Newsdesk 2002

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 61              24 APRIL 2002
 Web site: http://www.surreyweb.net/rharriers

 My invitation to runners to send me their impressions of the race brought
 responses ranging from the very brief ("Horrible, I have flu!!!!!" from
 Chris Spink) to the lengthy and erudite, as you will see.

 First Bev Ali, who cracked the five hour barrier for the first time:
 "A big thank-you to all those who helped me through the training and those
 who were there on the sidelines on Sunday, especially the ones who saw me
 at my grumpy best near the finish - the thought of having to tell everyone
 either why I didn't finish or why I didn't finish in under 5 hours
 definitely kept me going in the latter stages!  AND, I promise not to
 volunteer again until I can finish a half marathon in 2 hours (seen any
 flying pigs lately?) AND you may feel free to remind me of this if I ever
 weaken in my resolve.
 As any of the other participants can verify, the weather was absolutely
 perfect, the crowd support and race organisation superb as ever and I
 thought the music along the way was even better than in 2000.....(and, in
 case you are wondering, the combination of running for 2 more years with
 the best coaching, not drinking too much water, and the Championchip start
 timing, has reduced my official finishing time by a whopping 40 minutes!).

 Marcus Gohar, winner of the Winter Cup club marathon championship:
 "I'd done the training, surely I could beak 3.20 and put my P.B. out of
 Eliete's reach. We arrived at the station in plenty of time to avoid the
 rush. The departure time of the train came and went, the departure time of
 the next train came and went, the pre-race relaxation techniques went...
 40 minutes late a train finally arrived. We caught one of the later trains
 from Waterloo East, just. We only just squeezed in, it was shoulder to
 shoulder and totally airless. Then someone farted!
 I just about made the start and we were off. My pre-race plan was to
 follow Steve Badgery, (Hercules Wimbledon), who had a P.B.of 2.15, set in
 1971! He was aiming for 2.40 and with his considerable experience could be
 relied upon not to do anything stupid. He quickly disappeared into the
 distance clocking about 5.40 pace so I followed the far more sensible
 President Peace instead.
 We strolled through 10K at a sober 37.15ish, but around Cutty Sark I
 discovered that the blue vest to my right was not Mike. Out on my own with
 several hundred other runners I trotted on to Tower Bridge and through
 half way in about 79.30, more than two minutes slower than last time. 14
 miles in 84.15, gaining on last time, 15 miles in 1.30.10. moving up. 16
 in 1.36.02, forging ahead! Passing runner after runner, including old man
 Badgery, regretting his earlier folly. Past Canary Wharf, mile 17, mile
 18, drop slightly, but no more tired than on many a long run. Just a lap
 of the park to go. Fired up by the sight of a sub 2.40 I charge towards
 twenty miles which I hit in 2.00.30.
 When I say "hit" I mean HIT. Suddenly my legs decide that their contract
 stipulated two hours only. So close to a fast time I am having none of it
 and tell myself that it's all in the mind, and attack the final 10K. The
 runners drift past me as I pass Tower Bridge. Coming out of the
 Blackfrairs tunnel a runner hops nimbly by, waving to the crowd and doing
 a little dance. Some people just don't take these things seriously. On the
 Embankment Christian cheers me on, but my mind's on other things. My watch
 tells me that Ken Fotherby Junior can not be far away. Onto the Mall and
 in front of me a runner is running bent over at 90% at the waist. Is he
 doing it for sponsorship? He falls over, at least I pass one runner in the
 final stages. Someone shouts "Go on Ranelagh". Moments later they shout it
 again. Ken must be right behind! I actually manage a sprint finish, which
 is more than I do in the Surrey League to record what must surely be the
 worst ever time to win the Winter Cup. Ken, and a revitalised Steve
 Badgery are just behind".

 At the other end of the field, our last finisher was Mike Rowland:
 "Not one of my best marathons. I was on my feet for 7 hours working at
 Registration on the Friday. Not an ideal preparation! I adopted my usual
 tactics of waiting until all other competitors had left Blackheath before
 I started walking. That way, I have a clear road and it allows me to
 develop my rhythm for the race (essential in race-walking). It's just that
 my rhythm on Sunday was too bloody slow!
 What a debut marathon by Paula Radcliffe! That's got to be the
 greatest-ever marathon by a woman".

 Fiona O'Donovan was a first-timer:
 "I had a wonderful time. Being my first marathon, I was completely
 mesmerised by the crowd support, it was amazing and certainly helped the
 miles fly by. I wouldn't say it was a painless experience, the Isle of
 Dogs was 'interesting', but it is definitely worth a return next year - I
 am hooked! Big thanks to Frances for her training schedule and guidance".

 Alastair Sinclair was another improver:
 "This was my second attempt at London. I was at the red start, in pen 2 and
 so not far from the front. It only took 40 sec to cross the line after the
 gun, so after a mile or so the road opened up a bit. It was pretty good
 weather: excellent conditions for running. I kept to around 7:20 to 7:30
 miling for the first 10 miles or so. I felt OK and was enjoying the weather
 and a reasonable space on the road. That became a bit ruined when the sub
 3h15 pacers passed me on Tower Bridge, with a battalion closely packed in
 behind them, and I almost ended up off the road at one point. I decided not
 to keep up with the group as I headed out towards Docklands. At half way I
 was 1h 38, pretty much on course for a reasonable showing. I saw the elite
 men's race pass by on the other side of the road as they headed back towards
 the finish. They were all looking very comfortable. I encountered one
 Ranelagh supporter on the way out to Docklands before the bulk support at
 the usual 17 & 20 mile spot. Several friends had also turned out at the same
 spot: well done to all who turned out to watch. I was feeling OK at 17
 miles, but had lost a bit of concentration with regard to my pace. I was
 still OK by 20 miles, but after that I started to hurt. By 22 miles my legs
 were beginning to suffer badly, and all along the Embankment it got steadily
 worse. There was Ranelagh support at various points on the Embankment, but
 by the last mile or two I guess I didn't notice it. Afterwards, Chris Owens
 told me he was at 40km, and I looked like I was "obviously concentrating
 hard". I think that means I was too spent to notice. I knew in the last 2 or
 3 miles I would not beat the 3h15 mark, I just did not have enough in me to
 make an increased effort by that stage. I finished in 3h 17min 24sec,
 beating my time of last year by just over 11mins, which I was pleased with.
 I was shattered at the finish, much more so than last year: it took me ages
 to wander up to collect my gear and I could hardly move. The last 3 miles
 were definitely the hardest I have ever run. Despite this I really enjoyed
 the run, and after some food and drink I recovered. I would like to try
 again as I think I can improve further. My training was less than optimal
 and so it is worth another shot sometime". 

 Finally Alberto Simon:
 I had in mind that I could, and would, run in under 3hr30m.  And that's
 what I told the guys on a Tuesday night.  But it was tough.
 I started in the 3hr 45m pen and I was surprised to take less than two
 minutes to cross the starting line.  I was further surprised at having to
 walk part of the first mile and it took me almost to five miles before I
 caught the 3h 30m Runners World pacer.  By this time I knew I had an
 inkling as to how hard it would be.  The Paula Radcliffes and the Haile
 Gebreselassies of this world have it easy - they can just get into stride
 and relax!  No chance for me with runners pushing past and others slowing
 so that I had to push past.  It was worse at the drinks stations.  This
 was no fun run.
 The sense of occasion didn't hit me until the Cutty Sark.  It was
 excellent - great crowds, lovely weather and feeling strong.  I had
 trouble believing it was me, Alberto, running the London Marathon.  Wow.
 But with the problems of running in such a large crowd I tried to
 concentrate on just keeping up the pace.
 Near the half way mark I expended a bit of energy cheering on the lead men
 who were nearing the 22 mile mark.  My excitement quickly passed when I
 thought about the eight miles I would have to run to get to that point.
 The miles through the Docklands were a grind, but I still kept up the
 pace.  I had a few supporters cheering me on during the 22nd mile, but my
 energy levels dropped dramatically thereafter and the last four or so
 miles were hell.  I had practised positive thoughts to get me through to
 the end, but at this point I could only think negatively.  My body
 screamed for me to stop, but though I felt I could walk quicker, I kept
 going.  The crowds, the mile markers were of little comfort by now.  I had
 walked these roads many times, but I didn't recognise any of it.  Not even
 the sight of Big Ben could speed me up.  Time?  Forget it, I just wanted
 to finish.  Birdcage Walk, Buckingham Palace, I knew the end was close,
 but I couldn't speed up.
 But turning into The Mall, seeing the finish line, oh glory what a sight.
 And the time on the clock?  Surely not!  I sprinted (or so it felt like it
 to me) and then finished.  The relief and joy would keep exhaustion at bay
 for hours to come.  And I knew I was pretty damn close to my intended
 time. If I had any energy left I would have cried, so great it felt.
 Before the race I had told myself that I would give my all and if it meant
 I couldn't walk for a week after, so be it.  It's three days since I
 finished and the aches and pains are still very much evident.  But I have
 been walking since Sunday and walking tall.  Albeit with a limp and a
 I'd like to thank all at Ranelagh, especially Stephen (Stuart) & Robin
 (Drummond) for all the advice, encouragement and training.  See you soon.
 Alberto - a sub 3hr 30m marathon runner".

 As usual we had a strong presence in the Richmond borough team for the
 mini marathon, and some equally strong results:

 Girls 15 - 17
 1	F Fullerton (Havering)	14.31
 11	Alice Beverly		17.11
 23	Jessica Harvey		17.59
 102	Hannah Turnes		20.29
 180	Dina Lacmane		23.48
 Girls 13 - 14
 1	L Snow (Newham)	15.50
 64	Laura Ball		19.40
 Girls 11 - 12
 1	R Taylor (Bromley)	16.42
 13	Alex Hook		18.25
 75	Sarah Harwood		20.26
 79	Emily Ball		20.33
I think Stacey Barber was in there too, but for some reason I can't find her
 Boys 15 - 17
 1	L Bowron (Ealing)	13.03
 168	Alister Hook		17.48

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

 Sunday April 28th      1900 Stafetten Relay in Aarhus, Denmark

 Saturday May 11th / Sunday May 12th	Green Belt Relay

 Sunday May 19th      Ranelagh Richmond Half Marathon at Old Deer Park, 8am

 Sunday June 9th       Dorking 10 miles road race (note the date is the
 9th, not the 2nd as originally thought). 10.45am start. Entry form can be
 downloaded from www.dmvac.org.uk

 Entry forms for both the Half Marathon and the Dysart Dash 10km on June
 30th can be downloaded from our web site.

 Margaret Auerback writes:
 "The Veterans track league is starting again on 29 April and this year all
 matches are being held at Battersea Park. I am hoping to get together a
 women's team so that I don't have to do all the events myself!
 Dates are 29 April, 13 May, 24 June, 15 July,( all Mondays ) starting at
 6.30 with the distance running events usually from about 7.20 onwards. Age
 groups for women are W35, W50, W60. Men are M40, M50, M60 . Team manager
 is John Curtin tel.01932 787658 or see Clive Naish or me at Ranelagh on
 Tuesdays and Wednesdays or Barn Elms on Thursdays".

 Many on the London course will have noticed the South London Harrier
 running with her arm in a sling in the elite women's field - but in the
 Rotterdam Marathon last weekend Kenyan Kenneth Cheruiyot went one better
 by falling and breaking his arm after 10km. He got up, continued the race
 and finished 2nd in 2.09.43.....

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