Newsdesk 2007

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 269                6 December 2007
 Editor: Steve Rowland
 mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com  

 *  Serpentine win both the Ellis Cup and the Dysart Cup
 *  Anna Scally wins Hugh Jones Salver club championship
 *  Sonia Rowland wins Trish's Trophy club over 40s championship
 *  Mandy Westlake 2nd & Andrew Forth 2nd Vet in Grand Union Canal Half
 *  Christmas Party at the Turks Head this Friday
 *  Mob Match at South London Harriers (Coulsdon) this Saturday

 Another week, another race...the changes to the racing calendar have made
 this a very busy time of year, but this is the last general call to arms
 before Christmas, so please come over to Coulsdon if you can. As always with
 mob matches, we need as many runners as we can get, and all will count
 towards the final result. Unlike our parkland circuit, this is a
 cross-country race in the country - Farthing Downs and Happy Valley to be
 precise. It's a testing but scenic course, and after all the recent rain
 some parts will certainly be muddy.
 Start is at 2.30pm and there will be transport leaving the Ranelagh
 clubhouse at 12.15pm for anyone who wants to use it. The race HQ is at South
 London's clubhouse next to the Comrades Club on Brighton Road (the A23) in
 Coulsdon.   Parking is available around the corner in Lion Green Road.
 The start is up on Farthing Downs, a five minute jog away.

 The second South of the Thames Championship is the 7.5 miler and is taking
 place at Nork Park, Banstead. Start time is 2pm. 

 HENTY RELAY  Saturday 29th December in Richmond Park
 This is our Christmas fun relay, open to all members, friends and family.
 Anyone who can run a mile and a bit, in fact. It's for teams of three (which
 are drawn on the day). Each team consists of one "fast" runner, one "medium"
 and one "slow". The relay is over six 2km laps of Sidmouth Wood - the "fast"
 runs three laps, the "medium" two and the "slow" one lap, in any order. The
 race starts at 12 noon, but you MUST come to the clubhouse to register by
 11.30am, in order to be allocated to a team. 

 SURREY COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS  Saturday 5th January 2008
 The county championships for all age groups, male and female, will be held
 at Lloyd Park, Croydon, on 5th January. Junior events start from 11am,
 senior women are at 1.25pm, senior men at 2.15pm. All are welcome to run but
 entries must be made in advance. If you're interested, please let Andy or
 Marie know (contact details below).

 The draw for the Ranelagh guaranteed places will take place at the Christmas
 Party this Friday. To be eligible you must be a paid-up member whose
 marathon entry has been rejected. If you are eligible and haven't yet put
 your name in, contact Simon Burrell without delay at simon_burrell2000@yahoo.com
 or 07753 834231. 

 Bev Ali writes:
 "We now have two intrepid volunteers to help out with the coordination of
 the Dysart Dash for next year - Louise Piears and Paul Sinton-Hewitt - many
 thanks to both for coming forward. If you were thinking about it but not
 sure you wanted to commit, your help will still be very much appreciated, in
 whatever capacity. Please contact any one of us if you would like to have a
 role in ensuring the continued success of our annual 10k race". Contact Bev
 at bev.ali@blueyonder.co.uk

 Those following Angus Cater's voyage to the Antarctic will be pleased to
 hear that the Atlantic crossing was completed on 27th November when Angus's
 yacht Harrac safely reached Grenada. Tim Woolmer, who had been a crew member
 for the Atlantic leg, left the boat there and was replaced by Alan Craig and
 Sally Meekley. Harrac is now cruising along the Colombian coast en route to
 the Panama Canal. To follow progress and to read Angus's Captain's Log, go
 to yachtplot.com/ and log in as harrac, password harrac.

 More details of the following from
 Andy Bickerstaff ( 07772 111491 / mailto: andy@norris-hobs.co.uk ) or 
 Marie Synnott-Wells (07956 431319 / mailto: nandmwells@aol.com ).     

 Saturday 8th December   Stubbs Cup mob match v South London Harriers at
 Coulsdon, 2.30pm start.

 Saturday 15th December  South of the Thames Long Course Championship at
 Banstead, 2pm start

 Saturday 29th December   Henty Relay in Richmond Park, 12 noon start.
 Saturday 5th January       Surrey County Championships at Lloyd Park,

 Every Saturday                Bushy Park Time Trial: 9am start at the Diana
 Fountain car park.
                                       Wimbledon Common Time Trial: 9am start
 at the Windmill car park.
                                       Banstead Woods Time Trial: 9am start
 off B2219 Park Lane, Chipstead
                                       Richmond Park Time Trial: 9am start
 near Richmond gate.
                                       More details at www.parkrun.com 

 DYSART CUP 4 miles incl club women's senior and vets championships  Saturday
 1st December in Richmond Park
 The Dysart Cup attracted a field of nearly 60 runners from ten clubs.
 Ranelagh were the holders, but our team was not at full strength, in
 particular missing our Captain, Marie Synnott-Wells, who was reduced to the
 role of team manager owing to a chest infection. As Marie was the holder of
 both the Hugh Jones Salver for the club women's champion and Trish's Trophy
 for the top over 40, it was inevitable that these trophies would be finding
 new homes this year.

 In Marie's absence, Anna Scally was the clear favourite to regain the
 championship she last won in 2004. At the end of the first short lap it was
 Anna who was making the pace, but on her shoulder and looking ominously
 comfortable was Dulwich's Clare Elms. The two had met only a couple of weeks
 earlier in the Home Countries International at Belfast. There, Elms -
 representing England in the Over 40s category - had finished over half a
 minute clear of Anna, and this time she again proved the stronger, tracking
 Anna until the last drag up to the finish and then striding well clear. 

 Though deprived of the overall win, Anna was happy enough to take the
 Salver, and in so doing she maintains an odd tradition. There has been a
 different name engraved on the trophy each year since 1997. This was Anna's
 second win, but the previous one had of course been under her maiden name

 Clare King finished strongly for third place overall and the silver medal in
 the club championship, and Jenny Lloyd-Jones in 12th overall took the
 bronze. Carola Richter and Sonia Rowland completed the scoring five, but
 they could manage only third place in the team competition. Serpentine,
 despite their leading finisher being no higher than 7th, packed in well
 enough to beat Thames by ten points with Ranelagh another 6 points in

 Sonia Rowland won Trish's Trophy for the leading over 40 for the fourth
 time. The sealed handicap was a pretty close run thing, with Sharon Rowe
 winning by 24 seconds and barely half a minute covering the next six.
 David Rowe's photos:

 ELLIS CUP  5.5 miles  Saturday 1st December in Richmond Park
 A dozen clubs were represented in the men's Ellis Cup, though half of them
 failed to muster enough even for the subsidiary 6-a-side scoring. The race
 was a story of the two Egyptians, both recent recruits to Hercules Wimbledon
 and more than useful runners. They were in a leading group of half a dozen
 or so who unfortunately ran off course at the far end of Queen's Ride, where
 the designated route turns right at the top of the hill and right again to
 head back down to the Pen Ponds. They apparently continued straight on,
 mis-directed by a (possibly) well-meaning bystander. Reports of the sawdust
 trail having blown away should be taken with a pinch of....sawdust. The
 result was a loss of some four or five hundred metres.

 At the end of the first lap one of the Egyptians gave up and vented his
 frustration by launching into a general-purpose rant at everyone within
 earshot. Meanwhile, his countryman Hussein Aly Hamed got stuck in, regained
 all the lost ground and more besides, and came home a doubly deserved winner
 by the margin of a good 100 metres. There's got to be a moral there! Two
 more HW runners followed him in, and they looked to be favourites to win the
 Ellis Cup for the first time since 1987. But Serpentine packed in well, just
 as they had in the women's race, and pipped them by 25 points.

 Ranelagh's team was a scratch one led by Niall O'Connor in 17th place, ahead
 of a good run from Chris Brook, who took a full minute off the time he ran
 on the same course (albeit a marginally longer version) in the South of the
 Thames race two weeks before. Richard Xerri's photos:

 LAST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH 5km  Friday 30th November in Hyde Park
 1 R Ward (Belgrave) 16.00
 162 John Hanscomb 26.45

 BUSHY PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 1st December
 1 D Symons (TH&H) 16.48
 8 Darren Wood 18.28
 14 Jonny Peacock 18.58
 66 Chris Hunton 21.43
 68 Amelie Hunton 21.44
 113 Adam Wright 23.23
 116 Paul Bisping 23.26
 183 Gill Wilson 26.04
 184 Alice Clemens 26.05
 201 Alison Salmon 26.59
 249 John Hanscomb 28.43
 259 Daniel Hobbs 29.16
 277 Stacey Barber 31.40
 282 Dierdre Inman 31.58

 RICHMOND PARK TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 1st December
 1 B Osborn (Stragglers) 17.56
 10 Stephen Instone 20.18
 31 Wiebke Kortum 23.58
 44 Vaughan Ramsey 25.24
 55 Julie Naismith 28.11
 58 Janet Turnes 29.11

 BANSTEAD WOODS TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 1st December
 1 M Marzetti (Unatt) 17.27
 25 Yvonne Hill 22.15

 HYDE PARK (LEEDS) TIME TRIAL 5km  Saturday 1st December
 1 D Norman (Straggs) 17.23
 7 Duncan Mallison 19.09

 GRIM CHALLENGE 8 miles  Sunday 2nd December at Aldershot
 Sharon Rowe reports:
 "After taking part in many road races during the summer months it was time
 to get wet and muddy by entering the Grim 8 mile off-road challenge that was
 held this past weekend.  On Sunday 2nd December when the country was being
 hammered with gale force winds and heavy rain, I and nearly 1400 others set
 off through mud, puddles and cargo nets near Aldershot in Hampshire -
 apparently they test army vehicles here but give us humans an opportunity to
 run on the same course!

 They had warned us before the start about the 'puddle' at around 5 miles. It
 was deep. It was b****y freezing. It was orange. And it was fun!! I waded
 through, taking it fairly steadily as all around me people were tripping
 over little hillocks hidden under the water and falling into the puddle in a
 most spectacular manner. I don't think I have ever felt so cold, or so
 unable to run in my whole life. As I clambered out, I honestly wanted to
 stop - my legs were like blocks of ice - but I kept going (of course I did,
 I am way too stubborn to let a silly little 8 mile race beat me!). 

 Wearing my Ranelagh vest with pride (and for a layer of warmth!) I finished
 in 1 hour 30 minutes and position 963 out of 1378 finishers.  I have written
 a much longer report about the event at our running website
 [http://rowerunning.co.uk/?p=232] where you can also see some photos of
 people getting extremely wet and muddy".

 1 S Wurr (TH&H) 49.46
 963 Sharon Rowe 90.38

 KINGFIELD CANTER  2.85 miles handicap  Wednesday 5th December at Woking
 1 A Mayger (Unatt) 24.56  (actual time 20.41)
 14 Sonia Rowland 26.47  (20.32)

 Mandy Westlake was the second woman to finish and Andrew Forth - fifth
 overall - was the second veteran.

 1 A Macaskill (Maid) 75.12
 5 Andrew Forth 83.20
 18 Mandy Westlake 91.36

 BENIDORM HALF MARATHON  Sunday 25th November
 Simon Burrell reports:
 "It seemed like a great idea late one night in the Dysart...some months
 later, Deborah and I found ourselves bound for sunny Benidorm, with a Half
 Marathon beckoning. We met Jo Turner and her sister Jane in the resort.

 The event is coupled with a full marathon, starting an hour and a half
 earlier, to mix the runners in the latter stages. The weather for the
 marathon start was cold, wet and windy, but improved gradually. The course
 includes a run along the beachfront (great support) and a long slow uphill
 (and corresponding down) from about mile 11. We thought it was tough but the
 marathoners had to do it three times! None of the Ranelagh contingent was on
 top form, with a mixture of injury, poor training schedule (me) and too many
 hotel breakfasts (me again). As a result we were all happy to finish in
 reasonable times. Jo's sister Jane managed a massive pb over the distance on
 her second half marathon. 

 One major plus point was using Running Crazy (www.runningcrazy.co.uk), who
 organised transport, hotel, entries, post race Karaoke party etc. I would
 definitely recommend them for a foreign event".

 1 C Koech (Kenya) 1.05.52  (chip time 1.03.55)
 1214 Simon Burrell 1.49.58  (1.48.23)
 1215 Joanne Turner 1.49.58  (1.48.22)
 1916 Jane Turner 2.10.40  (2.09.06)
 2049 Deborah Blakemore 2.26.05  (2.24.30)

 FLORENCE MARATHON  Sunday 25th November
 As promised last week, here is a fuller account of what sounds like a
 spectacular Florence Marathon, from Andy Hayward:
 "Having entered the marathon last year, but not being able to run it on the
 day due to illness, I felt I had unfinished business in Firenze (Florence).
 Having been forced to sit out the race and watch twelve months ago, I
 thought the course looked good for a fast time. Michele and I decided to go
 back, and this year, spurred on by a PB in the tough conditions of the Paris
 Marathon in April, Michele decided to enter as well. Training and the taper
 had gone well for me, but Michele had been plagued with illness and injury,
 and it felt like she began her training as I started my taper!

 Last year was perfect weather - cool, but sunny and dry - so I didn't hold
 out much hope of a repeat this year, especially as it was pouring with rain
 when we arrived on Friday evening, and this kept up through Saturday
 morning. However, by the time we hit the expo and collected our numbers in
 the evening, it was at least dry. Sunday dawned overcast, but dry. It was
 quite humid, and the pavements were still wet and a little greasy feeling,
 but other than that, it was good running conditions. It was about 10'C at
 the start of the race, and the trusty Ranelagh vest was perfectly adequate.
 The course profile is not dissimilar to London in that the first two miles
 are pretty flat (with a very slight uphill gradient) but then the next two
 are downhill, dropping about two hundred feet. After that, apart from a
 couple of bridge/overpass gradients, it is flat. The start is at Piazzale
 Michelangelo, across the River Arno from the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio,
 providing a stunning view of Florence to while away the time waiting in the
 pens for the race start. The distance was marked every kilometer (which was
 good as they obviously came faster than miles) as well as every 5 miles.

 The course map is quite astonishing as it travels all over Florence with
 much twisting and turning. After winding down the hill, there is an out and
 back west along the south bank of the river, coming back around the Palazzo
 Pitti, and past the Ponte Vecchio, crossing the river a little futher down.
 Then follows another out and back, this time east along the north bank. The
 half way point of the course came at the athletic stadium that had housed
 the expo the day before. It follows and crosses the railway a couple of
 times - this is the least interesting part of the route. After that the
 route heads in to the most spectacular parts of the city, the stunning
 Duomo, Campanile and Baptistery, through Piazza della Republica, and out
 towards a third (different) out and back along the river, this time heading
 west along the north side, which begins at the 30k point. There follows
 about four miles through a park emerging back by the 30k mark which gave a
 boost knowing that you are half an hour ahead of all the people just
 beginning this loop. Again, like London, the best was saved for last, along
 the river to the Ponte Vecchio, sharp left and round to the Palazzo Vecchio,
 Loggia Dei Lanzi and the Uffizi Gallery, and back up to the Duomo and the
 40k mark. The 25 mile marker was at the Palazzo del Bargello, and from there
 it was just a case of gritting the teeth for the final push, back to the
 river, and round to the finish in the spectacular Piazza Santa Croce. 

 Half an hour to get through the medal/space-blanket/water/goody bag stuff,
 and fighting my way back around to the steps of Santa Croce in time to see
 Michele smash her PB with with 4:00:21. Whilst disappointing (more for me
 than her) that she just missed breaking the four hour mark, it was tempered
 with the knowledge that it was a 14 minute PB (off not much training). Then
 we found out that she just squeaked a Boston qualifying time - after
 Michele's brief report last week, John Atkinson in Canada kindly e-mailed to
 advise that Boston allows an extra 59 seconds. Whilst they are very strict
 on their entry requirements, the allowance for Michele's age group is four
 hours, which is defined in Boston as under 4:01 - i.e. 4:00:59 or better.

 Then it was off to share a bottle of Prosecco with a friend of ours from
 Stragglers who had also done the race, followed by a week relaxing in
 Tuscany to recover! Next year will be the 25th running of this marathon, and
 they promise it will be a special one. We would certainly recommend it".

 1 P Ngeny (Kenya) 2.12.50  (chip time 2.12.50)
 297 Martin Halvey 2.59.33  (2.58.55)
 966 Andy Hayward 3.20.01  (3.19.19)
 3639 Michele Gibson 4.01.59  (4.00.21)

 Alan Davidson reports on his latest foreign jaunt:
 "It was a shock to the system having left home the day before at 04.30 for a
 sub-zero Gatwick to be running the Aphrodite Half Marathon in Cyprus in 75F
 warmth, my first half for nearly three years. It is a boring course made
 more so by removing the attractive run round Pafos Harbour but I was pleased
 (and surprised) having started steadily to finish quite strongly for 3rd
 0/60 prize in 1.39.46 (almost inevitably beaten by two Germans). Kath Bailey
 was 2nd female in 1.18.39.

 The Keo Challenge over two dry but cloudy and breezy days featured 4.5 miles
 of mainly chalky hills, dry underfoot (34.27) and 5.5 miles of prom/road
 (39.19) and I finished a close 3rd overall well clear of the rest of the
 field but somehow on the obscure handicap system well adrift of the field
 (obviously not done by the Ken Powley of Cyprus!)".

 John Atkinson wtites:
 "I set four 10k PBs during the summer, my best now standing at 36:06
 (clocked in Portland, Oregon on Sep 9). I then ran the Victoria Marathon
 four weeks later, which didn't go to plan (crawled home in 3:17 having run
 the first 10k comfortably at around 2:50-pace) but am now back in shape
 after healing from that. Have a couple more races to go this year (XCs over
 the next two weekends) and will then begin marathon training for Boston in
 mid-December. I qualified in Oct 2006 with the 3:04 I ran in Victoria".

 "A touch of inspiration to help you on these cold, wet and windy evenings,"
 writes Pete Mulholland: