Claybury (2021) Race Report – By Alastair Aitken

Claybury 16/10/2021
By Alastair Aitken

THOMAS FRITH battled it out the senior men’s race with Seyd Taha Ghafari and Jacob Allen, till the final part of the third lap, in the traditional good weather for the first Met League of the season Alastair Aitken reports.

It was after that Frith’s tactics, to run quickly down the hills paid off and he drew clear with Ghafari chasing him in earnest. Frith ran 64.54 at Antrim for the half-marathon and was on 90-100 miles a week.

Ghafari came to England from Kurdish Western Iran in 2019 and did all his personal best times with Highgate Harriers this year. Allen who was third spent the whole of 2018 running for San Francisco University. Highgate put their marker down early, having 12 home in 35 out of 372 finishers. For the M75 the first home was Richard Bloom of Herts Phoenix in 40.29 in 333rd

In the Women’s race, it was easy to see that. at halfway. the first three were well clear and strung out, all of whom had got international vests. 1st was Beth Hawling of London Heathside, the leading club in the Women’s league. She ran in the European Cross-Under 23.s in 2015, 2nd was Annabel Gummow who competed in the European Under 20’s in 2011. 3rd was Revee Walcott-Nolan who ran a personal best 1500 in the Olympics with 4.06. 7th overall in the race was Carol Coulon who was first over 45. Angela Duncan, the 1st over 80 brought in the field of 179 finishers. over the hilly course in 1hr7m35sec.

First in the under 17 was Ethan Primett, who is in the sixth form at Richard Hale School. He had a race plan but decided against it and went off quickly. He improved his 3000m in the Summer from 9:44.24 to 8:36.08 In the younger age groups two who really stood out were 14 year old Adela Svihalkaova who came from the Czech Republic two years ago and, won the Under 15 girls race and was an amazing new find Tom Mythen, who won the under 13’s. He is at school at Newland House school and, had never run in a cross-country race before. He took off on the first hill in the 2nd lap.

Woodford Green and Shaftesbury Barnet look to be the ones’ to watch amongst the young teams overall and Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets look strong in most departments. It was Eton Manor’s first time in the league.

Regards Alastair Aitken

Trent Park Race Report – By Alastair Aitken

By Alastair Aitken

DYLAN EVANS won his third successive Metropolitan League race of the season, at Trent Park Alastair Aitken reports. Over a course with a few sticky patches but, in bright sunshine, Roger Poolman, went ahead after the initial start, followed by Dylan Evans and Liam Dee, running together. Coming up to halfway Alex Lepretre, second in the Southern, who had been biding his time in the group behind, went straight ahead and pushed on, opening up a 70 meter lead over Evans, who gradually cut down Lepretre’s advantage and, in fact, worked hard in the last mile to win.

The first Under 20 runner Sefu Jamal finished well to take third place with Dee, Poolman and Thomas Butler not far behind.

Highgate Harriers had their record 8th consecutive year of victories in the league, with their 12 to score at Trent Park, all within the first 51 of 426 finishers and, their ‘B’ team topped Division 2 and will join the A team in Division One next season. Highgate also won the senior Howard Williams Trophy for men and women combined, on countback, as the 44 points score was totalled as 44 to Highgate, London Heathside and Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets.

Liz James who was third in the Southern and was, a few years back in 2006, the National Cross Country Champion, won all her 4 senior league races with consummate, what appeared to be with ease, which was good considering she has to look after three children and can only manage one hour a day of training six days a week. One must not forget an equally convincing run was by 2nd placer Nina Griffith who ran a 2:42 marathon in Malaga. She explained “I ran as a kid but gave up from 22 to 30 (Now 34) then had three years off with injuries” Khahisa Mhlanga who was a clear third as a first Under 20 said, “I’ll keep doing cross-country because I love it.” One who impressed me was the first W60 Fiona Kennedy, who came 61st of 218 finishers.

The Junior Howard Williams Trophy went to Woodford Green & Essex Ladies, narrowly ahead of Shaftesbury. Woodford Green’s Abigail Reid won all her Under 13 races in the league. She goes to Forest School and won the Essex Schools cross country on Wednesday. Regarding Shaftesbury Barnet victories, they won the Under 11 boys race with Arthur Phillips, who is at Moss Hill Junior school and, won his age group in the Middlesex clubs and coached by Ty Holden. He is 10 years old and, looks forward to running the 800/1500 in the Summer. Posie Shaw won the Under 11 girls race in every Met League meeting this season. Under 17 Joanne Miranda, won her last 4 Met Leagues, which included this one and was part of the club relay team that was 2nd in the National cross country relays at Mansfield, and Giano Stubbs was another to win for Shaftesbury as an Under 13 winner of all his Met leagues, so I put to established and top official of Shaftesbury Barnet Bryan Smith, that he must be very pleased with the results of the Shaftesbury youngster with a good future his reply was ‘Yes but they tend to all go off to University and we lose them”

Regards Alastair

Alexandra Palace Race Report – By Alastair Aitken

By Alastair Aitken

LIZ JANES was an impressive sight as she flowed down the hill, on each lap of the muddy Alexandra Palace course, to win her third Metropolitan league consecutively Alastair Aitken reports.

In the Men’s race, it was an identical result in the frame, as it was at the last league race at Hillingdon House farm when Dylan Evans won from Austin Roth and Alex Lepretre. Although Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets seniors won on the day Highgate Harriers, having amassed a total of 5514 to Victoria Park’s 5255 and London Heathside’s 4344, it would be difficult to imagine Highgate will not be the trophy senior winners again, after the final meeting in February.

Gianleo Stubbs only moved into the under 13’s this season and has continued winning as he did as an Under 11. Jeremy Sothcott coaches Shaftesbury’s clear Under 17 winner at Claybury, Freya Stapleton and, since then the winner each time after that was Joanne Miranda and he coaches with Emily Hathaway who was second at Alexandra Palace Park

Regards Alastair

Uxbridge Race Report – By Alastair Aitken

Uxbridge Race Report – By Alastair Aitken

By Alastair Aitken

DYLAN EVANS, who was seventh in his only other Met League, at Claybury in October, won the third Fitness first Met league of the season.

On the two-lap course, which included a brook on each lap, some muddy corners and a wood, plus a hill to be negotiated and, fortunately, a flat section. The first to hit the front, as the large field rounded a corner into a big field, was Mohamed Hashi and Abdi Abdulle. At the halfway stage, as they came back onto the main field a group of five runners had drawn clear. They were Abdi, Evans, Texas American, Austin Roth (3rd at Claybury) Thomas Butler and Alex Lepretre. In the last half mile or so Evans and Roth broke clear followed by Lepretre. Evans worked hard up the finishing straight to come away with a victory. Evans was pleased with his 44th at Liverpool in the Cross Challenge & European Trials.

It was Lepretre’s highest position in the years he has done the Met League. The first Under 20 runner was George Groom of Shaftesbury Barnet and, I can remember talking to him after he won his first Met League, as a  youngster way back in 2012. He has progressed since then and has been studying at St Mary’s. That prolific racer Paul Martelletti was the first M40 in seventh place. Hillingdon’s 80-year-old, Doug Milsom came 457 in 53:38. 458 finished. He has a pacemaker and it has been a boon serving him well.

For the second time running Liz Janes was the convincing winner in the women’s race but after all, she was the National Senior winner back in 2006. Revee Walcott-Nolan was second again and had been running with Hannah Viner at the half distance. Hannah was more pleased with her 21st place at Liverpool, which was ten places higher than last year. Liz Janes did point out, with three young children she had to pick her times to go out and do an hours training. She did an hour for six days a week.

London Hearthside and Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets are heading Highgate Harriers in the women’s Division One events though, Highgate were first-team at Hillingdon House Farm. However, Highgate Harriers men are in a commanding position at the top of the Men’s, Division One table, while Woodford Green & Essex Ladies are in a strong winning position for the Junior Howard Williams Trophy and Shaftesbury in second place. Two notable young athletes certainly are worth a mention here. Joanna Miranda from the strong Shaftesbury Under 17 team, won for the 2nd time consecutively and Asmaa Abdirrahman of Hillingdon, who won for or five Met Leagues since she started at 10-year-old in the Under 11’s and, has won at least 4 Met Leagues and has had quite a few 2nd places and one third. It was in the Under 13’s she was running at Hillingdon House Farm.

Regards Alastair