Newsdesk 2002

 Web site: http://www.surreyweb.net/rharriers

 We've lost three mob matches out of three so far this season, so please make
 the effort to turn out against Blackheath Harriers on Saturday and help
 prevent a whitewash. No matter if you're not fit, sheer weight of numbers
 counts for much in a mob match. It's 7.5 miles on our own course in Richmond
 Park, start time 2.30pm. For those at the sharp end, it also incorporates
 our club championship for the Wynne Cup. In the evening there will be a
 supper upstairs at the Dysart, price about a tenner. Book with Mike Peace

 The Inter-Counties Championships also take place on Saturday at Wollaton
 Park, Nottingham. We will have a few representatives, particularly in the
 Surrey junior women's teams. Those with satellite or cable TV might be
 interested to hear that the entire event is being covered on Sky Sports 2
 from 11am right through to 3.30pm. You won't be able to watch it all live of
 course, because you'll be running against Blackheath (see above!) but set
 those recorders... 

 Our club junior women's championship for the Camilla Cup will be decided on
 Sunday in the Richmond Mini Marathon trial.

 The final races in this season's Surrey Cross Country League took place on a
 wind-swept Farthing Downs last Saturday. We were being blown up by a
 "weather bomb", according to the Met Office. The less scrawny types in the
 races suddenly found themselves popular as wind-shields for those fearful of
 finding themselves swept away over the treetops. At least the rain held off. 

 The senior women were first away at 12 noon, followed at 12.00.10 by
 Kristina Semple. Clare Gutch made a confident start and though losing some
 ground in the later stages held on to lead our team in 20th place. Kristina
 charged through the field with Kathy Mallett in tow to finish just a few
 seconds behind Clare, with captain Sarah half a minute back in 28th place.
 Margaret Auerback closed in the team, bringing the total number of runners
 to have appeared in the scoring five in the four races this season to a
 remarkable thirteen. Sue, Sonia, Sophie and Jo provided first-class back-up.
 Ranelagh finished 5th on the day in an incredibly tight finish where only
 two points separated 5th from 8th. The overall title was just as close, with
 South London scraping home ahead of Herne Hill and Ranelagh back in 5th
 Next came the Under 15s race and our star of the day, Anair Beverly, who
 scored her first Surrey League victory in a most convincing fashion; this
 despite wasting energy trying to convince one of the marshalls that the
 route to the finish should be the same as for all the other races. The
 official was adamant that they should return the way they came. Anair had
 done her homework and was right, but had instead to lead the field on a
 longer route home. Alex Hook - who must have been the runner most in danger
 of being blown away by the wind - was a great 5th and with Emily and Laura
 Ball 25th and 35th the team finished 3rd, its best result of the season, and
 moved up to 4th overall.
 The Under 20s scored their second consecutive team victory but unfortunately
 this wasn't enough to claw back the advantage built up by Guildford's
 domination of the first two races. They had to settle for the overall
 runners-up spot. Alice Beverly, Louise Webster and Jessica Harvey ran a
 spirited team race to finish 2nd, 4th and 5th with Hannah Turnes completing
 the team in 9th.
 So there were no team trophies this year, but consolation in an individual
 gold in the Under 20 age group for Alice Beverly, silver in the Under 13s
 for Alex Hook and bronzes for Anair Beverly in the Under 15s and Louise
 Webster in the Under 20s.
 Epsom and Ewell and Striders of Croydon are relegated to Division 2, to be
 replaced by Belgrave and Stragglers. 

 There was a nail-biting finish also for the men's championship, with
 Thames's valiant effort to claw back a 37 point deficit on Belgrave falling
 just 6 points short. As in the women's race, Ranelagh was involved in a
 tight finish and finished 7th on the day but only 2 points behind 5th.
 Overall we failed to make any progress on the two clubs who had been within
 striking distance ahead of us, but remained in a safe 6th place. Peter
 Haarer was our top man at 25th, with Julian Smith not far behind at the end
 after a slow start. Paul Doyle showed up well again as third scorer and Mick
 Lane was pleased with his effort as number four. Marcus Gohar - nursing a
 sore ankle - came in just ahead of Andy Bickerstaff and a rejuvenated Geoff
 Jones, and the scoring team was completed by Chris Owens, Kevin Jacques and
 Dave Knight.  The President, Clive, Alastair and newcomer Matt Thorogood
 followed on but Niels decided he'd seen enough English weather after one
 West 4 and Boxhill are relegated to Division 2, to be replaced by the
 unfamiliar vests of Dulwich Runners and Guildford and Godalming. 

 Anair Beverly won the London Schools Intermediates cross-country title at
 Wormwood Scrubs on January 30th and led St Paul's to the team title. In the
 senior race big sister Alice finished 3rd.
 Lizzie Clifford finished 30th in the Watford Half Marathon on February 3rd
 in a time of 97.07.
 Former club captain, London Marathon leader and apprentice sumo wrestler
 Mike Riley writes:
 "I thought you might be amused that I ran my first race  this month for
 about three years, in New Zealand. We were on holiday at a place called Te
 Anau where they had covered the high street in dirt and organised trotting
 races a la Countainville for those that remember that strange afternoon
 'Cent francs sur le nez numero six' but I was not so lucky this time.
 Anyway, I found the beer tent, and a couple of beers and an Ostrich burger
 later they announced the 'Milford Mile'. Immediately people around me
 proceeded to the start line and the wife said 'Surely you can beat this lot,
 why don't you run', so in my walking trousers and walking boots I was
 suddenly in the race. My warm up involved taking off a jumper, emptying my
 pockets and walking to the start line. There were no numbers and all I can
 say is a mile is a long long way in walking boots carrying a lot of excess
 weight, a stomach of beer and no training in two years. Needless to say I
 did not win but came a respectable 8th and I felt awful for at least an
 hour.  So if you are ever in Te Anau on the first Saturday of January go
 along, have a great day and don't do the 'Milford Mile'. PS There is one
 hell of a party in the evening!" 

 Bill Bird is quick off the mark to correct Ian Milne's assertion that prior
 to the mid-70s we took part in only three mob matches per season. While it's
 true that the Thames mob match only started then, there had previously been
 a long-running series against Finchley Harriers. This started in 1937 and,
 apart from the war years and a two year pause at the end of the 1950s, it
 continued until 1966 when Finchley Harriers became part of Hillingdon AC.
 Unlike the other mob matches this one was held over 5 miles and usually
 incorporated our Page Cup handicap. There had also been a short-lived series
 of mob matches against Polytechnic Harriers in the 1930s. 

 Chris Owens writes about a long-distance walk at least part of which he
 plans to do this summer. A group is planning to walk the whole route between
 June 1st and 12th -  more details from Chris
 (mailto:chris.owens@unilever.com) if you think you'd like to join in, but
 you'd have to be ready to commit to it by the end of February.
 "The Highland High Way is a magnificent high-level route through some of
 Scotland's most dramatic scenery and across its finest hills.  The route
 takes 12 days in total covering a total of 235 km (approx 147 miles),
 including four circular excursions.  The route includes Black Mount, one of
 the greatest hill walks in the country; an exhilirating ridge walk along the
 Aonach Eagach; and a Munro extravaganza in the Mamores.  The grand finale is
 Ben Nevis approached along the spectacular Carn Mor Dearg arrete.  The
 overall route takes in about 23 Munros (mountains over 3000 ft)". 

 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 9th   Pelling-Ratcliff Cup mob match v Blackheath Harriers
 at home in Richmond Park, incorporating our club championship for the Wynne
 Cup. 7.5 miles, 2.30pm start.
 Sunday February 10th    Richmond Mini Marathon trial in Richmond Park,
 incorporating the Ranelagh junior women's championship for the Camilla Cup. 

 Saturday February 16th    v Bank of England and others in Richmond Park (on
 the Bank's course from Roehampton Gate).   5 miles, 2.30pm start.

 Saturday February 23rd    National Championships at Bristol

 Check out the details for the relay in Aarhus, Denmark, on April 28th at
 and for the Green Belt Relay on May 11th / 12th at at

 I have heard that the Finchley 20, which was to be our club 20 miles
 championship, has been cancelled. The championship will probably switch to
 the Worthing race, but watch this space. The Camberley Half Marathon on
 March 3rd incorporates the Surrey county championship. Entry forms in the
 clubhouse or from www.camberleyathleticclub.co.uk. 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.

 Salford Harrier Martin Cox was third across the finish line in the Northern
 Cross-Country Championships last month - only to be disqualified for two
 false starts.... 

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