Newsdesk 2005

 Editor: Steve Rowland
 mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com
 *  Surrey League - women's team beaten by Belgrave but still leading overall
 *  Surrey League - men's team rallies but still in relegation zone
 *  Valentine's Day Ball
 *  Alf Pearce obituary

 The fixture list for the 2004/05 winter season, can be found on our web site.
 More details of the following from
 Andy Bickerstaff (07966 552302 / mailto: andy@norris-hobs.co.uk ) or 
 Phil Aiken (07739 035189 / mailto: phil.aiken@rnid.org.uk ) or 
 Anna McLaughlin (07971 606521 / mailto: anna.mclaughlin@itv.com ).

 Saturday January 22nd            Inter-club v Bank of England and others
 including the Hec Petersen Trophy v Ealing.
                                              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start

  Saturday January 29th             South of England Cross-Country
  Championships at Parliament Hill
                                              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start
 Saturday February 5th             Pelling Ratcliff Cup Mob Match v
 Blackheath Harriers at Hayes (Kent). See below.
                                              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start  

 Sunday February 6th               London Mini-Marathon trials for Richmond's
 team in Richmond Park. See below.

 Saturday February 12th           Surrey League Division One final fixtures -
 men at Coulsdon, women at Ewell.
                                             Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start

 INTER-CLUB incl HEC PETERSEN TROPHY  Saturday 22nd January in Richmond Park
 Your chance to race over some different bits of the Park. This is 5 miles
 starting at 2.30pm on the Bank of England's course from Roehampton Gate.
 All welcome.

 MOB MATCH v BLACKHEATH & BROMLEY HARRIERS & AC for the Pelling-Ratcliff Cup
 Saturday 5th February at 2.30pm.
 This is the last of our 2004/2005 mob matches. Above all else, mob matches
 are all about which club can get the most runners to the starting (and
 finishing!) line. So we need as many Ranelagh Harriers as possible to turn
 up for a seven and a half mile multi-terrain run through the Kent
 countryside. It really doesn't matter if you're fast or slow. The Blackheath
 HQ is in Bourne Way, close to the junction of the A2022 and A232 and near
 Hayes station. Note that's Hayes in Kent, not Middlesex!. 
 The start is at 2.30pm but note it's a  10 mins jog from the clubhouse.
 If you're late, go straight there.

 We will be running a free mini-bus from the Ranelagh clubhouse leaving at
 12.15pm and returning after the post-race tea. Please use it! It would be
 helpful (but not vital) if you could let Andy Bickerstaff know if you're
 likely to make use of this (contact details above).

 Parliament Hill
 Easiest access is by rail from Richmond to Gospel Oak station, which is
 literally within sight of the start.

 The trials for the Richmond team to take part in the London Mini-Marathon
 will take place in Richmond Park on Sunday 6th February. The 5km
 Mini-Marathon takes place on part of the London Marathon course on the
 marathon day itself, Sunday 17th April. Competitors must be aged between 11
 and 17 on April 17th and to represent Richmond you must either live or go to
 school in the borough. There are four races in the trial - girls 13-17 at
 9.30am, boys 13-17 at 10am, girls 11-12 at 10.30am and boys 11-12 at 11am.
 Entry forms are in the clubhouse or can be obtained from the Sports
 Development Team, Regal House (1st floor), London Road, Twickenham TW1 3QB.

 Marina Quayle writes:
 "Jo and I have decided that we need another party to cheer everbody's winter
 blues so we are organising a Valentine's Day Ball at the Turk's Head on
 Friday 11th February from 7pm to 11pm. There will be an entry fee of 5 at
 the door. We will hire a DJ or band and will ask people to bring finger food
 as we do not want a sitting down meal this time and the pub does not provide
 buffet food.

 If anybody knows a DJ or band who would be interested in playing that night,
 please contact me (mailto:marina_quayle@hotmail.com) or Jo
 (mailto:joturner_45@hotmail.com). The dress code will be: smart dress
 essential, ladies in red and gentlemen in black".

 SURREY LADIES LEAGUE DIVISION ONE  Saturday 15th January in Richmond Park
 Anna McLaughlin reports:
 "Congratulations to everyone who ran on Saturday, it was a great team result
 with everyone improving on their performances from last time! We had 13
 runners lining up on the start line for this fast and furious race over near
 perfect conditions and from the off it was obvious that it was going to be a
 tight battle with Belgrave. Sarah Seal led the Ranelagh contingent from the
 front, quickly settling into her fantastic final finishing position of 5th
 closely followed behind by Alice Beverly who managed to finish just ahead of
 the 2nd Belgrave scorer. Next home on the scoring A team was Marie
 Synnott-Wells who managed to keep ahead of the final two Belgrave scorers,
 who sadly just finished ahead of the very strong running from Estelle Damant
 and Sara Grosvenor.

 Overall on the day we were the 2nd team by just 5 points but still holding
 onto our lead at the top of the league. However, it is now all very tight
 for the last match of the season with there only being 17 points between us
 and Belgrave to claim that coveted top spot so please mark in big bold
 letters in your diary, Saturday February 12th - Surrey League XC, West
 Ewell, 12:30pm!"

 Just to underline that last paragraph - Ranelagh has never won a senior
 Surrey League Division One title, male or female. If we can hang on to that
 slender lead it will be a historic triumph. Let's give the team the best
 support we can on February 12th, either by running - it would be great to
 have a big crowd of blue vests in the field - or by lining the course to
 make sure they get no chance to rest! It's a 12.30pm start for the senior
 women's race. More details of the exact venue when I have them, but as Anna
 says, put the date in your diary now!

 Let's not overlook in the excitement that we had some juniors running hard
 too, including Anna Mallett in her first Surrey League race. Georgia
 Miansarow joined Anna in the Under 13s and finished a strong 14th while in
 the Under 15s Victoria Elbourne, Emily Ball and Rhiannon Mehta all finished
 in good mid-field positions.

 SWEATSHOP SURREY LEAGUE DIVISION ONE  Saturday 15th January on Wimbledon
 Mike Peace reports:
 "And so the day of reckoning. Would the amassed Ranelagh ranks (20+) in the
 sunshine of Wombly Common be good enough to keep our hopes alive. Would the
 opposition reveal a chink in their running talent (that's a weakness not a
 nationality). Changed and warmed-up on a balmy (or was that just Phil'n
 Andy) Saturday afternoon the greens and golds (foliage) of the common
 invited us to run ...... even without numbers; well-done Matt who ran the
 whole junior race without his for an excellent 5th.

 Could the seniors emulate this WITH our numbers on. Well some of us ran.
 Dave Benton (merci beaucoup) couru tres bien et fini kilometres a tete de
 touts les autres Ranelites mais seconde de Paul Doyle, superbe coureur
 extraordinaire sur le jour. Some of us spoke Greek and ran a Corinthian, nay
 Athenian, race and some of us just swore at each other and plodded round.
 Capt Bix reckoned it was the best we could do and those of us with maths
 degrees added, subtracted and accumulated scores well into the night; well
 evening at least, via tea at Julian 'n Sarah's (great rock cakes), beer at
 The Swan, dinner 'n more beer in Twickenham (amongst Irish moonies) and more
 beer 'n rock music in the Red Lion.

 So, well-done to the Girls in their League race, thanks to the girls for
 their support and encouragement for the boys, esp. Sarah, Sonia, Alison 'n
 Annie who cheered us all on. The boys .. well we're still working out the
 maths .. sacre bleu ... nous esperons. Voyez les resultats".

 Paul "call me Popeye" Doyle's run was certainly his best ever over the
 country and he added a whole hatful of scalps to his growing collection -
 one of them David Benton, beaten by a fellow RH for the first time in
 several seasons. David still made the top 20 in a classy field and Julian
 Smith did his best to do the same. Abandoning his usal slow start tactics J
 blasted off and paid the penalty by losing some ground in the closing
 stages. Unfortunately he took Jordan Mungovan with him and Jordan suffered
 even more. But this was another highly promising run from Jordan and he was
 the first Under 20 to finish.

 The dependable Marcus and Mick were 5th and 6th for Ranelagh and Captain
 Bix, Rob, Peter and Chris completed the scoring ten just ahead of new man
 James Corbett. It was a very encouraging sign to have 27 Ranelagh men taking

 Team-wise we finished 6th but gained only a little ground on Aldershot and
 Reigate and remain adrift in 8th place overall with just the last race - at
 Coulsdon on February 12th - to come.

 GORING AND WOODCOTE 10km  Sunday 9th January
 Alice Beverly writes:
 "I did a 10km the day after the Surrey Champs, as I was a bit annoyed with
 my performance. I won in 39.20 (by my watch), a bit disappointing, but I
 blame the very hilly course, which seemed to add a good 90 seconds to
 everybody's times... excuses, excuses!"
 Alice's time was officially 39.22, which places her 21st on the Ranelagh
 all-time list.
 1 Sam Aldridge (Reading) 33.19
 12 Alice Beverly 39.22

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 15th January
 Fighting 50s Steve and Stephen spent the race desperately trying to burn
 each other off, both in the certain knowledge that the two young men jogging
 effortlessly along beside them would leave them for dead as soon as they
 knew the way home! There was a record field of 33 starters and 31 finishers,
 including Luke Wilson celebrating his 11th birthday. Rachel Rowan was the
 first woman home.
 1 Shane McDermott (Raheny) 19.16
 3 Stephen Instone 19.29
 4 Steve Rowland 19.42
 5 Jonny Rowan 20.18
 6 Rachel Rowan 20.34
 11 Sam Hunton 21.48
 14 Amelie Hunton 22.22
 15 Chris Hunton 22.22
 20 Jo Turner 24.32
 23 Wally Garrod 24.57
 25 Luke Wilson 27.07
 26 Gill Wilson 27.08
 29 Holly Wilson 30.08 

 Terry Marks was the leading over 60.
 1 D Huck (WSEH) 22.30
 25 Terry Marks 28.41
 53 Caitlin Limmer 38.30

 SUSSEX CHAMPIONSHIPS  Saturday 8th January at Bexhill
 Neil Walford finished 39th on the 7.5 miles course in 51.56.

 Tough Tuesdays continue as normal, with speed work for various groups (next
 few sessions below) and Wally's beginners' club. Full details on our web

 Robin Drummond's  "Improvers Sessions" continue on Thursday nights at 7pm
 from the clubhouse, concentrating on speed and technique. See below for an
 outline of the forthcoming sessions. Full details can be found on our web

 As an alternative on Thursday nights, Margaret Auerback and Frances
 Ratchford are holding Strength and Conditioning coaching sessions at 7.30pm
 in the free-weights room at the gym at St Mary's College, Waldegrave Road.
 Coaching at the gym on other days is negotiable. For more information
 contact Frances at mailto:grapevineproductions@compuserve.com.

 Also Wednesdays at 6.30pm and Sundays at 10am at the clubhouse for a steady
 run in the Park.

 Tuesday sessions. Each also includes a steady run warm up and warm down.
 Jan 25th  8 x 90secs on Holly Lodge hill plus 4 x 30 secs
 Feb 1st   3 x 5 mins, 3 x 3 mins
 Feb 8th   4 x Nightingale Lane bottom, 3 x Richmond Hill, 3 x Nightingale
 Lane bottom
 Feb 15th  2 x 3 x 4 mins efforts 

 Thursday sessions. Each also includes a steady run warm up and warm down.
 Jan 20th  3 x 3 x 60 secs in Ranelagh Drive

 PARIS MARATHON  Sunday 10th April
 A sizeable group of Ranelagh Harriers is heading for Paris in the Spring,
 either for the marathon or for the shopping! They are staying at the Hotel
 Baudelaire, 12 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, a ten minutes metro trip from
 the start. Most are planning to travel by Eurostar on the Saturday morning,
 returning on Sunday night or Monday. Others are welcome to join the party -
 contact Simon Burrell for more info (mailto:simon_burrell2000@yahoo.com).

 Dave Powell writes:
 "If anyone has a few quid left after Christmas, or a spare book token
 looking for a home, I recommend getting your hands on a copy of "The Perfect
 Race - Ovett and Coe", by former Times and FT athletics writer Pat Butcher,
 if you haven't already done so.

 It's a simply unputdownable account of the lives of Steve Ovett and Seb Coe
 on and off the track - the world records, the family dramas, the training,
 the rows with the press and of course the epic battles in the Moscow and Los
 Angeles Olympics and elsewhere. It's all there. Pat Butcher saw much of it
 and has tracked down the training partners, coaches, family and friends of
 the two champions, everyone - including other great runners, like Thomas
 Wessinhage and Steve Scott, that were unlucky enough to reach the pinnacle
 of their careers in the years when these two very different Englishmen were
 setting new standards in middle distance running.

 But it's not just hero worship. Butcher is critical of the pair's use of
 pacemakers to set many of their world records: a development he sees as
 corrupting the free competition of racing where all compete to win. And so
 other heroes emerge from the book. Particularly Filbert Bayi of Tanzania,
 who ran from the front in the 1974 Commonwealth Games 1500 to beat world
 record holder John Walker and take nearly a second off the old record. It
 can still be done from the front without paid assistants to pull you round,
 he argues.

 This is thoughtful analysis of the issues our sport faces as well as a
 gripping evocation of the terrors and triumphs of racing at the top level. I
 challenge any runner to read it without a quickening of the heart and the
 odd tear. But be careful if you read it on the train. You could go way past
 your stop".

 Alf died late on Wednesday 12th January after a long illness. He was 87 and
 with his death Ranelagh loses one of its oldest and most popular members.
 Always a livewire, ready for a voluble but friendly discussion over a pint,
 ready to prick any pomposity, Alf was - to use an overworked term - a

 It is ironic but quite appropriate that a reference to Alf's success in club
 handicap races appeared in the e-news sent out just a few hours before his
 death, for it is as a handicap specialist that he will be best remembered in
 the club records. Over 52 years of membership he achieved an unparalleled
 total of eight handicap wins, when most members think themselves lucky if
 the handicapper smiles on them once. Three second places and four thirds
 complete his tally.

 Alf was born in 1917 and originally ran with Thames Valley Harriers. After
 Dave Braybrook, with whom Alf had served in the Royal Navy, had switched
 allegiance from TVH to Ranelagh, Alf followed his example in 1953. He
 started as he meant to continue with a win in the Baker Cup three miles
 handicap at the end of his first season. His time of 16.51 was fourth
 fastest of the day. In complete contrast in May 1954 he won the club's own
 20 miles road race, at that time held over a three lap course in Richmond
 Park, after a sprint finish in a record time of 2.10.52. "It must be almost
 unique in the history of the club," wrote the Gazette correspondent, "for
 the holder of the Baker Cup to go on and win the 20 mile road race eight
 weeks later". One month further on Alf beat three hours for the Polytechnic
 Marathon. He was a keen road runner and recorded 58.39 for 10 miles in 1957
 and was still able to run as fast as 64.41 in 1970. "Alf seems to be getting
 faster with age," reported the Gazette. A week later Alf won the Thomas Cup
 handicap for the third time, ten years after the second of two consecutive
 wins, another feat almost unique in the club's annals. The joint
 handicappers are reported to have resigned!

 Alf also competed regularly over the country, featuring in our championship
 teams up to the mid-1960s. He was the inaugural winner in 1957 of the club
 veterans' championship and although never able to match that success he
 placed frequently until the late 1960s. He often led the Ranelagh contingent
 in the Veterans Mob Match.

 An accident at work may have permanently affected his health but he
 continued to run when he could and recorded his last handicap win - the
 Thomas Cup yet again - at the age of 70 in 1987. His final club races were
 in 1990 but he continued occasionally to take part in the monthly
 Hammersmith handicap races near his home almost up to his 80th birthday.
 Latterly he would help at the water stations in our road races and perhaps
 his last appearance at the clubhouse was in October 2003 when he was
 presented with an engraved tankard to mark fifty years of membership. "I
 backed a winner fifty years ago," he said.

 Our condolences go to Alf's two daughters. The funeral will take place at
 10am on Tuesday 25th January at St Teresa's Child of Jesus Church, Boniface
 Walk, Harrow. Would anyone planning to attend please contact Alan Hedger
 (tel 01372 740626).