Newsdesk 2003

 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com  

 SATURDAY JANUARY 18TH   Match v MILOCARIANS and others at RMA Sandhurst,
 Camberley. 6 miles, start 2pm.
 If you're going to this race at the RMA, remember to take some i.d. with
 you. The entrance is on the A30 at Camberley.

 The heavy snow of a few days earlier had all but disappeared but the bright
 and sunny day was bitterly cold. Treacherous patches of ice were a feature
 of the course, particularly around Sidmouth Wood and down by the Pen Ponds.
 To avoid the latter we employed the diversion away from the Ponds that we
 last utilised when there was serious flooding a couple of years ago.  
 Once again, pride of place goes to the distaff side. Julian Smith reports:
 "We had another solid total turnout of 18, not bad considering the frozen
 and very difficult conditions. However this was the day when we finally got
 all our stars out, not only to the start line but to the finish line as
 well!  Allison O'Neill, who has been training very hard for several weeks,
 came over from Paris specially for the race, and Liz Kipling was also able
 to run for the first time this season.  Thus it was no surprise that right
 from the start we had three runners well up in what was a particularly
 strong field at the front. In the end Thames second claimers once again took
 the first two places, led by GB international and Kent champion Louise
 Watson of Medway.  Not far behind, Allison produced her best cross-country
 performance for years, Sarah was as consistently good as ever recently, and
 Liz also showed just what she's capable of when she puts her mind to it.
 But perhaps the most impressive performances of the day were from their much
 younger team-mates behind them: Sara Grosvenor and 18-year-old Alice Beverly
 both started very fast, and instead of dying horribly as expected just kept
 on going!  In the end they finished 15th and 16th as our final two scorers,
 giving the opposition no chance at all.  And so we won our first Surrey
 League fixture for over a decade, consolidated our second place overall, and
 provided the leading B, C and D teams on the day!"  
 Alice running in the senior race rather than the under 20s was part of
 Sarah's cunning plan, but with others absent we were left with a team of one
 in the U20 / U17 race. Fortunately such was the paucity of runners that
 Anair's runner-up position was sufficient to fill 3rd team place on her own
 and to retain the overall team lead. Getting two or three runners to the
 start line in the last fixture should be enough to secure the league title.
 In the Under 13 race Alex Hook scored her second straight victory and with
 Emily and Clare both in the top ten Ranelagh won another team race and took
 the overall lead by a narrow margin.
 The last fixture at Lloyd Park on February 1st will be worth watching! 

 Sarah Seal had recovered from her efforts in time to report - with help from
 Andy B - on the men's race:
 "The sun really was setting as 150+ men gathered at the start - ice skates
 would have been appropriate and probably quicker but most stuck with
 traditional footwear.  Peter Haarer, Hugh Jones and Julian Smith started out
 confidently and finished in that order for Ranelagh - showing just how real
 men race. Captain Bickerstaff  tells of the excitement behind...... 'It was
 notable the speed with which Paul shot off the line ...propelled from behind
 by a not so amused runner who with one second to the gun found he was
 suddenly on the second row! He then competed gamely with the elite and only
 succumbed to a slow starting Marcus right near the end. His namesake John
 also used the fast starting technique but in his case was overtaken by
 everyone by halfway down Queens Ride! Kevin in an uncharacteristically
 gallant gesture actually stopped to ask another team member if he was all
 right having fallen flat on the ice. I put him straight not to do that
 again, just take that chance to beat him! Personally it's a race to forget
 as I started slow, tippy-toed across the ice while the rest disappeared, and
 never ran fast enough after that. Nice to see Julian starting farther up the
 field than usual and getting involved from the off'. 

 Our marvellous men finished  5th -  and this performance helped them sneak
 up one position to 5th in the league overall with only one match to go.The
 first scoring 5 were inside the top 50 this time, an improvement on Kingston
 Vale - who knows what else the men have tucked up their sleeves! 

 It was also the largest turnout of Ranelagh juniors of the season on
 Saturday. Richard Sim - returning to running after injury - ran impressively
 through the field finishing 3rd in his age group and 5th overall. Ben had
 another good run and Dan also finished comfortably in the top half of his
 race. Its great to see the return of this age group to the club". 

 The heavy snow that fell in the London area last week left the Park under a
 deep blanket for a couple of days. Chris Owens reports on his Wednesday
 night run: 
 "For me an absolutely epic standout experience. Went off with Clive and a
 few others and resolved to go left at Ham and do a short one. Very slippery
 on the road and some people were snowboarding on the hill near the car park. 

 Once on the road through the middle, just magic - half moon, enough light to
 see clearly. Had seen some deer running across the road en route to Ham but
 could see lots more now - very scenic. Got to the end of the road near Pen
 Ponds to meet two vague figures - Marcus and Eliete - going tobogganing ! At
 least that's what they said....
 Turned down their invitation to join them - not nice to slide in the dark
 into trees, rocks etc. Ran to the ballet school, and decided to turn left
 down Queen's Ride trusting in the moonlight. Absolutely magic - just enough
 light to see the route, and on the uphill slope, the park people were
 putting out hay for the deer. 
 I've never run in deep snow like that in Richmond Park, and to run 'offroad'
 under the moonlight was very special".  

 NEW YEAR'S DAY 10km  in Hyde Park
 Hugh was complaining about sudddenly running so slowly. 34 mins for a 10km
 by a  47-year-old doesn't sound too bad to me but I suppose if you once
 cruised 20 mile training runs at that pace your perspective might be a
 little different. Anyway, Hugh's woes notwithstanding, this could count as a
 spectacularly successful day for Ranelagh as 80% of our runners made the
 prize list and Hugh, Alan and Pete finished as third team!
 1 D Kedebe (Herc Wimb) 31.08
 5 Hugh Jones (1st O/45) 34.12
 56   Alan Davidson (2nd O/55) 40.28
 98 Pete Warren (2nd O/60) 43.10
 230 Evelyn Joslin 51.00
 271 John Hanscomb (1st O/65) 53.10  

 ...is back in Wimbledon after his lengthy sojourn in Edinburgh. Welcome

 Ian Webster has now moved to Malmesbury, 20 minutes from Bath, and would be
 happy to accommodate one or two people for the Bath Half. Contact Ian at

 Details of forthcoming sessions can now be found on our web site 
 via  About Us/Training Sessions.    Brief details of the next few:
 Tuesday 21st Jan: pyramid session.
 Tuesday 28th Jan: 4 x continuous loop on Ham Cross hill.
 Tuesday 4th Feb: 3 x 5 mins effort + 3 x 3 mins. 
 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 of course, 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 January 18th     v Milocarians and others at RMA Sandhurst. See

 Saturday January 25th     Southern Championships at Exmouth.

 Saturday February 1st   Final Surrey League fixtures - men at Coulsdon,
 women at Lloyd Park. 

 Sunday February 2nd   Richmond Mini Marathon Trial in Richmond Park
 starting at 9.30am.

 Saturday February 8th      Pelling-Ratcliff Cup mob match v Blackheath
 Harriers at Hayes (Kent). 

 "Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what
 you put into it."  Oprah Winfrey.

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