Newsdesk 2009

*************************************************** RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 312 7 August 2009 Editor: Steve Rowland mailto: steverowland@ranelagh-harriers.com *************************************************** HEADLINE NEWS ************* * Farewell to Stephen Instone * Wedding Day 7km - "mob match" and men's team wins, Phil Killingley, Peter Haarer, Liz Kipling and Marie Synnott-Wells all in top six * Elmbridge 10km - women's team win, David Wright first over 50, men's team 3rd * Marie Synnott-Wells 1st and Phil Killingley 2nd in Milland Valley Trail race * Estelle Damant 1st in Sri Chinmoy 5km * Kate Comisso 2nd in Thames Towpath Half Marathon * parkrun top threes from Emma Tomlinson and Peter Weir SEE HERE ******** VA'LE Dr STEPHEN INSTONE It is with the deepest sadness that we have to record the tragic and untimely death of Stephen Instone at the age of 54. Stephen drowned last month while on holiday in Switzerland with his family. Rarely can the loss of a member have been so keenly felt not only throughout the club but also in the running community in general. Ian Milne puts it succinctly: "Steve was very special. I know of no-one who did not have a soft spot for him". Stephen was educated at Westminster School and joined Ranelagh in the early 1970s at just about the time he was leaving school and going up to Balliol College, Oxford, to study Classics. Running was already an important part of his life, and he contrived from the first to come to the club for training or racing as often as he could. Stephen may not have been blessed with huge amounts of natural ability but he made up for this with sheer hard work. It was not long before an "Instone furrow" formed round the perimeter of Richmond Park as Stephen put in lap after lap after lap of training. He improved steadily throughout the decade and by 1980 had run 10 miles in 55 minutes and 2:42 for the marathon. He ran cross-country too, but road was his favoured surface, his slightly stiff running action with minimum knee lift being well suited to the longer distances. Progress was brought to a sudden halt in the spring of 1980 when, trying to clear some ivy from the guttering of his mother's house on Barnes Common, he fell off a ladder and shattered his ankle. He spent two weeks in hospital at Roehampton where various pieces of metalwork were inserted into the leg, but it was entirely typical of Stephen that the day after his release he could be found completing a lap of the Park on crutches. A little over three months later he ran the Shaftesbury 10 in 76 minutes. From then on there was always a trace of a limp in his running, but the upwards curve in his performances continued and by 1982 his marathon best had come down to 2:38. He dabbled with journalism after taking his degree, working for a local newspaper while also contributing articles to The Financial Times and other publications. He became Editor of the club Gazette, but the classical references which always found their way into his race reports revealed where his true love lay, and he returned to the world of academia and the Ancient Greeks. After spending some time in China with Hugh Jones in 1986 and then nine months in the USA in 1987-88, he completed his PhD at Bedford College, London and subsequently became an Honorary Research Fellow and departmental tutor at University College London and a lecturer at St Mary's College, University of Surrey. He became an acknowledged authority on the works of the Greek Poet Pindar, whose Odes were composed to commemorate victories in the Olympic and other Games of ancient Greece. When in 1993, the BBC was preparing a Radio 4 series entitled "Greek as a Treat" it was only natural that they should pick on Stephen to feature in the episode dealing with the Games. "Only the BBC," wrote the Sunday Times reviewer, "Could make a series which includes a scholar-athlete running around Regent's Park with a saucepan on his head and clutching a dustbin lid to illustrate the difficulties of the Ancient Greeks' 400 metres armour racing event: the same man tells of how he sprinted naked in Crete to see if the original Olympians' practice of nude running was, er, hindered by male encumbrances". The latter had taken place on a secluded beach, but in 2004 his past came back to haunt him in the guise of a BBC2 crew filming a programme entitled "First Olympian". Here's BBC News Online: "Dr Instone, who bared all on Loughborough University campus despite the chill winds of winter, told BBC News Online: 'If you are trying to recreate aspects of the ancient Olympics, when it comes to running you have got to run naked. I lined up with quite a few semi-international sprinters. I'm 49 and they were about half my age. They all had Lycra on, while I had to run unencumbered. I just tried it to show you can run perfectly well naked. People these days say it's difficult from a practical point of view. At least I proved it could be done'. Dr Instone, a club runner himself, came last."...and sadly the episode ended up on the cutting room floor. BBC News Online continues: "Although the modern Olympics - at least in theory - are supposed to be more about the taking part than the winning, the opposite was true of the original games, which started in 776BC. In fact, their ambition was as naked as their bodies. Dr Instone said: 'It wasn't like being British now, where coming second is considered quite good. Back then, it was considered a total disgrace. Some writings describe the loser having to go home by back alleyways to avoid other people. It was part of the Greek shame of defeat. Winners would bring back a great deal of reflected glory'." Here's an extract from Stephen's translation of Pindar's Ode "Olympian One", published in 1996: "And the glory's seen afar in races at Olympia of Pelops: for this is where speed of feet has a contest and hard-fought supremacy in strength. And he who is victor has a honey-sweet tranquillity throughout the rest of life". In the mid-1990s Stephen married Shelley, a former student of his, and they subsequently had two children, Florence, now 10, and Arthur, 8. Shelley is a writer/reviewer herself and a regular contributor to the letters pages of The Times, sometimes at Stephen's expense: "Already aware that he was on dangerous territory by giving me a tasteless wedding anniversary present just before Christmas, my husband surpassed all my low expectations of him as a lacklustre and deeply unimaginative present-giver by giving me a cookbook - the very one that he had given me the previous Christmas. Unfortunately for him, the present has only been used as a diverse and perfectly compact weapon". As his family commitments grew, Stephen's racing appearances diminished, though not his enthusiasm. Richard Xerri writes: "Shelley spoke with so much passion of Stephen's love for his children, his passion for running and Ranelagh Harriers and his overall zest for life which I'm sure we can all relate to". And of course the laps of the Park continued. Here's John Bryant: "I remember him best from the endless laps he used to run in Richmond Park. I usually ran anti-clockwise, Steve clockwise - and sometimes we would see each other many times. He would approach with that shy, almost gawky style, his head to one side. We would pass with a nod of recognition, sometimes a wave - that acknowledged that we were doing the same thing, for the same reasons; sharing the same pleasures, and often the same pains. Occasionally, we would pause and chat. Sometimes, when injured, Stephen would be on a bike, and we would swop views about how effective (or useless) training on a bike was. Other times we would update each other on our latest injuries, sympathise over broken bones and broken dreams, that runners know all too well. It seems trite to say that I shall miss him in the Park. But Stephen was a fixture there. We shared a mutual respect that only hard-core runners understand - it needed no explanation, no justification. When I got smashed up, and tried doing laps on sticks in the Park, he would always stop. His words of encouragement meant much to me then. And I knew I was getting back to normal when we would pass each other, running again, with just a nod. I shall miss those nods in the Park". Stephen completed 66 mob matches and countless handicaps and other club races. He was never rewarded with one of the handicap trophies, though he finished in the top three no fewer than seven times. He did however twice see his name on the Spendlove Cup for the club 20 miles championship, firstly in 1987 (1:59.20) and again in 1991 (a bit slower!). When the Saturday morning UK Time Trials / parkruns were instigated in 2004 Stephen was a regular attender from the outset, firstly in Bushy Park and latterly at the Richmond Park event. He was last year's winner of the annual Richmond parkrun points competition and held a clear lead in this year's. The trophy for the points winner was donated by Ranelagh and it is proposed that it will be presented this year to Shelley to keep. Ranelagh will then donate a replacement to be known as the Stephen Instone Trophy. Stephen was published on Homer, Virgil and Greek athletics as well as Pindar and his latest research centred on Greek personal religion and sound-effects in Homer. The ScienceLive website includes a lecture by Stephen on the latter, in which it is easy to discern Stephen's deep passion for his subject: Here:. The last word goes to Jim Forrest: "Stephen was utterly delightful in every way; a wonderful companion". Our sincere condolences go to Shelley, Florence and Arthur. All Stephen's friends are invited to join the family at a service of happy memories of Stephen on Tuesday 11th August at 1pm at All Saints Church, East Sheen (junction of East Sheen Avenue and Park Avenue). 2XU BELGRAVE BOLT 5km Sunday 9th August at Wimbledon This is the final event in both the Ranelagh Road Grand Prix and the Surrey Road League. 10am start. Entries will be taken on the day. SURREY ROAD LEAGUE With one event to go, Jonathan Robinson has already got the men's over 50 title sown up. We're in the running in a few other categories, but all will be decided at Wimbledon. Latest scores:. RANELAGH ROAD GRAND PRIX Also with one event to go, it's close at the top of the Open category with only two points separating Jonathan Robinson and Trevor Maguire. However, in their respective age-groups (over 50 and over 40) they hold unassailable leads. Sara Grosvenor and Marie Synnott-Wells are dead level at the top of the women's scoreboard, with Jo Ronaldson only three points behind. Marie leads the over 40 class by four from Jo, while Michele Gibson has a one point advantage over Penny Merrett in the over 50s. There are 123 names on the scoreboard altogether, which I suspect might be a new record. Details: SLOW TRAIL CHALLENGE Tuesday 11th August in Richmond Park South London Orienteers will be running the next in their series of summer "trail challenges" from our clubhouse on Tuesday 11th August. What is a trail challenge? This comes from the SLOW website: "Trail Challenge races are mass-start TRAIL races with a difference. A series of checkpoints define the courses which are run over tracks and trails - the challenge arises from choosing the fastest route between them. All competitors are given a detailed map of the area and an electronic 'finger' to record your arrival at checkpoints. The electronic 'finger' (also known as a SportIdent dibber) allows us to produce instant results showing your time between checkpoints, giving you hours of harmless fun comparing split times!" This event is entirely within Richmond Park, so navigation shouldn't be too difficult...maybe. If you fancy having a try, you have a choice of a 10km starting at 7.30pm or a 6km starting at 7.40pm. Entry is 4 in advance or 6 on the day. There is also a junior 2km event (free) at 6.45pm. Details:. ROAD RELAYS Looking ahead to September, the Surrey Road Relay championships take place on Saturday 12th September at Wimbledon Park and the South of England Road Relays will be at Rushmoor Arena (Aldershot) on Saturday 26th September (women) and Sunday 27th September (men). Note the schedule for the Southern is the opposite to usual - i.e. the men used to be on Saturday and the women on Sunday. Both events feature senior, over 40 and over 50 events for men; for women it's senior and over 35 for the Surreys and senior and over 40 for the Southerns. Contact the Captains (details in What's On below) if you are interested. MOB MATCHES Niall O'Connor writes: "While it's still too bright for roadrunners to go into hibernation until March, some people do argue that August 1st marks the beginning of autumn. Please note the autumn/winter mob match dates (no club weddings, births or holidays are permitted on the following) - 24th Oct (away to SLH at Coulsdon), 31st Oct (home v Orion Harriers), 21st Nov (away to Thames H&H) and 20th Feb (home v Blackheath). Put them in your diaries, you will be needed!" FULL POTENTIAL AUGUST TRAINING CAMP Phil Killingley writes: "Nick and Keith Anderson, who presented a seminar on training at the Ranelagh clubhouse last year, are organising a training camp at Wellington College on 29-30 August. Further information on this and other events are available at www.fullpotential.co.uk, (or call 0208 123 7806)." MAL COTHER VISIT Quite a few old friends made it to the Rose of York pub in Petersham Road last week to meet up with Mal Cother, who is over here from Australia on a short visit. He's currently travelling around the country but will be back at the Rose of York next Wednesday evening (12th August) and would be pleased to see anyone who can get there. WHAT'S COMING ************* More details of the following from Marc Snaith (07717 213035 mailto ( mdsnaith5@hotmail.com ) or Marie Synnott-Wells (07983 430264 (After 5pm Weekdays) / mailto nandmwells@aol.com ) Sunday 9th August 2XU Belgrave Bolt 5km at Wimbledon. Tuesday 11th August SLOW Trail Challenge in Richmond Park. See above. Tuesday 25th August Ratchford Relay. Women-only relay in Richmond Park, 7pm start. Saturday 5th September Opening Run and Thomas Cup 3.8m handicap in Richmond Park at 3pm, preceded by club photo at 2.30pm. Saturday 12th September Surrey Road Relays (men and women, including veterans) at Wimbledon Park. 12 noon start. parkruns every Saturday at 9am Bushy Park Diana Fountain car park Richmond Park Richmond Gate Wimbledon Common Windmill car park Banstead Woods Car park off B2219 Park Lane, Chipstead Bedfont Lakes Bedfont Lakes Country Park, Ashford, Middlesex Other venues, more details and registration at www.parkrun.com WHAT'S HAPPENED ************** ELMBRIDGE 10km Sunday 26th July at Walton Richard Gregory made a welcome re-appearance, albeit only on a brief visit back to the UK from Ethiopia where he will be working for the rest of the year. Richard finished between Jonathon Stacey and Ed Barker, all three of them in the early twenties. But they were well eclipsed by 52 year-old David Wright, who ran 34.10 for 12th place overall. David is making light of his form (see his blog) but 34.10 is good going by any standards and ranks him joint 12th in the UK amongst over 50s this year. You might take the age-graded results with a pinch of salt, but David's 89.35% was the top-ranked performance at Elmbridge by a clear two percentage points. Needless to say he won the over 50s prize, some three minutes ahead of second-placed Jonathan Robinson. In the men's team race, with six to score, David led Jonathon, Richard, Ed, Nathan Mills and Niall O'Connor to third place. Nick Wright and Trevor Maguire also made it inside 38 minutes and then it was the turn of the women. Next home for Ranelagh was Jo Ronaldson, third overall in the women's race and second over 35. Marie Synnott-Wells and Liz Kipling followed on in 8th and 9th places and with Emma Tomlinson not far behind the four-to-score team race was secured. Daniela Mingham and Carola Richter provided excellent backup to the top four. Further back, Wally Garrod was second over 70 home in 52.32. We had an excellent turnout which elicited the following from Elmbridge Chairman Paul Sweeney: "Could you please pass my thanks to your committee for the great support your club always shows the Elmbridge 10k. By our count at least 32 Ranelagh members ran our race last Sunday. Yours was one of the largest contingents we had. As we'd like to assure our race remains attractive to you and your members, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind supplying me with any feedback you or your members might have regarding this year's race. It would be of great help to us. Thanks again and hope to see lots of you next year!". Paul can be contacted at psweeney1967@btinternet.com. WEDDING DAY 7km Friday 31st July in Bushy Park If we thought 32 at Elmbridge was a good turnout, what about this? Over 70 Ranelagh names were entered, and 61 made it across the finishing line. Perhaps we should hold our mob matches on summer Friday evenings! Speaking of which...there is a "mob match" trophy on offer in this race, for the club with the most finishers (apart from organisers the Stragglers). We were the holders and the masses of blue vests streaming across the line guaranteed that we retained the trophy. Well done everybody, you all played a part in this win. But there was quality as well as quantity. Peter Haarer travelled down from Oxford for the race and gave Phil Killingley a good run for his money to be the leading Ranelagh finisher. Phil eventually came out on top but they both put in excellent performances to finish 5th and 6th. Peter's consolation was a bottle of champagne for the first over 40 to finish. They combined with Al Morgan - in perhaps his best race for the club so far - and Jonty Stacey to win the men's team race. Niall O'Connor is running well too, and finished less than a minute behind Jonty. Nick Wright was next, on his way to winning the Friends/Pub/Work etc team race with his brothers Adam and Matthew. Then came Jonathan Robinson, taking second prize in the over 50 category, followed by Trevor Maguire, 8th in the over 40s, and Chris Owens and Bill Neely, 3rd and 5th over 50s. A stride behind Bill was fast-improving 16 year-old George Inman who took 3rd place in the junior section (with 15 year-old Luke Wilson 4th). Graham Quick followed George and then we had Liz Kipling, defeating her Captain Marie Synnott-Wells for the first time for many a month. They were 5th and 6th overall in the women's race, 3rd and 4th amongst the over 35s. Bonnie Morgan and Kerrie O'Connor beat the half hour, with Daniela Mingham and Alison Dicks not far outside. Kathy Mallett with a time of 32.49 was second over 55. Further back there were several Ranelagh members contesting their first open race - I hope you enjoyed the experience! John Hanscomb - a few days short of his 74th birthday - had sufficient energy to compete this evening after running the Hyde Park 5km at lunchtime! Before the start, Straggs' Keith Howarth asked for a few moments silence in memory of Stephen Instone, a nice gesture much appreciated. The race was dominated by Australian internationals, with David McNeill a minute and a half clear of the field and Benita Johnson (8th overall) the first woman. There were 633 official finishers, though the chip timing threw up a couple of anomalies, with Annemarie Goodridge not shown at all and Hannah Doyle listed about a minute slower than the time recorded by Ken Powley. The official results have now been updated. By the way, did anyone else get half devoured by some particularly ravenous carnivorous flies after the finish, or was I the lucky one? David Rowe's quality photos: here:. CLAYGATE FLOWER SHOW 5 miles Sunday 12th July 1 X Garro (unatt) 28.25 114 Alan Howard 38.59 145 Jim Forrest 40.21 203 Wally Garrod 43.02 361 John Hanscomb 51.47 GATTON PARK 10km Wednesday 22nd July at Redhill 1 A Stirk (G&G) 38.45 28 Steve Rowland 48.02 66 Sonia Rowland 56.23 BUSHY parkrun 5km Saturday 25th July 1 J Hamblen (Walton) 16.02 5 Hugh Brasher 17.23 18 David Rowe 19.17 19 Darren Wood 19.24 29 Grant Hibbert 19.43 36 Simon Collingridge 19.59 83 Luke Wilson 21.33 87 Ian Grange 21.42 175 Phil Aiken 23.51 187 Kirsty Bangham 24.03 210 Roger Wilson 24.39 289 Fiona Jones 26.49 319 Daniel Hobbs 27.48 325 Sally Bell 28.01 355 Holly Wilson 30.02 356 Gill Wilson 30.02 358 John Hanscomb 30.08 RICHMOND parkrun 5km Saturday 25th July 1 S Bush (AFD) 17.44 11 Bill Neely 19.17 13 Jerym Brunton 19.31 34 Rachael Holmes 22.14 35 Alan Davidson 22.17 42 Alison Dicks 23.06 45 Jar O'Brien 23.15 96 Janet Turnes 28.34 118 Stacey Barber 31.42 120 Pat Hewlett 32.08 121 Lorna Smith 32.09 122 Bronwen Northmore 32.27 126 Sarah Middleton 33.44 131 Bev Ali 35.27 140 Yvonne Howie 39.39 BEDFONT LAKES parkrun 5km Saturday 25th July 1 J Brown (Thames T) 17.01 9 Duncan Mallison 19.30 22 Chris Wilson 22.37 31 Joanne Turner 23.53 69 Peter Martingell 37.16 THAMES TOWPATH DOWN TOW UP FLOW HALF MARATHON Sunday 26th July at Marlow Kate Comisso reports: "Marlow to Windsor along the towpath makes a gorgeous course, though for some reason it was somewhat lacking in club vests so that 1.33.48 was good enough for 2nd lady". 1 J Lopez (unatt) 80.56 21 Kate Comisso 93.48 LAST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH 5km Friday 31st July at Hyde Park 1 H Raidi (Belgrave) 15.56 101 Michael Bull 21.43 107 Alan Davidson 21.50 204 John Hanscomb 30.12 RICHMOND parkrun 5km Saturday 1st August Peter Weir ran to 3rd place. 1 S Bush (AFD) 17.26 3 Peter Weir 18.25 7 David Rowe 18.47 11 Bill Neely 19.20 41 Alison Dicks 22.29 49 Tony Appleby 23.05 58 Karen Weir 23.47 61 Paul Bisping 24.13 69 Andrew Brown 25.04 81 Wiebke Kortum 27.34 97 Stacey Barber 31.41 102 Sharon Rowe 33.52 BUSHY parkrun 5km Saturday 1st August 1 P Knechtl (BA) 17.32 31 Grant Hibbert 19.38 34 Simon Collingridge 19.50 52 Chris Hunton 20.17 213 Phil Aiken 24.35 312 Nicholas Fordham 27.13 313 Peter Fordham 27.14 316 Daniel Hobbs 27.19 328 Sally Bell 27.42 370 Tamsin Burland 29.23 417 John Hanscomb 31.52 BEDFONT LAKES parkrun 5km Saturday 1st August 1 J Worcester (unatt) 17.04 8 Darren Wood 19.26 50 Sharon Dooley 26.22 66 Chris Wilson 32.45 70 Peter Martingell 36.40 WIMBLEDON COMMON parkrun 5km Saturday 1st August Emma Tomlinson was first woman home. 1 M de Freitas (B&B) 17.11 24 Emma Tomlinson 20.13 111 Catherine Carthy 27.09 ROUNDSHAW DOWNS parkrun 5km Saturday 1st August A new parkrun event at South Croydon... 1 R Ward (Belgrave) 16.58 28 Joanne Turner 25.06 BLACK PARK parkrun 5km Saturday 1st August ...and another at Slough attracting a Wilson family outing. 1 S Claridge (Hill Tri) 19.06 17 Luke Wilson 22.06 22 Roger Wilson 23.35 48 Holly Wilson 29.02 49 Gill Wilson 29.02 MILLAND VALLEY TRAIL RACE Sunday 2nd August Phil Killingley was second overall and Marie Synnott-Wells was first woman. Phil writes: "Milland is a small village somewhere in Hampshire, Sussex or Surrey, depending on whom you believe. The race probably enters all three. If you like long races, steep hills and frequent bogs, this is definitely the one for you. Sorry to say it, but it beats Richmond Park any day. The two highlights were the incredible views at about 11 miles, and the helter-skelter descents, made more interesting by a somewhat naive choice to wear racing flats rather than fell shoes. Health and safety would have a heart attack. Next year is in the diary". Marie adds: "A tough 13-ish miles - nobody knew exactly, as the course had changed from last year. Perfect pre-xc season event! Not for the faint hearted. Beautiful course mainly under cover so cooler for running in August and little road! Overall rating 10/10 for course marking and scenery (did not get lost, always good), 2/10 for after race facilities for women (had to use hose at the back of the cricket club house to wash mud off, guess no stranger to roughing it though), 8/10 for race organization, 4/10 for race start (could not hear the race start instructions from the official) and 10/10 for the race medals!" 1 N Torry (Serp) 1:21.33 2 Phil Killingley 1:23.17 49 Marie Synnott-Wells 1:40.09 406 George Coates 2:57.40 SRI CHINMOY 5km Monday 3rd August in Battersea Park Estelle Damant won the women's section. 1 N Shasha (Walth) 15.56 40 Estelle Damant 19.03 143 Wally Garrod 24.52 KINGFIELD CANTER 2.85 miles handicap Wednesday 5th August at Woking 1 A-M McGraw (Woking) 24.17 (actual 21.32) 4 Alan Davidson 25.41 (19.41) 13 Steve Rowland 26.39 (18.54) 17 Sonia Rowland 26.48 (21.18) 21 Jim Forrest 27.03 (22.03) TOM'S TOURS Tom Reay writes: "You may have noticed my non appearance in club activities over the last few months , but the answer is I've doing plenty of races away from home, and had a short spell recovering from injury. These are the races I've done over the past 30 months, with times (where known) to the nearest minute. Some have appeared in the e-news already, some not. 2007 Tadworth 10: time uncertain; Dartford 10: time uncertain; Bramley 20: 2:54; Sidcup 10: 1:18; Berkhamsted 1/2M: 1:55; Algarve Training Week; Kingston 16: 2:25; Paris Marathon: 4:23; Ranelagh 1/2M: 1:44; Seaford 1/2M: time uncertain; Purple Patch 1/2M: 1:50; Salisbury 30K: 3:08; Wolverhampton Marathon: 4:25; Stansted Slog 1/2M: 2:05; Cricklade 1/2M: 1:54; Atlanta USA Marathon: 4:48. 2008 Tadworth 10: 1:31; Dartford 10: 1:22; Bookham 10k: 0:59; Sidcup 10: 1:18; Tunbridge Wells 1/2M: 1:48; Bracknell 1/2M: 1:48; Ranelagh 1/2M: 1:50; Forest of Dean 1/2M: 1:59; Seaford 1/2M: time uncertain; Bewl 15: 2:08; Fairlands 30K: 3:01; Idle 10K (Yorks): time uncertain; Burnham Beeches 1/2M: 1:57; Palm Beach USA 1/2M: 2:00. 2009 Dartford 10: 1:26; Sidcup 10: 1:19; Brighton 1/2M: 1:48; Cranleigh 15: 2:22; Stratford upon Avon 1/2M: 2:00; Hook 10: 1:22; Three Lakes Classic 15 (Yorks): 2:20; Dysart Dash 10K: 0:51; Wyre Forest 1/2M: 2:10; Fairlands 30K: 3:28. This brings my runs up to date. If I could just mention, the Dartford and Sidcup races make a good combination to start the year. Dartford 10 is hilly, and much nicer than the Tadworth 10 run at about the same time. Sidcup is fast and flat giving you a good time early in the year. The Purple Patch is a nice half run from Marlow to Windsor along the Thames. Every other year it runs in the opposite direction. Wolverhampton is a nice two lap marathon course, without any long straight stretches. The Burnham Beeches course has now changed and is more rural. The Stansted Slog is probably the hardest half I've done, at one point there is a very steep gradient and to make matters worse there's a stile to climb over at the top! Finally the Bracknell half is an interesting course run around the footpaths and subways of the town. I hope you may find some of these results worthwhile and hope to see some of you training on Wednesday evenings". FINALLY... "And you know well how many leaves in the spring the earth brings forth And how many grains of sand In rivers and sea are buffeted by the waves and blasts of winds; You see clearly what is destined and whence it will come". From "Pythian Nine" by Pindar, translated by Stephen Instone.