Newsdesk 2005

 Editor: Steve Rowland
 mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com
 *  Women's team wins Surrey League title
 *  Men's team finishes 5th in Surrey League but can't escape relegation
 *  Mini-Marathon trials

 ...to Anna McLaughlin and her women's team! Their Division 1 victory was our
 first-ever League Division One title, men or women. This was a fantastic
 team effort, with twelve different runners featuring in the scoring teams
 for the four races. It climaxed a season of unprecedented success: first in
 the Surrey Road Relays, first in the Surrey Championships, first in the
 South of Thames Championships and now first in the Surrey League.

 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 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. All members welcome.
                                              Junior Points Prize race 3. 1.3
 miles in Richmond Park.  2.30pm start. All under 17s welcome.
                                              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start  

 Saturday March 5th                Inter-club 3.8 miles in Richmond Park. 3pm
 start. A low-key inter-club, all members welcome.
                                             Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial
 5km. 9am start
 Saturday March 12th              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial  5km. 9am

 Sunday March 13th                Finchley 20 miles at Ruislip. See below.
                                             Hastings Half Marathon including
 Surrey championships. See below.

 Saturday March 19th              Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial  5km. 9am

 Sunday March 20th                Worthing 20 miles. The other "pre-London"
 20. Details: http://www.worthingharriers.co.uk/worthing20.htm.
                                             Adidas "Breakfast Runs" 8 or 16
 miles at Kingston. Details: http://humanrace.co.uk/breakfast/index.html. 
 FINCHLEY 20 MILES ROAD RACE including the Spendlove Cup club championship
 Sunday 13th March
 Another reminder that this pre-London '20' is on March 13th at 2pm and not
 the 20th as originally shown on our fixture list. It's also the club 20
 championship, with the Spendlove Cup on offer. Entry forms are in the
 clubhouse or can be downloaded at www.hillingdonac.co.uk. 

 A very late decision has been made that the Hastings race will include the
 Surrey championship. It was already the AAA, the South of England AA and the
 Inter-Counties championship! Information and entry form at

 TEDDY HALL RELAYS  Wednesday March 9th at Oxford (2pm start)
 If anyone fancies a Wednesday afternoon run around the Oxford colleges,
 please contact Andy Bickerstaff. We need a team of four, each running 3.5
 miles.  For more details go to: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ouccc/thr2005/.

 The full list of events is yet to be confirmed but will probably begin as
 usual with the Thames Towpath 10 at Chiswick on Sunday April 3rd. Details
 and an entry form can be obtained at http://www.west4harriers.org.

 So here it was, crunch day at last! A lead of 17 points to defend over
 Belgrave Harriers who could potentially call on two or three internationals
 to bolster their team. Captain Anna McLaughlin suffered some sleepless
 nights fretting that every phone call would bring news of injuries or
 illnesses, but in the end the only drop-out was Alice Beverly who had sadly
 injured her back in the British Universities Championships the previous
 week. Allison O'Neill was still out too with the virus that has laid her low
 since November but the good news was that Jo Ronaldson was back in action
 after three months out with injury.

 The venue for the showdown was perhaps less than inspiring! The Hogsmill
 River Open Space at West Ewell is virtually flat but notoriously muddy. Long
 spikes were essential, notwithstanding some short sections of tarmac. The
 afternoon was mostly bright but a cold wind hand blown up during the

 Over to Captain Anna:
 "The hooter sounded and the Ranelagh pack charged down the starting straight
 towards the first of the tight turns we had to negotiate. Heading back
 towards the start after the first kilometre, the Ranelagh contingent were
 closely packed together, with eight of our runners completely outnumbering
 the one of Belgrave... as we set off for the big back loop it started to
 settle in the front group with the second of Belgrave's contingent starting
 to make a move up the field... but not that far! And then that loop was over
 and we headed off into the next lap. I would report further but sorry it is
 all a blur for me now... although the slight smile that passed my lips as I
 ran past the poor Belgrave front runner who had lost a shoe in one of the
 many bogs is a lasting memory... so it was then an out and out race to the
 finish... could we keep ahead of all the other Belgrave runners to not only
 secure a win in the match but also the League....? Well yes of course we
 could... and not only that but our outstanding B team also managed to finish
 3rd in the match... wow what a performance!!"

 That group of eight Ranelagh vests right behind the leaders after the first
 half mile is a sight that will stick in the minds of all the Ranelagh
 supporters. We seemed to have it in the bag already! Even so, the supporters
 were there to exercise their lungs and this they certainly did...there must
 have been thirty or more Ranelagh Harriers who had taken the trouble to come
 and they made sure our runners had no chance to rest. Allison O'Neill in
 particular seemed to be everywhere!

 Jo Ronaldson, who has kept fit with aqua-jogging, put in an amazing
 performance and was probably one of the few to welcome the sticky and
 slippery underfoot conditions. On a faster course she felt that her lack of
 speed work might have caught her out but her strength here took her through
 to 3rd place for much of the race before being pushed back to 4th in the
 finishing straight. In contrast the conditions didn't suit Sarah Seal but
 she kept pace with Jo for most of the distance before settling for 6th.
 Marie Synnott-Wells, the only runner to feature in our scoring team in all
 four league races, ran as well as ever but found herself a bit isolated in
 10th place while behind her Sara Grosvenor and Anna McLaughlin battled
 stride for stride all the way for 13th and 14th. This gave us an A team
 score of 47 points, but more importantly Belgrave had clearly not risen to
 the challenge. They had only two runners home ahead of Anna and finished 27
 points behind us, leaving us overall champions by a clear 44 points.

 But as Anna has already said, it didn't end there! Right behind Sara and
 Anna came Liz Kipling, another returning from injury, and not far behind Liz
 was Estelle Damant, giving us seven runners home in the top 20. Clare Gutch,
 Kathy Mallett and Anair Beverly completed our B team which finished in third
 place on the day, the best ever result for any B team in the league. Overall
 they were placed 9th, the leading B team and ahead of seven clubs' A teams!
 Seven more Ranelagh vests crossed the line, more than any other club could
 manage. In the overall individual competition, Sarah Seal won the bronze

 Rebecca Clayden was our only runner in the junior events but she ran
 strongly to finish 9th in the Under 15s.

 Anna continues:
 "Now the nerves have subsided and the dizziness of winning has calmed down
 (don't worry I still have the grin plastered on my face), I would like to
 congratulate everyone on a great team performance. Not only were all
 seventeen ladies that ran superb, all the supporters screaming their heads
 off made this a truly memorable day...".

 Full results have yet to surface, so the positions and times from Anair
 onwards are provisional.

  1 D Lee (Thames H&H) 24.04
  4 Jo Ronaldson 24.52
  6 Sarah Seal 25.12
 10 Marie Synnott-Wells 25.36
 13 Sara Grosvenor 26.02
 14 Anna McLaughlin 26.04
 15 Liz Kipling 26.17
 20 Estelle Damant 26.42
 30 Clare Gutch 27.47
 33 Kathy Mallett 28.17
 54 Anair Beverly 30.04
 58 Sonia Rowland 30.24
 65 Vicky Whaley 31.12
 68 Louise Piears 31.26
 Michele Gibson 32.24
 Julia Langensiepen 33.26
 Carol Barnshaw 35.01
 Teresa Segovia 40.10

 Teams (5 to score)
  1 Ranelagh A 47
  2 Belgrave 84
  3 Ranelagh B 152
  4 South London 153
  5 Thames H&H 178
  6 Herne Hill 208
  7 Reigate Priory 210
  8 Kingston & P 229
  9 Dulwich R 230
 10 Stragglers 236

  1 Ranelagh A 245
  2 Belgrave 299
  3 Thames H&H 508
  4 South London 540
  5 Stragglers 760
  6 Epsom & E 871
  7 Woking 879
  8 Herne Hill 892
  9 Ranelagh B 1042
 10 Dulwich R 1046

 Under 15
  1 S Cowper (Redhill SB) 12.56
  9 Rebecca Clayden 14.10

 In contrast with the women's event we had maintained a low profile in the
 run-up to the equally vital final men's league race. We were in 8th place,
 facing relegation and over a hundred points adrift of seventh. However, we
 expected to get a pretty good team out and we were hoping to lull our
 opposition into a false sense of security. It nearly worked! 

 Captain Bicks said he was looking for "the greatest escape since Steve
 McQueen on his motorbike". And that was pretty much exactly what he got.
 Poor Steve, it will be recalled, made it all the way to the Swiss border
 before crashing into the barbed wire. We pulled back 107 points on Reigate
 Priory on the day but the target had been 136. The barbed wire in our case
 was the two Reigate Priory runners stretching away stride for stride at the
 front of the race. Behind them their team was weak with only two more inside
 the top sixty. But that initial advantage proved enough to carry the day. We
 didn't make it and we will be back in the cooler of Division Two next year.

 Traditionally the final league race tends to be weaker than the first three
 and this year was no exception. The race for the title, after all, was
 already as good as over with Thames Hare and Hounds holding a huge lead; and
 the National Championships were only a week away. Belgrave Harriers in
 second place fielded only the bare minimum of ten runners and Herne Hill in
 third were actually a man short. Even Thames themselves had only ten.

 But that shouldn't detract from some excellent runs from the Ranelagh team,
 who without exception rose to the occasion determined to battle for every
 point. David Benton was our top man all the way in the early teens, but in
 the end he was only a handful of seconds ahead of Peter Haarer, who showed
 remarkable form for a man who has been just ticking over in training this
 winter. Paul Doyle found himself in the now unfamiliar position of being
 only the third Ranelagh man but still well inside the top twenty.

 Julian Smith made his accustomed steady start and contrived to put himself
 even further back by tackling the first steep downhill head first.
 Thereafter he was passing runners all the way, but as he left Jordan
 Mungovan in his wake he might have felt his pocket being metaphorically
 picked. Jordan was all out for the 20 offered by Julian to anyone outside
 the club's top runners to make it into the top 50 in a league race. Jordan's
 eventual 45th was another great performance from the young man, the second
 under 20 to finish, and Julian was happy enough to pay up.

 Behind Jordan was the usual Marcus and Mick double act, followed by the
 Captain himself who, leading by example and determined to run himself into
 the ground, started like a bat out of hell and finished like Meatloaf. Peter
 Weir and Chris Owens completed the scoring ten and it was good to see
 another seven RH backing them up. We finished as 5th team on the day,
 needless  to say our best result of the season.

 For the record, the clubs we will be facing in Division 2 next year are:
 Dulwich Runners, Hercules Wimbledon, West 4, Croydon, British Airways,
 Stragglers, Epsom and Ewell and Striders of Croydon. The two clubs moving up
 to Division 1 are Kingston & Poly and Walton.

 SURREY LEAGUE PARTY  Saturday 12th February at the Dysart
 Champagne flowed courtesy of the President and the small but perfectly
 formed Division One cup was proudly on display. The bar was heaving and I'm 
 told celebrations were still going strong at chucking-out time...

 Apart from the ones on our web site, Paul Sinton-Hewitt has plenty of shots
 of both the men's and women's races at

 REGENT'S PARK 10km  Sunday 6th February
 There were only four RH competing but Marie was the leading woman, Bill and
 Pete were the first two over 60s and Michelle was the leading over 55.
   1 H Raidi (Belgrave) 32.31
  31 Marie Synnott-Wells 39.30
  42 Bill Harvey 41.23
  46 Pete Warren 41.36
 210 Michelle Harvey 59.45

 RICHMOND MINI-MARATHON TRIALS  Sunday 6th February in Richmond Park
 We hosted some 90 youngsters competing for places in the Richmond team for
 the 5km mini-marathon which is held on London Marathon day. Alex McKenna,
 who ran so well in the London race last year, won her event by over a minute
 and several other Ranelagh Harriers featured well.
 Girls 15 - 17
  1 L Broughton 19.28
  2 Rebecca Clayden 20.28
  3 Emily Ball 21.44

 Girls 13 - 14
  1 Alex McKenna 19.01
  2 Nadia Fidler 20.11
  4 Willow Mallin 21.58
  7 Victoria Elbourne 23.17
  8 Rhiannon Lewis 26.17

 Girls 11 - 12
  1 A Sparrow 19.16
  2 Georgia Miansarow 19.33
  9 Anna Mallett 21.58

 Boys 15 - 17
  1 J Redshaw 15.25
  7 Matt Hirschler 17.05

 Boys 13 - 14
  1 L Boyd 17.21
 13 David Ready 24.26

 Boys 11 - 12
  1 M Horn 17.37
 20 Luke Wilson 21.25

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 12th February
 A few less runners this week owing to a lot of other racing elsewhere, but
 the 28 finishers included a full complement of Wilsons! The grassy sections
 were damp and slippery and this may have been responsible for slowing the
 times a little.
  1 D Cummins (Waterford) 19.43
  2 Stephen Instone 19.54
  9 Roger Wilson 22.42
 14 Stephen McClune 23.37
 16 Luke Wilson 24.54
 17 Evelyn Joslin 25.00
 23 Holly Wilson 28.28
 24 John Hanscomb 28.37
 27 Gill Wilson 29.59 

 VALENTINE'S 10km   Sunday 13th February at Chessington
 Just around the corner from the previous day's heroics at West Ewell a good
 crowd of Ranelagh Harriers braved winds straight from the Steppes, one of
 them, Ann Murray, in her first-ever race. Despite the conditions there was
 an impressive crop of pbs.
   1 M Boyle (Herne Hill) 32.25
   2 Stephen Arneil 40.46
 149 Simon Burrell 44.47
 209 Evelyn Joslin 47.16
 277 Juliette Chan 49.19
 314 Wally Garrod 50.21
 386 Geoff Bell 52.57
 401 Janet Turnes 53.29
 452 David Meaden 55.48
 461 John Hanscomb 56.05
 484 Alan Meaden 56.56
 532 Hazel Carr 59.11
 537 Lynne Barber 59.17
 612 Deborah Blakemore 64.52
 620 Ann Murray 65.59
 625 Cindy Croucher 66.17

 WOKINGHAM HALF MARATHON  Sunday 13th February
 A big pb for one of our London Marathon ballot winners Stephen Roberts.
   1 D Roberts (Marlow) 1.12.50
 370 Stephen Roberts 1.35.52
 471 Kerry McLoughlin 1.38.54
 827 John Keep 1.48.14

 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.

 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 22nd  6 mins, 3 mins, 6 mins, 3 mins, 6 mins efforts

 "Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity".  Michael