Newsdesk 2004

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 134              31 MARCH 2004
 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com  
 *  Andy Bickerstaff retains the Spendlove Cup
 *  Fast times at Eastleigh
 *  1.44 16 miles for Jo Ronaldson

 ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS are due on April 1st!
 Rates are:
 Family membership £60 
 Senior (over 20) £30
 Students/juniors £6
 Social/country £10
 Retired £5
 Please send a cheque payable to Ranelagh Harriers to Robin Drummond at The
 Studio, 1 Church Street, Hampton, Middx. TW12 2EB. 
 Or bring it along to....

 BAKER CUP 3 MILES ROAD HANDICAP  Saturday April 3rd in Richmond Park,
 starting at 3pm.
 This is open to all members, all speeds, all ages - the more the merrier. It
 starts in the centre of the Park, near White Lodge, but please note that the
 car park at the Pen Ponds will be closed for redevelopment at this time.
 That should make it quieter for our race, but less convenient for those who
 prefer to drive to the start. Robin Hood Gate car park is probably the next
 closest, but this is a fairly small one and could well fill up.

 A reminder that this will not take place on Baker Cup day this year - it
 will be on Saturday April 24th upstairs in the Dysart. Price not yet fixed,
 but probably about a tenner. Book with Carol Barnshaw on 020 8898 9285 or

 Chris Owens reports:
 "The Finchley 20 is held in Hillingdon (don't ask!), and has often been used
 a a pre-London Marathon warm up by Ranelagh marathon hopefuls. It was good
 to see Hillingdon AC had finally got the hint - the number actually said
 'Pre-London' but I don't think we should take the credit. This probably
 belonged to the Sweatshop who were sponsoring the race, and had donated nice
 waterproof numbers. This was doubly a good idea, as:

 A) it got over the problem of a Finchley 20 of several years ago when the
 field set off wearing numbers of the sort often worn in Ranelagh mob
 matches, into a steady drizzle, which meant the numbers promptly
 disintegrated, leaving the officials to ask each runner to shout their
 number as they passed (it's four five mile laps.....), and
 B) this year's Hillingdon weather looked very like a repeat of the weather
 in A) above, as 20mins before the start the clouds rolled up, and the rain
 started just as your correspondent, and the other loonies (sorry,
 competitors) were starting their warmup

 Luckily neither A) nor B) applied as the the traffic was stopped, the road
 filled with runners and off we went. A small Ranelagh spearhead (Andy
 Bickerstaff and I) edged cautiously into the first 20 runners, while the
 other three of our contingent stayed back in the pack. This showed their
 tactical awareness and understanding of the conditions, as the first half of
 the course was into a stiff breeze on each lap. I managed to find a nice
 large bloke to hide behind on the first two laps, but after that ran out of
 windshields (and out of puff), lapping at a pace to make Michael Schumacher
 go back to worrying about which bank to keep his money in (32, 31, 33, 39)
 especially that last lap (ouch!). Lots of fit looking people ran past on
 that last lap as I stumbled round to the finish, which appeared to have been
 moved further round the course - at least that's my excuse - must try
 training more than 75min runs....

 Luckily Andy B kept the faith, and the pace, to finish nearer the front and
 win the club championship, while the others closed in on me rapidly. Thank
 goodness I managed to find the finish before they found me".
 1 H Chepkwony (Army) 1.47.56
 17 Andy Bickerstaff 2.09.15
 26 Chris Owens 2.13.52
 37 Andy Hayward 2.17.50
 161 Tom Reay 2.49.05
 253 Jacqui Reid 3.06.08 

 EASTLEIGH 10km  Sunday March 21st
 Allison O'Neill reports:
 "David and I went back to the UK on Sunday to run the Eastleigh 10K
 (doubling as the Southern Champs and Inter-Area match).  We met Paul Doyle
 on the start-line who did a good job of persuading us that strong winds
 don't really matter - although it didn't feel like it during the last 3K of
 the race.  David (for whom I had 'negotiated' a late entry - I'm thinking of
 becoming his agent) had a great run for 16th place in 31:23 - just 7 seconds
 outside his PB - and is now in a state of anticipation for the start of the
 duathlon season. 

 Paul went one better and scored a new PB of 32:22 which leaves him within
 striking distance of the all-important 32 minute barrier. As for me, I
 finished 5th woman in 36:33, which wasn't the performance I would have hoped
 for a few weeks earlier, but was pretty good given a bad cold, some patchy
 training and a few gained pounds in weight! I'm now having a much-needed
 end-of-season break when I'm sure another few pounds will be welcomed back
 on board!"

 1 P Riley (Trafford) 29.40
 16 David Benton 31.23
 29 Paul Doyle 32.22
 1 M McCallum (Winch) 34.38
 5 Allison O'Neill 36.33

 The final pre-Marathon preparation found a good crowd of Ranelagh amongst
 the thousands in the Kingston Breakfast runs, as well as smaller numbers at
 other further-flung events. Star turn was again Jo Ronaldson who despite
 having to weave through crowds of backmarkers from the main event recorded
 an excellent 1.44.43 in the elite women's 16-miler. It might have been
 interesting had Jo plumped for the Finchley 20 instead of Kingston - she
 might well have given Andy B a run for his money for the Spendlove Cup!
 Coming in 7th and only some five minutes behind Jo was second-claimer Marie
 Synnott-Wells in the colours of Wimbledon Windmilers.

 Jo's time turned out to be our fastest of the day as Stephen Instone in the
 main event was a minute or so down. Then we had a good pack in the 2.10 to
 2.20 range and half a dozen others spread through the huge field of runners.
 We had another half-dozen opting for 8 miles only, led by Trevor Maguire.
 16 miles
 Women's Elite
 1 L Hasell (Bristol) 1.37.45
 3 Jo Ronaldson 1.44.43
 7 Marie Synnott-Wells  1.50.07
 14 Thérèse Panetta 2.41.04
 78 Evelyn Joslin 2.11.56
 98 Jenni Kruse 2.14.32
 133 Eleonora Zona 2.17.49
 386 Catherine Gadd 2.33.59
 492 Joanne Turner 2.40.05
 493 Bernadette Weber 2.40.07
 623 Bev Ali 2.53.21
 1 P Sly (Thames H&H) 1.24.12
 54 Stephen Instone 1.46.02
 644 Garry Walsh 2.13.19
 736 Simon Burrell 2.16.28
 756 Scott Haddow 2.17.01
 1062 John Hanscomb 2.29.04

 8 miles
 1 J Trapmore (Shaft B) 42.35
 41 Trevor Maguire 53.16
 708 Clodagh Fahy 73.39
 711 Janet Turnes 73.43
 812 Frances Ratchford 76.01
 884 Geoff Bell 77.55
 1035 Daphne Moynier 82.19 

 CRANLEIGH 21 MILES   Sunday March 21st
 1 A Weir (Thames H&H) 1.58.55
 96 Wyn Williams 2.46.00
 129 Derek Mason 2.52.04

 WORTHING 20 MILES  Sunday March 28th
 1 D Carter (Phoenix) 1.56.22
 167 Jenni Kruse 2.35.47
 317 Simon Burrell 2.50.19
 489 John Hanscomb 3.10.38
 576 Steve McClune 3.25.28

 ROME MARATHON  Sunday March 28th
 Simon Tyler reports:
 "Certainly not the best organized race in the world and most definitely the
 worst supported. I would have thought that plodding around the hot cobbled
 streets of Italy's capital would have enticed a few locals out, if only to
 laugh at the mad few running around Rome's hills ... but no! As far as a
 sightseeing tour of the city goes this is one I thoroughly recommend
 otherwise give it a wide berth! None the less it was a real experience even
 if there were only 7640 finishers (and with 4.18 I didn't finish last which
 I was a little concerned about)".

 Good luck to all those RH in Paris this weekend.

 While others have 'Paris' or 'London' in their sights, Andy Hayward already
 has two marathons under his belt this year:
 "Last March was the test of my return from an achilles injury, when I
 entered two marathons a week apart in the USA as build up for last year's
 trip to the Two Oceans Ultra in Cape Town (see e-news of about a year ago).
 My ankles held up fairly well, and I went on to run a number of marathons
 and ultras throughout the year (see various e-news). I ended up the twelve
 month period that started with the Abilene, Texas Marathon in March 2003, by
 running two more marathons in the USA in February this year. This brought
 the total for the year to nine marathons and four ultramarathons, or an
 average of more than one a month for a year. This is also good preparation
 again for another go at the Two Oceans this April.

 The first one was the Desert Classic Marathon, in Scottsdale (Phoenix)
 Arizona on 15th February. We arrived at the hotel after travelling direct
 from London, at 7:45pm, less than twelve hours before the start of the race.
 It started along with a half marathon from a college car park, and proceeded
 around some quiet roads on the Pima-Maricopa Indian Tribal Reservation for
 seven miles. Then out onto a flat but very rutted and stony canal path for
 an out and back seventeen miles (the half only had to do an out and back
 four miles along this path, and it got pretty lonely after they turned back)
 before finishing with a final two miles along the roads back to the college.
 The path was rutted in both directions, like a cross hatching in places. It
 apparently is normally graded before the race, but as they were expecting
 rain in the next day or so, had decided to wait! Temperature at the start
 was a chilly 40'F, but the race started at sunrise, and the sun was barely
 above the horizon when the temperature began to quickly climb. It was 75'F
 in no time, but thankfully didn't get any higher than that.

 Having checked the times for last year, I thought I may have a chance of
 placing, and I went off fairly fast. A bit too fast, with the half
 marathoners, completing the first mile in 6:30. I slowed at that point (too
 much), and covered the next two in 7:15 pace. Finally got the pacing right
 (target was 6:50 pace, or just sub 3:00 hours) in the fourth and fifth
 miles, but couldn't hold the pace. It was a small race, with only 135
 completing the full marathon. I finished in  3:09:03 - 7th overall, 6th
 male, and 2nd in age group 45-49 (missed 1st by 40 seconds!). The race was
 actually won overall by a woman from the Olympic Training Centre in
 Flagstaff in 2:48, who missed the US Olympic Trials qualification time by a
 few seconds. Only three runners ran sub 3:00. The same time last year would
 have got third overall, so it just depends on who turns up.

 The second run two weeks later was even closer to the end of my trip than
 the first one had been to the beginning, and was in New Orleans, Louisiana.
 It was a bit of a disaster. I developed a cough right after I got there on
 the Wednesday evening (missing Mardi Gras by 24 hours - bad planning!). I
 registered for the race on the Friday hoping that things would improve by
 Sunday, but by then it wasn't looking good. I know you are not supposed to
 run hard during a viral infection because of the dangers of taking the virus
 into the heart membrane. I felt worse Saturday, but a little better Sunday
 morning, so I decided rather stupidly to start the run (well I'd already got
 the T-shirt now!) and either pull out right away if I felt too bad, or at
 the most do the half.

 The temperature and humidity remained constant - it was 75'F and 90+%
 humidity for the 24 hours up to and including the race, which was a problem
 with keeping hydrated. The course started outside the Superdome (where the
 Superbowl was held last year) and headed out east through the French Quarter
 for a thirteen mile loop back to the Superdome. I felt awful for the first
 mile (an easy 7:30 pace) and had trouble with my breathing, but felt a bit
 better after that. I maintained the easy pace and went through ten right on
 1:15. I struggled between ten and twelve, but again recovered a little after
 that. The half way point approached. Decision time. I could turn left into
 the stadium, still finish on the 50 yard line of the Superdome, and put
 myself out of my misery. My head said stop, but my legs wouldn't let me. I
 turned right (passing the half in 1:39:45) to begin a different thirteen
 mile loop to the west of the city, through the Garden District and Audubon
 Park. Big mistake. At mile 16 I really started suffering. At 19 I had to
 walk for a couple of minutes. I ran/walked from there on in, and struggled
 over the line in 3:37:45. Probably my worst positive split ever! I grabbed
 my medal and then rushed back to the hotel, had  a shower, and drove
 straight out to the airport to fly back to London. I felt like death on the
 whole flight home. Cold progressed to a respiratory virus requiring
 antibiotics. I learned my lesson - I won't do that again.

 As a postscript, the layout of the course allowed the runners to see the
 leaders at a couple of points, the first time for me was around six miles,
 and then again around sixteen. The leader doing his first marathon was about
 a minute ahead of second place the first time I saw him, and two minutes the
 second time. In true Peters and Pietri style, he collapsed 200 yards from
 the finish. He got back up but went down again, staying down long enough to
 be passed. He got up again, and staggered and was helped over the line in
 2:35. He was initially given second place but was later disqualified for
 being carried across the line. Another reminder, if more are needed, to
 respect the distance!"

 Angus Cater writes:
 "Skimarathon, I thought. No trouble. I've run a 3.40 marathon; should be
 able to knock this out in under three hours. Ignorance is bliss!
 Anne and I arrived in St Moritz on the Wednesday with our fellow WellChild
 ''athletes'' and prepared for our two days' training. The next morning
 dawned grey, snowing and cold, but after a hearty Swiss breakfast we trooped
 out for instruction from Ceri, our ex Royal Marine, now turned undertaker,
 Instructor. (somehow it felt appropriate to be trained by an undertaker). 
 The first thing I learned was that there are two styles of XC skiing. There
 is classic (which I had learnt in Norway in 1967) and skating, which the
 rest of the world now does. The principal difference is that when 'skating'
 you go three times as fast. I was told that I was too old, and there wasn't
 enough time for me to train the requisite muscle groups, for skating!
 So for two days we were instructed to 'burst from the thighs' and propel our
 skis along the tracks. We practiced on part of the course - the up and down
 part - and by Saturday most of my body was aching; the perfect preparation
 for a marathon. My only consolation was that my fellow 'athletes' ( I use
 the term loosely) were in even worse shape, particularly the 84 year old
 Polish (war evacuee) gentleman who hadn't even skied before!
 On Saturday Anne and I walked around the gorgeous, immaculate St Moritz
 slopes and Anne politely enquired the price of a rather nice coral necklace
 in a cute little antique shop. £175,000! We didn't like it that much anyway!
 Sunday dawned cold and overcast and we were on the bus to the start at
 Majola at 0715 along with 12,500 others. We had to hang around for an hour
 and a half before the start but as we had to queue for 45 minutes to get to
 the loos it was just as well we were there early. Our group (the marathon
 virgins) was the last to go at 0920. The exercises before the start, to
 evergreen Swiss pop tunes, was entertaining, and the various folk who had
 laid their skis down in the snow, and then were unable to find them, even
 more so.
 I shot away, with much 'bursting from the thighs' and settled down into what
 I hoped was a sustainable rhythm. Ten K went by in 65 minutes, 5 minutes
 outside my now adjusted 4 hour schedule, and I was not feeling too bad. The
 second 10K was hard; very hilly (called Mattress Hill after the treatment
 the trees get to stop them being damaged by skiers!) and there was a traffic
 jam up a particularly narrow icy slope which took us 20 minutes to
 negotiate. At half way there was a beaming Annie and my stop watch said 2.5
 hours (half an hour adrift). Happily the third ten was gently downhill or
 flat so 'thigh bursting' was back on the agenda. Unfortunately this was
 having a diminishing effect on my forward momentum.
 The last 12K, as it is in every marathon, was pretty hellish. All natural
 energy gone, in spite of my gorging on hot drinks and various energy
 sustainers (I was even given a banana by the very enthusiastic Swiss
 spectators and helpers) and it was a question of hanging in there. David,
 one of my WellChild colleagues, went past me at this stage looking horribly
 fresh. The last five K were counted down by kilometre, a bit sadistic it
 seemed at the time, and then disaster struck. I was whizzing down a steepish
 hill and there in front of me was a skier more or less stationary. I had two
 choices: hit him or jump tracks. I chose the latter and finished up head
 down in the snow with my skis around my neck. It took me a couple of minutes
 to disentangle myself by which time he had disappeared, oblivious to the
 drama that had just taken place behind him. Bang went my sub 5 hours time
 and I dragged myself over the line in 5.01.59. Such is life.
 It took me, particularly my thighs, the best part of a week to recover but
 it was definitely worth it and... I have raised over £1300 for WellChild, so
 a big thank you to all of you who contributed so generously.
 For those of you of a statistical nature: I finished the 42.2K  9294th in I was 5th out of a WellChild group of 32 (unfortunately three,
 including my 84 year old Polish friend, did not finish). There were approx
 12,000 skaters and 500 classic skiers. So yes, I beat some skaters; but only
 those with an average age of 93".

 As a matter of interest, is this a Ranelagh club record for a ski marathon?
 Probably not, so I'll wait to hear from you...

 Heather Fell has been busy with the new Pentathlon season: on February 21st
 she was placed 22nd in the indoor championship in Budapest with 4956 points
 and then a week later in the African Open championship she finished 4th on
 5364 points.

 Price between £8 to £10 per hour. Contact: Lorena Calvo (tel. 07984465205).
 There are references available.

 Speed / hill sessions lined up to torture you over the next few weeks -
 starting from the clubhouse at 7pm. Marathoners excused!
 April 6th 10 x 2 mins
 April 13th 7 x (30 secs + 1 min) Holly Lodge Hill
 April 20th 3 x 5 mins and 3 x 3 mins
 April 27th 1500 metres time trial + 3 x 3 mins

 The 2003/04 fixture list, together with details of the 2004 Ranelagh Road
 Grand Prix, can be found on our web site.

 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 April 3rd                   Baker Cup 3 miles road handicap in
 Richmond Park. Start near White Lodge in the centre of the Park at 3pm. 

 Sunday April 4th                      Thames Towpath 10 miles at Chiswick.
 See www.west4harriers.org          Ranelagh Road GP race 1 

 Sunday April 18th                  London Marathon.  Ranelagh Road GP race 2 

 Sunday May 2nd                     Sutton 10km.  Ranelagh Road GP race 3 and
 Surrey Road League race 1 

 Saturday May 8th / Sunday May 9th       Green Belt Relay 

 Deborah Young contributes the following extracts from a Times on-line
 article. See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7-1047319,00.html
 for the full text. It deals with the 92-year-old marathon runner Fauja
 Singh, who has just signed an advertising deal with adidas:
 "He is to co-front a major advertising campaign that also features David
 Beckham, Jonny Wilkinson and Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali. From
 this week, Singh's face will adorn billboards in cities across the UK as
 part of the campaign called Impossible is Nothing. Adidas hopes that its
 departure will appeal to the growing number of people over 50 who are
 joining gyms.
 He no longer pounds the pavements in plimsolls and a fading, baggy
 tracksuit; his new sponsorship deal provides him with as much fashionable,
 high-tech running kit as he needs. For our interview he models a sleek
 ensemble of black Lycra tights with reflective silver flashes, a black
 sweat-wicking shirt and a pair of the latest featherlight racing shoes. It
 is, says adidas, the kind of outfit usually issued to international athletes
 a quarter of his age. How much longer can he keep it up? 'It isn't always
 easy,' he says. 'I get worn out like any other athlete. But running has
 given me a goal in life. If I had to stop, then that would be it. I think I
 would drop dead in the morning'."

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