Newsdesk 2002

 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com

 We won! See below for a blow by blow!

 DYSART and ELLIS CUPS  Saturday December 7th in Richmond Park
 These are two inter-club races open to all members. The women's race for the
 Dysart Cup (6km) also includes our own club women's championship for the
 Hugh Jones Salver and our club women's veterans championship (over 40s) for
 the new Trish's Trophy in memory of Trish Macé. All our female members - all
 ages and speeds - are encouraged to take part. Start time is 2pm. This will
 be followed (nominally at 2.30pm, probably a few minutes later!) by the 8km
 men's race for the Ellis Cup. Again, all are welcome to run.  

 Richmond Park
 Let's make it two in a row! If all who turned out last Saturday (plus a few
 more perhaps?) put in an appearance again next week it should be more than
 possible. Same course, same time 2.30pm. This race incorporates the club
 championship for the Wynne Cup.  

 Janet Turnes has offered to host a club Christmas party on Saturday December
 21st at her pub, the Wych Elm in Kingston. It'll cost a fiver a head for
 food. Contact Robin and Julie as soon as possible if you're interested at
 thedrummonds@blueyonder.co.uk. It
 will only go ahead if enough people are interested, so please do let them

 These take place on January 4th, January 25th and February 22nd
 respectively, but entries close quite soon. The Surreys are at a new venue,
 Nork Park in Banstead, about which I know nothing. The Southerns are also
 breaking new ground unknown to me at Exmouth while the National returns to
 the familiar territory of Hampstead's Parliament Hill.
 Anyone is free to run the championships nowadays and certainly the National
 is quite an experience if you have never taken part in one before. If you'd
 like to be entered for any of the above contact Andy or Sarah (see 'NEXT'
 below for details) as soon as possible. Overnight accommodation will
 probably be organised for the Exmouth trip for those that want it.  

 MOB MATCH v THAMES HARE & HOUNDS  Saturday November 30th in Richmond Park
 When on a November afternoon on Wimbledon Common in 1989 the Ranelagh mob
 clocked up their fourth consecutive victory over Thames Hare & Hounds it
 would have taken a dismal pessimist indeed to forecast that it would be our
 last win of the millennium. But so it turned out. With our friends from
 across the A3 in the ascendant and now one of the strongest clubs in the
 country we had to wait thirteen years to turn the tables on them again.
 Finally last Saturday it was our turn once more. Ranelagh well outnumbered
 Thames on the starting line, 59 to 46, which gave us a definite edge even
 before the stop watches had been started. Thames didn't have all of their
 top men out but still managed to dominate the front of the field, with Nik
 Altmann and Simon Wurr running well clear of our first man Peter Haarer and
 then two more white vests behind Peter.  But then things began to even up.
 Marcus Gohar ran a strong second lap to rid himself of the attentions of
 Mick Lane and Paul Doyle and in the process regain the Hastings Cup club
 veterans championship which he had relinquished to Mick a year ago. These
 three all made the top ten and they were followed by a gaggle of RH from
 12th to 16th. Amongst these were two very welcome visitors, Gordon Whitson
 over from Athens and Paul Keen down from Sheffield. Paul's journey was made
 the more worthwhile by winning the McDowell Salver for the first over 50 home,
 and taking the vets sealed handicap into the bargain. 
 Despite our packing in the teens Thames continued to hold a narrow lead in
 the scoring and it was not until the newly-married Alastair Sinclair crossed
 the line in 56th place that we finally - at 30 a side - crept into the lead.
 Eight home between 65th and 73rd -including the new Mrs Sinclair, less than
 two minutes behind the old man - secured it for us and we were over 250
 clear at the final reckoning. 
 Bill Harvey in 45th place won the Maslin Mug for the first over 60 home, not
 far behind the youngest man in the race John Doyle. It was great to see so
 many old and new faces taking part. This was really a perfect example of how
 mob matches can be won simply by the ostensibly weaker side outnumbering the
 stronger. The middle and tail-enders are just as important as the front
 runners. In two weeks (December 14th) we have the opportunity for a repeat
 performance when South London Harriers come visiting. Let's do it!           

 Alice Beverly made a crucial contribution to the Oxford University women's
 2nd team in their victory over Cambridge at Wandlebury Common on 30th
 1 C Willer (Cambr.) 24.43
 2 Alice Beverly (Oxford) 25.03
 Oxford seem to have won every team race right down to the men's fifth teams!
 On Friday last Sara Grosvenor was fifth woman home in the Serpentine 5km in
 a time of 19.17, Alan Davidson was third over 55 in 19.30 and Pete Warren
 was third over 60 in 19.53.  

 Marlene Pautard finished 5th in the tough Crowborough 10km on December 1st
 in 44.50.  
 David Wright writes:
 "I can assure you that I did start late in the Stroud half marathon - albeit
 only by one minute.  However with 1300 finishers it took ages to get past a
 lot of the back markers* and then I suffered from never having time to tuck
 in behind others into the gales.  I had good reason to be late as 20 minutes
 before the race started - I live 10 miles from Stroud - I was still shoring
 up my garden fence that was about to collapse following the storms.  Having
 finished 166th I actually overtook over 1000 runners and my time completed
 my annus horribilis perfectly, having started with a contentious 40.07 in
 the Danish 10km and also hammered the illusion of many training runs - if it
 was an hour it must be 10 miles - by running 63 & 64 in successive 10 mile
 races.  Unlike Mr Haarer I also, of course, ran the mob match the previous
 day!  I actually thoroughly enjoyed the Stroud race as I saw so many
 teammates (from Cirencester) as well as Niels Andersen at the 5 mile point.
 Unfortunately he was already suffering but we had time for a chat during
 which I congratulated him on his Page Cup win, thanked him for organising
 the aforementioned Danish Staffetten relay in April, castigated him for not
 running in Epping Forest and enquired as to his health (apparently his calf
 muscle injury had reared up again).  I will not embarrass him by recording
 his time for the Ranelagh history books but suffice it to say that if the
 handicapper took note there could be more Ranelagh silverware going abroad
 this year.  Given the conditions I think you should know that Pete Haarer's
 run was excellent - he was actually the first Englishman home and having
 chatted to him at a subsequent Oxford League race - he is 2nd claim
 Headington Road Runners - I suggest that at long last some of Ranelagh's
 historic best road times will be due for revision in the next 12 months.
 Scanning through the Stroud results there was a further Ranelagh entry not
 recorded in your result: Sue Healey 411th in 1.40.45. 

 *Starting at the back of the field reminded me of the time in the early 80's
 when Guy deBoursac, an ex-vice captain of Ranelagh now residing in
 Switzerland, tried to be clever at the New York marathon.  He didn't fancy
 the idea of having to take the official buses from the centre of NY to the
 start across the Verrazano bridge some four hours before the race started at
 10am.  This meant hanging around in potentially sub-zero temperatures until
 the race started and was done so that the bridge and therefore all traffic
 was closed in time for the start to be organised.  Guy, not unreasonably,
 figured that there must be a way around this.  The start was on Staten
 Island, one of the five boroughs of New York.  The marathon is known as the
 five borough race as it goes through each of Staten Island, Brooklyn,
 Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan.  So Guy, being clever, decided to take the
 famous Staten Island ferry to the start and circumnavigate the traffic
 problem.  However he figured without the possibility of ferry cancellation.
 So, whilst the rest of us dutifully got up early and queued for the buses
 Guy was asleep.  He eventually strolled down to the ferry terminal, was
 unable to get the ferry needed and eventually boarded a later boat, missing
 the start by a few minutes and had to fight his way through thousands of
 runners.  From memory he ran about 3 hours officially which was pretty

 The Marathon organisers are currently short-handed at the registration on
 Saturday 12th April. They will pay £55 for the session from 7.30am to 5pm,
 meals provided. If you're interested, please contact the registration
 co-ordinator Colin Poole on 020 8776 0959. 

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

 Saturday December 7th  Dysart Cup invitation women's 6km in Richmond Park
 including Hugh Jones Salver club women's championship and Trish's Trophy
 club women's veterans championship. Start 2pm, followed by Ellis Cup
 invitation men's 8km at 2.30pm. See above for details. 

 Saturday December 14th  Stubbs Cup mob match v South London Harriers in
 Richmond Park. 7.5 miles starting at 2.30pm.   

 Thursday December 26th    Social run in Richmond Park starting from the
 clubhouse at 11am. 

 Saturday December 28th     Henty Relay in Richmond Park. A not-too-serious
 relay for all ages and speeds. Teams of three (one "fast", one "medium" and
 one "slow") are drawn on the day. Be at the clubhouse by 2pm.  

 Stephen Instone contributes the following:
 'Researchers in Grimsby, reports the Scarborough Times, have discovered a
 correlation between British runners' names and abilities: the shorter the
 name, the better the runner.  The researchers cite as examples Ron Hill, Seb
 Coe, Steve Cram.  By contrast, Field-Marshall Lord Montgomery, Christopher
 Columbus, Benjamin Disraeli were not renowned for their running talent. The
 reason for this is reported as being the fact that monosyllabic names can be
 uttered more quickly, and therefore youngsters with monosyllabic names can
 receive better verbal encouragement: 'Go on, Ron Hill', the young Ron Hill
 would have heard, and he would have responded; by contrast, the young
 Christopher Columbus would hardly have heard half of his name uttered before
 he was out of ear-shot; he would therefore never have received comparable
 verbal encouragement.  These findings are startlingly borne out by Ranelagh
 Harriers: the greats like Hugh Jones, Dave Wright, Clive Naish are all
 monosyllabic. Food for thought, perhaps".

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