Newsdesk 2005

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 180              28 MAY 2005
 Editor: Steve Rowland
 mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com
 *  Successful Green Belt Relay
 *  Women's team 2nd, men's vets 3rd
 *  Seven individual stage wins

 ...to the following new members:
 Lara Denaro, Clare Dowty, Katie Dixon, Heidi Parker, Kay Spratt, Jessica
 Persson, Iain Wilson, Noel Stoddart, Freddie Crowther, Richard Crowther,
 Nathan Mills, Andrew Heath, Andrew Morris, Phil Killingley, Tony Albertini.

 Jo Turner writes:
 "The Ranelagh Summer Party is to be a boat party on the Thames on Friday
 24th June from 8pm until midnight. We will be sailing on the Kingston
 Royale. Tickets will be 20 and include disco and buffet. There are 90
 tickets so it's first come first served! I am having some tickets printed
 which will be available from the club on Wednesdays and Tuesdays quite soon.
 Contact me (mailto:joturner_45@hotmail.com) or Marina

 Frances Ratchford writes:
 "2005 is the 10th anniversary of Ranelagh's Women's Running Courses. On
 Tuesday June 14th we are having a relay and party to celebrate the event.
 Everyone in the women's section is invited to take part and all we ask is
 that you give your name to Wally, Sarah, Anna or Frances for the relay and
 that you bring something to eat or drink on the night. 

 If you know anyone who has taken part in one of the courses over the last
 ten years please invite them.  It would be great to make this a reunion as
 well as a celebration of the women's section". 

 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 June 4th                 Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial  5km. 9am
                                            South Downs Way Relay.  See

 Sunday June 5th                   Dorking 10 miles.  Ranelagh Grand Prix
 Race 5. See below. 

 Saturday June 11th               Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial  5km. 9am

 Saturday June 18th               Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial  5km. 9am

 Saturday June 25th               Ranelagh Bushy Park Time Trial  5km. 9am

 Sunday June 26th                 Dysart Dash 10km at Ham.  Ranelagh Grand
 Prix Race 6. See below. 

 Sunday July 3rd                    Harry Hawkes 8 miles at Thames Ditton.
 Ranelagh Grand Prix Race 7. See below. 

 Julian Smith writes:
 "Ranelagh's next attempt at a long-distance relay is on Saturday 4th June,
 when a men's team has been specially invited to take part in the 100-mile
 South Downs Way Relay between Eastbourne and Winchester. About 35 teams will
 take part in a continuous 18-stage relay with staggered starts. Our six-man
 team of Julian Smith, Andy Bickerstaff, Neil Walford, Chris Owens, Andrew
 McLauchlan and new second-claim member Phil Killingley will run 3 legs each
 of about 5 to 8 miles between their start in Eastbourne at 9am and an
 anticipated finish time of around 7.30pm at Chilcomb, just outside
 Winchester. If anyone is interested in coming to support, please contact
 Julian Smith for details. Assuming they don't get lost, the team should be
 crossing the A23 at Pyecombe around 12.30, the A285 around 2.45 and the A3
 at Queen Elizabeth Country Park around 5pm". 

 The next events are the Dorking 10 miles on June 5th and the Dysart Dash
 10km on June 26th. Full details can be found on our web site and entry forms
 can be found in the folder at the clubhouse. 

 DORKING 10 MILES  Sunday 5th June
 This road 10 miler features not only in our own Grand Prix but also in the
 Surrey Road League and incorporates the Surrey Championship. Start is at
 10am (not 10.45am as in previous years) at Dorking Rugby Club, Brockham.
 Details at http://www.dmvac.org.uk/dorking10/. 

 DYSART DASH 10km  Sunday 26th June
 This is the second of our two road race promotions, starting at 10am in
 Meadlands Drive, a 5 mins jog from the clubhouse. Full details are on our
 web site (http://www.ranelagh-harriers.com/dydash_05.html). The race forms
 the Surrey 10km Championship and is included in the Surrey Road League.

 Sonia Rowland, Sue Ashley and Kathy Mallett are planning to run the Chris
 Brasher SDW relay route on Saturday 2nd July to set an inaugural women's
 over 50 record. This uses the shorter SDW that existed when the rules were
 first established back in 1973, some 74 miles starting at Sunwood Farm near
 Petersfield and finishing at Beachy Head. They will divide the route into 30

 They would welcome any other trios or larger teams who fancy having a go at
 the run and keeping them company. A couple of dozen Ranelagh teams have
 completed the route over the years, ranging from the extraordinary record of
 7.08.33 set by David Wright, Mike Riley and Geoff Jones back in 1985 right
 up to nearly 11 hours. The vets record is 8.01.50 by Jim Forrest, Ned
 Sullivan and John Pratt, also in 1985, and the women's record is 9.23.45 by
 Sonia Rowland, Sue Colver and Anne Heeringa in 1992. There is currently no
 recorded time for a men's over 50 team, nor indeed for a men's over 60s...

 The official rules call for three runners plus driver in one car, but that's
 only relevant for record purposes - larger teams would be equally welcome.
 Contact me if you'd like more information. 

 HARRY HAWKES 8 MILES  Sunday 3rd July
 Race 7 in our Grand Prix series. Start is at 10am at Giggs Hill Green in
 Thames Ditton. Details at http://www.hh8.org.uk/.

 GREEN BELT RELAY  Saturday May 21st and Sunday May 22nd
 Anna McLaughlin reports:
 "For those runners who were experiencing their first GBR, the weather
 conditions on Saturday would probably have convinced most of them that
 running around London in May is not an enjoyable experience. but once we had
 dragged one poor unsuspecting 'victim' out of the van to get to the briefing
 at the beginning of her leg, it all fell into place. 'Warming up was not an
 option. But the once the starting whistle sounded the experience began! Corn
 fields, stiles, gates and the experience of the weather change was enough to
 change her view...'

 The 2005 GBR was another successful event for the ladies team, with the ten
 runners who pitted themselves brilliantly against the strong competition
 over the often gruelling course being: Sarah Smith; Liz Kipling; Kathy
 Mallett; Sue Ashley; Marie Synnott-Wells; Louise Piears; Lizzie Clifford;
 Clodagh Fahy; Sonia Rowland and myself!

 So to the story of the weekend. 

 Sarah Smith arrived at Hampton Court Palace as sprightly as usual only to be
 confronted with the daunting fact that pitted against her was to be Sonia O'
 Sullivan on both the legs she was due to run... Sonia, having only recently
 decided that the competition against Tulu in Manchester was not good enough
 had spied our Sarah's name on the team declaration and decided to catch her
 unprepared. (this may or may not be an elaboration of the truth!). however,
 Sarah was undeterred and although finding the initial pace a little faster
 than enjoyable she finished in what would have been a new course record -
 three minutes faster than last year!...

 Taking on the baton from Sarah was Liz Kipling, who ran another outstanding
 leg in another new record time only to be pipped to the line and beaten into
 2nd - which for a while was the way things continued to go with Kathy
 Mallett who raced across the meadows of Boveney in pursuit of her nearest
 rival finishing in another fine 2nd place.

 Sue Ashley then took on the mantle of the difficult leg 4. The weather
 conditions decided to pitch their battle against the strength of our Sue
 (and the rest of the runners). but it failed to have the knowledge that we
 mortals do, which is that Sue loves that kind of conditions and not only
 that she runs faster. in fact she ran 4 minutes faster than last year.

 So then it was on to prising Marie out of the van, but with a hop, skip and
 a jump (through some trees!) Marie was our first stage winner of the day.
 winning the coveted yellow jersey and a strong coffee from the local pub!

 Whilst Louise made her way on to St Albans on leg 6, the rest of the
 Ranelagh teams, with the aid of satellite trackers, hunted the surrounding
 area for our missing supporter. All was to end happily with Louise running a
 great leg and everyone managing to get to the end of the leg at the same

 Lizzie looking lean and very fit (!) crucified the rest of the ladies' field
 in leg 7 racing home seven minutes in front to claim our second stage win of
 the day. we were starting to become a band of gold and had the Serpies
 ladies team starting to quake in their trainers!! 

 Due to an injury, Clodagh stepped up to the ladies team at the last moment,
 so with map in hand and Derek to help her navigate she set off through the
 scenic countryside of leg 8. once the hard navigation of the early part was
 out of the way and all that was left was the long straight home along the
 canal path, Clodagh struck out on her own picking up the speed and cruising
 across the line to finish strongly.

 'It's a lovely leg,' said Robin Drummond to me as I stood on the start line
 for leg 9, 'There is a long drag up at the start and be careful not to get
 lost in the woods, but apart from that you will enjoy it'. so with these
 words echoing in my ears I set off in pursuit of the lead bike through the
 housing estate. A main road and a 20 minute climb straight up the side of a
 hill later I realised that Robin's interpretation of a drag was a little
 different to mine, fortunately though the excellent markings through the
 forest meant that I couldn't get lost and a short while later I found myself
 on the finishing straight to cross the line for another team stage win!

 So it was Sonia's turn to finally stretch her legs after driving around all
 day. nominating herself 'road safety monitor' Sonia spent a large part of
 her leg battling with two men that should have known better than to keep
 crossing the roads in front of her but the last laugh was on them as she
 outsprinted them both in front of the packed village green to the enjoyment
 of those of us that were enjoying a much needed beer at the end of the day!

 And then all of a sudden it was time to sleep!! 

 Day 2 started early, but spurred on by her leg winning performance the day
 before, Lizzie once again raced into the lead crossing the finish line as
 the leg winner and our first double stage winner.

 This time no coaxing was required to get Marie onto the start line of leg 12
 as the sun was shining brilliantly and the roads of Essex beckoned. As with
 Lizzie, the previous day's experience still gave off a positive glow and
 Marie too raced on to claim her second leg win and double stage winner's

 Clodagh struck out on her own from the start on leg 13 managing to navigate
 her way from the amazing views of the Thames Estuary, under the viaduct and
 on to Lullingstone Park. Obviously the lure of bacon sandwiches at the end
 was stronger for her than for poor Derek who was left trailing in her wake
 and had to leave the park without even tasting a morsel!

 Leg 14 is the longest leg on the second day and is not for the faint
 hearted, so up stepped Sue ready for the challenge and taking it by the
 horns she succeeded in overthrowing the devils on the hills and even though
 the last mile to the finish was tough on her lungs and legs she finished
 stronger than any of the rest of the team would have!

 Liz ran stage 15 brilliantly, claiming our 3rd stage win of the day,
 narrowly missing out of the leg record by 16 seconds and being 4th home

 From the start of leg 16, Kathy ran stride for stride with the girl from
 Serpies but unfortunately for her, youth overtook experience in the sprint
 for the finish, and she was just pushed out to 2nd place.

 1.6 miles downhill at the start of stage 17 sounds bliss to the uneducated,
 but the now experienced of us who have done it know that it is just another
 way to hurt!!! But once that was out of the way, followed by the long climb
 back up the other side of the valley it was a beautiful leg and although I
 was sadly beaten into 2nd place, I did enjoy trying to outsprint the poor
 unsuspecting bloke in front to the finish line!! 

 With the lure of a glass of wine at the end of the leg (that is what you
 shouted at us wasn't it?!?!) the pre-GBR training that Louise put in
 certainly paid off as she cantered through the leg toward to the lock at
 Pyrford. This time there was no distraction for her family (apart from a
 very conveniently parked ice cream van!) as they waited to cheer her over
 the finish line.

 Leg 19 was a new one to Sonia, so having recce'd it the week before she
 confidently stepped up to the breach for the penultimate leg of the event.
 With no runners and cars to shout at this time, Sonia saved all her energy
 for another strong finish for a great 4th place. 

 Despite a lack of proper food throughout the day, Sarah ran a fine final leg
 for the ladies team, once again bettering her time from last year. Narrowly
 being beaten by 'that Sonia girl' again (although everyone was beaten this
 time!) to us mere mortals she was the first lady home.

 Sarah's final charge to the line signalled the end to this year's hugely
 enjoyable event and all that was left was for the calculators to be brought
 out to see who had won the team prizes. and the beers to be bought at the

 In the Ladies team standings we were very narrowly pipped to the post by the
 Serpies ladies team, in what was a great battle over the 211 mile course
 boiling down to a mere 22 minute difference between the teams and with both
 of us breaking the previous course record. However, they were not to claim
 all the prizes of the day, with the Queen of the Mountains Trophy, for the
 team fastest over the tough legs 4,5,14 & 17 being won by just under a
 minute by ourselves, so once again trophy in hand the Ladies team was

 Finally, and I do apologise for this being so long, I would like to thank
 Steve and Sonia for all their hard work in organising us all over the
 weekend, Mike and Annie, Clive and Niels for driving the mini-buses and
 their navigations around London, and Marie for keeping me stocked up with
 Haribos throughout the two days, without which I would never have survived
 the madness of the weekend!!!! 

 It is credit to the team and to women's running in general that the standard
 year on year is improving in leaps and bounds. This is borne out in the
 following facts & figures: 

 This year's team time = 25:23:29
 Last year's team time = 26:47:39 (2005 improvement = 1:24:10)
 Previous Course record = 25:25:10
 and we still only came second (but only by 21:16 (2004 = 54:35))!!
 Stage wins this year = 6 (2004 = 4)
 Course records broken = 6
 Course records set = 2 (2004 = 3)
 Queens of the Mountains! Beating Serpies ladies over Stages 4, 5, 14 & 17 by
 just under a minute (yes it was that close!) in a time of 6:12:04 (2004 =

 For the men's team we decided to opt for an entry in the vets section -
 mainly because most of the non-vets who expressed an interest in taking part
 promptly went down with injury! The ailment was catching: as race day
 approached team members fell like ninepins and it became a desperate
 struggle to get ten comparatively healthy old-timers suitably arranged to
 cover the twenty stages. Poor Bev's Bloodhounds had to be pillaged to make
 up the numbers, sadly leaving her team incomplete.

 But we made it and many thanks go to all ten runners, especially those who
 responded to the call to join the team or agreed to eleventh hour changes to
 the stages they were due to run.

 And we did pretty well! We finished 3rd in the veterans section - well
 behind the winning Millennium Group but as they are a composite team
 selecting runners from wherever they choose, it is difficult to compete with
 them. This year they even signed up Sonia O'Sullivan, but it's gratifying
 that the time of 22.51.25 set by the Ranelagh Old Dogs team of 2003 still
 stands as the event record for veterans. The overall record, incidentally,
 is still owned by the Ranelagh Greyhounds of 2000 at 21.10.15. 

 Pete Warren and Simon Burrell kicked us off to good starts on the
 mainly-riverside stages one and two but by the time Clive Naish was on his
 way on stage 3 the heavens had really opened up. Julian Smith on the tough
 stage 4 'enjoyed' the very worst of the weather and I suppose his long legs
 were useful in wading through the flooded roads. At any rate he did enough
 to register a great stage win for the Old Dogs and make sure we were well
 and truly on the map.

 Andy Bickerstaff had been lumbered with two long stages over the weekend and
 found the first of them tough going. But at least the weather had begun to
 clear up and Steve Rowland enjoyed sunshine throughout stage 6. Marcus Gohar
 registered a good 5th place on the long stage 7 and then Tim Woolmer and
 Chris Read put in solid runs to take us into Essex. John Pratt rounded off
 the day with a reprise of last year's stage 10 battle with Sonia Rowland.
 They were both a couple of minutes faster this time but John always had the

 Steve, Chris and Simon enjoyed their early Sunday morning jaunts before Andy
 came through with a great day two run for 3rd place on stage 14. Tim and
 John brought us round to the North Downs and then on the section from Box
 Hill Julian had a race-long battle with the Thames runner before narrowly
 losing out on a second stage winner's yellow jersey. 

 Clive and Pete brought us back to the Thames and Marcus brought the team
 home in style with a 6th place finish at Ham. Our overall position was 11th
 and our time just 40 minutes faster than Anna's Lassies.

 Bev Ali adds:
 "It was a great weekend - as always congratulations to the Stragglers for
 organizing it - I think it is a major achievement, not only to have
 organized and executed this large an event, but to come through with zero
 lost time incidents - especially considering the distances travelled by
 car/bus/public transport, and the sometimes muddy, hilly, urban or isolated
 running conditions. I think there must be some kind of HSE statistics kept
 on athletics events, and I am sure this would be one for the record books. 

 The good news is that we did not win the toilet seat this year. The bad news
 is that we couldn't even reach that level of achievement! We chose to enter
 one less team this year, which meant that any stray senior men who wanted to
 run were relegated to the Bloodhounds, and all available male vets and
 senior female runners were promoted as needed. Due to injuries, illness and
 other commitments, we just narrowly managed to field a complete veterans'
 team and a complete ladies' team and the Bloodhounds were left to forfeit,
 rather than lose, the toilet seat.

 Since I had decided that this may be my last GBR, I decided that I would
 like to see what it was like to start at the beginning, at Hampton Court,
 with the big send-off. For my last hurrah, my competition included Sarah
 Smith, Sonia O'Sullivan and Superman! What chance did I have? I hoped the
 excitement of the competition wouldn't make me contravene the very last
 instruction given in a true headmistress style voice - "You will not race
 the marshals!" But I needn't have worried - I could not even keep up with
 them! Within seconds, the pack disappeared down the towpath, and the race
 was on. A couple of hours later (plus or well, plus) when I reached the
 finish, the timekeepers had dismantled the finish, and were about to phone
 my team captain (me) to see if my runner was OK! Not having run further than
 9-10 miles in the last six months, I was suffering - let that be a lesson.

 Pat Hewlett had marvellous runs in legs 2 and 20, and, although some
 versions of the official results do not support this, there was definitely
 one runner behind her at the finish of leg 2. She also had the opportunity
 to compete against Sarah and Sonia O'S on Sunday in the last leg, and gave
 them more of a run for their money, finishing before cut-off. In fact, Pat
 ran both her legs faster than she did last year! Like a vintage wine..

 Strong contributions were made by Derek Bieniek, Phil Aiken, Niels Andersen
 and Mike Rowland (who must have practised his dry land swimming technique
 for leg 4), and a guest runner, Katia, from the Grange Farm Trotters on leg
 6 - all of whom were well under the cut-off time in uncharacteristic
 Bloodhound fashion.

 A big thank-you to Steve and Sonia Rowland, all the other supporting
 volunteers, and to all our team members, including the ones who were
 promoted: thank-you for supporting the race organization, for the effort to
 make up teams, for organizing and driving the minibuses/cars and for manning
 the marshalling points".

 1 Serpentine 21.32.28
 2 Stock Exchange 22.15.43
 3 London Front Runners 22.17.07
 6 Millennium Group 23.21.06  (1st Vets)
 7 Dulwich Vets 23.52.06  (2nd Vets)
 11 Ranelagh Old Dogs 24.43.53  (3rd Vets)
 12 Serpentine Ladies 25.02.13  (1st Women)
 14 Ranelagh Lassies 25.23.29  (2nd Women)

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 21st May
 As the Green Belt first stage started just round the corner, 34 BPTTers were
 set on their way in Bushy Park. Regular Nick Wright broke 18 minutes again
 and there were pbs for Stephen Instone, Sam Hunton and Carol Barnshaw.
 1 M Levett (Ire) 16.58
 4 Nick Wright 17.53
 6 Stephen Instone 18.38
 13 Darren Wood 19.34
 19 Stephen Logue 20.29
 23 Adam Wright 21.27
 24 Roger Wilson 21.30
 25 Chris Hunton 21.33
 26 Sam Hunton 21.33
 29 Karen Broadbent 23.46
 30 Carol Barnshaw 23.50
 31 Wally Garrod 25.00
 32 John Hanscomb 26.05
 33 Gill Wilson 26.20 

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 28th May
 Sonia O'Sullivan added to the roll-call of internationals at the BPTT and
 set a new women's course record despite windy conditions which spelt slow
 times for most of the runners.
 1 S O'Sullivan (Ire) 16.38
 4 Nick Wright 18.14
 9 Duncan Gaskell 19.38
 12 Darren Wood 20.02
 14 Matt Hirschler 20.27
 20 Adam Wright 21.56
 22 Roger Wilson 22.50
 26 Wally Garrod 25.16
 28 Gill Wilson 25.47
 29 John Hanscomb 25.47

 THREE FORTS MARATHON  Sunday May 1st at Worthing
 Simon Tyler kept the toughest until last to complete his four marathons
 within a month. The Three Forts is a hilly off-roader - how tough can be
 adjudged by the fact that only the first two home beat four hours!
 1 J Hudspith (Serpentine) 3.51.57
 78 Simon Tyler 4.51.23

 COOMBE HILL 5 miles  Sunday May 15th at Kingston
 Hugh Brasher continues to return to fitness and Steve Rowland was 3rd over
 1 J Trapmore (Shaft B) 24.50
 17 Hugh Brasher 29.24
 41 Steve Rowland 31.45
 102 Joanne Muirlittle 37.12

 Alan Davidson reports:
 "I ran European Vets (splendidly they still call it that) in the Algarve
 (Monte Gordo/Vilareal) in hot weather mid-May on very boring long straights
 with some cobbles thrown in for good measure. My times were modest but the
 10k (9.30am start) and Half (9am) were run at cooler times with
 cross-country relay at 6pm in hot and dusty conditions in a lovely pine
 wood. Organisation was good and luminaries such as Ron Hill ran. For what it
 is worth my times were 42.26, 97.13 and 13.29 for the glory leg in GB o/55
 'B' team (4k-ish legs). Having unlike the other two in my team run both road
 races on consecutive days I was very nervous of letting the team down, but
 actually gained one place". 

 VARSITY TRACK MATCH  Saturday 21st May at Cambridge
 Alice Beverly recorded two impressive wins for Oxford University. In the
 Blues match she won the 1500 metres by some 13 seconds in 4.44.13, and then
 in the second team match 2000 metres steeplechase she was over half a lap
 clear in 7.26.60.

 RON WHEELER 2.8 miles handicap  Wednesday 25th May at Wapping
 Actual times:
 1 P Young (Willis) 14.24
 7 Alan Davidson 15.48
 13 Andy Hayward 17.09

 Frances Ratchford writes:
 "The track at St Mary's College is now open and even better we can use it.
 The track has been designed for endurance runners not sprinters so you will
 find it a little kinder to your legs. From 12th May there will be training
 on Thursdays from 7.30 with Frances & Margaret and there will also be
 training on Wednesdays from May 17th. 

 The cost is 2.50 per session, or 10 per month. If you are coming along
 bring a cheque made out to St Mary's College and a passport photo. St Mary's
 College is on Waldegrave Road, Twickenham.  Enter by the white gate and the
 track is straight in front of you. Changing room and showers are available.

 If you are under 18 and a member of Ranelagh there will be a training
 session on Saturdays from 14th May at 10.30am. Contact Frances
 (mailto:grapevineproductions@compuserve.com) for details". 

 Tough Tuesdays continue as normal, with speed work for various groups and
 Wally's beginners' club, at 7pm from the clubhouse. Full details are on our
 web site, the next few sessions for the faster groups are shown below.

 Robin Drummond's  "Improvers Sessions" continue on Thursday nights at 7pm
 from the clubhouse, concentrating on speed and technique. 

 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.
 May 31st 7 x various hills at White Lodge
 June 7th 7 x short loop around Pen Ponds
 June 14th 5 x (30 secs, 30 secs, 1 min, 1 min efforts) on Holly Lodge hill

 We reported last year on the Italian Giorgio Calcaterra, who ran 20
 marathons during 2003, including four sub 2.20s. All those spare weekends
 obviously left him at a loose end, so in 2004 he completed no less than 26
 marathons, with a best time of 2.19.26. He recorded two more sub-2.20s, 14
 in all sub-2.25s and 23 sub-2.30s. He has now run 34 sub-2.20 marathons
 since 1999 with a peak of 16 in 2000...