Newsdesk 2003

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 102              5 JUNE 2003
 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com  

 Other results and reports held over until next week.

 DORKING 10 MILES  Sunday June 8th at 10.45am
 This Sunday sees race number 5 in the Ranelagh Grand Prix series and the
 event also incorporates the Surrey 10 miles championship. Entries are
 usually accepted on the day - see www.dmvac.org.uk  for more information.

 A RUN ON THE NORTH DOWNS  Saturday June 14th  3pm
 This is a sociable run on some scenic bits of the North Downs on Saturday
 week: running at 3pm-ish from near Shere and heading across to St Martha's
 Hill and back. The overall pace will be pretty easy with some sections for
 the gazelles to stretch their legs if they feel the need. Distance will be
 about 10 miles, with short cuts available on request. Lots of views, flora
 and fauna, some hills. Just come for the run if you like but for those
 wishing to see a bit more Surrey countryside there will be the additional
 options of tea and showers at Steve and Sonia's in Cranleigh (10 mins drive
 from Shere) and then later beer and dinner at a country pub. Contact me for
 more details: mailto:srowland@calor.co.uk 

 GREEN BELT RELAY   Saturday May 10th and Sunday May 11th   Hampton Court to
 Ham (the long way)
 As you have probably already read, we successfully negotiated four teams of
 ten runners around the 210 miles of the Green Belt Relay and came away at
 the end of a tiring but enjoyable weekend with two trophies. First of all,
 some thanks: to Brian Chard and Cheval Properties for providing valuable
 sponsorship; to team captains Bev Ali (Bloodhounds), Sarah Seal (Lassies),
 Alastair Sinclair (Mongrels) and Steve Rowland (Old Dogs) for their hard
 work in getting their teams together and organised; to Sonia Rowland for a
 lot of logistical work; to mini-bus drivers Clive Beauvais, Niels Andersen,
 Alan Hedger and Alastair Sinclair for getting everyone to their starts and
 not leaving any wing mirrors behind; and to the inventor of e-mail which
 makes all the above substantially easier! And above all to the Stragglers
 who somehow manage to organise the whole thing with startling efficiency as
 well as running three teams themselves. 

 The biggest and therefore of course the most important trophy is the Toilet
 Seat for the team that finishes last. Securing this has become Bev's
 personal crusade and it's not as easy as it might sound. To qualify for the
 award a team must finish every stage: miss a start or fail to finish and you
 get you the "cut-off" time for the stage but you're out of the reckoning for
 the trophy. Bev thought she had rounded up a sufficiently slow and steady
 team but there was a fright in store. Up to Saturday lunchtime her team
 members simply refused to finish last and after five stages they stood one
 minute clear of the Serpentine Hamm-Starr Hill Sprinters. But happily they
 thereafter took up their rightful place at the rear and finished the day
 nearly fifty minutes adrift. Despite Julie D finishing as high as 15th on
 her Sunday stage they managed to extend the deficit to over two hours at the
 finish. Much credit to all the team members for their - mostly - fine
 navigation. Stephen McClune took a wildly eccentric route on stage 15 but
 generally the steady and sure approach paid off. When a Bloodhound failed to
 be the stage "whipper-in" it was often because an opponent had gone
 wandering off into the countryside. The honour of anchoring the team fell to
 Catherine Carthy who brought them safely home to the Hawker Centre and so
 Ranelagh occupies the Toilet Seat for another year!  

 With few of our faster male non-vets willing or able to take part this year
 we decided to put all our venerable eggs into one elderly basket and go for
 the veterans prize - the Walking Stick of course. It turned out to be the
 right decision, for the composite "Sunday Night Shandies" team was only some
 five minutes slower than our course record of last year and we would have
 needed a strong team to beat them. 
 Things didn't look too promising for the Old Dogs early on. Stragglers' own
 vets team started strongly and for us on the jinxed stage 2 Clive Beauvais
 injured his hamstring and could do no more than jog to the finish. Kathy
 Mallett for the Lassies also acquired her injury on this one. This left us
 way back in 11th place overall after two stages, behind both the Lassies and
 the Mongrels. Stragglers' vets meanwhile were in 2nd place over 16 minutes
 ahead. Mike Bruce and Chris Owens set about repairing the damage but it
 wasn't until our not-so-secret weapon Hugh Jones had swept to victory on
 stage 5 that we overtook the Straggs. Hugh in fact hauled us right up to 2nd
 overall and from there on it was a tussle between ourselves and West 4
 Wombats for that runner-up position.
 At the end of day 1 we trailed them by three minutes and this was extended
 to 13 minutes two stages into day 2. Over some beers at our overnight stop
 in Chelmsford stages had been reassigned to overcome the loss of Clive B and
 it was Chis Owens who volunteered to be the hero and tackle two stages on
 Sunday. Stage 13 was his first and he halved the deficit on West 4 to tee up
 Hugh on stage 14. Hugh obliged with another yet stage win and put us over
 seven minutes clear of the Wombats. Meanwhile the Shandies' lead was already
 over an hour. We held on to second place for most of the afternoon but West
 4 finished strongly and by the time CO stepped up for his second stint on
 the final stage along the Thames tow path they had pulled nearly five
 minutes ahead. Their star man Mark Critchlow put the icing on the cake for
 them by winning the last stage, but Chris's 6th place brought us safely home
 3rd overall and most importantly almost half an hour clear of the
 Stragglers' vets. Surprisingly he didn't need the Walking Stick trophy to
 stand upright afterwards!        
 Sarah Seal reports for the Lassies:
 "All in all, one of the most enjoyable and memorable weekends of running you
 could possibly have. Ten pairs of legs belonging to Sue Ashley, Catherine
 Gadd, Eliete Nascimento, Clare Nicholson, Kathy Mallett, Anna McLaughlin,
 Louise Piears, Sonia Rowland, Sophie Timms and me, ran the 20 stages that
 make up the GBR course. And this is how we did it: 2 lassies ran 1 stage
 each; 6 ran 2 stages and 2 very very crazy lassies ran 3, YES 3! stages
 each. Just a few sniffs short of victory, Ranelagh Lassies finished the most
 fantastic 2nd ladies team. Notable and awesome performances came from: Clare
 winning leg 16, her 2nd run of day 2 and 3rd run of the weekend!; Anna, the
 double stage winner; Kathy, stage winner day 1 and Sue, who stood in for
 Kathy(injured knee) on day 2 with less than 10 minutes notice and only an
 hour and a half after completing her previous 13 mile leg. Despite having a
 very close encounter with the pavement a short way into the run (nothing
 whatsoever to do with the passing of a Ranelagh mini bus at that very
 moment) Sue completed her 3rd stage, followed by a trail of blood dripping
 from her knees! Respect.
 All the girls got to the start of their races on time (you are all
 superstars, and thanks to mini-bus drivers too) and all finished, with not
 too many wrong turnings along the way. Sore legs and a few blisters, but
 jolly good fun - same time, same place, next year".  

 Alastair Sinclair for the Mongrels:
 "Compared with last year, the Mongrels started with a distinct advantage: a
 full team of ten runners! Even though there was one less Ranelagh team
 competing this year, the struggle to fill the team lasted until 36 hours
 before the event began. Milos Dusek started with stage 1, and put the team
 into 11th position. Throughout the event the position changed a number of
 times, going as high as 9th, as low as 16th, then finishing with Milos on
 stage 20 to end up in13th position. The best results of the team were from
 Giles Marshall who finished fourth on stage 8, and second on stage 19 after
 narrowly losing out on an entertaining sprint finish to Walton bridge. Paul
 Graham also registered a creditable fourth place on stage 6. Bus driver
 Niels Andersen managed to navigate the one of the minibuses round the whole
 route in exemplary fashion, but when it came to running stage 7, he finished
 in 20th place, almost 9 minutes behind Ranelagh Lassie Anna McLaughlin.
 Apparently Niels got lost because he left his stage map behind in the bus.
 Everyone started and finished the stages they were supposed to, except Chris
 Spink, who missed the start of stage 14, resulting in the cut-off time being
 awarded for that stage. The rest of the team (John Hughes, Alan Craig, Sandy
 Clark and Darren Wood) contributed respectable performances. In a final
 position of 13th, the Mongrels were 5h 9mins behind the race winners, and 3h
 39mins behind Ranelagh's Old Dogs".  

 Robin Drummond's training course aimed at improving 5k and 10k times started
 this week but will continue for another five weeks every Wednesday at 7pm
 from the clubhouse. The sessions will address speed, running economy and
 injury reduction. They will be suitable for all levels and all are welcome.
 Bring spikes or racing flats if you have them and a stop watch. 

 The regular speed and hill sessions also continue on Tuesdays at 7pm from
 the clubhouse. Details are on our web site but the next few sessions are:
 June 10th Henty Relay course (Sidmouth Wood) time trial followed by 4,
 3, 2 and 1 min efforts.
 June 17th Sand hills. 3 x (2 short and 1 long)
 June 24th Ratchford Relay loop (opposite clubhouse) - 3 x (double and
 single loop) 

 Also sessions at Barn Elms track on Thursday evening and Sunday morning.  

 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 ). See our web site for details and scores in
 the Ranelagh Road Grand Prix. 

 Sunday June 8th       Dorking 10 miles road race. Race 5 in the Ranelagh
 Grand Prix series 2003. 10.45am start. Entry form can be downloaded from

 Sunday June 29th Dysart Dash 10km at Ham, Richmond. Race 6 in the
 Ranelagh Grand Prix series 2003. 10am start. Entry forms in the clubhouse or
 from our web site. 

 Sunday July 6th Harry Hawkes 8 miles at Thames Ditton. Race 7 in the
 Ranelagh Grand Prix series 2003. Entry form can be downloaded from
 Saturday July 12th Brickmakers Arms Marathon Relay (10 x 2.5 miles) at
 Windlesham. 2pm start. A low key fun event based around an excellent country
 pub! More details nearer the time.

 Wednesday July 16th   Coad Cup 5 miles handicap in Richmond Park. 6.45pm

 Sunday July 20th Elmbridge 10km at Walton. Start 10.30am. Race 8 in
 the Ranelagh Grand Prix series 2003. Entry form can be downloaded from

 Friday July 25th Wedding Day 7km in Bushy Park, Teddington.
 7.30pm start. Those entered last year should receive an entry form in the
 post; otherwise they can be downloaded from www.stragglers.org
 Note there will be no entries on the day.  

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