Newsdesk 2005

 Editor: Steve Rowland
 mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com
 *  Club honours for Paul Doyle
 *  Men's team 26th in National Cross Country
 *  Club highest-ever Women's National finish by Sarah Seal
 *  Green Belt Relay details

 Apologies in advance that publication of the e-news might be a little
 erratic over the next few weeks as I find myself temporarily commuting to
 Warwick again.

 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 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 Schools Race 3.8 miles
 in Richmond Park. 3pm start.
                                              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.
 The Clutton Cup 10 miles handicap starts at 2.30pm on Saturday over two laps
 of our 5 miles course. All members can take part. The third Junior Points
 Prize race over 1.3 miles will be set off at about the same time, and all
 under 17s are welcome. Then finally at about 3pm the Ranelagh Cup schools
 race will be run over a lap of our 3.8 miles course. Anybody free to come
 along and help with officiating will be most welcome.

 INTER-CLUB 3.8 MILES  Saturday 5th March in Richmond Park
 This is a low-key event open to all members, starting at 3pm over one lap of
 our mob match course.

 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.

 This is to be held this year on Saturday and Sunday May 21st and 22nd. For
 those of you new to the event you can get all the information at
 www.greenbeltrelay.org.uk. In brief, it's a relay taking a very scenic route
 around the outskirts of London, comprising 20 stages with an average length
 of about 10 miles. Teams comprise ten runners and each runner has to run one
 stage on Saturday and another on Sunday. We usually put in at least three
 teams and there's room for all standards - indeed there's a trophy for the
 last team to finish which is currently the jealously guarded property of Bev
 Ali's Ranelagh Bloodhounds! We'll have a women's team, a men's team and
 possibly another mixed team, so we need up to 40 runners in all. If you're
 interested please contact me or Anna McLaughlin (details above) or Bev Ali
 (mailto:bev.ali@blueyonder.co.uk) as soon as possible.

 NATIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS  Saturday 19th February at Cofton Park,
 Anna McLaughlin writes:
 "The National Course at Cofton Park, Birmingham was a lot drier than the
 conditions we had experienced the previous week at West Ewell, but the mud
 was substituted by hills and this was a good but testing course.  Ranelagh
 Ladies only had a select few who made the journey to Birmingham, but after
 the hard fought battle last week everyone deserved a rest.

 The start was probably the equivalent to how it felt to be on a battlefield
 in years gone by, with us all flying down the hill towards the first corner.
 Sarah Seal had a fantastic run and was flying, she has raced and trained
 exceptionally hard this season and really deserved the 50th place, another
 club honours qualifying performance!  Louise Piears continued with the
 steady improvement she has made at each race this year finishing in a very
 creditable position in the strong field.  Unfortunately I didn't run as well
 as I had hoped and my legs felt empty from halfway round the first lap, but
 I battled through and finished in 119th place and can now say I have
 experienced a National!"

 Julian Smith adds:
 "Sarah moved through the field very well, getting as high as the high 40's
 early on the second lap before fading just a bit, although she held off a
 phalanx of pursuers at the end. Anna had a cold, started fast, and suffered
 magnificently, but still a great debut performance".

 Sarah's 50th was the best-ever result by a Ranelagh woman in the senior
 National, but I suspect that it's not a record that will stand for long!

 Julian himself was still less than 100% well and "went backwards rather
 dramatically" for 300th, our third man home but well behind the Haarer /
 Doyle battle. Andy Bickerstaff takes it up: "Paul was ahead of Peter for
 quite a while but Peter kept him in sight and passed him up the climbs
 around halfway. A late charge by Paul brought the gap to 5 secs and Peter
 was suprised he had got back so close. I saw far too much of Marcus's back
 slowly getting smaller and smaller. I started cautiously overtaking Chris on
 the first hill, for whom it was not muddy enough, and still finished like
 Meatloaf. Tremendous course, great support, thanks, and some outstanding
 Ranelagh performances....another National over. Relax!" 

 Marcus, Andy and Chris all finished in the 400s to close in our team in a
 creditable 26th place out of over 100 clubs closing in. Andrew and Mike
 backed up well in a field of over 1300 finishers.

 The men's qualifying criterion for club honours in the National is the top
 120. Peter Haarer already has them but Paul Doyle officially missed out by
 two places (and one second!). However, in view of Paul's fine series of
 performances over the winter, the committee has unanimously agreed to make
 an award of club honours to him for "meritorious performances throughout the
 season". Congratulations Popeye!

 Dan Jermy ran the Under 17s race, just missing the top 200.

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 19th February
 There was a field of over 40 again for the BPTT on another bright but chilly
 morning. West Waterford's Dermot Cummins was gunning for the course record
 but still has a few seconds to find. Behind him Stephen and Steve had their
 customary duel, won as usual by Stephen. Nevertheless Steve was one of the
 25 finishers who ran course pbs, a list also including Holly, John and
 1 D Cummins (Waterford) 16.32
 6 Stephen Instone 19.20
 8 Steve Rowland 19.29
 16 Darren Wood 21.30
 18 Simon Burrell 21.41
 20 Sam Hunton 21.55
 26 Amelie Hunton 23.26
 27 Chris Hunton 23.38
 31 Luke Wilson 24.20
 33 Sonia Rowland 24.35
 35 Gill Wilson 25.17
 36 John Hanscomb 25.30
 41 Holly Wilson 28.21

 SUSSEX BEACON HALF MARATHON  Sunday 20th February at Brighton
 Celia Beverly reports:
 "Since getting a Ranelagh place (one of the five) for the London Marathon,
 the responsibility has been weighing heavily on me not to let anyone down!
 Armed with three guides to, "Running your first marathon" - Beginners,
 Idiots and Dummies - all sadly appropriate Christmas gifts - I have been
 plotting and planning how to climb this mountain and have inexpertly woven
 their various schedules into Frances's invaluable notes and suggested
 monthly plans. 

 I thus came up with the need to do a half in February, in the tried and
 tested, "walk before you run" tradition. I sneakily entered my husband Mike
 (who was with the International Red Cross on the Sudanese border in Kenya at
 the time and didn't get consulted) and Anair who would, at 17, be just old
 enough to do her first half legally and was kind enough to say she'd do it
 too. Mike's training has been restricted to short runs in a dry wadi bed at
 dawn before the temperature (at 32 Centigrade) started to creep inexorably
 to its daily 36-37 average. Not an ideal preapartion for anything! 

 In the event, I also encouraged (some say twisted the arms of) six friends -
 all "girls" of a certain age (well 48 to 58 if you must know) - to sign up
 too. This is all the more remarkable if you know that 14 months ago not one
 of them was running at all. Inspired by my Ranelagh experience - and most
 particularly by Wally's extraordinary gift of inspiring the hopeless (i.e.
 me, 9 months previously) to run and enjoy it - I got together a group of, at
 its maximum, ten of us and got them doing what Wally and others (Pat,
 Deborah, Juliet and others) got me doing. 

 We have met two or three times a week in Richmond Park for just over a year,
 always at 9am, and run for 45 to 55 minutes. Once a month we do a "long"
 run; the first of these was our inaugural circuit of the park which was an
 enormous achievement at the time but one which we do fairly regularly now.
 We have increased our range and we "Richmond Park Runners" (NOT affiliated,
 I hasten to add) have done long runs on Wimbledon Common, twice round Hyde
 Park, round Bushy Park and various long stretches of the towpath. One girl
 who took up the challenge shortly after losing her husband to cancer did the
 Flora 5k with her daughter in September last and raised 5000 for the
 Marsden. We occasionally do some hill work and sprints but most of all we
 enjoy ourselves. The purists in the club will raise their eyebrows high to
 hear that we talk ALL THE WAY! I have done a double circuit of the park with
 a group of five and we have not run out of things to talk about for over two
 and a half hours!

 However, we did take this half marathon seriously and it was so cold, windy
 and moderately undulating in the second half (even hilly as we grappled with
 the coast road up to Rottingdean, past Roedean School) that we restricted
 most of our comments to encouragement. I won't take you through a blow by
 blow account of our race - it was noteable for the fact that all of us did
 it and did it well. Mike and Anair finished within a few seconds of each
 other in about 1 hr 39mins. I ran all the way round with a friend and we did
 2 hours 3 mins so as a family we were very pleased with ourselves.

 However, for the last mile and a half I was overwhelmed by the thought that
 I couldn't possibly up this to the 20 miles required of me (and Mike) in
 Worthing on March 20th let alone the full marathon we are both down for four
 weeks after that. Wally, you have a lot to answer for. Thank you".

 1 R Grant (Phoenix) 1.11.39
 41 Neil Walford 1.21.30
 225 Stephen Arneil 1.32.01
 478 Michael Beverly 1.38.54
 481 Anair Beverly 1.39.02
 1133 Rachel Turtle 1.52.20
 1421 John Hanscomb 1.57.54
 1648 Celia Beverly 2.03.20

 WOBURN 10km  Sunday 20th February
 Clive Beauvais was 2nd over 55 to finish in 39.46

 BRAMLEY 20 MILES  Sunday 20th February
 1 J McFarlane (TH&H) 1.44.12
 356 Simon Burrell 2.43.40
 394 Evelyn Joslin 2.48.20
 450 Derek Mason 2.52.23
 529 Tom Reay 2.59.52

 Complete results have now been published.

 Tough Tuesdays continue as normal, with speed work for various groups and
 Wally's beginners' club. Full details on our web site.

 Robin Drummond's  "Improvers Sessions" continue on Thursday nights at 7pm
 from the clubhouse, concentrating on speed and technique. Details of the
 next few sessions below.

 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.

 Thursday sessions. Each also includes a steady run warm up and warm down.
 Mar 3rd  2 x Petersham Rd, Richmond Hill, Nightingale Lane plus 2 x reverse
 Mar 10th  3 x Nightingale Lane (bottom), 3 x Nightingale Lane (top), 3 x
 Nightingale Lane (top + 50 metres)

 From Belgrave Harriers' report of the National:
 "Within an hour the park was all but deserted. That treacherous wind now
 brought in snow again as the tent was dismantled and those who had been on
 site soon after dawn had the world to themselves once more - and enjoyed the
 most hilarious moment of the day. Gordon Biscoe, taking one last chance to
 'inspect the plumbing' at the portaloos before journeying home, had to shout
 for help as, while occupying his place of convenience, it was connected to
 the sewage disposal unit before being fork-lifted onto the back of a lorry
 for transfer to who knows where!"