Newsdesk 2003

 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com  

 This is the opportunity to race on somebody else's Richmond Park course. All
 are welcome, it's 6 miles and starts at 2.45pm close to Roehampton Gate.
 Race HQ is the Bank of England sports ground in Bank Lane, about 400 metres
 from the gate.

 PELLING-RATCLIFF CUP Mob Match v Blackheath Harriers at Hayes, Kent
 Saturday February 8th
 Angus Cater reports:
 "I blame it on the jet lag and the inspirational words from our President in
 the last e-letter. I arrived on Friday morning from the States, having been
 injured and not run anywhere except on a treadmill for 5 weeks, and on
 Saturday morning decided to have my first outing of the season. My wife,
 used to my lunacy after 30 years, shrugged and went to look for the life
 insurance policy. Even she knew what 'Mob match against Blackheath' meant.
 It appears I was very nearly the only one to have mislaid the family brain
 cell. Actually there were 26 of us - most of whom were even older than me.
 Don't you young 'uns like one of the greatest cross country courses in the
 country? I think Blackheath turned out nearly 70 which meant that the result
 was a foregone conclusion.
 It was a grey but warm afternoon and I started slowly and then went slower.
 I discussed my US Ladies running club (FastTracks) with a pretty young thing
 and that was pretty much it except a great deal of pain and my slowest time
 for the Blackheath course since I joined Ranelagh in the 70's. Some dear old
 boy in his late 90's even apologised for pushing me into the mud during the
 last two miles. I think he felt sorry for me.
 Somebody once asked me why I always seem to turn out for this mob match. The
 truth is that it saves money on the BUPA medical - if you can get round this
 course without a heart attack you're probably OK for another couple of
 It was nice to see some old familiar faces - at the start - hope you all
 I shall be back in the Autumn to present my time for this course to the
 handicapper. I wonder if he'll go for it?"

 As Angus says, this was a real cross-country course - that is, in the
 country rather than around a park. There were fields and woods, stiles,
 farmyards, spectacular hills and hold-on-to-your-hat descents, tracks muddy
 and dry, roads and more stiles. It's a pity not more of us gave it a go.
 As the leaders scooted round the field on the opening 'sort-em-out' (in more
 ways than one) lap, blue vests could be seen filling three of the top four
 places. Alas it wasn't to last and in the end Captain Bicks in 4th place was
 our first man home. He was a bit miffed to be outsprinted for 3rd but
 mollified by learning that his tormentor is a crack 400 metres man. Darryl
 'where's-me-compass' McDonald had been safely ensconced in 2nd place before
 deciding to go off and explore a few additional bits of Kent countryside and
 thereafter could be found scaring the tail enders as he loped effortlessly
 back past them.
 Mr Smith of Blackheath won the main individual award on offer, the FB
 Thompson medal, but Chris Owens earned us some consolation by winning the
 Harry Sheer Cup for the first over 50 to finish.   

 INTER-COUNTIES CHAMPIONSHIPS at Wollaton Park, Nottingham   Saturday
 February 8th
 Julian Smith reports:
 "I have never been to the Inter-Counties before; it's a little scary, rather
 like the old National but with all the people you usually beat missing. Just
 as well I wasn't running.  The women's race in particular is of a much
 higher standard than the National, and our two Surrey representatives
 acquitted themselves well, both running better than in the previous week's
 Surrey League.  They found the ferocious pace very hard however, especially
 towards the end, where Sarah was a little disgruntled to be overtaken by the
 ubiquitous improbably short and spherical athlete (you know, the one who
 always bounces past just as you're really suffering).
 In the men's race, notable for the surprising number of relatively old
 competitors, Peter Haarer had what he felt was an average run, but it looked
 good enough to me.  He should have run for Surrey, who failed even to finish
 a team. And then there were our girls, led by Alex Hook in the under-13s,
 who had a tremendous run and came within a whisker of being the first Surrey
 finisher.  The Beverly Sisters also ran well, although Alice surprisingly
 found herself 6th Surrey finisher in a team which romped away with the gold
 medal (unfortunately 4 to score)".
 Second-claim member Jude Craft had a great run for 23rd in the women's race. 

 Carol Barnshaw writes:
 "The Baker Cup race followed by the Baker Cup dinner and annual prize giving
 will be on Saturday 5th April.  This year the dinner will be at the Hawker
 Centre in Ham (where the Green Belt Relay finishes).  There will be a hot
 buffet to include beef chilli, chicken stroganoff, a vegetarian option and
 salads plus a hot and cold dessert.  The bar will be open and there will be
 a selection of reasonably priced wines (or BYO - corkage 3 per bottle).
 The price is 16 - it's a great venue, should give us a lot more space and
 the food should be of a high standard so book you tickets soon!
 I will be down at the club with tickets on Tuesday 18th February between
 6.30pm and 7pm and on Wednesday 19th February between 6.00pm and 6.30pm -
 bring your cheque book or cash. Alternatively contact me at home on 8898
 9285 or work on 8547 6610 or by e-mail to c_barnshaw@yahoo.com". 

 Frances Ratchford has acquired a safe to be kept in the clubhouse in order
 to provide greater security for our valuables while we're out training - but
 is looking for a volunteer, someone with a van, to go with her to North
 London to pick up the safe. The problem is that it can only be done Monday -
 Friday between 9.00 - 5.00. If you can help, contact Frances at

 This comes from Joanne Muirlittle: 
 "Double room en suite to let in Ham, near river and park.  Easy access to
 Richmond and Kingston.  Quiet road, lots of parking and storage.   350.00
 pcm including bills but not telephone.  Contact Joanne on 020 8487 2271 if

 John Newton writes:
 "Fed up with not getting in the London Marathon?  Why not try the Lyon
 Marathon in France on 30 March 2003?
 The Lyon Marathon will be held at 9 a.m. on Sunday 30 March 2003.  The
 course takes you through the centre of historic Lyon, formerly the Roman
 capital of Gaulle, and around the suburbs.  The course is mainly flat and
 for those of you who want to break the six, five, four or three hour
 barrier...it should be no problem!  If 26.2 miles or 42.195 km seems a
 little ambitious why not try the 10 km race on a fast course around the
 centre of Lyon?  It begins at 10 a.m.
 For those of you who simply want to soak up the atmosphere and see the
 sights then you should know Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France with
 literally hundreds of restaurants.  Weather is variable in March, but it can
 be hot!  

 Mandy Holliday and John Newton will host your visit.  Some accommodation is
 available with them with other accommodation available at the Croix Rousse
 Kyriad Hotel, a two-minute walk away.  The Kyriad is similar to a Travel Inn
 and a twin room costs about 60 Euro (40) per night.  Breakfast is about 6
 Euro per person or pop around to Mandy and John's for a croissant.
 Everything is easily reachable using public transport so car hire will not
 be necessary.  Return fare from the airport to the centre of town is about
 15 Euro (10) on the airport bus.  10 metro/bus/tram tickets cost about 8/9
 and they enable you to use any of these services for one hour in any
 Flights are available from Heathrow to Lyon with Air France or British
 Airways for between 100 and 140 if booked early or from Stansted for
 considerably less through Easyjet (www.easyjet.com  or  www.gofly.com ).    
 Again early booking is recommended on the Internet.  Suggested arrival time 
 would be on Friday midday, departing at a sensible hour on Monday. 
 The closing date for entries is 21 March and a requirement to register is a
 letter from your doctor saying you are fit to run in running events up to
 and including the Marathon.  The letter can be in English and has to be
 signed and dated no more than 12 months before the day of the event.  Brian
 Chard can organize these for you and they (a photocopy, not the original)
 must accompany the application form.
 Previous experience of running in France suggests the event will be well
 organized and marshalled.  Every kilometre will be marked; clocks will be
 located at the 5, 10, 21, 35 and 40 km marks; refreshments will be every 5
 km; sponges every 2.5 km; and a medal for every finisher.
 Marathon fee is 23/26 Euro (15) and the 10 km is 11/13 Euro depending on
 when registered.
 If 30 March is too soon to complete your training, why not do the Annecy
 Marathon or Half Marathon on 13 April 2003?
 This is the same day as the London Marathon and the Annecy Marathon starts
 at 9 a.m. with the Half Marathon beginning at 2 p.m.  Annecy is a two hour
 drive from Lyon and numbers have to be collected before 8.30 a.m. so the
 Half Marathon is more practical as numbers can be collected up till 1 p.m. 
 Travel arrangements and accommodation are the same as above although a hire
 car or cars will be needed depending on the number of runners.  Best car
 hire rates - unless you can get good corporate rates - are through Nova
 Rentacar Reservations at www.rentacar@nova.co.uk .
 The pick up is from Lyon St. Exupery airport.
 Annecy is a very scenic location in the mountains with a medieval town in
 the middle.  Much of the run is around the lake.  The good news is the
 course is on road and is very flat  (That's what the advert says!)  T-shirts
 for all finishers.
 Again the medical letter is a requirement to participate and the closing
 date for applications is the 12 April.
 Marathon fee is 20/25 Euro (13-15) and the Half Marathon is 15/18 Euro
 depending on when registered.        

 What do you have to do?
 If you are interested contact Brian Chard on 07770 638 187 or John Newton on
 +33 472 078 513 (worth doing to hear Mandy's ansaphone message in French!)
 or +33 688 383 644(m).  E-mail: johnenewton@hotmail.com
 John and Mandy will be running the 10 km on 30 March and the Half Marathon
 on 13 April. 
 NOTE:  If you are interested in running these events then early action is
 necessary to get the best deals on flights. It also makes it much easier for
 Mandy and John to get you in the Kyriad Hotel and obtain a confirmed place
 in the races".  

 Brian Chard adds:
 "I am hopeful of doing the 10k on 30th March and would organise a trip if
 there was any interest. In November the flights were about 80 each". 

 Details are forthcoming sessions can be found on our web site via About
 Us/Training Sessions. Brief details of the next few:
 Tuesday 18th Feb: Efforts of 7 mins, 5 mins, 3 mins, 2 mins and 3 x 1 min
 Tuesday 25th Feb: Surprise paarlauf! 
 Thursdays are steady runs of 5-6 miles with some shorter efforts or strides
 All are welcome, starting from the clubhouse at 7pm. 
 Wednesday night training continues as usual with steady runs starting at
 about 6.30pm. 

 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 February 15th    v Bank of England, Hercules Wimbledon etc at
 Roehampton (Richmond Park) starting at 2.45pm. 

 Saturday February 22nd   National Cross-Country Championships at Parliament
 Hill, Hampstead Heath. 

 Saturday March 1st       Inter-Club Race  3.9 miles in Richmond Park 
 starting at 2.30pm.

 Saturday March 8th       South of Thames Senior XC Championship at Coulsdon. 

 "Run hard, be strong, think big". Percy Cerutty. 

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