Newsdesk 2006

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 226                18 September 2006
 Editor: Steve Rowland
 mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com  

 *  Fourth consecutive Surrey Road Relay win for our women's team
 *  Silver medals for our men's and vets' teams
 *  125th Anniversary Dinner - tickets still available but don't delay
 *  Junior Anniversary Run and Page Cup handicap on September 30th
 *  Surrey League opening fixtures on October 7th
 *  Bushy Park Time Trial second anniversary also on October 7th

 Anniversary Dinner  Friday 29th September at York House
 It's getting close! Tickets are still available, but we'll have to confirm
 numbers soon so please don't leave it too late. It should be a great
 evening: a three course dinner with wine, followed by guest speakers Hugh
 Jones, Priscilla Welch and John Bryant. Tickets are available from Marina
 Quayle at the clubhouse or at 101 Sheen Road, Richmond TW9 1YJ. The price
 per head is 45 (payable to Ranelagh Harriers). Contact Marina for more
 info: mailto:marina_quayle@hotmail.com.  Please specify if you will require
 a vegetarian meal.

 Junior Anniversary Run  Saturday 30th September in Richmond Park
 A short cross-country race for under 18s, which will also count as the first
 of the winter junior points prize races. Either register at the clubhouse
 before 2pm or at Sidmouth Wood before 2:30. The race starts promptly at 2:30
 and there will be tea for all in the clubhouse afterwards. A special
 anniversary medal will be awarded to all participants.

 The BPTT celebrates its second anniversary on Saturday 7th October.
 Unfortunately this is the same day as the opening Surrey League fixtures,
 but anyone not planning to go to the Leagues should certainly make the
 effort to get to Bushy Park. For those who haven't yet tried it: just turn
 up at the Diana Fountain car park in Bushy Park in time for the 9am start.
 No pre-entry required, and no entry fee asked for. For the anniversary there
 will be a little alfresco breakfast celebration afterwards, so bring
 something along to contribute to the feast. It's also crunch time in the
 annual points reckoning: last year Darren Wood and Gill Wilson won the men's
 and women's titles, but this time it looks like both will have to settle for
 third place. Darren is still on top of the overall appearance table: over
 the two years he has run no fewer than 82 BPTTs, a splendid example of
 Saturday morning dedication! Gill is in third place with 72 runs, and John
 Hanscomb is fourth with 62.

 Bev Ali writes to remind us about the advisability of wearing light coloured
 clothing and reflective gear and/or flashing lights in the park from now on
 for the winter.

 There was a mix-up with the distribution of the last Ranelagh Gazette.
 Editor Julian Smith writes:
 "If anyone has not yet received a copy of the most recent Gazette (No. 163,
 up to August 2005), please email me at smithj@kcsonline.org".

 You can view Roger Wilson's photographs of the Thomas Cup here:.  If anyone
 would like a full-sized version by e-mail, contact Roger at mailto:rw@rogerwilson.net.

 is now working for VSO in Malawi and you can find her blog here:

 Bev Ali writes:
 "Marshals are urgently needed for the Cancer Research UK 10k race at Hampton
 Court Palace on Sunday 1st October. It is a 9:30 am start for briefing -
 refreshments, vests and radios will be provided. If you are available and
 willing, please contact me at bev.ali@blueyonder.co.uk.

 More details of the following from
 Andy Bickerstaff ( 07772 111491 / mailto: andy@norris-hobs.co.uk ) or 
 Mark Middleton ( 07725 119649 / mailto: markjmiddleton@yahoo.co.uk ) or 
 Phil Aiken (07739 035189 / mailto: phil.aiken@rnid.org.uk ) or 
 Anna McLaughlin (07971 606521 / mailto: anna.mclaughlin@talk21.com ).     

 Sunday 24th September  Southern Road Relay Championships at Rushmoor Arena,
 Aldershot (juniors and women)

 Friday 29th September    125th Anniversary Dinner. See above.

 Saturday 30th September  Page Cup 5 miles handicap, preceded by Junior
 Anniversary run (see above), both in Richmond Park

 Saturday 7th October     The Surrey League gets underway! Men at Brockwell
 Park, women at Epsom Downs.

 Every Saturday             Bushy Park Time Trial. 9am start at the Diana
 Fountain car park. See www.bptt.net for details.

 SURREY ROAD RELAYS  Saturday 9th September at Wimbledon Park
 With the Wimbledon Park track now open again, the road relays returned to
 the traditional course after last year's slight alterations. Our women's
 teams had won three Surrey Road Relays in a row: could they make it four?
 They were without Jo Ronaldson, the course record holder, and skipper Anna
 was still carrying an ankle injury...but expectations remained high as into
 the cosmopolitan team came Cilla Pettersson and Fari Shams. 

 Cilla was entrusted with the opening stage and found herself up against some
 tough opposition. Pushed hard all the way she grimly held on to the lead and
 recorded a brilliant 16.49, only 19 seconds outside Jo's record lap from
 2004. The pressure from behind continued on lap two and Anna couldn't
 prevent two teams from passing her - but she handed over still well in touch
 only 20 seconds behind the leaders. Fari had not appeared in a Ranelagh
 first team before and her stage three run was clearly going to be crucial.
 She rose magnificently to the occasion to hand over to Marie Synnott-Wells
 with a clear 50 seconds lead. Marie could be relied on not to blow an
 opportunity like that and ran a fine anchor to extend the lead to all but a
 full minute. 

 Win number four! It was also our fastest on this course: the 2003 winning
 time was 72.31 and 2004 was 71.10. Sadly, Jo's lap record did not survive
 the afternoon. Emily Nelson's speedy 16.24 on the final stage for Epsom set
 the new mark but just failed to bring her team into the medals. Cilla's
 16.49 stands as the fourth fastest ever and Sarah Smith's 16.59 from 2003
 still ranks in the top ten. 

 We had a more than useful B team out too. Clare King and Liz Kipling were
 both doubtful about their fitness and asked to be excused from A team duty -
 and then both ran excellent sub-18 minute times, much to their own surprise.
 Jenny Lloyd-Jones was not much slower and the team was completed by Sandra
 Foot on her second circuit, having earlier run the opener for the third
 team. The result was 6th place overall, the leading B team. 

 The third team was actually supposed to be an over 35s squad. Somebody
 (names concealed to protect the guilty!) decided that young Karen Broadbent
 had suddenly aged. Oops! Fortunately they were not in contention in the vets
 category, so no harm was done, and they are shown in the results below as if
 they had competed in the main senior race. There was a promising debut on
 stage three from newcomer Carola Richter. 

 If the women had started as favourites for their event, few would have
 backed the men for a podium place - but they kicked off the season with a
 great performance to pick up silver medals for the first time since 1998. On
 the opening lap, Phil Killingley ran what was to be our fastest time of the
 afternoon, 14.41, and crossed the line in 5th place. The race for the county
 medals was already obscured by the presence at the sharp end of two
 ineligible teams - so Phil's 5th really meant the bronze medal position.
 Mark Middleton - now burdened with not only with the vice-captaincy but also
 a new go-faster haircut - held on to that position and on lap three Nathan
 Mills conceded just one place. Duncan Bell promptly regained it only for
 Andrew Forth to see a man go past him again. But Andrew had teed things up
 perfectly for Paul Doyle on the anchor. Popeye took over in 6th place (4th
 in the Surrey championship) just eight seconds behind Walton and half a
 minute behind Thames Hare and Hounds - and with South London right on his
 heels. Nothing daunted, he ran a great last lap to see off all the
 opposition in great style and record our second sub-15 minutes lap of the
 afternoon. The Belgrave team won the golds at a canter but - discounting the
 two non-scoring teams - we had won the silvers. Our mixed bag of a B team
 finished in 15th place, with Ed Barker's 16.44 on stage two the quickest. 

 We have never before won medals in three different categories in the Surrey
 Road Relays, but there's a first time for everything! Our over 40s were
 without the Marcus-and-Mick double act that has spearheaded most of our vets
 teams in the past few years (indeed, Marcus's awesome 14.55 from 2003 still
 ranks as the fourth fastest ever by a vet). But Nick Henderson was back for
 his first race for some eighteen months and Captain Bicks was quietly

 Nick was sent out for the first stage and ran sub-16 minutes to bring us
 home in 2nd place behind South London. His run was the fifth fastest of the
 day by a vet. Chris Owens, who by rights should have been in an over 50s
 team, put in a strong second lap but lost one place to Herne Hill. Peter
 Weir on three also lost one, but it was to the SLH B team, who wouldn't
 count in the championship. South London were in a class of their own - their
 A team was over three minutes clear at the end and their B team crossed the
 line second. But Andy Bickerstaff finished close behind them and the reward
 was another set of silver medals. 

 1 Ranelagh 70.44
 Cilla Pettersson 1 16.49
 Anna McLaughlin 3 18.15
 Fari Shams 1 18.07
 Marie Synnott-Wells 1 17.33
 2 Wimbledon Windmilers 71.43
 3 Herne Hill 72.12
 6 Ranelagh B 75.19
 Clare King 5 17.55
 Jenny Lloyd-Jones 5 18.24
 Sandra Foot 7 21.19
 Liz Kipling 6 17.41
 15 Ranelagh C
 Sandra Foot 14 20.24
 Carola Richter 15 20.43
 Karen Broadbent 15 22.13
 Sonia Rowland 15 21.21 

 1 Belgrave 90.19
 2 Thames H&H n/s 91.15
 3 Belgrave B n/s 92.02
 4 Ranelagh 93.26  (2nd in Surrey championship)
 Phil Killingley 5 14.41
 Mark Middleton 5 15.48
 Nathan Mills 6 16.22
 Duncan Bell 5 15.17
 Andrew Forth 6 16.21
 Paul Doyle 4 14.57
 15 Ranelagh B 108.04
 Marc Snaith 19 17.19
 Ed Barker 16 16.44
 Kevin Jacques 15 17.44
 Phil Aiken 16 18.13
 Andrew Morris 15 19.29
 Steve Rowland 15 18.35

 Men Over 40
 1 South London 63.00
 2 South London B n/s 66.25
 3 Ranelagh 66.47  (2nd in Surrey championship)
 Nick Henderson 2 15.58
 Chris Owens 3 16.36
 Peter Weir 4 17.02
 Andy Bickerstaff 3 17.11 

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 9th September
 1 T Doran (OWLS) 16.59
 15 Stewart Ward 18.55
 18 Nick Wright 19.09
 27 Niall O'Connor 19.42
 31 Chris Camacho 19.49
 40 Chris Hunton 20.10
 53 Darren Wood 20.48
 63 Adam Wright 21.16
 78 Max Bridger 22.03
 89 George Hutchinson 22.34
 90 Tony Appleby 22.34
 150 Steve McClune 25.52
 151 Wally Garrod 25.55
 156 Gill Wilson 26.00
 163 John Hanscomb 26.30 

 MIDDLESEX 10km  Sunday 10th September at Victoria Park
 1 J Stalder (unatt) 32.21
 122 Zuzana Lhotanova 51.37  

 ALDERNEY HALF MARATHON  Saturday 9th September
 Old Sea Dog Angus Cater reports: 

 "The faithful few, Tim Woolmer, Alan Craig, Sue Ashley, Sally Meekley , Rob
 Slinger and Angus Cater all gathered at the Mercury Marina in the Hamble at
 7.00 on Thursday 7 September to sail to Alderney in Harrac for the annual
 half marathon and 10K.

 It was a glorious evening and we set sail at 10.20 after shepherd's pie,
 cooked by master chef Alan Craig. We picked our way through all the lights
 down the Solent and were out by the Needles by 0100 hours. We had initiated
 a watch system at midnight so Alan, Sue and Tim had retired to their bunks.
 We then had a magnificent sail over to Alderney which we reached just after
 10am. It was bumpy (force 5-6) so a few of the crew weren't feeling great
 but no-one actually polluted the shipping lanes - I don't think! 

 Friday was spent catching up on our sleep and wandering around the pretty
 town of St Annes, a short walk from the harbour, and the west side of the
 island. Sous chef Cater produced Spag Bol, stretching his culinary
 imagination to the limit, and we retired early to another bumpy night
 (Alderney is not a place to be in a strong NE wind!). 

 The race started at 12 noon on Saturday in perfect conditions. Sally had
 forecast a reduction in wind and she was right (she has had several calls
 since from the BBC wanting to know how she did it). We shot off (well I did
 as I was only doing 10K) and were immediately into the first hill, and what
 a hill (shades of the Orion course). Once the ascent was over the course
 undulated to the North East corner of the island before turning for home. I
 was knackered at the end of 10K and felt extremely sorry for all the others
 as they embarked on their second lap. I was back after my shower by the
 harbour to see Tim come storming in for an excellent time, followed by Rob
 and Alan, who picked up speed on the second lap. The girls were non-running,
 supporting, photographing etc. due to injuries. 

 Prizegiving was accompanied by an excellent chili con carne and chips. We
 retired to the boat, had a kip and then travelled across the water to the
 First and Last restaurant to see Rita. Imagine our disappointment - she was
 on holiday, so we had to make do with the delights of Sarah and Hazel as we
 munched our lobster and steaks. We left at 5.30 on Sunday and had a sunny,
 peaceful trip back. Alan had decamped to Alderney for a rendezvous with Sue
 (his wife!) but we managed without him - just. Arrived back in the Solent on
 a magnificent evening and motored up in the dying wind back to our mooring
 in the Hamble". 

 Half Marathon
 1 J Coote (Jersey) 1.23.45
 15 Tim Woolmer 1.54.01
 21 Rob Slinger 2.01.31
 22 Alan Craig 2.02.49 

 1 B Stein 44.43
 Angus Cater 51.59 

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 16th September
 There were almost 200 runners again this week, and PBs from four of the
 Ranelagh contingent - Cilla Pettersson, who was the second woman home, Niall
 O'Connor, George Inman and Tony Appleby. 

 1 R Ward (Belgrave) 15.24
 19 Iain Wilson 18.10
 21 Cilla Pettersson 18.14
 24 Nick Wright 18.34
 27 Niall O'Connor 18.46
 38 Chris Camacho 19.50
 59 Darren Wood 20.58
 66 Adam Wright 21.17
 78 George Inman 21.54
 84 Chris Wright 22.11
 85 Alan Howard 22.13
 88 Tony Appleby 22.19
 90 Jim Forrest 22.28
 91 Martin Clark 22.31
 137 Luke Wilson 25.57
 141 Dawn Bates 26.16
 142 Wally Garrod 26.17
 148 John Hanscomb 27.01
 154 Gill Wilson 27.25 

 HORSLEY 5km  Sunday 17th September
 Steve Rowland was the leading male vet, which doesn't say much for the rest!
 Sonia was third female vet.

 1 R Batchelor (AFD) 17.38
 6 Steve Rowland 20.12
 24 Sonia Rowland 23.28
 133 Daniel Piears 37.17
 134 John Piears 37.18 

 TOUR DE MONT BLANC  Friday 25th August
 Niall O'Connor was there. It's a long report, but then it was a very long

 "After 37 hours of swearing and muttering I hobbled across the finish line
 in Chamonix. My feet were numb and wet, everything muddy from various falls
 during the previous night and memories of this harrowing and gruelling 158km
 race were fresh in my mind so, just like 2005, I promptly promised 'never

 The 'North Face Tour du Mont-Blanc 2006' began on the 25th August at 7pm.
 Best described as a 'footrace', rather than a run, it follows the national
 trail route that loops through Italy and Switzerland, around Mont Blanc,
 before finishing (back at the start) in Chamonix. There are time
 restrictions at the 15 checkpoints based on an apportionment of the allowed
 45 hours. 

 It was excellently organised with food and aid stations at approximately
 every 10km. Food was available at every station with some of the larger
 checkpoints providing hot meals and it was even possible to collect kit sent
 forward at the 86km and 125km posts. All entrants received a 'technical'
 t-shirt and all finishers received a North Face windproof fleece. (I like
 the 'goodies'!) The trail itself is a well-worn path, uneven, with lots of
 jutting rocks and boulders, stretches of which pass through villages and
 towns. Thick socks were essential. A few points of information are that 90%
 of the finishers used poles for assistance - particularly useful for
 descending steep mucky trails in the dark. The food available ranged from
 soup and bread to energy bars, cakes, salami and local cheeses and well as
 pasta at a few checkpoints. There is a range of compulsory gear that was
 checked before starting and randomly along the route. This included two
 torches, spare batteries, a hat, tights, waterproof coat, emergency rations,
 whistle and a 'hypothermia' blanket as well as a minimum of a litre of
 water, which could be topped up at each station. The total increase is
 altitude is just under 9000m. 

 The race begins in the dusk with a fairly flat 24km. None of this course is
 flat but this portion was runnable. From this point the course veered
 towards 'Croix de Bonhomme' which meant an increase in altitude of 1.5km
 over a 9km stretch. This took me about 2:15. I took a few photos at the top
 and scrambled down the equally steep slope towards the 42km mark at Les
 Chapieux, where a waiting band played 'Hotel California' as I arrived. The
 weather was dry but cold at this stage. 

 From here I faced the 1km increase in altitude to Col de la Seigne. These
 11km took 2:30 but I was cheered by being ahead of my pace in 2005. Morning
 broke as I ran down the hairpin bends, past ski-lifts, leading to Courmayeur
 in Italy, reaching this station by 7am on Saturday. There I forced down a
 breakfast of pasta and coffee and changed from tights to shorts, before
 heading into the warm morning.

 The Saturday was hot and bright, providing great views down into the rugged
 glaciated valleys of the Italian Alps. It was reassuring to be able to pick
 your footing and to be able to view the route in the distance ahead. There
 were several major mountains to be negotiated including Col Ferret. It took
 90 minutes to cover the 4km to the top. 

 My legs began to seize up at this stage reducing me to a partial hobble/run.
 The decline to the Swiss town of La Fouly took 1:50 - this was 10km of
 downhill! I arrived at the major station of Champex-Lax at 7pm, 24 hours
 after starting, still slightly ahead of last year but really suffering from
 cramp. I steeled myself for the final 35km with pasta, bread, coffee and
 tiramisu. I collected a change of kit here but it was raining heavily so I
 didn't bother changing as everything would just get wet again immediately. 

 Trudging out into the torrential rain was difficult, 150 people abandoned
 the race at this point! Less than half of all the starters continued from
 Champex-Lax. As dark set in, head torches were switched on for the second
 night. The route was mapped by reflective markers making the trail easily
 identifiable in the blackness of the forest. 

 The rain continued as we climbed towards the 2000m ridge at Bovine hut.
 Above the treeline there was little protection from the wind and rain. The
 weather coupled with tiredness from 26 hours on my feet made this the most
 difficult stage of the race. I followed some French runners up and along the
 ridge towards the bonfire at Bovine, had my number 'scanned', grabbed a cup
 of soup and headed off again. As there was no shelter I didn't linger!
 Thoughts of abandoning the race crossed my mind with increasing frequency. 

 With no let-up in the rain until daybreak, it was a miserable climb from
 Trient to Les Houches. Things are a bit of blur from this point. I did pass
 a Belgian who was asleep standing up. He said he was just waiting for a
 friend. I resisted temptation to join him and he resisted temptation to join

 It was light when I made the village of Argentieres and knowing that just
 12km remained I managed to cover this last portion in a relatively speedy 90
 minutes, passing 50 others along the way. At 7:42am on Sunday morning I
 crossed the finish line in 426th place of the 1159 finishers. I was an hour
 quicker than last year and 1350 of the starters failed to finish. I wasn't
 elated to finish, just relieved. 

 It has taken me 17 days to rustle up the energy to write this account and I
 still cannot joke about recruiting people to attempt it next year!" 

 1 M Olmo (Italy) 21.06.06
 426 Niall O'Connor 37.41.36 

 WORLD AGE GROUP TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS  Saturday 2nd September in Lausanne
 Geoff Jones reports:
 "Managed to come 25th out of 108 in the 40-44 age group. I've made big
 improvements in my swimming over the last year and came out of the water in
 26th. Lost time in the first massive transition (almost a mile of running!)
 and was 30th starting the bike section. Had a great ride on a very tough
 hilly course and got up to 20th place. I felt good on the run for 5km by
 which time I was up to 18th but then my quads seized up and I struggled home
 losing 5 places on the last lap. Still it was my best result so far and
 quicker than all the Brits in the 45-50 age-group which I move into next

 HILLCREST 8km  Sunday 21st May at Warlingham
 "Athletics Weekly" seems to be catching up with some old results. Yvonne
 Hill's victory in a time of 37.13 has just appeared this week! 

 "Inevitably, there's some official bellowing: 'Come on! Run through the
 chute! Keep it movin'...Keep it movin'!' But you're bent over, gasping,
 admiring with salt-stung eyes the good, honest mud of battle, the trickle of
 blood from a spike wound, splattered on your still-quivering legs and
 too-old (but still lucky) racing shoes. What could be more beautiful?"
 From The Quotable Runner, edited by Mark Will-Weber