Newsdesk 2004

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 126            20 JANUARY 2004
 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com  
 *  Women's team 2nd in the Surrey League - club record for Allison O'Neill
 and another Under 20 win for Anair Beverly
 *  Men's team 5th in the Surrey League
 *  Paul Sinton-Hewitt breaks the Bank
 *  Neil Lewis obituary

 SOUTH OF ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS  Saturday January 24th at Parliament Hill
 Proceedings start early with the junior events from 11am. The senior women
 take to the stage at 1.50pm, followed by the senior men. The best way to get
 there is to take the Silverlink Metro from Richmond (or Kew Gardens or
 Gunnersbury, where the parking is easier) round to Gospel Oak (one stop
 after Hampstead Heath).  It's a very short walk from there - you can see the
 start from the train.

 January 31st in Richmond Park.
 They may have changed their name but Blackheath remain our longest-standing
 mob match opponents - we'll be celebrating the fixture's centenary in a
 couple of years. As ever with mob matches, the more runners we can get to
 the start (and preferably finish!) the better our chances of winning. Do
 please try to make it if you can. It's our usual 7.5 miles course in the
 Park, with a start time of 2.30pm. No need for pre-entry - just turn up at
 the clubhouse or at the start by Sidmouth Wood. Race it hard if you like
 (for the fast boys it's the also the club championship) or treat it as your
 Saturday training run.  
 After the main race has started we'll be holding the third races in our
 junior "Points Prize" competition. As before, the course will be one lap of
 Sidmouth Wood (1.3miles). All under 15s welcome.

 SURREY LEAGUE DIVISION ONE   Saturday January 10th in Richmond Park
 Ken Powley reports:
 "Last Saturday in the men's Surrey League, Captain Bicks had assembled a
 very good team, including continentals Dave Benton and Marius Acker. In the
 event Ranelagh finished fifth team, only twelve points behind SLH. Star of
 the day was undoubtably Paul Doyle who impressed all those who witnessed it,
 with an inspired piece of running, sadly falling only some 80 yards from the 
 finish when in 23rd position.
 Having given his all, he did a remarkably good impersonation of Jim Peters.
 Paul can always be relied upon to commit himself 100% in a race, but this
 was 110%, awesome.
 Annoyed with himself for falling, he later ran from his home in Norbury to
 Richmond Park, cursed the spot where he fell and then ran back, a round trip
 of three and a half hours.  He is a tremendous asset to our Club, and an
 inspiration to all. We wish Paul and his wife Gemma who gave birth to a baby
 girl just five days later, all the very best for the future". 
 It was certainly good to have Marius back in the fold for a few months and
 he, Dave Benton and the regulars ensured us of a solid mid-field position in
 Division One of the League with one race still to go. We're in 6th place but
 only 26 points behind South London - though in the final fixture they will
 have home course advantage. It's tight at the top too, with Thames holding a
 scant 29 point advantage over Herne Hill. 
 There was some good running from our juniors, with Dan, Richard and Matt all
 in the top ten and the team in 2nd place. 

 In the women's race we were pipped at the post once again by Belgrave
 Harriers - it's becoming a bad habit! This time we looked all set for a
 famous victory with our five scorers all well placed with just a mile to run
 - but then we unfortunately lost Sara Grosvenor to an ankle injury and
 Belgrave slipped past by two points with South London just one point behind.
 A win would have been nice but it mattered little overall, as we are firmly
 planted in 3rd place and only a miracle at the last fixture could put us in
 contention for the title.   

 Allison O'Neill had hopes of securing our first-ever senior individual win
 in the League but she too was thwarted, this time by Dulwich's international
 Meredith Pannett. Allison ran extremely well to hold Pannett to just 11
 seconds at the finish and had the consolation of setting a new club record
 for the course. Sarah Seal overcame a cold to put in another battling
 performance in 5th place and Alice Beverly and Jo Ronaldson were both home
 within a minute of Sarah. Lynsey Morris closed in the team, just holding off
 Kathy Mallett.  

 Anair Beverly put in another commanding performance in the combined Under 20
 / Under 17 race, running away from the opposition in the second half of the
 race. Alex Hook equalled her 5th place from the last Under 15 race and Alex
 McKenna ran well for 15th in the Under 13s.  

 BANK OF ENGLAND INTER-CLUB RACE   Saturday January 17th  6 miles in Richmond
 This always proves to be a popular fixture, I'm sure nothing at all to do
 with the cheap beer on offer at the Bank's club house. The course starts at
 one of the Park's boggiest points near Roehampton Gate and covers a couple
 of laps not dissimilar to our own course in reverse.
 Paul Sinton-Hewitt put in a very impressive performance to record a
 comfortable victory and with our other five scorers in the top 12 we won the
 team event easily enough. Our B team came in 3rd, led by promising runs from
 newcomers Trevor Maguire and Jacus Engelbrecht.  

 LUTON MARATHON   Saturday December 6th
 Andy Hayward reports:
 "The last marathon of the year for me was at Luton on 6th December.
 Conditions were very cold (thick frost at the start) but sunny - exactly the
 same conditions as the only other time I ran this race in 1999 ("the last UK
 marathon of the Millennium"). After having most of 2002 out with an achilles
 injury, 2003 was definitely a comeback year on the long run scene for me.
 This was the final run of seven marathons and four ultra marathons over
 three continents between March and December. Not quite Rannulph Fiennes, but
 never mind! Having been slowly improving my times all year since the first
 marathon in March (3:24) through to a 3:05 in Washington at the end of
 October coming only three weeks after London to Brighton, I had trained for,
 and had high hopes of dipping under three hours for only the second time. 

 The course is three laps in a fairly rural area outside of Luton. A little
 urban area at the beginning and end of each lap, but a lot of countryside
 between. And two hills. Which of course means six hills over three laps.
 This didn't faze me though because I ran 3:03 here in 1999, and I think I am
 fitter now than I was then. The first mile was bang on target - 6:49.
 However, the wheels fell off almost immediately after that. I didn't have
 another sub 7:00 mile. In hindsight I think a combination of things probably
 did for me on the day; lack of sleep through working late for several
 nights, eating too late on race morning, etc. etc. Suffice it to say that I
 had four levels of target going in to the race, from realistic to dreamland
 (3:05 best this year, 3:03 best on this course, 3:00 speaks for itself &
 2:57 best ever), and by the end of the first eight and three quarter mile
 lap, I knew I wouldn't hit any of them. It is pretty tough to contemplate
 another two laps when feeling demoralised and out of sorts, and it was
 tempting to stop, but I had tapered for the race, so figured that even if I
 wasn't going to hit my targets, I needed the mileage. So I decided to just
 adjust the goal to "long training run with medal", and keep going. 

 I didn't check, but there must have been some serious tectonic plate
 movement in Bedfordshire that day, as the hills which were noticable but not
 bad on the first lap, had become positively mountains by the third lap.
 However, I pulled on the metaphoric crampons, and did finish in 3:13:37,
 48th out of 316, 9th 45-49. Disappointing on the day, but a pleasing year

 1 M Boucher (AF&D) 2.35.46
 48 Andy Hayward 3.13.57 

 TADWORTH 10 MILES  Sunday January 4th
 1 C McMillan (unatt) 57.42
 114 John Hughes 74.17
 164 Tom Reay 77.59
 250 Julia Langensiepen 84.58
 340 John Hanscomb 92.36  

 Alan Craig writes:
 "I am organising a working party for the 21st February 2004, to lop the
 hedges at the back of the club house to a manageable height and away from
 the boundary line so a new fence can be installed. Also to cart away
 mountains of branches, leaves and mulch.Our highly tuned thoroughbred
 runners will be away at the Nationals, so hopefully some people will be
 around to help and do a bit of cross training.
 If you can spare a couple of hours to do a morning or afternoon session it
 would be much appreciated.
 Write your details on the sheet left in the club house or alternatively ring
 Alan at home (020 8940 2556) or e-mail alan@craigkew.freeserve.co.uk.
 Some of the work is off steps and so people will need to work in pairs with
 about eight people a session. Another pair of steps would be handy and if
 you have a general saw it would be helpful.
 Has anybody got an open-topped vehicle to transport branches to the tip?"  

 I'm very sad to report the death of Neil Lewis on January 13th. He was 46. 
 Neil was no longer a member of Ranelagh but will be well remembered by those
 who were around in the 1980s as a gregarious larger-than-life character who
 was always keen to take part in whatever the club had to offer. He joined in
 1983 and within a couple of years had completed the London Marathon, run in
 our relay teams on the South Downs Way and the Pennine Way, joined the club
 trip to Coutainville and become the club's Gazette Editor. He was generously
 hospitable at his parents' farm near Monmouth in South Wales for club trips
 to events such as the Kymin Dash, the Offa's Dyke 15 and the Nos Galan New
 Year's Eve race in Mountain Ash. He also helped organise the first "Dysart
 Dash" in 1986, the predecessor of today's annual 10km event. 
 His only personal success in club races was a handicap silver medal in the
 Callis Cup 10 miles road race in 1987 where he recorded a time of 61.44. He
 had a couple of near misses in the Page Cup 5 miler, finishing 4th and 5th
 in consecutive years with a best time of 29.22. Although not in the same
 class as a runner as Dave Wright, he did bear a striking resemblance to
 Dave, and tiring of mistaken identities he got a T-shirt printed bearing the
 legend "You're Wrong, I'm Not Wright".
 He moved to Hexham in the late 1980s and ran for a while with Tynedale
 Harriers but had already begun to experience heart problems which eventually
 forced him to hang up his running shoes in favour of a pair of oars at the
 Hexham Rowing Club.
 He had a metallurgy business and was a regular guest lecturer at
 Universities but gave this up late in 2002 to move to Montreal with his
 girlfriend Ruth Carreras. Having had one or two radio documentaries accepted
 by the BBC he was trying to establish himself as a freelance writer and
 broadcaster when his heart condition worsened. He returned to the UK in
 December and was admitted to the Royal Free Hospital but died of heart
 failure soon afterwards.
 The funeral will take place at 12.15pm this Friday (January 23rd) at Penrhos
 Church in Gwent. Our sincere condolences go to Ruth, his parents and sister. 

 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 January 24th           South of England Championships at Parliament

 Saturday January 31st         Pelling-Ratcliffe Cup mob match v Blackheath
 & Bromley 7.5 miles in Richmond Park. Incorporates the Wynne Cup club
 championship and a sealed handicap. Start 2.30pm. All runners welcome and
                                             Also the third Junior Points
 Prize races, starting soon after 2.30pm. 

 Saturday February 7th            Surrey League Division 1. Men at Coulsdon
 (juniors 2.30pm, seniors 3pm), women at Lloyd Park (seniors 12.30pm, juniors
 at 1.15pm and 1.45pm).

 Sunday February 8th              Richmond Mini-Marathon Trial in Richmond

 Marcus Gohar overhears coach Alan Storey speaking to Belgrave's Will
 Cockerell, before a Tuesday night Norbiton track session:
 "You should run like that past the DSS. They'd put you on disability pension
 for life and you'd never have to work again!" 

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