Newsdesk 2001

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> Web site: http://www.surreyweb.net/rharriers
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> Parliament Hill was in absolutely prime condition for the Southern
> Cross-Country Championships last Saturday. An already wet heath was
> churned by the junior races into a glutinous clinging shoe-collecting
> mire. No wonder then that the winning time in the men's 9  miles event was
> more than four minutes slower than last year. Julian was over five minutes
> slower but two places higher with an outstanding 32nd place, his best
> ever. He started very conservatively but made steady progress throughout
> the race. Bizarrely he attributes his performance to the fact that he is
> doing no serious training. Now, this is strange. I thought I had this "no
> serious training" lark perfected, but all it seems to do for me is to make
> me slower. What am I doing wrong?       
> Our next four, Marcus, Graeme, Andy and Chris, were never far apart just
> inside the top 200 and Mick closed in the scoring six at number 278.
> Team-wise we were 17th, respectable though a bit of a slip from last
> year's magnificent 7th. But it's a little worrying that half our scoring
> six were veterans! Another half a team - all sorely missed - was
> spectating and the good news is that Messrs Benton, Haarer and Jones all
> reported good progress after injury.
> Sarah Seal picks up the story for the women's race:
> "The ladies team put in an outstanding performance on a very tough course
> at Parliament Hill - made especially muddy by 12 hours of rain the
> previous day! Our final position was 10th out of 34 teams a highly
> respectable position and a nice reward for the hard work the the girls
> have consistenly put in over the cross country season.
> Allison O'Neill stamped her mark early on in the race and made running
> through the treacle-like mud look very easy - Allison finished in a very
> impressive 49th place. I was the next lass to stumble across the finish
> line for Ranelagh  - determined to  hang on to my 99th position. Kathy
> Mallett followed closely behind in 119th. Sonia Rowland ran an eyeballs
> out effort to finish in 153rd place and completed the scorers for the
> team. However the real action was to be seen between Eliete and Louise
> Piears who battled against each other around the glorious two laps with
> Eliete managing to finish ahead of Louise by just 19 seconds and finished
> in 191st and 194th places respectively. Unfortunately Margaret was injured
> and unable to run however she spurred us on all of the way, along with the
> rest of the consistent Ranelagh supporters. A big thank you to everyone
> who turned up  to cheer us on through the gruelling mud. We needed it! And
> an extra big thank you from me to Allison, Kathy, Sonia, Eliete and Louise
> for once again turning up on a Saturday afternoon and giving 100% effort
> for the team."
> We had only one representative in the junior races - Daniel Fielder who
> finished 48th in the Under 13 event.    
> 1 N Francis (Shaft B) 52.13
> 32 Julian Smith 56.50
> 157 Marcus Gohar 62.38
> 166 Graeme MacFadyen 63.09
> 183 Andy Bickerstaff 63.42
> 189 Chris Owens 63.54
> 278 Mick Lane 67.09
> 362 Paul Graham 69.36
> 364 Mike Peace 69.41
> 894 finished.
> Teams
> 1 Thames H&H 129
> 17 Ranelagh 996 
> 73 teams closed in
> 1 H Yelling (Hounslow) 33.58
> 49 Allison O'Neill 40.58
> 99 Sarah Seal 44.19
> 119 Katharine Mallett 45.34
> 153 Sonia Rowland 47.04
> 191 Eliete Nascimento 49.26
> 194 Louise Piears 49.45
> 327 finished.
> Teams
> 1 Shaftesbury Barnet 63
> 10 Ranelagh 409
> 34 teams closed in
> We had a full team of six ready at 3pm for the South of the Thames
> Championship on Wimbledon Common on January 20th. Unfortunately the race
> had started at 2.30pm. Oops. Only Marcus Gohar was there in time,
> finishing 34th in 37.54. Ashe of Belgrave was first across the line in
> 33.02 but was competing as a guest. Following 81 seconds behind  was the
> real winner, Andy Weir of Thames.
> David Wright writes from Cirencester:
> "Do I get a prize for being the highest placed Ranelagh male in the senior
> county championships?  In a stunningly high standard field of 69 runners
> in the Gloucestershire champs, I was 19th.  Memories of when Gordon
> Whitson used to sneak off to the Gwent champs and qualify for the
> inter-counties".
> Gordon now sneaks off even further. He writes from Athens:
> "I came 6th in the Piraeus District X country champs run over 6 undulating
> 2km+ laps of a course in Athens on 13th January in 45mins 30secs. My club,
> Piraikos Syndesmos took second team medals (not too difficult as only two
> teams closed in the required three runners), led home by me, with a team
> with a cumulative age of around 140 years. With a field of around 15, down
> from 30 plus three 
> years ago, it seems that the success of Greece in the sprint and throwing
> events at major championships is not being carried through to the distance
> events, where standards and participation at an athletics club level
> remain low. There are more joggers around than ten years ago but they are
> totally excluded from the club scene. Veterans athletics is organised into
> clubs separate from the athletics clubs, meaning that in the top clubs you
> rarely see athletes over 35 competing. Successful athletes rarely continue
> competing once they are over the hill, so veterans I encounter are almost
> entirely latecomers to the sport or people that never made it within club 
> athletics. Piraikos is rather an exception as after recent defections to
> bigger clubs we oldies are the only people left!!"
> Still on the Championships, 7th in the Middlesex and 68th in the Southern
> Under 15 race was one Nathan Jones, running for London Heathside. Nathan
> is of course the eldest chip off that very speedy old block Hugh Jones.
> Hugh himself spent the three days prior to the Southern setting up all the
> stakes and tape that mark the route, having found himself volunteered to
> be clerk of the course.
> Back in December on his annual trip to Barbados he finished 2nd in the
> local marathon in 2.29. 
> Congrats to Clare, Andy, Dave, Mick and Paul, otherwise known as Zis Boom
> Bah, for their very impressive gig the other week. They painted it black,
> they zissed, they boomed, we bahed. 
> They'd like to thank everyone who made the trek over to Brixton to support
> them. If we ask them nicely, they're going to perform again in the
> clubhouse after the Baker Cup supper on March 24th. 
> Here's an ad from Joanne Muirlittle:
> "Room to let in Ham..... double room with en suite loo & basin plus share
> of house.  GCH, parking space, plenty storage etc.  Available end
> February.  530 pcm inclusive except telephone. 1 mile Richmond Park, 1
> mile Kingston, 2 miles Richmond train station.   Regular bus service.
> Non-smoker preferred.  Please contact Joanne 020 8487 2271 (w) or 020 8948
> 4341 (h)."  
> More details of all the following from Paul Graham (0796 7788945 /
> paulgraham28@hotmail.com) or Sarah Seal (020 8995 2380 /
> sarah.seal@haynet.com).
> Saturday February 3rd Men's Surrey League at Farthing Down, Coulsdon.
> Under 17s 2.30pm, seniors 3pm. The final men's League fixture. 
> Saturday February 10th Mob Match v Blackheath Harriers at Hayes
> (Kent). The season's last mob match, on a tough but scenic COUNTRY course.
> 7.5 miles, starting at 2.30pm.  Please be there! The Blackheath HQ is in
> Bourne Way, close to the junction of the A2022 and A232 and near Hayes
> station. 
> Sunday February 11th  Richmond Mini Marathon trial at Old Deer Park. These
> are the qualifying events for the junior races held along the last part of
> the London Marathon course on April 22nd. The combined girls under 18 and
> under 16 race doubles up as our club junior women's championship for the
> Camilla Cup. We need a few people to help with marshalling and recording -
> and maybe signing up some new young members! The first event is at 9.30am.
> Saturday February 17th The race against the Bank of England at
> Roehampton will presumably not take place thanks to the Park authorities'
> ban on cross-country until further notice. Can anyone confirm this please?
> Saturday February 17th  Surrey Ladies League at Lloyd Park, Croydon. NOTE
> this is a double-header with a men's fixture, and as always in the final
> League event the senior race will come first. So the start time for the
> seniors is VERY EARLY - 12.30pm! The Under 13s follow at 1.15pm, the Under
> 15s at 1.45pm and the Under 17s at 2.15pm. Please contact Sarah if you
> need transport or more details of the venue etc.    
> The leaders in the men's race on Saturday lapped their first tail-ender (a
> Garden City Jogger, since you ask) half way round their second lap. They
> had run 4.5 miles, he had covered 1.5 miles. Think about it... 
> Steve Rowland
> Tel:  01926 318734
> Fax: 01926 318718
> e-mail: srowland@calorgas.co.uk