Newsdesk 2005

 Editor: Steve Rowland
 mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com
 *  Women's team 5th in South of England Championships, men's team 22nd
 *  Blackheath mob match this Saturday - minibus leaves the clubhouse at
    12.15pm sharp
 *  Crucial Surrey League races on February 12th

 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 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 from 9.30am.

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

 Saturday February 19th           National Cross-Country Championships (men
 and women) at Cofton Park, Birmingham.
                                              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start  

 Saturday February 26th           Clutton Cup 10 miles handicap in Richmond
 Park. 2.30pm start.
                                              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start    

 MOB MATCH v BLACKHEATH & BROMLEY HARRIERS & AC for the Pelling-Ratcliff Cup
 Saturday 5th February at 2.30pm.
 A free mini-bus will leave from the Ranelagh clubhouse at 12.15pm sharp,
 returning after the post-race tea.

 Andy Bickerstaff writes:
 "We need 40 runners at Hayes to have a chance of a remarkable victory (how
 long since we've beaten Blackheath away?). There's some great photos of the
 2003 race on our website...which also make the course look benign".

 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).

 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, Kent, station.
 The start is at 2.30pm but note it's a 10 mins jog from the clubhouse.
 If you're late, go straight there.

 The final league fixture at West Ewell is probably the most important league
 race in the Ranelagh women's section's history. We have never won the Surrey
 League Division One title. We have led all the way this season. This is our
 chance to make history! Here's the situation so far: 

 In the first race on Wimbledon Common in October a "dream team" of Allison
 O'Neill, Lauren Shelley, Jo Ronaldson, Alice Beverly and Marie Synnott-Wells
 all finished in the top 13 and we won the match with 39 points, 55 clear of
 second-placed Belgrave. 

 By the end of November at Kingston, Lauren had returned to Australia and Jo
 had succumbed to injury. Then Allison had to drop out with a virus from
 which she has yet to recover. But Sarah Seal was back to fitness and the
 others rose to the occasion. The scoring team was Sarah, Marie, Sara
 Grosvenor, Sally Piesse and Clare Gutch, all in by 29th place, but Belgrave
 hauled back 33 points.

 The third race in January was on our own course in the Park. Sarah led our
 team again, ahead of Alice, Marie, Estelle Damant and finally Sara in 22nd
 place. Belgrave beat us again but only by 5 points, leaving us with an
 overall lead of 17.

 And now there's one race to go and everything to play for. Needless to say,
 we need the strongest possible team we can manage, but let's go for the
 largest and best-supported team we can manage too! If you're a woman,
 support the team by taking part: any number can run. If you're a man, come
 along to West Ewell and shout yourself silly. The race starts at 12.30pm at
 the King George V Rec Ground / Hogsmill Riverside, just off the A240 which
 is the A3 Tolworth exit, here The junior races follow the senior event.

 Access for vehicles is from Poole Road. For those on public transport, Ewell
 West station is a short walk / jog away. Trains are every 15 minutes from
 Clapham Junction or Wimbledon. From Kingston you need to change at Raynes
 Park, from Richmond, Twickenham etc you need to change at Clapham Junction

 The picture is a little different for our beleagured men's team, but the
 final race is no less important. At the moment we lie in eighth place out of
 nine competing clubs, with the bottom two to be relegated to Division Two
 for the 2005/06 season. Dulwich Runners are nearly 500 points adrift at the
 bottom and are out of contention. Ranelagh is still just about in contact
 with the two clubs above but it's going to be an uphill struggle, and I
 don't just mean the Coulsdon course. We are on 1763 points, Aldershot are on
 1652 and Reigate are on 1629.

 If you're going to the women's race, there's plenty of time to get across to
 Coulsdon in time for the men's race at 3pm (juniors at 2.30pm). Hopefully
 there will be a number of Ranelagh cars making the journey! South London
 Harriers' race HQ is here (parking round the corner
 in Lion Green Road). The start is a 5 minutes jog away on Farthing Downs, here
 Coulsdon South and Smitham stations are nearby.

 FINCHLEY 20 MILES ROAD RACE including the Spendlove Cup club championship
 Sunday 13th March
 Those Ranelagh Harriers looking for a good 20 prior to the London Marathon
 could do worse than to consider the Finchley race - which is in Ruislip,
 despite the name. It includes our club 20 miles championship with a rather
 fine cup on offer. But note that the date has changed from that originally
 shown on our fixture list - it's taking place on Sunday 13th March starting
 at 2pm. Entry forms are in the clubhouse or can be downloaded at

 Parliament Hill
 It's a long day at Parliament Hill, not least for our own Hugh Jones, Clerk
 of the Course once again. The first race was the under 15 boys event at
 11am. Matt Hirschler was our representative and his 82nd place was more than
 respectable. Early-arriving supporters had some excitement in the next race
 when Georgia Miansarow could be seen leading the under 13 girls field up the
 lower slopes of the first hill. It didn't last of course, but 87th at the
 finish was another solid result.

 The under 15 girls came next, with the weather beginning to deteriorate.
 Rebecca Clayden and Victoria Elbourne ran well close together, with Rebecca
 getting half a minute clear at the end. Dan Jermy was next in action and he
 had the very worst of the weather with freezing rain for his 117th place in
 the boys under 17 race.

 Our next interest was in the senior women's race, where we had finished in a
 record-breaking 4th place last year. For various reasons only one of that
 team was out again this time but amazingly they slipped only one place to
 5th. Sarah Seal was the common factor in both teams but she finished this
 time vowing never to return! The course doesn't suit her, even though there
 was by common consent less mud this year than oft times in the past. Sarah
 had Marie Synnott-Wells tracking her all the way and it was only in the fast
 run-in that Sarah was able to motor away for 35th to Marie's 39th. Skipper
 Anna McLaughlin put in another gutsy performance, around 50th most of the
 way and hanging on for grim death at the end. Estelle Damant made sure and
 steady progress and eventually closed in the scoring team just six places
 behind Anna. Louise Piears and Sandra Foot had their own private battle a
 little further back.

 The men finished 14th last year but with a relatively weak team this time
 they did not expect to match that performance. Julian Smith, under the
 weather all week, was undecided on whether to run until a few minutes before
 the start, but one thing to be said for Parliament Hill is that it provides
 plenty of opportunities for dropping out if necessary. So Julian lined up,
 started steadily and took the whole of the opening lap to catch the
 fast-starting Chris Owens and Andy Bickerstaff. "Julian jogged with us for a
 lap then took off," writes Andy, "I wallowed in the mud like a baby hippo
 whilst Chris skipped across it like a compact messiah". Parliament Hill is
 certainly a happy hunting ground for Chris and as Julian marched on to 101st
 place Chris remained our second man at 205th with Andy not far behind at

 Mick Lane and Marcus Gohar are two more with no great love for Hampstead
 Heath in the middle of winter but they used their experience to battle
 through into the top 300, followed by the day's surprise packet Graham Quick
 who closed in our team at 283rd. Rob Stillwell and Peter Weir used their
 inexperience to drift backwards during the second half of the race, thanks
 largely to shoe problems. Peter was in trainers, and although Marius Acker
 showed us a few years ago that it's possible to make the top 100 without
 spikes, ordinary mortals need some help! Andrew McLauchlan, Will Graves,
 Simon Lawrence and Mike Peace completed the Ranelagh contingent in a massive
 field of 830.

 To accentuate the positive, our 22nd place was all but inside the top third
 of the clubs with teams of six, and we were one of only eleven clubs to
 finish a full contingent of twelve runners.

 LAST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH 5km  Friday 28th January in Hyde Park
 1 E Malloch (TH&H) 15.14
 83 Pete Warren 20.30
 89 Alan Davidson 20.49
 175 Wally Garrod 24.39
 200 John Hanscomb 27.49

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 29th January
 There was a smaller turn-out this week and another winner from across the
 Irish Sea. John Hanscomb relieved Wally Garrod of the mantle of oldest
 competitor to date.
 1 Gareth Farrell (Raheny) 17.12
 2 Shane McDermott (Rah) 19.18
 3 Stephen Instone 19.25
 4 Steve Rowland 19.37
 10 Alan Davidson 21.20
 17 John Hanscomb 27.53

 ROMSEY 5 MILES  Sunday 30th January
 Allan Lang was the leading over 65 in 34.50. 

 KINGFIELD CANTER  2.85 miles handicap  Wednesday 2nd February at Woking
 1 S Fenton (Unatt) 22.48 (actual time 19.27)
 13 Alan Davidson 26.06 (actual time 18.36)
 21 Steve Rowland 27.07 (actual time 17.37)
 31 Sonia Rowland 28.52 (actual time 22.52)

 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. Next few sessions
 below. Full details can be found on our web site.

 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.
 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
 Feb 22nd  6 mins, 3 mins, 6 mins, 3 mins, 6 mins efforts

 Thursday sessions. Each also includes a steady run warm up and warm down.
 Feb 3rd  3 x 3 x (100 metres + 200 metres) in Ranelagh Drive
 Feb 10th  2 x 5 x (100 metres + 200 metres)
 Feb 17th  3 x 4 x (100 metres + 200 metres)

 There's an updated version of the club kit order form now available on our
 web site. Contact Evelyn Joslin for more information:

 Phil Aken writes:
 "I've got race entries which I won't be using for:
 Sunday 13th February Valentine's 10K at Chessington
 Sunday 20th February Bramley 10
 Sunday 6th March Reading Half Marathon
 Sunday 20th March Adidas Breakfast Run (16m)
 If anyone wants them, let me know...". Contact details above.

 ...is visiting the UK from his home in the States for a few weeks commencing
 February 3rd. He's hoping to make it to a race or two and looks forward to
 meeting up with old friends.

 While the rest of us were having a reviving beer on the evening of the
 Southern, Mad McLaughlin was on her way up to Wolverhampton ready to take
 part in the notorious Toughguy event the next day. Watch this space...