Newsdesk 2002

 RANELAGH HARRIERS E-NEWS # 56             6 MARCH 2002
 Web site: http://www.surreyweb.net/rharriers
 This Saturday at 2pm we are hosting the annual Ranelagh Cup schools race
 in Richmond Park, followed by our own Clutton Cup 10 miles handicap. All
 are welcome to run the Clutton, but if anyone can make it down a little
 earlier to help with results and teas for the schools race, that would be
 greatly appreciated.
 This year's Baker Cup supper will be in memory of Bill Day who died last
 year. Thanks to Bill's bequest the supper, to be held at the Rose of York
 on Saturday March 23rd, will be FREE OF CHARGE to all members. There will
 be a charge of 5 for guests. We're limited to 65 places, so early booking
 is advised. When you book please state your menu selection, which you must
 then keep to! No changing your mind on the night. Book with Bev Ali at the
 club on Tuesday and Thursday nights or mailto:bev.ali@fluor.com or
 mailto:bxali@hotmail.com; you can also book with Mike Peace on Wednesday
 nights or mailto:admin@frimley.surrey.sch.uk; or just add your name to the
 list on the clubhouse noticeboard. Menu choices are: (Starter) Eggs
 Mayonnaise or Pate and Toast or Prawn Cocktail or Mixed Salad; (Main
 Course) Roast Chicken or Roast Beef or Lasagne or Vegetarian (tba).
 Desserts can be selected on the night.
 Trophy winners, please make every effort to be there to collect your
 silverware, or we might give them to somebody else. Alan Hedger should by
 now have contacted last year's prize winners to arrange for the return of
 their trophies, but if you're holding one and haven't yet heard from Alan
 please give him a call on 01372 740626.   
 Last Saturday we were in the Park again for a 5 miler (actually 5.53 miles
 according to Computer Ken) against Hercules Wimbledon and others. Paul
 Doyle was again thwarted by HW in his efforts to score a win and the gold
 and red vests also cleaned up in the team scoring. Behind Paul it was
 mostly a case of the usual suspects...
 Paul and Mike were out again on Sunday for the Camberley Half Marathon.
 Paul reports:
 "Mike Peace & I turned up to a well organised half marathon. The route was
 a two lap course of  mainly very quiet roads, at one point going through a
 nice residential estate. There was one big hill, with a number of smaller
 hills. There were also two long downhill stretches. Bizarrely it felt like
 the course was more downhill than uphill. The course was well marked out,
 with lots of water stations, officials and supporters. There was quite a
 lot of fun runners and a very good atmosphere. The very nice medals were
 awarded to all finishers along with free bananas! It was my first half
 marathon I was quite pleased with 1hr 16min 4th place. Mike Peace came in
 in 1hr 21ish. The event doubled up as the Surrey championships,  so it's a
 shame we didn't have another Surrey qualified runner as we would have
 certainly picked up team medals. Camberley Athletic Club are keeping the
 official results a very closely guarded secret, so I don't know the
 results of the champs, my only criticism of the event".
 Allan Lang and Alan Davidson were first over 60 and third over 55
 respectively in the Ringwood 5km on March 3rd. Allan recorded 19.40, Alan
 18.39. On the same day, Margaret Auerback was first over 55 in the
 Hillingdon 5 miles at Ruislip in 34.07.
 Chris Owens provides a belated account of the National Championships at
 Bristol but includes a "Hello" mag scoop to justify keeping us waiting:
 "I thought we might need to instruct the club barristers to sue the
 organisers of the races in Bristol for defamation of harriers, as after
 three days they had still have not found our two lead runners - Peter
 Haarer and Mick Lane. They both finished well ahead of me, but had been
 excluded from the results we saw that weekend. I'm pleased to see that by
 the end of the week they had been found and restored to their rightful
 places. To lose one harrier may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose
 Bristol was really an excellent venue - open and grassy, it didn't cut up
 into a muddy quagmire, and there was enough slope and enough flat to
 satisfy everyone, so it was a pity about the gale-force winds (find a big
 guy and hide behind him on the upwind legs), and when it started to snow
 after the first mile in the Men's race, it made the next 10k or so very
 interesting. This interesting combination of the elements also affected
 some of the earlier races, and made Sophie's sprint to the start (up the
 steepest part of the hill) to arrive 5mins before the off, all the more
 The cold also seemed to affect Julian, as he had an asthma or allergic
 reaction to something and more or less had to stop, although he did
 finish, and did recover quickly, thank goodness. As this sort of weather
 goes, once the race was over and the frozen fingers had undone the muddy
 laces, and the shivering bodies pushed back inside damp kit, the wind
 dropped and the sun came out. Still, nothing beats the welcoming face of
 Alan Hedger at these events, as you limp out of the finish area to be
 presented with your kit and a coffee with "a bit of something in it....".
 Special thanks go to Alan and Kevin, not just for the refreshments, but
 also the Scott of the Antarctic struggle from the start to the finish with
 the kit through horizontal snow. The results have already been published -
 enough said. 
 We wondered why Andy Bickerstaff had looked stressed before the race, but
 going back to the B&B and reading the long sign where each line started
 with 'No...'(think Orwell and '...anything not specifically allowed is
 forbidden') for the general idea, we began to get the picture. However,
 why worry? - the place was warm, there was a tray to catch the drips from
 the (electric) shower, and Kevin had his own personal TV - any more
 personal and it would have been in bed with him. Perhaps he was worried
 about the gig. Andy had run for GWR (Great Western Runners) before seeing
 the light, so GWR had prevailed on him to tour Mystery Virus in his home
 town. (Ed's note: for those baffled by the previous sentence, 'Mystery
 Virus' is the latest incarnation of the club band formerly known as Zis
 Boom Bah, PB Junkies and various other less polite names). GWR run from
 Bristol Tennis Club, so we carried the kit in there. Perhaps it was the
 beer, but the evening seemed to go down well, even some wandering THH
 agreed to be suitably impressed. Lana managed to steal the mike from Kevin
 before he gave a description of the B&B (Paul from GWR arranged it) so
 peace broke out about 11.30. Somehow we found our way back to the Alpha
 Guest House, and slept like tops - probably due to Tennis Club beer.
 Perhaps Andy was less stressed now ?
 The older hands among us rolled out of bed to find breakfast in the cellar
 (think it was the family front room) accompanied by the end of the Korean
 version of Crossroads - with English subtitles, followed by the Korean
 news in English - with Korean subtitles. Andy had paid (he definitely was
 cracking under the strain), so once the fryup or Korean beans on toast
 (depending on your taste) had vanished, we set off for down the M4. Rumour
 has it the Alpha Guesthouse will be feature in the Kabul round of a well
 known DIY show - the one where Fred Dibnah designs improvements.
 It took a few days to find our missing harriers, but until Saturday a week
 later to truly understand why Andy looked so stressed - he and Lana became
 engaged that weekend. Best wishes!"
 Sue Ashley (now running for SLH) adds:
 "I had a pretty good view of the latter stage of the race between Margaret
 & Sarah. Sarah, I think had lost heart in the cold conditions, and was
 going backwards - until some upstart of an SLH runner managed to overtake
 her. That spurred her on & she nipped past me at 100mph in the finishing
 straight - but left it a bit too late to get Margaret (who I suspect
 didn't know she was there)".
 GORDON WHITSON reports from Athens:
 "Your readership may be interested to learn that I successfully defended
 my 45-49 age group Greek veterans (or should I now say "Masters") indoors
 title in the 3,000 metres last Sunday, 24 February. I recorded a time of
 9mins 53.4 secs".
 won the national Tetrathlon championship (that's the Modern Pentathlon
 minus the horse riding) last month in Wolverhampton, and last weekend
 competed in the year's first major Modern Pentathlon competition, the
 national championship at Bath. Olympic gold medallist Steph Cook is now
 retired, but the other three team gold medallists from last year's world
 championships were all present and filled the first three places headed by
 Georgina Harland on 5616 points. Liz was disappointed with her shooting
 and running but still finished 5th on 5200 points, only 88 behind
 third-placed Kate Allenby. 
 It has been decided to experiment this year with starting our Richmond
 Half Marathon on May 19th at 8am. Yes, you heard, 8am. As anyone who has
 run it or helped with the marshalling recently will confirm, traffic has
 been making parts of the course very dangerous and the early start may be
 one way of alleviating this. It will probably have an effect on the size
 of the entry but we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, running or
 helping, gear yourselves up for an early start!
 The manager of the Dysart has been complaining again recently about
 parking, so our clubhouse manager Alan Craig would like to remind people
 NOT to use the pub car park other than on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
 nights and then only the section along the left-hand wall. The grass area
 in front of the clubhouse can always be used - this is our property.  
 More details of all the following from Andy Bickerstaff (07966 552302 /
 mailto:norris.hobs@ndirect.co.uk) or Sarah Seal (020 8995 2380 /
 Saturday March 9th     Clutton Cup 10 miles handicap in Richmond Park.
 3.00pm start for the last cross-country handicap of the season, preceded
 at 2pm by the Ranelagh Cup schools race.
 Saturday March 23rd    Baker Cup 3 miles road handicap in Richmond Park.
 3pm start for the shortest handicap race of the year. In the evening will
 be the club supper and prize-giving. See above for details.
 Andy Bickerstaff adds:
 "Every year Dave Wright lauds the merits of the 10 mile multi-terrain
 Roman Trail race near Cirencester, and I never get round to doing it
 ...this year is different.. I have entered. It would be good to get a team
 (3 score ) out at least. I have entry forms. Sunday 7th April 10:30am". 
 Our club 20 miles championship will be held with the Worthing 20 on March
 24th: a good training spin for London Marathoners. 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.
 Another reminder that our Dysart Dash 10km is on June 30th and not as
 stated in our fixture card. Unfortunately, so is the Harry Hawkes 8 which
 has unaccountably and annoyingly moved from its traditional first Sunday
 in July date.
 After I mentioned in passing last week the Hardley Runners, Jo Shearsmith
 tells me that she was formerly a member of the delightful club. Glad I
 wasn't more rude then! Jo adds:
 "Date for the diary - Hardley Runners have a half marathon on October 13th
 which is set in the New Forest -  a place called Blackfield. It is a
 lovely road run which takes in some great scenery including Lepe beach
 which looks out over the Isle of Wight.  My dad is chief organiser so I
 will be putting out application forms later in the year but just thought I
 would take this opportunity to let you know!   By the way it's called
 'Hardley a Half'!!!"
 The playwright Freddie Bradnum, who died on Christmas Day aged 81, was a
 prolific writer and dramatist, mainly working for BBC radio. He was also a
 Ranelagh Harrier for some years and was probably the only professional
 writer to edit our club Gazette, which he did for thee years from 1956.
 The obituary in 'The Guardian' says that "he daily ran, swam and exercised
 up until the last year of his life," but it may be using some literary
 licence in describing him as "a former champion long-distance runner" -
 though he did win our Coad Cup handicap in 1956....   
 Steve Rowland
 Telephone: 01926 318734
 Fax: 0870 4006901
 e-mail: srowland@calorgas.co.uk