match, which is against Thames Hare &
 Hounds on Saturday November 29th. Captain Bicks is keen to put the emphasis
 on participation as far as mob matches are concerned, rather than winning or
 losing. If you fancy a race, fine. But if you just want to do a Saturday
 training run, please come and do it in the race. As ever, the more people we
 have on the starting line the better, no matter whether fast or slow. The
 race starts at 2.30pm and it's on Thames's course, which is a 7.5 miles tour
 of Wimbledon Common. Their HQ is in the sports grounds just across the A3
 from Richmond Park - about 200 metres up from the Robin Hood roundabout.
 There's parking there and the start is adjacent to the clubhouse.

 Carol Barnshaw writes:
 "The hike will take place on Saturday 15th November.  Peter Saw has devised
 a route made up of two 6 mile circuits so that people can walk for the
 morning or afternoon or both. We will start from Boxhill Station at 9.30am.
 A train arrives from Victoria (8:33) or Clapham Junction (8:39) arriving at
 Boxhill at 9:19. Alternatively there is the 465 bus that goes via Teddington
 (8:28) and Kingston 8:35) arriving at Burford Bridge at 9:10. Peter will
 wait at Burford Bridge car park until 9:15 am then walk over to Boxhill
 Station for 9:30. We will have lunch (12:30 until 1:30) at the Stepping
 Stones Pub at West Humble where people can join the hike for the pm session.
 The morning walk is through the Mole Gap Trail and the afternoon route is
 towards Dorking ending at Denbies Vineyard. It should be a lovely day and
 all Ranelagh runners, friends and relatives are welcome.
 People can phone me for further info on 020 8898 9285". 

 NEW FOREST TRAINING WEEKEND   Friday November 21st - Sunday 23rd, or any
 part thereof!
 Clare Nicholson writes:
 "Greetings fellow athletes (*a-hem* ;-))
 All has been somewhat quiet on the western front with regard to the training
 weekend we canvassed about some weeks ago now.
 Rest assured [aspiring athletes] that it is still going ahead and we've just
 firmed up on some accommodation where 5 of us (Paul, John Herries, Sarah,
 Julian and myself) are going to share a holiday home for the two days.  It
 is Shorefield Country Park

 It's working out at 36 per person for Friday/Saturday/Sunday to share a 6
 berth. You can contact Shorefield on 01590 648331 to book.  I'll try to put
 those who want to share in touch with each other.  The advantages of this
 style of accommodation over standard B+B are:
 (a) we actually have the accommodation till Monday morning, so will be able
 to leave our stuff there and go training/lunching etc. on the Sunday and
 still come back, shower and leave late on Sunday.
 (b) there are pool and gym facilities for those of us who are currently
 injured and won't be able to complete all the training.
 (c) it's self catering with restaurants and a supermarket with an offie on
 site, so we have control over what we eat if we want.
 There are a number B+B options at Downton or Milford-on-Sea (a matter of
 minutes down the road) for those who prefer their breakfast prepared for
 them or perhaps a somewhat more 'private' option.  Paul has carried out some
 substantial spadework and come up with a list of very nice and helpful
 places with good facilities.  Let us know if you require some
 recommendations and details.
 A number of villages, shops and towns etc are nearby and it's likely one of
 these lucky locations will benefit from the now world renowned "Ranelagh
 Saturday Night", where Clare and Sarah go to bed by 9pm and the lads party
 on to the wee small hours [then we see who's ready for the first session at
 0700 on Sunday morning *snigger*].
 We will work out what provisions we will need to take with us (and divide up
 amongst ourselves) and I'm sure Sarah will have the details of the
 tortureous training in store for us next week.
 If anyone knows anyone else who's interested, simply get them to let us know
 you're coming and we'll fill you in on the plans".
 See below for contact details for Clare or Paul. 

 PRIORY RELAYS    Saturday November 1st  at Priory Park, Reigate
 With the men's and women's races starting together, Sarah Seal had the bit
 between her teeth to such an extent that she found herself not only leading
 the women's race after the first corner but also passing our men's team
 (Julian Smith, no less). Julian soon got those long legs moving and wafted
 away and Sarah was left to slug it out with the South London women's team.
 She briefly relinquished the top spot but charged back past on the steepest
 climb and held a 20 metres advantage to the line, setting a time which was
 to stand as joint second-fastest of the day. Jo Ronaldson rose to the
 occasion and successfully defended that lead, perhaps even stretching it
 slightly. But ominously the claret and gold of Belgrave was beginning a
 charge back in 3rd place. To Liz Kipling fell the unenviable task of trying
 to hold off the hot pursuit but the Bels were not to be denied as their last
 leg runner set the quickest time of the day. South London slipped past too
 in the closing stages but Liz kept us in the frame in 3rd place. Sara
 Grosvenor showed a return to form in bring home the 'B' team in 6th place on
 the first leg, and Anna McLaughlin and Sonia Rowland managed to hang on to a
 top ten spot.    

 The men's race is over six stages and we fielded a scratch team which
 nevertheless acquitted itself well enough. Julian moved gradually through
 the field to 7th on the opener, and we stuck to 8th place through to stage
 four, thanks to Andy Bickerstaff, Richard Sim and Paul Graham. It was
 encouraging to see junior Richard running so well. Phil Aiken and Steve
 Rowland had to relinquish a few places but we held on to 12th at the finish.

 SOUTH OF THE THAMES "JUNIOR" CHAMPIONSHIP  Saturday November 8th at Coulsdon
 The misleading "Junior" in the title refers to standard, not age. Two years
 ago, at the same venue, the Ranelagh quartet of Haarer, McDonald, Smith and
 Gohar won championship gold medals and earned themselves a three-year ban
 according to this event's complex qualification rules. Placed second and
 third that day were Herne Hill Harriers and Kent AC, and oddly it was the
 same three clubs that fought out the top positions this time.
 Andy Bickerstaff had lined up a solid trio of Paul Doyle, Nick Henderson and
 Paul Graham to join him as the likely scoring four and prospects looked good
 after the first mile when we saw Paul Doyle throw himself down the steep
 path off Farthing Downs in the lead, with the other three rounding off the
 top twenty.
 By the time they returned along the Happy Valley the eventual first two home
 were well clear but Paul was still fighting out the bronze medal position.
 Nick had advanced a few places and PG and Andy were still together at 19th
 and 20th. A quick calculation of the team scores at this point suggested we
 were joint leaders with Kent, just a couple of points clear of Herne Hill.
 It's a hard climb and a long slog over the Downs from there to the finish
 and we could not quite maintain that tenuous grip on the winner's shield.
 Kent and Herne Hill both made up a few places, relegating us to third. But
 there were bronze medals for the boys, which was a great result and for Paul
 went some way towards compensating for narrowly missing out on an individual
 Rob Stillwell, Mike Peace, Alastair Sinclair, Phil Aiken and Jay Rowden
 backed up the top four well, and in the subsidiary eight-to-score
 competition we scored another third place.  

 OXFORD MAIL LEAGUE  Sunday November 2nd at Ascott-under-Wychwood
 Peter Haarer writes:
 "You thought the uphill finish in the first Surrey League was tough - now
 double the length, add a water-jump built for horses at the bottom and a
 long run into a brutal head wind before that and you have the course of each
 lap of the first Oxford Mail League race at Ascott-under-Wychwood (if you're
 wondering where that is, it's a forgotten field in a forgotten corner of
 England, but scenic).  A Chiltern League match and Reebok Cross Challenge at
 Birmingham the previous day thinned out the front (Dan Leggate won this race
 last year), but I have no complaints".
 1 Peter Haarer (Headington RR) 31:22  

 DUBLIN MARATHON  Monday October 27th
 Jenni Kruse, who finished 1203rd in 3.37.35, reports:
 "I was quite pleased as I didn't train as hard as previous marathons because
 of my exams etc and planned to do it under 4hrs; as the time got nearer I
 thought I'd go for sub 3:45, and on the day surprisingly came in in 3:37.
 I'm very surprised they got the time so exact as there were no championchips
 - just a bar code on our number which we handed in a couple of mins after we
 crossed the line. Must have been 'scanned' as we crossed?
 The route was pretty flat and was particularily pretty in the first 8 miles
 or so though Phoenix Park, and also later there were some lovely tree-lined
 streets.The weather was fantastically clear and mild! I really enjoyed the
 first 10 miles and the last 3. In between by left knee was really troubling
 me (and I swore never again!) - however with the
 adrenalin and all I was able to really push at the end and finished hard. It
 was one of those marathons with amazing highs and lows! I'm already starting
 to think about London". 

 SERPENTINE LAST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH 5km  Friday October 31st in Hyde Park
 Tim Woods, one of that select band whose name adorns our honours board, made
 his come-back in Ranelagh colours and finished as 2nd veteran.
 1 N Altmann (Thames H&H) 15.35
 15 Tim Woods 17.59
 73 Alan Davidson 19.56
 178 Mike Rowland 24.59
 185 John Hanscomb 25.55 

 JEFF CROSS 10km  Sunday November 2nd  at Lyon, France
 Brian Chard reports:
 "Last year there were 6 of us, this year only 4 for the Mandy & John
 invitational Autumn Classic. Sounds like a horse race? When you see the
 times you'll realise that some of us are ready to be retired (Wally says
 he'll do the "stud" duties if needed).
 Lyon is a lovely city and has seemingly endless numbers of great eating
 places. This year John Newton organised the trip around the Jeff Cross and a
 wine festival. We flew to Lyon on Friday and met up with John & Mandy (they
 continue to enjoy the French life, John is still fighting cyber crime at
 Interpol and Mandy teaches English to French business men/women). Friday
 night was Hallowe'en and the French have recently taken to celebrating it in
 style. Although it rained in the evening a large number of them dressed up
 to go clubbing so the bars were lively. Saturday morning was spent watching
 the World Cup rugby and/or going for a training run in the zoological
 gardens. The French have taken to jogging/running in a big way and the
 zoological gardens were teeming with runners doing a 3kish route. There were
 many more runners than I ever see in the equivalent London parks. Saturday
 afternoon/evening was spent at the wine festival where several hundred
 independent vineyards exhibit and let you sample their wines, champagnes,
 brandies etc for as long as you can stand. A great time was had by all.
 Sunday morning and off to the Jeff Cross. The race is billed as a low key
 cross country /road race. The course was in a village mid-way between
 Grenoble and Lyon (about a 30 minute motorway drive from Mandy and John's
 apartment). The motorway started to gain height steadily as we left Lyon and
 by the time we got to the village where the race was being held we seemed to
 have gained a few hundred metres although the village was in the bottom of
 the valley. We were, I think, effectively in the lower slopes of the Alps.
 At the registration there was a route map (not one like we get showing the
 way around Richmond Park, this one showed a cross section of the course with
 the hills clearly shown). So...delete 'cross county/road race', substitute
 'mainly cross country and hill race with a little bit of road at the end'.
 There was a choice of 18k or 10k races and all of us (rather worried about
 the hills) opted for the 10k one. As it turned out, the cross country bit
 was very similar to the Blackheath mob match course and the misty weather
 that we started in gave way to bright and clear as we ran uphill. At about
 650 meters (approx half way) the course levelled out and we ran through some
 lovely countryside, the village houses had been replaced by Swiss chalet
 type houses and farms with cows, oxen and donkeys. After a further couple of
 quite steep short climbs the race ended with a 1k run downhill on roads.
 We didn't get the full results although they may turn up at John's flat one
 day. We all got a race memento, a little piece of paper about the size of a
 Xmas motto saying "Merci" and a bottle of apple juice. John & Mandy acted as
 our timekeepers and also looked after the betting pool. The bet was for the
 closest overall time against our combined handicaps. Wally won the
 bet..."money goes to money" and Clive won the race.
 Clive Naish 46.44
 Brian Chard 51.46
 Brian Coles 55.09
 Wally Garrod 56.31
 Back to UK on Sunday or Monday (depending whether you had to work or not).
 We hope to do the trip again next year. All are welcome and it is a great

 This comes from Cindy Croucher:
 "I have heard about the following "mad" race and thought some Ranelaghs may
 be interested.
 The Grim Challenge race has now had its date confirmed: January 18th 2004 at
 This is an 8 mile off-road challenge - you can enter as an individual or in
 teams of 3 (all complete the course).
 The course covers land used to test Army vehicles so expect it to be
 interesting! You will reach a long hill shortly after the start before
 descending again eventually reaching a water filled ravine. You will run on
 over puddle-strewn paths before having to crawl under camouflage netting.
 You'll eventually reach some man-made mounds before arriving at and running
 through some rather large puddles. Expect to get very wet! You'll run on to
 the fast vehicle driving circuit where it is rocky underfoot. This brings
 you to some more large areas of water and the finish area.
 More information on www.grimchallenge.co.uk  or enter online via the runners 
 world website. Of course some may already be entered?!?" 

 Clare the kit steward has acquired a number of pairs of glow in the dark
 with flashing red lights lightweight bands which can be worn either around
 the legs or arms.  An absolute "must have" for running/cycling in the dark.
 A snip at only 5.50 a pair.  Contact Clare Nicholson at
 clarenicholson@hotmail.com or talk to Clare/PG to order yours. Limited
 supply only! 

 A full fixture list for the 2003/04 winter season is available on our web

 More details of the following from Andy Bickerstaff (07966 552302 /
 mailto:andy@norris-hobs.co.uk ) or Paul Graham (mailto:paulgraham28@hotmail.com )
 or Clare Nicholson (07710 348030 / mailto:clarenicholson@hotmail.com ).
 Saturday November 29th       Mob match v Thames Hare and Hounds   7.5 miles
 on Wimbledon Common (Kingston Vale). 2.30pm start. 

 Saturday December 6th         Inter-club races in Richmond Park: Dysart Cup
 (women) including the Hugh Jones Salver club women's championship and
 Trish's Trophy club veteran (over 40) women's championship - 3.8 miles
 starting at 2pm; and the Ellis Cup (men)  5 miles starting at 2.30pm.

 Saturday December 13th       Surrey League Division 1 - men at Reigate
 (2.30pm juniors, 3pm seniors), women at Lightwater Country Park (12.30pm
 seniors, 1.15pm and 1.45pm juniors)  

 Steve Rowland
 e-mail: srowland@calor.co.uk
 Tel: 01926 318734
 Fax: 0870 4006901