Newsdesk 2002

 Web site: http://www.surreyweb.net/rharriers
 A happy, prosperous, fit, healthy, pb-filled New Year to you all! 

 Neither side showed much enthusiasm for a mob match three days before
 Christmas. We mustered only 19 on the downs at Coulsdon but our hosts were
 not much better off with 30 starters. Fixtures Sec John Hanscomb tells me
 that he'll approach his opposite number in SLH to see if a better date can't
 be found for next season.

 It was very cold and the course was frozen hard, all but the crossing of the
 ploughed field which was heavy going as usual. SLH's Stuart Major won pretty
 much at a canter but Marcus and Mick showed up well for Ranelagh in 2nd and
 3rd places. Thereafter followed rather too many white vests with just the
 occasional spot of blue; and the SLH comprehensively outscored us for the

 We did however comfortably outnumber SLH in the bar, and in Clive and Sue's
 quiz later in the evening the two teams with a Ranelagh interest packed well
 in 4th and 5th places.

 David Wright adds:
 "Modest chap that he is, Steve Rowland, whilst reporting on the club's
 latest glorious defeat by SLH last Saturday, will probably have casually
 ignored the fact that he is now a mob match centurion. I would therefore
 like to salute his achievement in joining what is now a gang of four.
 Looking at the latest statistics on the Ranelagh web site it could be some
 time before a fifth is added. It will be up to Jim Forrest to rid himself of
 calf injuries and to nurse himself through another nine 'mobs' (that is only
 another 68 miles, Jim and you used to be able to do that in one day - London
 to Brighton, Comrades, South Downs Way etc) or we will have to wait 6 or 7
 years for Mike Peace, Clive Naish (still on course for 100 consecutive) or
 even Bill Harvey to join us. 

 Back to Mr Rowland. Without wishing to start a history lesson it should be
 noted that Steve was for many years the only link between two generations of
 Ranelagh runners. He is much younger than the highly successful pack of the
 late 50's and early 60's - Bird, Kirk, Hedger (A), Horne, Forrest, Fowler,
 various Australians - but much older than the next batch of, probably, equal
 success in the late 70's and early 80's, made up of Jones (H), East, Woods,
 Orr, Collingridge, Harrison, Pautard, Hedger (S), Ewers, Riley, various
 Australians and dare I say it DJW. Without Steve that link may never have
 been made and Ranelagh could well have gone the way of many older clubs and
 folded. The fact that he has further embraced the current generation through
 newsletters, gazettes, organising of long distance footpath races etc.,
 emphasises the massive contribution he has made to the club. And all this
 with only 9 toes in recent years!
 Well done Steve and thanks for driving me to my first road race ever - the
 Canterbury '6' in 1975. I've never forgiven you though for not being able to
 drive me home because you and Sonia went to a Speedway match in Canterbury
 that evening!"

 The Henty Relay on December 29th was an enjoyable gallop despite the
 bitterly cold weather (which reminds me - I forgot to pay tribute in the
 last edition to the officials and marshalls who braved the freezing
 conditions for a long afternoon of League races on December 15th. Even Ken's
 computer shivered to a halt that day. Well done to you all and I hope you
 have finally thawed out). Amongst the officials this time were Robin and
 Julie Drummond, freshly arrived from three months swanning around Australia
 and south-east Asia. Bet they were glad to be back!
 We had enough runners for ten teams of three and although a bigger turnout
 would make for a better race this was a pretty close affair, with half the
 teams leading at some point. After Marcus Gohar and Paul Doyle made the
 running on the first stage it was Kevin Jacques, saving his best effort for
 the last lap, who swooped past John Keep and Clive Naish to take the Kiwi
 trophy with his partners Margaret Auerback and Carol Barnshaw.
 Marcus was the fastest "fast", Roger Brankin - in his first race for over a
 year - was top "medium" and Wyn Williams the least slow "slow". Ms
 Consistency was Louise Webster with two identical 9.47s. 

 Alice and Anair Beverly were our only representatives at Reigate's Holly
 Runs on December 16th, the day after the last League race. Alice finished
 10th in the senior women's race in 22.00 (winner S Best of Crawley in 19.29)
 and Anair 3rd in the Under 15s in 12.24 (winner D Christmas of Crawley in
 They were out again on December 22nd finishing together in 2nd and 3rd
 places in 18.58 in the junior women's section of Hercules Wimbledon's
 inter-club on Wimbledon Common, 40 seconds behind the winner M Knepsl of

 Ian Dent writes from Melbourne:
 "I thought it was about time to let you know I'm alive, running and happily
 settled back here in Australia. I regularly check out your e-news and am
 pleased to see Ranelagh is still going strong, but I can't say I miss
 slopping around those cross country courses at this time of year. I won't go
 on about the great weather or  outdoor lifestyle here which I'm sure you've
 heard before but I must say living 400m from the beach has its advantages. I
 think I only had to run with a polyprop top on twice throughout the winter
 months here and my running tights are still packed away.
 I was quickly back into my running again since I arrived here in June. I'm
 not running with an 'official' harrier club as such but instead a band of
 merry men known as the Melbourne Midday Milers
 http://www.geocities.com/middaymilers/index.html who are very prominent in
 the local corporate racing scene and have an enthusiastic lunchtime
 training/racing program. Another former Ranelagh runner Geoff Nicholson also
 runs for them. I'm working for the ANZ Bank here and was quickly consumed
 into the ranks of their running club too.

 On a personal front my best result since being back here was 1st V40 in the
 Melbourne 1/2 Marathon in 1:18. I failed by a whisker to break 35 minutes
 for 10km back in October but with my New Year resolution to hook up with a
 professional coach I hope to devour both of these marks in 2002. 

 The World Masters Games are being held here in Melbourne in October 2002
 http://www.2002worldmasters.org/ with a full track & field program plus 10k
 & 1/2 marathon events so if anyone in the club is tempted by this I'd be
 happy to see them. My email address here is denti@anz.com. Regards to all".
 Winners of the draw at the Henty Relay were Bev Ali (151), Arthur Allwright
 (63) and Brian Chard (38). If you'd like the opportunity to trouser such
 riches it'll cost you just a tenner a year to join in. Contact Peter Trainor
 by phone on 020 8541 3579 or by e-mail to peter.trainor@btinternet.com or by
 snail mail to 30 Hatch Place, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 5NB. 

 More details of all the following from Andy Bickerstaff (07966 552302 /
 norris.hobs@ndirect.co.uk) or Sarah Seal (020 8995 2380 /

 Saturday January 5th   Surrey County cross-country championships at Lloyd
 Park, Croydon.

 Saturday January 19th   South of the Thames "Senior" Championships at

 Saturday January 26th    Southern Championships at Parliament Hill

 Saturday February 2nd    Surrey League Div 1 final fixtures, women (12 noon)
 and men (3pm) both at Farthing Downs, Coulsdon

 Saturday February 9th   Pelling-Ratcliff Cup mob match v Blackheath Harriers
 at home in Richmond Park, incorporating our club championship for the Wynne
 Cup. 2.30pm start. Our last chance to win a mob match this season! 

 Steve Rowland
 Telephone: 01926 318734
 Fax: 0870 4006901
 e-mail: srowland@calorgas.co.uk