Newsdesk 2002

 Web site: http://www.surreyweb.net/rharriers
 Will Graves reports on the Blackheath mob match on February 9th:
 "Last weekend (or the weekend before last as I am currently as slow writing
 as I am running) saw the Heathens warmly welcomed to Richmond Park to do
 battle with the Harriers for a number of prizes. The first prize to be
 decided was the FB Thompson Medal. This, for those not sure, is for the
 fastest runner of the day and in recent years it has gone to our very own
 very special Julian Smith who remembered to bring it this year. The second
 prize up for grabs was the Wynne Cup Club Championship and then the Harry
 Sheer Cup for the first over 50 to finish. Then the Pelling-Ratcliff Cup for
 the Mob Match itself - the reason for most of us attending - and lastly
 there was a sealed handicap race for all Ranelagh runners who fulfilled the

 In the weeks preceding the race there was talk of us not having won a MM all
 season and this was our chance. Blackheath have got a long way to come and
 we even tried to go for an earlier start to dissuade them of the long
 journey (not really). The clubhouse was, upon arrival at about 1315hrs, not
 awash with the blue and amber but more awash with the injured and official.
 It was early days though. Coming up to time to leave the clubhouse and we
 were lagging behind the opposition in numbers but not necessarily in
 quality. However as per usual the mad rush to sign in occurred and it was
 looking more and more even. Clive Naish was in so he was fine but where was
 El Presidente and our centurion Dave Wright? Happily we were not to be let
 down by those boys. There were also some very welcome and very late arrivals
 at the start line. We also welcomed back into the fold the great John Hills
 who still looks as tanned as ever. This had the handicapper worried, had
 John been secretly putting in hours and hours of hard grind? We were going
 to find out. Paul Perry also fitted this category coming from his new home
 way out west, Gordon Whitson paid one of his flying visits from Athens and
 it was good to see Bridget Cuthbert back again. Two relative newcomers
 (according to my records) were Alexandra Woods and Richard Reddrop and John
 Ricketts gave racing another go. Good on you all.

 Prior to the gun there was all that Hobble Gobble Black Black Black business
 and we were on our way. The total field numbered just under 90 with Ranelagh
 more than just edging it in the end with 51 starters. From my vantage point
 at the start and finish line I don't know much about the race but I do know
 that for the first 10 minutes or so the ever sprightly Marcus Gohar led the
 field - he was a little unsure why he was leading. Then as far as I can tell
 it was a group of probably Dan Ayrton (BH), Julian and Hugh Jones that took
 up the challenge and round half way Dan, now in the lead, had to be advised
 of the correct line by the officials however his lead was fairly clear with
 Julian and Hugh having a little fun with each other. 

 The spread of runners was pretty even and it was difficult to gauge how the
 match was going at this stage. Spirits were on more of a high. Pre-race
 handicap favourites were having a mixed day. Richard Clay-Jones and Bridget
 had been mentioned as possibles as had Alastair Sinclair and they were all
 high up the list in the handicap at half way. However the actual winner was
 a long way ahead already. John Hills and Paul Perry showed why it is best to
 stay in the local area and run with a club. In the ladies race Liz Kipling
 was having a good day and was not to be headed at all. Blackheath had no
 female competitors this time around but even if they had... 

 So to the finish. Dan Ayrton was clear by a large margin over Julian
 (1min37). Nearly a minute then to Hugh, who it must be said was having to
 cycle back to North London after the race having already cycled to Richmond.
 The build up of blue and amber was possibly quicker than the black. The
 first 15 home was split 8 RH to 7 BH, the first 30 16 RH to 14 BH. The mark
 at 45 was shifted to 22 RH and 23 BH. At 60 there were 34 Ranelagh to 26
 Blackheath and it was in that group that Ranelagh took the spoils. 

 We had won a good tight race and in the ensuing festivities and prize giving
 this was made very clear. Liz was the first lady home, Julian retained the
 Wynne Cup ahead of Hugh Jones and Marcus was third Ranelagh man home. Mike
 Peace won the Sheer Cup. In the handicap it was Simon Burrell who pulled out
 a stormer (perhaps he enjoys the home Mob Match course), Liz Kipling came
 second and Alastair Sinclair third.  Alexandra Woods showed that the ladies
 keep adding to their wealth of talent by finishing less than a minute behind
 her captain Sarah Seal. 
 After the prize giving the traditional knees up that followed is
 unreportable from this correspondent - I cannot get either knee up very far
 from the ground - but I am sure it was a lot of fun and anyone who missed it
 certainly missed out. And so we finish the Mob Match season on a high. Lets
 have a real good go at the next one and keep this unbeaten record intact.

 Look what happened to Jahoiakim". 

 Also visiting as spectators were John and Beryl Offley, down from Cumbria
 for the National Orienteering Championships at Burnham Beeches the following
 day. Beryl went on to win the over 50 women's class there by a huge seven
 minutes, while in the over 50 men's race Mike Elliot finished 7th. 

 Also on February 9th were the Inter-Counties Championships at Nottingham.
 Peter Haarer was on the card for Oxfordshire in the senior men's race but
 had to pull out with flu. However we were well represented with three of
 Surrey's scoring four in the under 20 women's race, plus Anair Beverly in
 the Under 15s.
 Under 20
 1	C Dale (Kent)		22.11
 62	Estelle Damant		28.00
 68	Alice Beverly		28.25
 84	Louise Webster		29.08
 Under 15
 1	C Browning (Sussex)	15.28
 164	Anair Beverly		17.45 

 Anair was in action again on Sunday, winning Richmond's trial for the London
 Mini-Marathon and with it our club junior women's championship for the
 Camilla Cup.
 1	Anair Beverly		18.41
 2	Alex Hook		19.42
 3	Jessica Harvey		19.49
 4	Emily Ball		20.39
 5	Sarah Harwood		20.54
 6	Laura Ball		21.40
 7	Hannah Turnes		22.47 

 A couple of bright sunny days made a splendid job of drying out the Park for
 our annual visit to Roehampton Gate on the 16th. The Bank's course was fast
 going in the main, but features some tough hills. Paul Doyle, who has made
 such an impact in this his first season of cross-country, had his eye on an
 individual win but Hercules Wimbledon appeared in force - in rather greater
 force than they have managed in most of this season's League races in fact -
 so Paul had to settle for third and the team for second. New over 50 John
 Barnard showed some clean heels to old over 50 Mike Peace and new over 55
 Margaret Auerback was delighted with her run after doing a hills session
 with the youngsters in the morning! Marcus Gohar's apparent demise was in
 reality a trot round the course with his missus in the middle of a long
 training run. 

 Update from Niels Andersen on the 1900 Stafetten, Denmark, 28 April:
 "Just to remind you all that there are still places available for the relay
 race in Denmark. Travel and accomodation for the weekend is estimated to be
 about 120 (Fri-Sun nights). Race organisers have lowered the age limit for
 Vets from 60 to 55. So, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify not
 fielding a Vets' Team. All we require are 4 additional 55+ runners to help
 Martin Clark through the 5 laps. Mixed teams are accepted in the Vets'
 So far, 20 Ranelagh runners have expressed their interest in the race. This
 guarantees two teams: a Men's Team, with current potential to compete for
 third place, and a Mixed Team. The quality available however justifies the
 entry of two Women's Teams and possibly a Vets' Team. There are therefore
 still few places available for both Women's Teams, the Mixed Team, and the
 Vets' Team. If two more fast runners sign up for the Men's Team we have a
 chance of competing for first place!
 If you are interested in joining for a weekend trip to Denmark, please
 contact Niels Andersen (mailto:niels.andersen@fsmail.net / Tel:
 07811450266), Andy Bickerstaff (mailto:norris.hobs@ndirect.co.uk / Tel:
 07966 552302), Steve Rowland (mailto:SRowland@calorgas.co.uk), or talk to
 Carol Barnshaw.
 The deadline is 1 March to allow booking of flights and accomodation - on 19
 February flights from Stansted to Aarhus were still available for everyone
 for Friday 26 April".
 Race details are at http://www.aarhus1900.dk/stafet 

 I'll be sending out more detailed information on the Green Belt Relay (May
 11th and 12th) in the next couple of weeks. Anyone who is interested and has
 not yet let me know, please do so as soon as possible. Race details are at

 Neil Walford writes:
 "This month's Running Fitness magazine has a feature on Thames Hare and
 Hounds and focuses on the recent mob match v Ranelagh. It has photos of the
 race including Ken and Alan Hedger officiating, and also pictures of
 Ranelagh runners such as Steve Instone and Bob Beatson!
 Fame, fame, fatal fame,,,"

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

 Saturday February 23rd    National Championships at Bristol  

 Saturday March 2nd     Inter-club 5 miles in Richmond Park. 3pm start, all

 Saturday March 9th     Clutton Cup 10 miles handicap in Richmond Park.
 2.30pm start for the last cross-country handicap of the season. 

 Saturday March 23rd    Baker Cup 3 miles road handicap in Richmond Park.
 3pm start for the shortest handicap race of the year. In the evening will be
 the usual club supper and prize-giving. Details to follow, but you can book
 your places now with Mike Peace (mailto:admin@frimley.surrey.sch.uk). All
 trophy winners please try to attend.

 Our club 20 miles championship will be held with the Worthing 20 on March
 24th: a good training spin for London Marathoners. Likewise the Camberley
 Half Marathon on March 3rd which incorporates the Surrey county
 championship. Entry forms in the clubhouse or from
 www.camberleyathleticclub.co.uk. It's also the first event of four in a new
 county road championship. The Thames Towpath 10 miles at Chiswick on March
 17th will again be the first event in this year's Ranelagh road Grand Prix.
 Entry forms in the clubhouse. 

 Mike McDowell has been communicating with fellow-septuagenarian Ed Whitlock
 in Canada. Ed, who last year came so close to becoming the first over-70 to
 beat three hours for the marathon, has been injured of late and doesn't plan
 another marathon until the autumn. Mike discovers that the pair ran against
 each other in the London University Championships (Ed 1st for Imperial, Mike
 21st for UCL) a small matter of 51 years ago.... 

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