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29924Red and black 05 summer 2019

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Published by glen, 2019-06-10 06:13:06

Red & Black 5

29924Red and black 05 summer 2019

Up the hill www.hernehillharriers.org

2019 SUMMER ISSUE RED&BLACK
MAGAZINE
by

Herne Hill Harriers is a community athletics club that
believes in diversity & is open to all.

Binary sport in mgruHescahhotow?scThkohee
a non-binary
world

5 rings to rule
the world

Stravistas rising

Marathon magic


Small matters

By Rahm Ofa

Half the struggle
is just getting to the start
Not falling apart, tripping
on a wonky curb stone
Lost, alone, on some no-fun
long run, wondering
Why choose thigh pain?
Soul destroying foot falls, arches
aching like an overburdened bridge
dodging dogs and pavement hogs
for miles and miles and miles
before you even get
to toe the line, thinking ‘fine’
I made it this far
All I have to face, now
is the bladder twisting, lung-bursting
tendon shredding, soul baring
universe uncaring, small matter
of a race

Reproduced with permission from the collection ‘Losing Track’ (2012)

2


MANY HILLS, ONE CLUB… 3

Whenever issues outside of sport impinge on sport sometimes
it’s possible to detect an almost audible sigh. ‘If only sport
could be separate, removed from the politics of everyday life,’
is the sentiment either unspoken or loud and clear. But there are good
reasons why that wish is delusional. Sport is just another theatre in which
life, with all its impossible choices, tensions, striving, compromises and
contradictions, takes place. Simply by putting on sports kit, we don’t
magically remove the responsibilities we have as citizens to care for the
world and each other, combat injustice and try to live a good life. You can
no more take issues out of sport than you can out of living. And that, in
fact, is not always a bad thing, because sport, including athletics, provides
a place where wider problems can be solved.

Starting from first principles though, one thing you’ll read about in this
edition is how Herne Hill’s senior women’s team have solved the challenge
of delivering incredible performances. The past season has seen its
greatest accomplishments yet. But club members explore wider issues that
challenge the sport and society more broadly, such as mental and physical
health and sexual identity. London is also set to be the home of the next
audacious attempt by the world’s greatest male marathon runner, Eliud
Kipchoge, on the two hour record. Controversially, however, in a country
which has declared, from the local to national level, a ‘climate emergency’,
the attempt is sponsored by the fossil fuel and fracking company Ineos.
Already having drawn negative publicity for taking over sponsorship
of cycling’s Team Sky the term ‘Sportswash’ is being used to describe
corporations using sports’ sponsorship to improve their public image.

Also, in the year before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in the review section
we take a deep look back at the growth of the modern games, revealing
some less well known roots that far pre-date the familiar ‘first’ games of
the modern era in 1896 – events which played out on English fields. We
also take time in this issue to ponder on the pleasure of simply watching
others put the effort in, think about environmentally friendly nutrition, and
celebrate the achievements, past and present, of Herne Hill’s athletes. The
great thing about being a club, and specifically being a Herne Hill Harrier,
is that even when life seems like an uphill struggle, we know that’s one
thing we can be good at, Up the Hill…

Andrew Simms

RED & BLACK MAGAZINE
EDITORIAL | Andrew Simms | Email: AndrewSimms.uk@gmail.com | Twitter: @Andrewsimms_UK
DESIGN, LAYOUT AND PRINT | Glen Keegan | Words & Pictures Ltd | 8 Stoney Lane, London SE19 3BD | www.wordsandpictures.co.uk | 020 8653 5203


PEOPLE

Shoes for

SOMALILAND

(a track and a club would be good too)

Somaliland now has a marathon, but no athletics track or community athletics club.
Herne Hill’s Mohammed Ismail wants to change that. The other problem is that runners
find shoes and athletics kit hard to come by - and that is something that, with the help

of others, Mohammed Ismail has already started to change. Here he explains
how you can help and what you can donate…

Iwould like to thank all Herne Hill athletes who have competitions, but the introduction of the Somaliland
donated shoes and clothing to athletes in Somaliland, Marathon in 2018 has perhaps created a movement
whom I have been supporting through a friend, amongst the youth and women. If you are reading this
Rashid Handule, from Hillingdon AC, who has recently magazine online, here is a link to an article, which I
relocated to Somaliland. hope will give you a flavour - and laughter or sadness
- about some of the running scenes in my country
There are a lot of people to mention, but I would through the gaze of an expat living in the Horn of Africa:
particularly like to thank Jack Brotchie, Alex Hobley, https://deadspin.com/the-most-unlikely-marathoners-in-
Andrew Simms, Graham and Lewis Laylee and Charlie the-world-1833603319.
Grice and some of his Brighton Phoenix club mates.
Running gear that we take for granted in the UK is hard Through its first two editions, the Somaliland
to come by in Somaliland, so please spread the word marathon has not gone without controversies, mostly
and let me know of any second hand or unwanted due to lack of planning, transparency and cooperation
running shoes (ideally sizes 7-9 UK) and running gear between stakeholders. Nevertheless, I am confident
you or a friend, or family member may wish to donate. that we could overcome this, especially when I relocate
to Somaliland, by offering more training and competition
In terms of athletes, we have so far identified 33 opportunities, and making athletics more accessible to
runners showing interest in middle and long-distance the community.
training. They are all based in the capital, Hargeisa,
but I suspect other cities have similar numbers of In Somaliland, we don’t have an athletics track, which
athletes keen to participate in the sport. There are could transform the whole running scene in the country,
no regular athletic clubs in Somaliland as the most and I am particularly interested in approaching Mo
promising young athletes are affiliated to corporate or Farah and the Somaliland business community to make
governmental organisations like the police or military, this happen. I believe with my aspiration to set up the
which provide a small salary, just enough to entice first community athletics club in Somaliland in 2021,
them, but not enough to buy running shoes. along with an athletic track to call ‘home’, we could
identify and develop future champions.
Since 2011, Hargeisa has witnessed several regional

4


Stravistas rise! PEOPLE

Jack Dickenson has stumbled upon a previously unknown crisis in UK athletics: addicts
of the runners’ favourite app, Strava, are running out of metaphors to name their runs.
But he also finds that, as long as you don’t get too addicted to all that data, Strava might
be an accidental tool in the battle against obesity and climate change…

“Morning Run” Concise, snappy. I like hyper-scrutiny can lead to training more active, lose weight and improve
it. But what if… ‘wrongly’ – pushing the pace on their health. I think this is an area with
“Easy hour” Bit of description – time, a supposed easy day, or chasing huge potential, but most interesting
effort, just what the punters want. mileage targets when we ought to be is how the same motivating factors at
Maybe just add… running more on feel and instinct. play with Strava – social interaction,
“47’ relaxed steady tune up sharpener On the whole, however, I think being gamification (i.e. challenges,
going through the gears” Perfect. able to compare, encourage and learn segments) could be harnessed
from other runners is a huge benefit to tackle, sedentary lifestyles and
The struggle for the perfect Strava of the app. I certainly benefitted obesity, among the biggest problems
title has overcome many a Stravista, significantly when I started running facing the NHS.
myself included. It can take many properly, from seeing what to do
forms – puns, references, thoughts, generally, although there are some Another area where Strava has
observation or just a bit of brutal extreme examples I might not copy in been used is city planning – semi-
honesty; the discerning Stravista is a hurry. inadvertently, the millions of cyclists
versatile. Metaphors too are common using it map out the most popular
– mention of gears, engines and such On the topic of motivation, perhaps routes, allowing planners to create
like make me wonder, that if people the greatest benefit might not be to routes accordingly. Similarly, their
think they’re a Formula 1 car, will they established runners, but to those yearly analysis revealed that by
actually run faster? starting out. Rather than running running or cycling to work, Stravistas
haphazardly, it seems intuitive that offset a combined 1.3 billion lbs of
Since its launch in 2009, Strava having a structure and record, as carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2018; could
now boasts 36 million users who well as being able to see and learn visualising exactly how much CO2
over 2018 covered a collective 6.67 from other runners, would be hugely we reduce get more people using
billion miles, encompassing cyclists beneficial to new runners. A Ghent alternative transport to tackle climate
and runners. The running tally stood University article looking at fitness change?
at 944.8 million miles. It’s growing, tracker use concluded that whilst
too. They claim to be adding 1 million Strava is mainly used by ‘intrinsically The power of Strava, however, goes
new users every 2 months. Beyond motivated athletes’, the social beyond simply tracking your weekly
amusing myself with funny titles, interaction of it meant it was uniquely improvement on that one segment.
I think there are some fascinating popular amongst tracking apps. At heart, I think it is a tremendously
insights that Strava gives both about powerful tool for improving our
how people train, and ourselves. In a similar vein, a report recently running, if slightly addictive – which
called for the NHS to prescribe fitness means it might also not be ideal for
Strava means to strive in Swedish, trackers to low-income and disabled the stereotypical ‘type A’ runner.
which is the basic, if slightly grandiose patients, with the aim of reducing Perhaps a ‘run Aware’ campaign is
premise. I see it as multipurpose, not widening health inequality. Now, the needed for those likely to get hooked
just for the allure of seeing how others problem of obesity is multifactorial on the feedback ‘data hit’. Looking
get on. It’s also a ready-made training and heavily influenced by social, ahead, I feel we should use it as a
log, route finder and motivator. I feel economic and educational factors, means to an end, albeit a very useful
like the fact your training is instantly so the reasoning is that the groups one. It’s great to watch clubmates’
visible for others to see gives a sense most likely to be overweight, and so race results, track your training and
of accountability – I’m much less likely the ones who could benefit the most scope out new runs, but it’s best used
to bail on a session if I know that 100 from trackers are those least able to complement running rather than
people will see that I did, whilst seeing to access them. Prescribing these something to obsess over. That won’t,
others train is definitely an additional trackers, the argument goes, would however, stop me trying to up the title
reason to get out of the door. help the most vulnerable in society be game for naming those routes…

But I do question whether such

5


LEARNING

Sports Science

KNEES UP!
Former Herne Hill coach, Mark White, is tearing up his own training rule book after three
years of research into biomechanics and the appliance of running science. After using
some of the most sophisticated sports’ technology and analytical techniques, it seems

there is much to be said for simply ‘keeping your knees up’! Mark explains why…

It is almost three years since basic idea, but how I would achieve go hand in hand. The body will
I announced I would step those goals now would be different. not employ the neural coordination
down as a coach at Herne Hill pattern learned in the strength
Harriers, and pursue my interest Among the exercises I introduced exercises if the sensory feedback
in sports science by studying were functional strength training when running doesn’t match.
biomechanics, first at Loughborough exercises, which are based on the
and now at Swansea. What have I idea that if the strength exercises What does that mean in practise?
learned in that time? Plenty, if not all involve movements similar to For an exercise to feel similar to
relevant to running, but that’s a PhD running then the strength gains running it must at least involve
for you. The important question, should translate to running. As I weightbearing. Hence, all those
though, is would I do anything have come to appreciate, strength is exercises lying on the ground would
differently as a coach as a result of actually more about neuromuscular not translate to running, including all
what I have learned? The answer coordination than making individual those mat-based Pilates exercises.
might surprise you. muscles stronger. Generally, you need to be standing,
Many might recall, hopefully preferably on one leg rather than
favourably, that I took an You really need to strengthen two. For example, hops and some
unashamedly scientific approach whole groups of muscles in a drills would be beneficial especially
to training, where I tried to better movement pattern that has some if you incorporate the running arm
cater for runners of different similarity to running. Using exercises action. However, some drills attempt
abilities. I brought in a wide range that strengthen individual muscles to break down the running action
of exercises at the start of the is not the way to go. Thinking your too much into its constituent parts,
session intended to develop their glutes are “not firing”, for instance, a such that the sensorimotor package
strength, mobility and coordination. term very often heard, is the wrong would be too dissimilar from
In doing so, I believed, that the way to think about it. Glutes work running. As the old-school coaches
effectiveness of the training would in coordination with other muscles. might say, you are just learning a
be enhanced. Strengthening them in isolation just skill that has no use in running.
Yet, today, I would drop many of won’t work.
those exercises. From what I know The best way to accelerate
now, I don’t believe they translated But there’s something else that’s positive changes is to work with
through to great benefits in running, even more interesting. The exercise the grain of the body’s reflexes,
and were largely a waste of time. must feel similar to running. Motor by which I mean the movements
Crucially, though, as we’ll see, not all control research has established that are hardwired into the
of them were. I think I had the right that the body organises movement nervous system that do not require
in what are called sensorimotor conscious control. In running, one
packages. Neuromuscular of the most important is called the
coordination and sensory feedback

6


LEARNING

“This means drills that emphasize
knee lift especially the powerful
hop-based version.”

cross-extensor reflex that involves but not the popular notion of “core the hip can be raised on the lead
the scissor action of the legs as the stability” you so often hear about. leg side. A good example would
weight-bearing leg drives backwards Core stability is usually associated be hurdle step-overs if done with
and the opposite leg swings with the idea of holding the body rhythm and with variety too. This
forward. What is crucial, though, is in a fixed, stable position, and means drills that emphasize knee lift
that the hip on the swing leg side hence athletes are encouraged and especially the powerful hop-based
is elevated, a position that is called motivated to develop washboard version. Bounding would work well
hip lock. Many runners fail to do this stomachs and super strong abs. too if you focus on good knee lift
sufficiently. That is quite wrong because the with arm swing. It also helps to
body needs to be dynamic. have much variety and to ensure
To elevate the pelvis on the the exercises remain mentally
swing side, several muscles around The stability I’m talking about is challenging by making them more
the pelvis must be engaged the ability to maintain a smooth difficult over time. If they become
simultaneously: on the stance leg pattern of movement in the face boring and routine, there will be
side, the glutes, the adductors and of forces that act to disrupt it. no motor learning and hence no
hamstrings (the ones you’re familiar Those forces could be external benefit.
with); on the swing leg side, the hip such as changing terrain or incline,
flexors (primarily the ilio-psoas) and or internal such as fatigue. In the All you need to do is keep the
the muscles that pull up the pelvis marathon for instance, hitting the supporting muscles working in
(quadratus lumborum in the back wall may be more about a loss of the right way through movements
and the obliques at the side). As dynamic stability in the face of that mimic the running action.
you can see that’s quite a list and considerable fatigue. You just need to be strong enough
not a complete one – I’m trying to so the muscles are able and free
keep it simple. Achieving hip lock, the elevation to perform their proper function.
of the pelvis towards the end of You don’t need to be as strong as
The point is that there’s a lot scissors action of the legs, is the possible. Then the act of running
of coordination required to make means by which dynamic stability becomes sufficient in of itself to
them all work together. When they can be achieved. This is when all make you stronger. If your body is
do there is an efficient transfer of of the muscles of the pelvis work working reasonably well then more
energy from one leg to another. Or together simultaneously on opposite running will make you faster. In a
to put it another way, less energy sides, resulting in the much needed funny way, then, I am coming to
is dissipated, so you don’t need to stability. see the good sense of old-school
work so hard to maintain pace. training methods. Science is
Taking this on board, I would catching up.
This idea of efficient energy favour drills and other exercises that
transfer depends upon stability, emphasize knee lift, especially if

7


PEOPLE

Running into the

UNKNOWN

There are many experiences that runners of all abilities share, the hopes, frustrations,
injuries and sense of achievement when things go well. But there are challenges and
problems which are very particular to the full time athlete performing at the highest
levels. Red & Black catches up with Herne Hill’s elite senior woman, middle distance

runner, Katie Snowden to find out how things are going, what is coming down
the track, and how to prepare for the unknowable…

R&B: H ow did you feel at the end of the last track and training at different venues such as Surrey
season - did you take any lessons from it? Sports Park and Richmond Park provided me
with a welcome change of scenery. I also raced
Katie: Last season was disappointing as I missed over the cross a few times which I hadn’t done
out on qualifying for the European Champs for a while, that again was a new stimulus which
which was my main aim. I also didn’t run a I think really benefited me. It was great to get
personal best which was very frustrating as my silver medals with the club at the South of
training had suggested I was in shape to run England AA Relay Championships and I enjoyed
well. However, it was a tricky year to get right winning one of the Surrey Leagues and helping
with the Commonwealth Games being so early contribute to the club finishing top on that day.
(beginning of April!) and then having to carry on However, I then went to Flagstaff (in the United
for a full track season after. States) in December and unfortunately suffered
with bursitis in my knee for the duration of the
I learnt the importance of having a good winter training camp. I had to spend a lot of time in
base which perhaps I compromised last year the pool and gym which was a testing time
with preparing for Commies as I started specific and I lost over a month of running which was
track work much earlier than I would have done frustrating but I maintained a good level of
usually. I also learnt the importance of getting fitness through cross training.
in the right races and grasping an opportunity I managed to get back for British Indoor
when you are presented with it. Champs in February and was pleased with
bronze in the 1500m under the circumstances,
R&B: How was winter training - highlights and but again was disappointed to just miss out
lowlights? on qualifying for European indoors particularly
when it was in Glasgow.
Katie: My winter was different this year as I relocated R&B. How do you feel about the coming year?
back home to London from Loughborough and
joined Geoff Wightman’s group (Jake Wightman,
Harvey Dixon and Steph Twell). I enjoyed a
change in my setup from the previous few years

8


PEOPLE

Katie: I ’m looking forward to outdoors as I’m really over 800m and 1500m and medal at British
determined to run some PBs and hopefully Champs. The most I am hoping for is to qualify
be contending for places at British Champs in for World Champs in Doha at the end of
August to qualify for World Champs. It will be September but the standard of middle distance
a difficult year to get right again with British running in Great Britain at the moment is so
Champs being so late compared to normal, but high that it will be very competitive.
hopefully I can use what I learnt from last year R&B: The senior women at Herne Hill Harriers seem
to help me with this and perhaps my injuries will incredibly strong at the moment, what do you
turn out to be a blessing in disguise that I’m now think is going right?
not in danger of peaking too early! It will also Katie: It is definitely the strongest it has ever been at
be interesting to see how a different approach the moment which was illustrated by us being
to winter might change things, however, I South of England Road Relay champions and
have since left Geoff’s group and although winning silver medals at the National Road
still training in London I am back working with Relays. I think our strength in depth has really
my previous coach Rob Denmark for the time improved which was shown by Herne Hill
being. being one of the few clubs to also field strong
‘B’ teams at both these events. We have some
R&B: When you train so hard, what do you do to keep very good youngsters coming through such as
running fresh? Liv Stillman and Ella Newton who really made
a difference to us finishing high up in the road
Katie: I do a lot of stretching, foam rolling and yoga relays and it’s athletes like them making the
which I find helps and I make sure I’m good transition to senior level which in the past we
with nutrition and always fuel properly before have had some promising U17/U20s but they
and after hard sessions and stay hydrated. If have struggled to do that. Our regular seniors
I’m feeling particularly tired I’ll also slow down are also going from strength to strength which I
the pace of my runs between sessions so I feel think has been helped by us all training together
fresher for those and take a rest day if I feel it’s more often and obviously the unwavering
necessary but throughout the winter I normally support and commitment to the club from Geoff
only have one every 2-3 weeks otherwise. Jerwood and others has been a huge driving
force to make this happen.
R&B: What is the least, and the most, you are hoping
for this season?

Katie: I really hope to at least run a personal best

Memphis, standing in the centre, 9
with the Herne Hill youth relay squad


LEARNING

Binary sport in
a non-binary

world

Katie Kedward calls for much greater sensitivity and understanding of a problem in
athletics highlighted by the case of Caster Semenya that has few simple answers

Perhaps it is a symptom of our increasingly Yet despite being notionally in agreement with
polarised times, but it is with a heavy the position of many prominent commentators
heart that I have followed the recent press on this issue, I have nevertheless been dismayed
coverage and athletics commentary surrounding at the tone of the debate within the press
Caster Semenya’s landmark case at the Court of and on online forums. Misinformation and
Arbitration of Sport (CAS). The final CAS ruling, sensationalism abound; respectful and informed
announced this week, rejected the middle- discussion has been startlingly absent. This
distance athlete’s appeal against the IAAF’s does not paint the usually inclusive running
policy of testosterone restriction. From now on, community in a good light.
athletes with differences in sexual development
(DSD) must reduce their blood testosterone (T) For instance, take Paula Radcliffe’s recent
levels to below five nmol/L in order to compete comments that a positive Semanya ruling could
internationally in events from 400m to the mile. mark “the end of women’s sport”. It would, she
argues, “open the door” for transgender athletes
It happens that I support the CAS ruling and to play the system, as well as for countries to
the IAAF policy. Higher testosterone levels “cherry-pick” DSD athletes for medals. It is
undoubtedly have a performance advantage disappointing to see someone of Radcliffe’s
within female strength - and power-based sports. standing conflating hyperandrogenism (a genetic
And given we, as a society, have created a condition) with the entirely separate transgender
‘female’ category for competition; there is a need debate (a social question). But it is even more
to define what that ‘means’ in order to protect concerning to see her play into the trope, also
the integrity of female participation in sport. commonly repeated in online forums such as

10


LEARNING

Up to 1.7% of people
worldwide are born with

intersex characteristics

I Was Or Am A Runner (IWOAAR), that any of hyperandrogenism are why it is so important
non-cisgendered person identifying as female to have informed and measured discussion of
and choosing to participate in sport is only doing the issue.
so to steal female prizes. The sensationalist
reductionism of this claim hardly needs to be Instead, at the very bottom of the
pointed out. But let’s also remember how hurtful commentariat barrel – usually misspelt, in CAPS
and alienating such remarks must be for athletes LOCK, and heavily exclamation-marked!!!!! – are
within our sport who do not easily fall into the contributions from those charming gentlemen
binary categories of male and female. (yes, always men) who insist on referring to
Semenya as ‘he’, or worse, ‘it’. Given that for her
Indeed, this leads to another exasperatingly whole life Semenya was raised as a woman and
common misconception. “Males have testes/ continues to identify as such, such poisonous
XY and females have ovaries/XX, so it’s simple language is enormously disrespectful. There are
biology!” Yet such a binary division of biological always those who decry ‘it’s political correctness
sex simply does not exist in the real world. Up to gone mad!’. But, really? Are our political and
1.7% of people worldwide are born with intersex democratic freedoms really being extinguished
characteristics, according to the UN – that’s in the simple, polite act of addressing people
roughly the same as the incidence of the ‘ginger according to the gender by which they identify?
gene’. The very definition of an intersex person Regardless of one’s position on this debate, I
is one whose chromosomal and anatomical think some members of the running community
sex is mismatched. Many female athletes with need to be mindful of good manners and plain
DSD thus have XY chromosomes but develop human decency.
primary female sex characteristics because
of a corresponding failure to fully use their The CAS ruling may have drawn an official
testosterone (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome). line in the sand for the moment, but this marks
just the beginning of sport’s confrontation with
It seems banal to highlight this, but given gender issues. Many question marks still remain
so many people have failed to grasp this I will over the practicalities and safety of administering
anyway – DSD athletes are not fully female in testosterone-blocking medication. And the
a biological sense, but neither are they fully- separate transgender question, whilst less
developed males. As South African sports prominent in elite athletics at present, will still
scientist Ross Tucker has pointed out, the need to be carefully reflected and debated. As
Semenya debate has focused on the advantages athletes, coaches, and sports fans, we should all
DSD athletes have over biological females, play our part in calling out bigotry and promoting
but less appreciated is the corresponding productive, measured, and dignified discussion
disadvantages they also have competing against on such issues. This is a unique moment to
biological men. They are unable to completely reflect upon the ethics of gender and inclusivity
utilize their extra testosterone – or they would within our sport. Let us all remember to do that
have developed fully male. The specific nuances with empathy, compassion, and respect. .

11


CROAUCNHDN-UOPTES

COACH’S NOTES

Training is a hard, unshowy business overseen week-in, week-
out, and two of Herne Hill’s coaches, Steve Knight and
Glen Keegan pass on a few notes about how one of Herne Hill’s
group of middle distance runners has been getting on, and
give credit where it’s due…

It has been pleasing to see a regular group of men and
women turn out and represent the club on the cross country
and the road, although not yet in the numbers that we would
like. The women made a valuable contribution to the B team
success at the Surrey Cross League and the big road relays in
support of the club’s elite group of women.

We have had an enormous number drift into the group as a
consequence of the proximity of the Parkrun. We are pleased
to say that the vast majority have stayed and become club
members. Most are a way off club racing yet, largely because
they need to develop a better base of fitness, and more
importantly build the necessary confidence. However that is
happening and very often cannot be rushed.

If we had to pick an individual who has impressed this year
from our group, it would be Eric Dol. Not only does Eric work
tirelessly on the club committee, he helps officiate at club
meetings, he organises the Hour Race, he puts out the weekly
newsletter, the Common Runner, he races over all surfaces for
the club on a regular basis, he provides helpful and relevant
comments many times on the training programme and on top
of all that, virtually every time he steps out to race - he runs
a personal best! And all of this is done very quietly and in an
assuming manner.

The support we receive on a Tuesday is astonishing - with an
average turn-out of 40, ranging from 15 - 55 year olds. Having
so many buy into what we are trying to do is very pleasing. We
are also thrilled to say that we are developing an 800m/1500m
group on a Thursday which is showing real promise. For us, it
has been a winter of steady growth, rather than the spectacular
achievements of Geoff Jerwood and Keith Newton’s group,
which we all applaud.

12


PEOPLE

It’s good to run,
and it’s good to talk

After becoming overwhelmed with negative feelings, Ian Strong went through a process
of recovery which led him to become a mental health ambassador for England Athletics.
With an estimated one in four people facing such problems it’s far more common than
many realise. Here Ian opens-up about the frightening experiences which
changed his life and what helped him to find his feet again…

With an estimated one in four face it. I knew I needed to get help. they help, you win the battle but not
people experiencing mental health It turned out that’s the biggest the war. That still goes on and every
problems, there’s every possibility step you can make. Many suffer in so often I’ll have a bad day, but I’ve
that other club members may know silence and don’t want to admit to learnt the tools and how to cope.
only full well quite how difficult themselves that they need help.
depression can be to deal with. This I am now a mental health
is my story. I made an urgent appointment to ambassador registered with England
see my doctor and was prescribed Athletics, and have been for a few
I have been running for over anti-depressants and referred to a years. I believe in helping others to
30 years. It was at a decent level course of CBT treatment (cognitive overcome their problems. The role is
when I was younger, 35 minutes behavioural therapy). fairly open, being an ambassador is
for a 10k and 75 minutes for a half what you make of it. Some organise
marathon. Throughout my years I started the course and was runs to help others. My view is that
of running, as many will know, you advised on certain things to do that advice is what people need, and I’m
experience highs and lows. I have may help. The person advising me very willing to give this.
run constantly and found running urged me to get back to training. But
to be a way to let out all of your that is easier said than done. Being a runner and being in a club
frustrations with regard to life in are of so much help, but it’s equally
general. After a few weeks counselling, I important to know that you can’t
was feeling better and made the help everyone, because I know of
Just after I turned 50, I began huge step of turning up to a training tragedies related to mental health
to have feelings of worthlessness. session. It was so hard to just put on problems among sportspeople that
I didn’t think I could do anything my trainers and go, but I got through do still happen.
right, I became a solitary person it and felt so much better. I started
and I started to not care about my to turn up for training on Tuesday If any of you are experiencing
appearance. I thought everyone ,Thursday and Sunday, and this was problems, please get in touch. I
was talking about me. I had panic a massive help with my recovery. urge you to keep running, because I
attacks which were very scary, and know this helped me through a very
ended up on a couple of occasions I even started to do Parkrun again, traumatic time and was of huge help
going to hospital. Some days I and those Saturday morning’s gave in my recovery. In the meantime, I
couldn’t even be bothered to get out me a target every week. Starting at wish you all happy running and that
of bed. Running was something I 25 minutes I got down to 21 within a you all continue to have good health.
couldn’t face anymore. month or so, and it gave me a focus I hope this short piece proves
to aim for. I no longer do Parkruns useful. I wrote it because I felt that
One day, everything became too for a number of reasons, but for this is a subject which is too often
much. I was on my way to work and physical and mental health and well- swept under the carpet.
then just turned back. I couldn’t being you can’t knock it.

I still take the anti-depressants,

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PEOPLE

Running, racing and
the menopause.

With the challenges for women athletes posed by the menstrual cycle finally being
discussed more openly in sport, Sarah Allen introduces another issue which has

not had much public discussion, how runners can adapt to the
physiological changes of the menopause…

What is the menopause? The definition in fact, that apply to the wider population. Not
of the menopause is a commonly overdoing the gels and sports drinks on long runs
occurring process befalling women is a good idea too.
between the ages of 45-55 as their oestrogen
levels decline. The upheaval of the body’s system Sleep patterns also matter. A good night’s
leads to several symptoms that runners should sleep will always help with recovery. Due to night
take notice of. For example, due to night sweats sweats sleep can be lost. I try to cat nap in the
and the horrid hot flushes that seem synonymous afternoon before training. An hours extra sleep
with the menopause, it becomes vital for the at the weekend can pay dividends to racing and
runner to maintain their levels of hydration. It’s training.
recommended to check the colour of your urine
to ensure dehydration is prevented. If it has a light Loss of muscle mass may occur due to the
straw hue it indicates that you are well hydrated, menopause, so to combat this resistance training
too dark and you could be dehydrated. is a good idea. Hill reps are suggested to maintain
muscle strength once a week,
I personally consider sipping water throughout
both the day and night beneficial. After a race as this type of exercise trains the connection
or training run I also always use an electrolyte between the muscles and brain to increase
replacement. This enables me to recover quicker
and stronger than if I were to just drink water or power or the ability to recruit strength quickly. I
tea. During hot weather I also add a tab to my have found yoga to be indispensable. My
daily water intake.
upper body strength has increased and my hip
Diet can also help when adapting to flexors are now firing correctly and providing me
physiological changes. It is recommended that with the power to train and race as I did 5 years
menopausal women ‘eat cleanly’ (Reed. S, ago.
University of Washington). This means avoiding
refined carbohydrates and processed fats. Running and racing can help reduce the
Instead focus on fruit, vegetables and whole severity of most menopausal systoles. There is
grains, with lean protein at each meal, and no danger training and racing during hot flushes,
eating a minimum of three times a day. It is also I am still here and, in fact, those who run may
suggested that cutting back on alcohol, caffeine experience fewer hot flushes.
and sweets is beneficial. All rules of thumb, References:
Dr C Diss Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics Ph.d
FHEA, CSci University of Roehampton
S. Reed M.D M.P.H. University of Washington
Runners World Website

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PEOPLE

Ice, ice maybe…

In spite of some nice and icy conditions, and dreaming of warmer, drier days,
Zoe Buckland reports on a Herne Hill Parkrun takeover to remember, and finds it’s the

perfect way to spread the word about the benefits of joining a running club

O n the icy, chilly morning on and run with. friends at the club, and it is so nice
of Saturday 2nd February I find the same benefit in running to have people locally to arrange to
2019, members of Herne Hill run with.
Harriers athletics club turned out in for a club. I have people to run
force to lead a takeover at Tooting with and push me to get faster and So for anyone looking for a fun,
Common Parkrun, and support fitter. I did my first Tooting Common accessible and low cost way to
the brilliant volunteers who make Parkrun in January 2017 in just over keep fit, or wanting focused running
Parkrun possible each week. 29 minutes. I found it really tough, training, consider trying out Herne
I was scared of being out of breath Hill Harriers. Come join us on
And what a Parkrun to remember. and my legs ached afterwards. I Tuesday evenings (7pm) on the
The previous evening we had been joined Herne Hill Harriers that April track at Tooting Bec, on Thursday
treated to a downpour of snow, and and I started training on the track, evenings (7:30pm) at Streatham
it was a very cold and wet morning. running intervals on Tuesdays, Common by Rookery Cafe, or
The course was partly flooded on and joining the club long runs on Sunday mornings at Tooting Bec
the final straight that makes up the Sundays. Everyone was so friendly Track for an informal long run
mile triangle, which required some and the sessions were fun and (always followed by tea and cake!).
fearless plodding through cold water, inventive, and as challenging as you Check out www.hernehillharriers.org
and there were (carefully marshalled) want to make them. I found myself for more details.
icy patches to watch out for on the knocking minutes off my Parkrun
paths. But despite the weather, time. Two years later, I’m finishing
many South Londoners braved the in around 23 minutes over 5k and
conditions to take part. There were I feel like I have plenty of room for
564 participants, including over 20 improvement still if I keep training
Herne Hill Harriers and 74 Tooting with the club.
Parkrun first timers completing
the course with great resilience Doing a Parkrun takeover allowed
and determination considering the us to introduce Herne Hill Harriers
conditions. as the local athletics club – tell
other runners about how we train at
It certainly wasn’t an ideal day Tooting Bec Athletics Track, close to
for PBs. However, we provided the Parkrun course, and that we run
pacers for various times between around the local area to Streatham
18 minutes and 32 minutes, with or Clapham as well. They got to see
most of them coming in round about that we are a friendly club of children
on target despite the unpredictable and adults of all abilities who cover
course conditions. It’s always easier track, middle and long distance,
to push on through a tough run field events, cross country, and road
when you have other people to focus racing. I’ve made some fantastic

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PEOPLE

HOW MUCH?
The high price and short lifespan of modern trainers has, astonishingly, made running,
per-mile, one of the most expensive forms of transport. No, really. Andrew Simms
is slightly dumbstruck and argues that there is an opportunity for a
pioneering manufacturer to come up with something better…

Beautiful simplicity. Running. No fancy kit or average pair, what’s the deal with the short
tech needed. Just put on some shoes and lifespan and built-in obsolescence of running
go. But, oh! The shoes. What happened to shoes?
make a pair of running shoes, designed to only
just a couple of months, cost more than a fridge? The general message from the major
manufacturers – it’s rule of thumb – is that a
We’re not talking fashion trainers here, for posing pair of trainers should last 300-500 miles. At
in the pub and jogging alongside the trend for a modest club runner’s 45 miles per week that
‘athleisure’ – but pavement pounders for knocking means that the official makers recommendation
out the miles. Somehow it’s become okay for is to change your shoes around every six and
them to retail north of £200. As manufacturers half to eleven weeks. Double mileage – and we
seek endless marginal gains and stylistic tweaks all probably know someone who does those kind
to freshen the appeal of something as basic as of miles – and you halve the time before a new,
a running shoe, the boundary of cost is being pricey pair is officially recommended. It seems
constantly pushed back. crazy, is it really necessary?

Understandably, few runners are immune Claire Wood, a senior product manager at
to the tantalising promise that a personal best the maker, New Balance, is one of those who
might result from pulling on the latest innovation has quoted the 300 to 500 miles as a ‘rule of
in trainers. The heavy branding and promotion thumb’. Michael Moore Michael, a technical
of Nike’s Vaporfly4% (recommended price representative for ASICS, said the same thing
£209.95) around Eliud Kipchoge’s last two hour to the Independent newspaper, “Running shoes
marathon record attempt caught the attention for example, tend to last in between 300 to 500
of many. Could you really cut your best by 4% miles depending on how well you care for them.”
(that’s about 12 seconds off a 5 minute 1500) A Nike spokesman, Gavin Thomas, was even
just by changing shoes, if you could afford them? less optimistic about the lifespan of the product,
And is this good for the sport, or the way the saying that after just 300 - 400 miles, ‘a typical
sports shoe market operates good for the planet? shoe used by a typical runner is likely to feel
worn out.’ The message from the major makers is
Firstly, whether you’re paying record prices nearly, if not entirely, unanimous. Clifton Bradeley,
for the top of the range, or just ‘a lot’ for an

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PEOPLE

a member of ASICS pro team has been quoted Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 £120
saying, “I would recommend you change your 300m: 40p
running shoes between 450 to 550 miles.” 500m: 24p

Of course, in reality, few runners follow the Among these popular brands the cost per mile
manufacturers’ recommendations. Few could for running shoes ranges at the lower end of the
afford to, and it seems as if there are good recommended miles from 40p per mile to 73p
reasons to ignore them. A large European study per mile, and at the higher mileage from 24p to
quoted in the New York Times found that most 42p. Numbers mean little out of context, although
runners keep their shoes for around 600 miles, these do immediately seem on the spicy side.
and also suggested that much greater mileage But how do they compare with other ways of
could be dragged out of them (I’ve certainly kept getting around? Getting figures for other forms of
pairs for longer). Of course the main reasons to transport is not straightforward. A lot of different
change your shoes are for comfort, if the life has factors go into working out their full costs per
gone out of them, and to avoid injury. But another mile.
study, also quoted in the New York Times, by Dr.
Jacob Schelde of Odense University Hospital in Other types of transport are obviously hugely
Denmark, could find no relationship between the diverse, but a rule of thumb can be taken from
age of training shoes and the incidence of injury. the Inland Revenue guide to what you can claim
This suggests either that the notion of old shoes per mile for transport use. At present on the road
equals injury is plain fallacy, or that other factors this is:
are so much more significant that the ‘injury cars and vans – 45p per mile
signal’ from shoes is very weak. motorcycles – 24p per mile
bicycles – 20p per mile
Running is one of the most natural ways to get
around. If you are able (and work has showers) If you want to take the train it varies a lot by
it should be a great, low cost form of transport – country, the European average however is 19p
‘Shank’s trotting pony’, as it were. But how does per mile (although it is more than double that in
the cost of trainers affect that? Taking all the the UK). The global average cost for flying, the
issues above into account let’s see what the cost most environmentally damaging form of transport,
of running around is when you follow the makers’ is only 24p per mile.
advice. How many pence per mile does it cost
to use the major brands. Here’s a selection of a This means that, apart from the cheapest
leading few. shoe in our selection, the Brooks, astonishingly
Asics Metarun £220 all of the trainers at the lower mileage are more
Pence per mile at 300 miles: 73p expensive per mile to use, than all the other forms
Pence per mile at 500 miles: 44p of transport: cars, vans, motorbikes, bikes, trains
Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit £209.95 and plains. At the higher mileage, with one single
300m: 70p exception where the cost per mile matches two of
500m: 42p the other transport forms, it is cheaper to ride a
Nike Zoom Pegasus £159.95 bike, take a motorbike, the train (in Europe) or fly
300m: 53p than run in the latest trainers.
500m: 32p
Adidas Solar boost £140 It seems nuts. The market is surely waiting for a
Salomon Predict £140 manufacturer who will make it their unique selling
New Balance Fresh Foam London Edition £140 proposition to make a pair of shoes which is built
300m: 46p to last. Notwithstanding that you can read in this
500m: 28p edition about a scheme to re-use second hand
trainers, the current, growing mountain of waste
seems inexcusable. We should be braced for a
great shoe backlash.

17


PEOPLE Mfsempaaeartucagitirachel-on

THE LONDON MARATHON:

the best race I’ve

never run

Known for her ferocious concentration during training and racing, there’s one special
day in the year when, for now at least, you can guarantee that Julia Wedmore
will be taking time off from running. Here she explains the strange
fascination of watching the London Marathon…

“Here they come! Wow. They’re so fa… parking space for our team to warm up.
Oh. They’re gone.” The experience A celebrity would start the race, and then the
of watching the elite runners at the
London marathon involves protracted waiting for pace was lethal. So much for sightseeing en-
a quick pay-off. But it’s still worth the annual DLR route. Charity groups would already be lining the
ride to the strangest part of London to see the streets with balloons and banners. I knew they
fastest people in the world in a blink-and-you’ll- weren’t really there for us, but it did still feel like
miss-it moment of running transcendence. They the roads had been closed for our little race. We
seem to float along the road as they zip past. even got to grab water bottles along the way like
I find it awesome that you can witness the top the grown-ups - turns out drinking while running
men and women in your sport, running so close is a lot harder than it looks. After what felt like
to you that you can see the drops of sweat on an eternity I would arrive on Birdcage Walk and
their faces. And just as exciting that you can also see the 800m to go sign. James McDonald, our
run in the same race as them. If you want to… coach, was always reliably there to cheer us
As a spectator it’s just as much fun (or probably home.
more), as you get to watch both of these groups
from the safety and comfort of the sidelines. And Crossing under the huge red finish gantry felt
that’s why, even though I’ve never run it, London so cool, knowing the best in the world would be
Marathon race day is one of my favourite days of coming across the same line a few hours later.
the year. By then, you’d be eating the enormous bag of
jelly babies you were given in the post-race goody
It hasn’t always been such a carefree day. As bag.
a kid I used to compete for Southwark in the
mini marathon, a race along the last few miles of Back to the present day, and it’s a much more
the course where 11-17 year olds would run to relaxed start to the event for me, and I can enjoy
represent their borough or region. We’d get on a all the action and festivities with no racing effort
bus at the crack of dawn outside Southwark Town required. For reasons nobody quite understands,
Hall to be driven to an underground car park, our Herne Hill red and black hoops are extremely
where we were allocated a generous two-car distinctive, making it easy to spot people you
know among the sea of colourful vests. The
last couple of years we have found a good spot

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PEOPLE

at Westferry which allows us to see everyone Then it’s a race to the pub, checking results
through at 14 miles, and then nip over the road on the way as people cross the finish line.
to 21 miles to see them all again. It can be As tradition dictates we dissect everyone’s
heartbreaking when you see someone going well race experiences in the Ship and Shovel over
just after halfway and then struggling later on, a few beers. And in recent years we’ve had
when they still have 5 miles to go. another evening trip to the pub for further post-
competition analysis in a change of outfit. You
But when you see people going really well, it’s just have to remember not to complain too
so exciting as you cheer them on. In particular much about how tiring it’s been on your feet all
this year, we saw Olivia having a storming run morning...
after she secretly toed the start line without telling
anyone. You hope for wave and a smile from the I sometimes get asked if I’m going to do a
runners you’re supporting, or if they can’t manage marathon. I don’t have any dates booked in the
that, a side glance of acknowledgement. They diary just yet, but I’ll definitely be doing one at
keep us going until we decide we have reached some point and the first one, of course, has to be
the limit of spectator endurance. London.

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PEOPLE

MARATHON MAN:

normal rules do not apply

Jonathan ‘Joffah’ Ratcliffe is a running enigma. Recovery is the number one post-
marathon priority to nearly all runners, but Joffah leaps from one 26.2 mile race to the
next with barely a breath in between. Add to that how he is among the very best in the
country for his age, in spite of his brutal self-deprecation, and Red & Black thought we

could all benefit from the thoughts of a runner to whom the normal rules don’t
seem to apply, with his eye witness account of a month of marathons…

Rotterdam, London, Milton Keynes. 82, 83, 84. A three mile walk, jog to the start with Dominic
(Jim Kerr, New Gold Dream). M who had shared my lodgings. An interesting,
anti-club runner and fellow Lancastrian with a
I have always liked the second city of the palmares of 20 London Marathon appearances
Netherlands, Rotterdam. Very similar to and a 2.37 personal best . I arrived early at
Manchester or Liverpool, with a fine sporting Blackheath to savour the atmosphere in the Big
tradition, particularly in football and running. I Tent, mainly with the guys from Kent. I was quietly
watched both Villa and Everton lift cups in this confident that I would improve on the 2.42 and
fine city when televised soccer was rationed and go close to my PB of 2.40.28. Consolidating a top
I ogled expensive sportswear such as Fila and five position in the V50 rankings. I went off fast,
Lacoste whilst on school trips. This time it was too quick for my average ability, recording PBs
Marathon number three in Dirk Kuyts home town. for 5k and 10m and for me a kamikaze half of
Three also in Amsterdam, the Dutch Marathon 77.35, death or glory, who dares wins and what’s
of choice in the Autumn, both equally as quick. the worse thing that can happen? The worse thing
European Marathons are usually taken seriously that can happen, is that you slow down, you drop
by their participants and are not a pageant for off the group and the cacophony on the course
exhibitionists whose lack of commitment to is no longer uplifting. You try to hide from the
training is hidden by a quirky veneer. It’s all about crowd, run on the opposite side of the road, head
the ‘compression kit’, with fancy dress and gel bowed trying to ignore the constant stream of
belts nowhere to be seen. runners passing. It is impossible to hide from the
humiliation of a miscalculated race, the physical
Anyway , a few Ladywell track sessions and manifestation of being the wrong end of a statistic
the acquisition of the Nike magic shoes resulted as you bleed time and position.
in a respectable 2.42. Of more significance was
the 2.30.15 run by 59 year old Irishman Tommy Drowning in reversed euphoria. And it hurts,
Hughes, who I spotted at halfway tearing up it always does in London but the finish arrives.
the tarmac. Along with Martin Fiz 2.27 at Paris 2.43 and my joint second fastest time in thirteen
aged 56, these two guys set the standard for 50 finishes at London. I wanted to disappear at the
something wannabes. finish and I would normally find solace in strong

London, three weeks later and a home fixture.

20


Mfsempaaeartucagitirachel-on PEOPLE

chemical lager but those days are long gone, and 21
once I had cleaned up I enjoyed the post-race
camaraderie sober.

Milton Keynes eight days later. Legs are
shredded but I have been running every day to
maintain my streak. Ran the Assembly League
in the midweek , resplendent in a blue vest and
got jumped in the finishing funnel by a 12 and 14
year old. Running like a wounded coyote who has
been shot up the arse.

Having entered the race in February I was
dismayed to discover that Network Rail had
deemed it necessary to close Euston Station for
the duration of the May Holiday weekend. As a
result normal train service to Milton Keynes was
severely restricted. Cycling up the day before the
event and back immediately after the race was
the only realistic option. The weather was cold
and windy and, following a run in the morning,
I set off anticipating a dull slog up the A5 with
danger omnipresent.

The following day, having located the start at
the soulless bowl that is the MK Dons stadium,
I parked the bike and stood shivering waiting
for the start. In the first 500 metres, a fat bloke
dressed as a pirate came bombing past and I
got dropped by a fellah with a Camelback and an
Ironman leg tattoo. This was turning into a bad
idea. I was nearly at 40 minutes for 10 k and in
serious risk of missing my three hour deadline.
Bit by bit, I worked the moderate start to my
advantage and went through half in 1.22. The
course was more multi terrain than road, and the
cool conditions were not to my liking, but with
the tailwind finish I arrived back in the stadium
with a respectable 2.51 and first over 50. And I
managed to get home on the bike without getting
killed, which is always a result.

Every Marathon tells a story.


PEOPLE Mfsempaaeartucagitirachel-on

Right on Herreford,

Left on Boylston

Olivia Zeltner goes to worship at the Alter of the Boston Marathon and finds it,
quite literally, an uphill struggle. But far from being deterred, the punishment,

it seems, fosters all the enthusiasm of a new convert

‘Steady up the hill Olivia, you Boston Marathon always falls on a a bit more complicated than most
can do it.’ It was a brisk Monday. “Patriots Day,” a holiday in races, as all your warm ups have
Sunday in February, and Massachusetts). Inspired, I decided to be ditched at the athletes’ village
while most other people in the city that I would someday run past those in Hopkinton (they donate all the
were snuggled up in their homes, I people cheering. clothes!).
was huffing and puffing up another
godforsaken hill in Richmond Park. It After a few days staying with Right before our Uber pulled-up
was just another long run Sunday for family, Andrew and I drove down to to the drop-off point the heavens
me - Andrew Grigg was pacing my Boston on the Sunday to pick up our opened and we were greeted
session: 20 miles in total with 12 at numbers at the expo. The expo is with a deluge of rain, thunder
goal marathon pace. We determined near the finish line, and you can take and lightening. We got completely
a location to start so the elevation picture at the finish line en-route to soaked; even though we came
would be net downhill, emulating the expo. It gets a fresh coat of pain prepared, ponchos, shoe covers
the Boston course with 600ft of every year and is an iconic fixture on and all. Grateful to be dry and on
climbing and 1000 ft of descent. Boylston Street in downtown Boston. the bus, we prepared ourselves for
After some cursing, more huffing the 45 minute ride to Hopkinton.
and puffing and a gel, the workout The fated day arrived. Andrew Everyone was buzzing, excited and
was complete, though training was and I stayed with my sister who nervous for what was to come.
far from over. I ran countless more lives in Brighton the night before
hours over the next few months; in the marathon to save on travel Ninety minutes later my bus
the dark- alone. The long tempos time. Unfortunately this meant friends were no longer excited and
and marathon paced runs that seem tiptoeing around her apartment at nervous. They were angry, upset
to never end. 5:30 am on marathon Monday as and anxious. The bus driver had
to not wake her roommates. Once got lost. We were back on track but
I started running at age 11 and the pre-race morning rituals were had veered so far off course, that it
joined the track and cross-country completed we took an Uber to the was another 30 minutes until arrival
teams at my middle school. Since finish. Since Boston is a point-to- time. Luckily we had given ourselves
then running has always played a point course, you drop your bags plenty of time until the start of the
large role in my life. I grew up about off at the finish on Boylston Street, race, though myself and many of
an hour north of Boston and when and then get an iconic yellow school my bus friends were facing another
I was 13, I took the day off school bus to the start, 26.2 miles away in issue: 2 hours without a toilet after a
with a few friends from my track Hopkinton MA. You are only allowed morning of hydration. Luckily I had
team to cheer on all the runners at to bring a small plastic gallon bag that gallon bag.
the bottom of heartbreak hill (the (which they give you) to the start
line, so the pre-race kit planning is After gingerly getting off the bus
with my gallon bag, and getting rid of

22


“Mile 26. I am not flying. PEOPLE
Still crawling”

said gallon bag, we finally made it to tuned out the second two Newton evident that they have been doing
the start. hills. I stopped looking at the pace this for a while. The organization
on my watch. I was in pain. I just is unparalleled. The volunteers are
Fast forward to the start of needed to get to mile 20 where my like no other and the atmosphere is
wave 2. It is still humid, but had mom and sister would be cheering. out of this world. Unlike any other
stopped raining. Though the Boston Finally. Mile 20. Seeing my family big city marathon I have ever run.
marathon is known for being the gave me a boost and I flew over the From the minute you drop off your
world’s oldest (and most prestigious) timing mat at mile 20 which signified bag at the start you not only are a
organized marathon, it is also known the bottom of heartbreak hill. part of the Boston marathon race,
for being the most challenging of but a part of the Boston marathon
the marathon majors. The first half Running up heartbreak hill: I think community.
is downhill with some small rolling I cried.
hills, then it flattens out a bit (Lies! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
There is not a flat part of the course) Top of heartbreak hill. Another Would I change anything? More
before you get to the first of the timing mat. ‘Well this is going to tailored hill training. Especially
Newton hills at mile 16, then more be an embarrassing split for all my downhill running. Also next time I
Newton hills at mile 17.5 and 19 online trackers to see.’ ‘Okay Olivia, probably will not run the London
until you get to the grand poobah time to fly downhill for the next five marathon 13 days later…
of hills at mile 21: Heartbreak Hill. miles.’
The reprieve after that is a 5-mile
downhill coast to the finish. Sounds Mile 22. I am not flying. I am
easy, right? crawling. My legs are toast.

Ten miles in and I am on pace. Mile 23. I can’t lift my knees.
Starting to feel the effect of the Quads shredded. My legs are toast
downhill and rollers on my legs.
Getting nervous about the 16 miles to Mile 24. It is hot. I can see the
come. Thirteen miles in and I am still Citgo sign that signifies one mile to
on pace, heading through the iconic go. So close but yet so far.
Wellesley (an all women’s university
along the course) scream tunnel. Mile 25. I see my Dad. I pass the
They say you can “hear it before you Citgo sign. Time to fly.
see them.” This is true. The sound
of hundreds of high pitched screams Mile 26. I am not flying. Still
from university females travels far. crawling.
Upon approaching the Wellesley
scream tunnel I was greeted to Right on Herreford, Left on
signs inviting people of various Boylston.
backgrounds and looks to lock lips
with them. For example, signs such Dear lord, why is this finishing
as “kiss me if you are Bulgarian,” straight so LOOOOOOOONG. The
“Kiss me if you are a redhead.” I was crowd is deafening though. I try to
tempted but refrained from any lip soak it in, riding the pain train pretty
locks. Maybe it might have helped badly. In the end, I finished about
me in the end though. ten minutes outside of my goal
time. Though I was disappointed, I
Sixteen miles. The first Newton hill. took it as a learning experience and
Note to self: ‘Go to Geoff’s Jerwood’s wouldn’t have traded the day for
hill sessions next buildup.’I think I anything else, it was amazing such
wonderful energy. Although this was
my 6th marathon, my family has
never seen me run one and it was so
special to share it with them.

It was the 123rd running of
Boston this past year, and it was

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PEOPLE

Did you hear the one about
the runner who walked
into a bike shop?

Running might be good, but it doesn’t put a blow torch, saw and hammer in your
hands. Herne Hill’s demon middle distance runner, Natasha Lodge,
explains the appeal of becoming a hard-core bike mechanic…

Why walk if you can run? Why take the small problems quickly and it’s fun to share some
bus if you can cycle? But if you cycle enthusiasm - Brompton owners are a keen lot.
you should really know how to change But it also means that services often take longer
an inner tube. Learning how to do so was the than they should and there can be a whole queue
beginning of a change in my career. Now I work of people waiting to ask us questions.
for Brompton doing a lot more than just changing
inner tubes, although that is part of it. When I started, the company had just launched
their first electric bike - the cause of numerous
My day begins by cycling to work (you can’t problems. The motors never worked properly and
really work for a bike company and not commute the batteries kept cutting out. Suddenly I was
by bike). I’ve discovered so much more of London thrown from mechanic to technician, I never look
this way, and my commute includes Hyde Park forward to an electric bike coming in although
and the Mall both of which are cycle friendly. I they do work a lot better now, and they are
can then fold it down and store it in the workshop certainly fun to test ride. I also had a three week
where there is never any danger of it being stolen. induction in the factory in West London, where I
At this point of the day we all enjoy ribbing my saw the production line and got to try my hand
colleague who rides a berry crush and papyrus at braising - a lot harder than it looks and slightly
white bike that he bought for his wife, that after terrifying wielding a flame of over 1000 degrees
her refusal to ride it, has ended up as his. I also C.
find myself admiring the other mechanic’s bike of
racing green and gold of which I’m very jealous. When bikes are bought I have to do a pre
delivery inspection of them to check they are road
The work day is always varied, and how busy I worthy and add any accessories the customer
am often depends on the weather. If it’s raining wants, like a dynamo or a rack or converting
people tend not to come to get their bikes fixed. If the bike from 2 gears to 6. There are so many
it’s sunny there is often an influx of people, and I variations for the bike, from colour combination
don’t stop from one minute to the next. to tyre and handle bar choice, and it’s fun to try
and guess what someone will go for. Most bikes
There are always bikes pre-booked for seem to be bought at the beginning and the end
services, but Brompton has an open workshop, of the day, for some reason 6pm on a Saturday
so customers are able to walk in and talk to us. seems to be a favourite time to buy a bike. So
This can be a mixed blessing. It allows me to fix

24


in the middle of the day is the time PEOPLE
when I can get on with things, relax
a little and tidy the inevitable chaos 25
that has been created. There is also
often a music war at this point of the
day, although we all get on, our taste
in music varies considerably.

Every mechanic has their own
favourite tool, my colleague has one
he made, a cross between a crochet
hook on one end and a pin on the
other. However much I joke about
it, I can’t deny that it has come in
useful on numerous occasions. Mine
is also home made, although not
by me I hasten to add. Fashioned
from an old spoke, it is now a spoke
loosener, obtained on my CyTech
course (a mechanic qualification
course). Brompton bikes also come
with their own unique set of tools
- replacing the rear hinge requires
the use of a blow torch, a saw and
a hammer, fun to use although
customers always have to be
reassured that we’re not destroying
their bikes.

The fact I am female does not
go unnoticed. I am the only female
mechanic and one of only two
girls in the whole store. I have
had several comments and a
few photos taken and there are
plans for me to do monthly all
female mechanic workshops. Go
girl power! I’m supposed to wear
gloves when I work but often they
are just annoying and get caught
in everything, so they end up
abandoned on the side as my hands
get blacker and blacker. Thankfully
we have magic liquid soap with grit
in it, so the day generally ends with
me violently scrubbing my hands
trying to get them back to a normal
colour..


PEOPLE

Tales of the athletics

ENTHUSIAST

Herne Hill’s understated website guru, Nigel Goodwin, answers a few questions about
his life-long fascination with the sport. From saving up to take the bus to the 1972
Munich Olympics, where he could only afford to live on chocolate milk, to starting a

carpentry club in Kenya in order to make the hurdles for an area championships, he
shows that there are many ways to follow and be involved with athletics…

What started you running? What was the attraction? We know not whom we trust
My father was an enthusiast, he The main attraction was a group Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
would take me to White City and of boys getting out of the normal
Crystal Palace, he was regular organised school games afternoons. Through the great wide air.
army and 400m champion, but late We sometimes had a teacher with Any athletic successes?
contracted polio so didn’t see much us, but he was ‘one of us’, joined us
war action. My running started by on training when he could, took us The school team tended to win
chance. First week at new school, to matches, and gave friendly advice every inter-school match and county
we were having an introduction to (like ‘why don’t we do some hill championships. I would be the sixth
PE, and the captain of cross country training today?’). A subsequent cross scorer, and happy if I came in the
gave a short talk and invited new country teacher took a group of us top half of the field. I won a couple
boys to join the group and go for snow climbing in the Cairngorms. of team medals at Millfield road
training run, so I did. Part of the No overbearing coach or anybody relays. Out of the group we had a
interest was that I was joining a shouting at us. We would meet, sub 2 minute 800m, and a 4:05
small group of enthusiasts, including decide where to go, and go. A bit 1500m, which is not too bad for 17-
all age ranges and a couple of like the HHH Sunday morning runs. 18 year olds. One of us went on to
teachers, and we had enormous The other attraction was the amazing be Wales AAA 3000m steeplechase
freedom. Trained every other day, countryside. Savernake Forest and champion.
avoided hockey (although I still did the Marlborough Downs. What happened next?
some rugby), plus school races on
Saturday and often Thursdays. The One the Great War poets from the Prior to university I saved up
school had a tradition of running, school, Charles Sorley, captured it and went to the Munich Olympics
and in later years, after my time, in his poem The Song of the Ungirt to watch David Bedford and
both Richard Nerurkar and Bruce Runners, with the first verse: others gather their gold medals.
Tulloh – both among the greatest Not. (Editors’ note: for the reader
runners of their time - were teachers We swing ungirded hips, uncomfortable with irony, this was
in charge of cross country. And lightened are our eyes, one of those occasions where a
The rain is on our lips, British runner, one of our greatest
We do not run for prize. distance runners, went to the games

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PEOPLE

Nigel Goodwin, third from the left, in a demon Herne Hill M60s team

with a medal nailed on, until that is, athletics event from some tout on throttle’ thrilled us by winning with
it fell off before the finish line). On the Sunday Times. I travelled by an extraordinary last gasp effort. I
the other hand, Mary Peters was coach, and stayed in a hotel across don’t think there were many British
amazing on the first afternoon, as the border in Austria at the foot of a medals apart from Mary Peters.
she raised the high jump again and mountain. Each day I got the train There was, of course, the terrorist
again. in to the Games. Money was tight, incident on the last weekend, but
so lunch and dinner were chocolate strangely and like several others, I
I had saved up the previous milk, and the Munich trams ran a was hardly aware of it, as I had not
year, earning a bit playing the ‘trust-me’ ticket system, so I didn’t travelled into Munich, because there
organ at a local church, while I bother paying. I was alone, and tried was no athletics. Not much to say
was also studying at the Guildhall to sell my spare tickets, but had to about university, I ran in the varsity
School of Music under a terrifying keep out of sight of security police, match, but in the sixth team. I was
but magnificent teacher. He did so was not very successful. It was captain of my college team, but only
the normal music college task of my first introduction to the sales three of us ran regularly.
dismantling my ego and teaching me process.
to listen. The first term was spent Didn’t you experience athletics in
learning to play a single note. Very Highlights were events such as Kenya, before it was fashionable?
precisely. But I digress. 800m where the American wearing
a ragged cap, Dave Wottle ‘the After university I went to teach in
I bought two tickets for every Kenya for a year. On arrival I was

27


“The body changes over time, and different
abilities require different training regimes.

Some also have lives outside athletics”

made head of sports. Later on my myself, and then a year later met with a group of future Olympic gold
headmaster decided we would host the late Stan Allen at the top of medallists, and the statistics showed
the area athletics championships, Covington Way. that…..’ which is completely off-topic
and guess who had to organise for most of us. The body changes
it? Zero equipment. I got a group ‘Are you one of my lot?’ he called. over time, and different abilities
together to form a carpentry club I responded that I was not, far require different training regimes.
and make hurdles from wood, and too weak a runner for Herne Hill Some also have lives outside
they fell apart after the first race. I Harriers. He asked me what time athletics. So:
travelled down to Nairobi to purchase I had done for the marathon, and • It takes time to get over injuries,
a javelin. Half way through the javelin then paused while he contemplated
competition an old man from the how to respond politely (it was 4:20 don’t push it. It takes longer to
village brought his goats, as usual, or so), then gave me an entry form, recover the older you get.
to graze in the middle of the football and I joined the Harriers. I started • D on’t do a fast track session
field, which was also the landing going on Sunday morning runs with unless you have gradually built up
area. The track was marked by the club and taking part in Tuesday over a few months, otherwise you
cutting into the grass with a machete. track sessions. I was advised I would will get injured. There is a great
be left behind on the first hill, which temptation to go too fast trying to
I did go for a few early morning was correct, but enjoyed the cooked keep up with others, and the only
training runs with the boys, breakfast at the end. I later did result will be three months out of
prior to the area cross country another couple of marathons with action.
championships, and the weather greatly improved times (but didn’t • If your body is exhausted, give it a
was cool and misty. Our school girls’ quite crack 4 hours), and became rest. A long walk is good training,
team won the area championships, British 800m record holder (it was particularly coming back from
but they were Kikuyus famed more the relay, over 60, and there was injury.
for farming and business than for no previous record). I’ve also been • Try to always do your Sunday long
their running. known to make up numbers in relay run. I still try to do 10+ miles on a
events and can be seen at open Sunday, even if I have to walk a bit.
It was of course a very different meetings competing or helping. Now • Don’t give a damn if you run a race
Africa to the popular myths. Very I also look after the club website, but and come last, you will still be in
green, foothills of Mt Kenya (I did it mainly manages itself. the top 0.1% in the country.
climb to a sub peak, it made me • Don’t forget to get the legs moving
respect the difficulty of walking There are still plenty of age group and do speed work. I sometimes
above 15,000 feet), with two maize 800m relay records up for grabs, act as a hare for Geoff’s group,
crops a year. I survived on pancakes for which there is no current record, doing 400m to their 1200m on
and bananas, plus there was beef, so you just have to form a team, Tooting Bec common.
slaughtered in the local village each turn up, and not embarrass yourself • G ood diet is always important (I
week. too much. I was hoping it would find beer and wine are particularly
Rolling forward be a regular feature of HHH open beneficial. Treat them as rewards
meetings. after a run).
Then there was no running until Any advice for the older average • H elping at open meetings is good
I was about 50, family and career runner? exercise. Try spending all day
were the focus, and I am not sure returning shots or hammer, you
what prompted me to start again, I have learned a few things about will have no need to attend the
maybe intimations of mortality, how to keep going. You see a lot of gym.
or late middle age crisis. I did a training advice, but most of it starts
marathon in Houston, training by off with ‘I was a world famous coach

28


TWENTY

QUESTIONS

Once one of Herne Hill’s top sprinters and jumpers, Michael St Louis dips into the
memory box, asking and answering twenty questions about a life in athletics.

Q1. How did get into athletics? Garland, Ade Mafe, Todd Bennett Q15. What is the best thing about
I went to Peckham manor, and more. athletics?
Q8. What was your hardest training
and was spotted by PE teacher session. Going beyond other people’s
Clive Thomas of Thames Valley expectations, and getting personal
Harriers, initially as cross country 7×200m under 25sec with 3, 2, bests.
runner. I ran in the London schools 1 minute recoveries. It hurts just Q16. What would be your theme tune
championships, placing in the 50s. thinking about them nights. or song?
Then I discovered triple jump and Q9 Who has the best technique in
sprints by accident. And found that I your event: Pow! By Leather Bizzel...
excelled quickly. Q17. On the podium, do you cry,
Q2. Who coached you? Flo Jo and Jon Drummond. wave, sing or pump your fist?
Q10. Who do you think is an unsung
Bert Smyth and then Syd Cliff. hero at Herne Hill? Pump my fist.
Q3. What was the best venue to Q18. Who wins in your fantasy
race. Bert Smyth, he drew in so much event, such as Usain Bolt v Michael
talent to the club. Johnson or Seb Coe v Stev Ovett?
That’s easy, a packed house at Q11. Which athlete would you want
Crystal Palace. to invite to dinner for conversation? Michael Johnson beats bolt.
Q4. Who is your favourite athlete of Q19. Who in your family takes the
all time? John Smith, the 1968 Olympic credit for your ability?
200m champion.
Male – Daley Thompson Q12. Who is or was the funniest My father...he claims he was
Female – Florence Griffiths Joiner person in Herne Hill Harriers? quicker than me...no evidence mind
(aka Flo Jo) you (lol).
Q5. What is your favourite event to Stan Allen and that running vest, Q20. What is the funniest thing that
watch. and his complaints about sprinters! has happened to you in athletics?
High jump. Q13. What do you think is the club’s
Q6. When did you realise you had hardest record to beat? I placed in the 3000 steeplechase
ability? while thinking it was a 200m. I
When I made the London schools In my opinion it would be the thought the other runners were
team in 1980 at 16. It gave me so men’s javelin...good luck to anyone too skinny. I was totally confident
much confidence. trying, it’s tough. and asked, “Where’re the blocks”?
Q7. Who is your biggest scalp? Q14. What did you hope for and what The starter was in stitches. Then I
On paper it’s John Regis, a did you get for a personal best? asked what lane I had. I delayed the
British record holder, and Ernest meeting because the starter was
Obeng former world cup winner. I definitely was on for 20.4 in the laughing too much. When my race
But there were others: Mike 200m, injury free, but in hindsight finally came around the starter said,
possibly 20.2/3. But I didn’t do “This isn’t the 3000sc young fellow”.
weights, had poor mobility and self- Old git.
coached ran 20.81.

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PEOPLE

COMING

OF AGE

Keith Newton gives a step by faster step account of the best season yet for Herne Hill’s
Senior Women’s Road and Cross Country Team, not mention a number of stunning
achievements by some of their younger club mates

The 2018 track season witnessed the greatest Lily Newton to secure another emphatic team victory.
depth of female middle distance runners the At 17, Charlotte went on to represent Great Britain in
Club has ever seen in the U17, U20 and senior the World Cross Country Championships, U20, and
ranks. There was huge promise for the winter season, then won the prestigious mini marathon, backed up
but could our teams deliver on the big stage? The by Yasmin in 10th and Phoebe 11th.
answer was an emphatic ‘yes’.
Not to be outdone, our U20 Women also won at
Our U17 and U20 Women’s team both delivered an Mansfield in a much closer battle with our long time
incredible double, winning the National Cross Country rivals Aldershot, Farnham and District. It is with mixed
Relays and National Cross Country team titles, at emotions that our U20s contest this event as within
Mansfield and Leeds respectively. At the latter the days of a previous race-long battle with AFD, two of
Harriers secured the trophy for the best overall female their athletes tragically lost their lives. We will never
team performances (U13 to senior women). The U17s forget the significance of this occasion, and the cruel
were led by three Wayne Vinton coached athletes, circumstances that took their young lives. It was
Charlotte Alexander, Phoebe Anderson and Yasmin fitting that one of our finest middle distance athletes
Marghini, who combined brilliantly to win at Mansfield should anchor the team victory, Alex Brown, following
by almost one minute. On each of the three legs strong runs from Ella Newton and Zoe Tompkins. Ella
the athletes were the quickest of all runners. They combined with a resurgent Liv Stillman and Alex’s
followed this up with a superb display at Harewood sister, Kate, to produce an outstanding team victory at
House, Leeds, in ‘the National’, and were joined by the Nationals, Harewood House.

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PEOPLE

The success of our U17s and U20s suggests a Country Championships at the end of January 2019,
very bright future for our women’s section, but it is on the classic Parliament Hill course. The super
the latter that forms the main focus of this article. talented Stacey Ward produced a strong run on
The senior women’s season started well and built to the back of her county championship win (Herts),
a huge crescendo at the Southern and National road finishing in 12th position, followed by Katie Moore,
relays at the end of the season. Beyond the amazing 33rd, Fiona De Mauny, 66th and Olivia Zeltner, 90th.
talent and dedication of the athletes who comprise The team were a solid 5th. We went to the Nationals
our squad, we must acknowledge the huge input of believing that a top ten finish was attainable, and
Geoff Jerwood and his unwavering enthusiasm and hoping we may make the top five or six. In the end
dedication, both as team manager and coach, which we were 8th, once again led home by Stacey, 29th,
has been pivotal to the revolution we have seen over Steph McCall, 44th, Jordan Foster, 88th and Katie
the last few years. Moore, 94th. Four in the top 100 was an excellent
team effort, and indicated further promise for the
At the end of September 2018 our A team finished upcoming road relays, when others would be available
a solid 8th at the four stage Southern Road Relays to augment the squad.
at Crystal Palace. Led off by Steph McCall, the team
comprised two under 20s, Zoe Tompkins and Alex In addition to being one of the few Surrey / London
Brown, and Helena Corbin. Two of this team, Zoe teams to be consistently (and doing well) at Southern
and Steph, alongside new arrival Swann Phelippeau and National events, our senior women’s squad was
and U20 Ella Newton featured at the National Road hotly contesting the Surrey Cross Country League.

“To Dare Is to Do’. If we dare and

we believe we can come back even

stronger in 2019/20”

Relays in October. This is a high class event and the They won three of the four matches culminating with
team did well to finish in 13th position. Following on a stunning team score of 32 in the final fixture, but
from this performance our senior women secured an were unable to overhaul Southern Cross Country
excellent 2nd at the Southern Cross Country relays Champions, Thames Hare and Hounds. Stacey was
in the same month, with Katie Snowden producing brilliant winning two of the three races she contested
the fastest leg of the day, which was to become a against high class opposition, and finishing third in
feature of the relays over the winter. Katie did her the other. Katie Snowden looked superb at Nonsuch
best to close Pippa Woolven on the final leg, who Park where Stacey was third, producing a resounding
herself went on to have an outstanding cross country individual win. There were breakthrough runs at
season. Swann and our multiple W35 national and match three for Jordan Foster, 7th, Sarah Grover,
international medallist Fiona De Mauny, contested the 8th, Fiona De Mauny, 10th and Olivia Zeltner, 15th.
other two legs. The same three finished an excellent At the final match the Harriers’ packing was even
9th position at the National Cross Country Relays and more extraordinary: Stacey, 1st, Georgie Grgec
began to put the Harriers on the map, as a team that 2nd, Liv Stillman, 6th, Jordan Foster, 7th and Sarah
could be competitive on the national stage. Grover, 15th. Thames Hare & Hounds threw the
proverbial kitchen sink at this one which included
The next major race was the Southern Cross
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PEOPLE

an appearance by Mara Yamauchi, 2nd on the UK produce her finest run in the Red and Black so far.

all time marathon rankings, and did enough to resist The first European from the World Cross Country

our valiant charge. We should also acknowledge an Championships, Anna Moller, was doing battle with

excellent win for Jessica Craig in the London Cross seasoned international Jess Judd. They led the

Country Championships, in November 2018. outstanding Verity Ockenden, and in the mix at the

Back to the Southern and National stage, things sharp end were two who went on to run and run /

were hotting up for the spring Road Relays following crawl brilliant PBs in the marathon, Tish Jones and

the return of a number of athletes, and cognisant Hayley Carruthers. Steph’s 30.03 was a ‘club record’

of the fact that both U20s and senior women could for the long leg and brought us home in 8th. Jessica

feature. We were very confident going into the six Craig ran a strong second leg to take us up to 5th

stage race at Milton Keynes that our senior women place, 18.03, before Katie Snowden was unleashed

could secure a podium finish, albeit as always with on the opposition. There were mummerings amongst

some uncertainty the onlookers

regarding the “truly outstanding that the south
strength of our rivals. London posse were
Like the Nationals, beginning to look as

the Southerns team performance of though they were
comprise two long taking this pretty

and four short legs, the highest order” seriously. Katie’s
with those on the 17.02 was easily
former doing a the fastest overall

double lap of the short leg time of the

main component day. Stacey Ward

of the course, produced a quicker

and the latter a single lap. Surprisingly, this simple than last year 30.29, dropping from 1st to 3rd but

format was ignored by some runners in other teams, very much keeping us in the mix as she was within 15

which created confusion on the day as it artificially seconds of the leader. Liv Stillman, 18.00 and Georgie

placed teams at the sharp and during the race who Grgec, 17.54, completed the team, each finishing in

had completed a lap too few on the long stage. second position behind the outstanding Leeds City

Fortunately, all of our A team, have, are, or will be team. This was a high class affair with us beating

studying for a degree, hence counting to the requisite Birchfield, AFD, Rotherham, Swansea and other top

number of laps posed no problems. distance clubs.

The six produced an outstanding team performance Alongside excellent runs by Steph and Stacey,

which ultimately saw a first team medal at this event. out short leg runners were 1st, 7th, 10th and 11th

Olivia Stillman, Georgie Grgec, Katie Snowden, Stacey quickest overall. This was a truly outstanding team

Ward, Ella Newton and Fiona De Mauny were superb, performance of the highest order. To underline our

as they collectively trounced the opposition to win by significant depth, the B team finished in 13th place,

two minutes and 27 seconds. Stacey and Georgie only to be beaten by, you guessed it, Leeds City B.

were 3rd and 7th fastest long legs on the day, whilst What a wonderful season. Massive congratulations

Katie was quickest (by 31 seconds) and Liv 4th to all who contested (and supported) the 2018/19

quickest short legs. efforts, easily our best yet. Looking forward, I will

The stage was set for the Nationals, where the borrow the moto of my football team, Audere est

team came together to comprise an even stronger Facere, ‘To Dare Is to Do’. If we dare and we believe

sextet. Steph McCall and Jessica Craig replaced Ella we can come back even stronger in 2019/20, not only

and Fiona, who moved into a strong B team. Steph consolidating our position as a Regional and National

kept her head on what was a stacked first leg to force, but to take it to the opposition. Up the Hill.

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MUDLARKS
Herne Hill’s club president, Waldy Pauzers, digs himself out of the mud to tell the tale of
a veteran, literally, cross country season in 2018-19, with medals on every corner…

T he hottest and driest summer since 1976 was hooped vest finishing 2nd in his M75 category. John
still lingering and provided a hard, dry, barren subsequently went on to run at least eight more cross
mud-cracked course with dust rather than mud country races over this season.
staining the straining athletes’ sweaty limbs, when
Herne Hill took good numbers to the Surrey Veterans Subsequently, the 40 & 50 year old men’s race
Cross Country Championships, once again hosted by followed which was over the 9.3km course. Thames
Ranelagh at the Petersham end of Richmond Park, on H&H man Martin Shore (M40) led early on and
the 20th October 2018. stayed there once he had wrestled himself away from
Ben Paviour, who took individual M45 first by a good
Nonetheless, the fury of the races was evident as margin. Ollie Morrison ran a rejuvenated race as 4th
our first XC Championship Veterans race of the season man M40 and Gavern Newsum deservedly closed
kicked off. Women and M60’s (plus) started the first out the M40 team who earnt team M40 silver medals,
race of the day, with Karen Ellison on her comeback second to Thames H&H. Dan Hallam and James
and a welcome entry to veterans XC. Karen, led home Ward were fine support and looked like they can
a sprightly W35-44 team coming 7th W35, with Jess challenge that scoring team in future.
Winfield (10th) and Sam Whiting (12th) getting the
placings that counted for the team. Rebecca Barrow The running machine that is Joffah (Jonathon)
(W45) was our 2nd woman home just edging away Ratcliffe (read his marathon experiences in this
from a race within a race in 29 min 29 secs between magazine), so unlucky to miss out on an individual
herself, Waldy Pauzers (M60), Jess Winfield (W35), M50 medal (coming overall 4th M50) was
Mary Setyabule (W50) and Sam Whiting (W40), who compensated by leading the HHH M50 team to
finished in that order but exchanged the lead and bronze medals. New man Derek Lee was M50 2nd
positions amongst themselves several times before scorer, whilst returning regular Vic Maughn hit the 3rd
the latter four finishing within 4 seconds of each other. spot for team medals, using his age old 800m pace
Competition matters whatever the level of the race. to deny the unfortunate next runner in, Trevor Chilton
of a county team medal. An out of sorts Tony Harran
Returning to racing was Jenny Morrison (W35) and closed out our racing team with determined aplomb.
newcomer Patty Kirkman (W50) who both had XC The teams closed out with tea, cakes & sandwiches at
experiences to savour, whilst ever enthusiastic Sarah the Ranelagh clubhouse.
Allen and Sonia Williams closed our women’s account
for the day with fine efforts. Our women’s W45-54 Our next venture upped the competition, at the
team was 7th overall. Meanwhile, our summer track Southern regional championship at Horspath, nearby
1st claimer Mike Mann, took 1st M70 on his way to Oxford, on Saturday 8th December. As is now
recovery from injury and in his first winter in his new commonplace, our veteran races were interspersed
age category, and a lot to come from there yet once with the Southern Inter Counties Cross Country
he returns to full fitenss. championships and, as expected, the Red & Black
Hoops were in abundance. This year we had more
A special mention is reserved for John Garber, our wooded hills and an ‘extended course’ for all which
oldest regular athlete still competing regularly over made this a more varied and truer traditional course.
the cross-country season and on this day, his 77th The new timetable, which stacked all the Veteran
birthday, he once again donned the Red & Black men into the one and final race of the day made the

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travelling easier but sadly segregated the ladies from debutant Robert Peacock 29th kept his nose ahead of
the men. The earlier women’s morning start left us to James Ward in 31st to complete our six M40 men at
see the women completing their large one lap 6km the races.
course as we arrived at the venue.
Equally intriguing was the M50 team race,
It was good to see Nikki Sturzaker and Patti Gnoato, culminating in the closest of team results, but sadly
but a shame we could not entice a third woman to not to favour our intrepid athletes. Not for the will and
get a scoring team result. Nikki, consistent as ever, desire shown on the day, endeavour and effort was
raced hard, but, with her high standards (Nikki later evident by all. Once again, Thames H&H held the key.
showered herself with gold medals at multiple events After Oxford’s Julian Richardson’s dominant win Andy
at the Veterans regional and national indoor meetings Weir, our HHH 2nd claimer, boated in, in 2nd place
this season at Lea Valley) she was disappointed by for TH&H, and not far behind in 5th was TH&H’s
her 5th W45 place. Patti, was back to enjoying cross Ben Reynolds. Strength in two. Lo and behold, their
country was well placed in 20th in the same W45 talented yet totally unfit 3rd man was the key. Once
category. Well done, but more women competing again, our class M50 squad had to race and pack for
are needed. We need to be out there advertising the medals.

“We are showing commitment and are now
perceived to be a significant presence
at the big competitions”

wealth and breadth of our club. Joffah Ratcliffe eased into his run and ran an inspired
The men’s mass start had already established a effort, as he always does on the big events for the club.
Scoring 16th with his determined, concentrated effort
basic order as it tailed out considerably before the was a sight to see. Not far behind, Derek Lee led Keith
climb up into the hilly woods at 2 kms. Descending Newton on the first lap. At the outcome, Keith (still
from the hills and onto the wooded muddy paths the containing his racing to protect the injury which has
front runners were in the same order first and second constrained him) was 20th in the M50 team, and 7th
lap, with our M45 Simon Coombes having a brilliant M55. Derek Lee closed in 24th, four places behind,
2nd place battle but unable to close on Thames so the M50 team totalled 60 points. Medals were a
H&H race leader M45 Simon Baines. Reassuringly, whisker away. Two points behind third and a mere six
Thames’ M40 Martin Shore, third overall could make from an overall team victory. Such was the closeness of
no headway to close the gap on our Simon. M45 Ben the result the top five M50 teams were within 9 points
Paviour easily took M45 bronze medal place, and 6th of each other. Great supporting work came from the
overall having a fine run finally opening a significant ever improving Trevor Chilton (38th), Andrew Simms
ten second gap on the next man home. A little (83rd) and Ian Strong (109th). Yet again, 77 year old
behind, but steaming through the mud with aplomb John Garber, magnificently closed out the Red & Black
was our M40 John Kettle, happy to be racing again hoop show as Herne Hill made ourselves visible and
for 8th overall to close the M40 team with 16 points. remained competitive.
This year, only enough for team silver, with Thames
H&H taking 13 points to win. Strong running from Raj We celebrated our individual silver and bronze, and
Paranandi in M40 13th affirms this man’s potential in an M45 team 2nd, but we all know we can aspire
club running and serious competition. Our Veterans’ to do better, that is what defines us as athletes.

34


PEOPLE
Victor Maughn, Herne Hill’s veteran middle

distance die-hard, is still smiling and
high-up on the national rankings

35


PEOPLE

Another season highlight was committing to the British another taking first steps into veterans racing fitted
Masters Athletics Federation XC Championships on well between Alan and Jeff to finish 14th M40 as the
the 9th March 2019, at Stormont Park, Belfast. Heavy three made up the scoring team earning 3rd place
showers the day before gave us a muddy course and British Masters Bronze medals.
and yet thankfully a sunny a dry day for racing and
spectating. Saturday’s race was held in the dramatic James Ward was in full flow as back-up to the M35-
shadow of the imposing Northern Ireland Assembly 44 medalling team in 19th M40 position, whilst M55
Parliament Buildings, seated at the top of the Rob Nagorski, another Veteran racing virgin, found
Stormont Park estate, consisting of the typical British the race both exhilarating and tough. President Waldy
Masters Championship elite, all quality age group Pauzers (yes, me!), closed out the HHH squad with a
athletes. game effort, preparing for one of those nights out, for
which he is probably better known.
The course ran parallel to the main road leading
from the spectacular Stormont Park portals towards Yes, a Guinness presentation, followed a sauna
the eponymous house’s front. A varying terrain of for some, before the post-race debriefing dinner.
easily underestimated undulations, tight turns and More Guinness led to live music behind Belfast
mud in awkward places, defined the 2km lap of which Cathedral and a bit of late night dancing in this lively
there were four to complete. And the dynamic start and friendly city. Worth a visit? Yes. And that also
left Jeff Cunningham and Alan Barnes close to the includes next year’s BMAF XC Championships where
leading group. Alan struggled, suffering a recurrence we should have greater expectations and numbers,
of a persisting injury which he has been trying to too. So that ended both the overall and the Veterans
overcome. He slipped back into the field whilst bravely Cross Country season. There had been well-earned
still closing out for the benefit of the M35 team. Jeff medals at every championship contested by Herne
Cunningham, despite his high mileage marathon Hill’s veterans. We are showing commitment and are
training legs, led the HHH charge to the line earning now perceived to be a significant presence at the big
individual M35 2nd and silver medal. Matt Munro, competitions. Come and join us come rain or shine,
on track, road or country!
36


OLYMPICS

FIVE RINGS TO
RULE THE WORLD

The Olympics pitches itself as eternal, universal and pure. The truth is different. Just
one year ahead of the 2020 Games in Tokyo, in this special review of books about the
Olympics, Red & Black’s editor, Andrew Simms, takes a look at the rich and revealing

range of writing about the Games. These are books that, once read, mean you may
never look at the height of athletic ambition in the same way again…

The Games: a global predate Athens’ reinvention of the infamously, a public relations wheeze
history of the Olympics, games) no presentations were made dreamed up by Nazi Germany to
by David Goldblatt during the events, all the prizes were clothe the 1936 Berlin Olympics in
(2016) handed out at the closing ceremony a kind of classical grandeur. In spite
with winners getting olive branches of its origins, it has stayed with the
It’s the highest peak with silver medals, runners up a laurel games ever since.
of sporting ambition wreath and a bronze medal. The
and shrouds itself in a quasi-mystical winner of the marathon was given Few will remember too, that as
striving of the human spirit guided by an antique vase. Four years later in originally reimagined by Baron Pierre
seemingly eternal sporting traditions. Paris there were no ceremonies at all. de Coubertin, the games was not
In reality the modern Olympics began Gold, silver and bronze medals weren’t meant only to be a celebration of
as a theatrical sideshow for a tiny, introduced until London 1908, minus just sporting prowess, but of the
male aristocratic elite, full of almost podium, flags and anthems. Flags ‘whole’ man - and it was intended to
random events, which has made itself and music didn’t arrive until the 1928 be just for the ‘man’, de Coubertin
up as it went along. games in Amsterdam. was fiercely opposed to women’s
participation, and not just any ‘man’,
Today we see the neatly presented And, as David Goldblatt points out but principally white, aristocratic men.
elements which make up the brand in The Games: a global history of the Working men by virtue of having to
– the torch procession, the opening Olympics, the first time a podium do manual labour were considered
ceremony, the podium, medal was used had to wait until the Lake ‘professionals’ and therefore excluded
presentations, national anthems and Placed winter games of 1932. But it from the Olympics. A later president of
raising of the flag. Not only were none was the summer Los Angeles games the International Olympic Committee,
of these anything to do the ancient of the same year in 1932 that brought Count Baillet-Latour, wanted the
Greek Olympics, none were present many of the elements together – the games to revert to being an all-male
when what we know as the modern podium, medal ceremony and national affair. Celebrating the ‘whole man’
Olympics began in Athens in 1896. anthems. Los Angeles also saw the - however much a small minority
first appearance of an Olympic village. of all men and women - meant the
In that first games of its new type One of the most iconic elements of inclusion of art, music, sculpture,
(we’ll see later that, in fact, there the games, the torch procession was, literature and dance. Olympic medals
were plenty of other precursors to
the modern games that significantly

37


OLYMPICS

were awarded in these disciplines up because of the often poorly served, a celebratory anthology of poetry
to, and including the London Olympics unheard and mistreated athletes published in 1636, the Annalia
of 1948. who are its centre, beating heart and Dubrensia. In Dover’s own contribution
breathless display of extreme physical he wondered about his own motives
For much of their modern prowess. for doing it, “I cannot tell what planet
incarnation the Olympics were the The First Ever English ruled, when I / first undertook this
plaything of a minority of nations. But, Olimpick Games, by mirth, this jollity”, but they were a great
in the early days, it wasn’t even just a Celia Haddon (2004) success. Dover was directly inspired
matter of nations. At the 1908 games , however, by the games of ancient
the Liverpool Police Force entered a If you think the Greece, even though his games were
team in the tug of war. time and place of an annual event, not every four years.
birth of the ‘modern’ And, just as our contemporary games
For the first half of the 20th century Olympics was the year 1896 and would be barely recognisable to the
the Olympics were also not the only the city of Athens, think again. It was ancient Greeks, so some of the events
games in town. Their male chauvinism much longer ago, and much closer at Dover’s games, would have been,
and extreme class bias spawned to home in England’s green and well different. The Greeks had running
competing games for both the pleasant, though occasionally rather races, wrestling, boxing, horse riding,
common man, and woman. Only the dangerous, fields. Probably around and a pentathlon including the discus,
Spanish civil war stopped a tradition of 1612, although the precise year is javelin and long jump.
socialist games happening alongside uncertain, with King James 1st on
the Olympics, and similarly, it took the the throne, the first English Olimpicks Dover’s games certainly had
fear of a competing Women’s games took place on a Cotswold hillside by running, jumping and wrestling. They
for the Olympics to start the long the village of Weston Sub Edge, near also had pole and sledge, or ‘hammer’
journey to more fair representation of the more familiar market town of throwing, all reasonably familiar. But,
women in terms of both the range of Chipping Campden. This would mean, anyone for ‘shin kicking’, once a
events and the number of competitors. oddly, that the London 2012 Olympics popular, vicious game played in rural
In high-minded fashion, the Olympics actually took place on the 400th areas, an illustration in the Annalia
likes to claim it represents the best anniversary of the true birth of the makes it seem that this was also
of a universal humanity that, slightly modern-era games. included. There was a lot of dancing
pompously, rises above politics. This and the playing of pipes, together
is, of course, entirely disingenuous. They were the brainchild of a lawyer, with ‘cudgel play’, fox hunting and
From the outset de Coubertin saw the Robert Dover, who settled in the sword fighting. The English Civil War
Olympics as a neo imperial project. area, and possibly grew out of pre- saw the end of the heyday of Dover’s
He’d been impressed by the way existing fayres, fetes, or ‘Church Ales’ Olimpicks, but they continued in a
that the sports played in English as they were known, and seasonal reduced form, gradually losing their
public schools prepared male youth celebrations – the games of ‘Merry Olympic association right up until the
for successful service in the British England’ - linked to the Christian (and early 19th century. The games had
Empire, and he wanted to promote a hence pre-Christian) ritual year. Dover been held on common land, and in
similar culture in France. sought and was given royal approval 1850 the enclosures took the land
for his games, which was necessary from common ownership and sold
Goldblatt’s book is a forensic and as some such events were frowned it to local farmers and the gentry,
hugely enjoyable endurance run upon by the Church as leading to dealing a final blow. A local reverend
through the history of the modern riotous and licentious behaviour. But, who disapproved of the games bought
Olympics that punctures every self- with royal approval the games could 63 acres. As Dover’s games died,
inflated, and self-serving myth about become a go-to event for the gentry however, another Olympic revival
the Games. But he also helps you and those with social aspirations. movement was beginning. In 1835
understand the paradox, that for a Greek poet, Panagiotis Soutsis,
everything wrong with the Olympic We know about the games largely
movement, it succeeds in spite of itself because they were written about in

38


OLYMPICS

proposed staging a modern Olympics. this opportunity to ‘sports-wash’ its the other by holding lavish parties for
In the same year that the land for international reputation. visiting dignitaries. In its understated
Dover’s games fell to enclosure, capture of domestic detail alongside
1850, in England, a doctor, William For the two weeks of the games the telling observations of visitors,
Penny Brooks of Much Wenlock in the violently anti-Semitic posters and coupled with the reader’s knowledge
Shropshire, founded the Wenlock newspapers normally sold on the city’s of the full horror to follow, Hilmes’
Olympian Class, and held the first streets disappeared and the gangs book is quietly devastating.
games of what became an annual of party thugs were told to be more
event. Then, in 1890, when the discreet. Even so, many of the city’s One popular version of the history of
Brookes was an elderly man, Baron Jewish and Romany population were the Berlin games suggests that Nazi’s
Pierre de Coubertin visited Wenlock, moved to basic accommodation out propaganda attempt failed because
and a games were staged in his of town, but just a few kilometres from of the success of the extraordinary
honour. De Coubertin would refer to the main Olympic venues, with many of the African American sprinter and
Brookes as his ‘oldest friend.’ Six years ultimately ending in concentration field athlete who, winning so many
later, after a huge international hustle, camps. gold medals mocked the white and
the Baron would see his dream of a blond Aryan physical ideal. This might
modern Olympics, fed by the fields Oliver Hilmes’ account of the Berlin however be an example of revisionist
of England which had seen not one games was a bestseller in Germany conscience saving on behalf of the
but two revivals of the games already, where it was first published, part nations that went along with the
become a reality. Robert Dover’s of a recent tradition of publishing games. It’s true that the racist Nazis
games were revived in 1951 at the uncomfortable home truths about had a clear distaste for Owens. It’s
time of the Festival of Britain, and the the degree to which both the local also true that Owens was a victim of
Wenlock Games are still held today. population and foreign powers appalling racism at home in the United
Shin splints may be a common feature indulged Hitler’s regime and States, even after returning a multiple
of modern athletics, but anyone up for acquiesced to their known cruelties. gold medal winner. But it is clear too
a revival of shin kicking? Berlin provides the clearest and from Hilmes’ account that the Nazis
Berlin 1936: Sixteen most brutal example of not simply were very happy with their show, and
days in August, by Oliver how sport and politics have become saw the games as public relations
Hilmes (first published entangled, but how sport became coup.
in 2016 in Germany, inseparable from, and entirely a tool of
2018 in the UK) political ends. There had been in the Little solace either can be taken
United States a vociferous campaign from the knowledge that these
“The Olympians look for America to boycott the games kind of circumstances remain an
like the directors of a flea circus,” because of the Nazi’s reputation. isolated exception. While few direct
wrote Nazi Germany’s propaganda But this had been defeated by the comparisons can be drawn to the
minister, Joseph Goebbels, in his manoeuvring of Avery Brundage, abhorrent crimes of Nazi Germany,
diary after seeing the president of head of the US Olympic Committee. other repressive regimes with track-
the IOC, Henri de Baillet-Latour, Brundage himself was wealthy, an records of murdering their own
turned out in his finery and chain of elitist and with his own anti-Semitic people, like China, have benefitted
office to open the Berlin Olympics. tendencies. He was also embroiled in from hosting the games. Suppression
It perfectly revealed the duplicity of business dealings with Nazi Germany. of civil liberties and the ‘cleansing’
a government who publicly acted of neighbourhoods is also a not
with great deference to the Olympic The book unfolds the games day- uncommon feature of hosting. Of
officials, while privately mocking by-day, weaving together the lives of course this is not limited to the
them for the ease with which a new ordinary Berliners, with those of the Olympics. In 2019 the World Athletics
power, that had already revealed and athletes, visitors, Olympic officials, Championships will be hosted in
was known for its murderous and politicians and their Nazi hosts. It Doha, the capitol of Qatar. Qatar is
oppressive ambitions, had been given reveals to the hostile stuggle for an oil and gas state ruled by what is,
supremacy within the circle of Hitler’s in effect, an absolute monarch under
closest aides as each sort to outdo

39


OLYMPICS

sharia law. Flogging and stoning are manages to seem simultaneously weren’t interested in his success and
legal punishments and homosexuality from another world, and yet very he was sacked for being absent. Other
carries the death penalty. But Qatar familiar. Called the austerity games stories were different but seem equally
has bought its way into the top tier because Britain was broke, bomb lost in time.
of global sport and you won’t hear damaged and still on rationing from
mention of human rights in coverage the war, its homespun nature conjured The French field athlete, Micheline
of the Diamond League from Doha. venues, accommodation, food and Ostermeyer, was also a concert pianist
a bonhomie that many thought who had won the Premier Prix at
In Berlin the revelation of the truth impossible. The hopes, exultations the Paris Conservatoire in 1946, the
behind the mask was too much and frustrations of the athletes provide same year she came second in the
for some. The American writer an instantly recognisable thread of shot put at the European athletics
and journalist, and something of a continuity. Struggle and competition in championships. A few weeks before
playboy, Thomas Wolfe, breezed into elite sport change little. Just as London the London games she picked up a
Berlin captivated by the city and the 2012 had Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, discus for the first time and went on
spell of the games. He left, bitterly so London 1948 had Fanny Blankers- to win gold at the games. She won
disillusioned. A year later he published Koen dominating in the sprints and the shot put too, and then performed
a long essay, ‘I Have a Thing to Tell the arrival of the extraordinary distance a Beethoven concert in the women’s
You’, praising the city and eviscerating runner Emile Zatopek. Both games housing centre.
the Nazi government before dying in relied on an army of volunteers, had
1938 of tuberculosis in 1938 aged their controversies but, to an extent, The Wembley stadium which held
37. From the Berlin extreme, to a one brought the nation together. the athletics was regularly full to its
that was quite other, four years earlier 83,000 capacity. Many were in awe of
the Los Angeles games of 1932 had Considerably more amateur, even the Americans who, unlike many other
seen big strides towards the corporate though some nations had ways of nations who had been engaged in the
commercial co-option of the games. allowing their participants to live as war, seemed to suffer no shortages.
It leaves you wondering what an full time athletes (not so Britain), Brimming with confidence and well
Olympic games would actually look it was a world in which there were fed, you get the impression that it
like if it wasn’t hijacked for either opportunities for very inexperienced made the British athletes hungry just
state or commercial propaganda, and performers to break through. Even to look at them. Knowing the lack of
really was run just for the athletes though it was Britain’s home games, food in Britain, the French organised
themselves and the collective joy of contrary to 2012 medals were sparse. to have huge shipments of meat, wine
sport. Some of the best results came in the and other food delivered, although
The Austerity Olympics: cycling at the Herne Hill velodrome, travel and import restrictions meant
When the Games came and the experience of cyclist Alan delays that left the tonnes of meat
to London in 1948, by Geldard, was fairly typical of British almost inedible on arrival.
Janie Hampton (2008) competitors more generally. Things
were ramshackle. There was no time Although an improvement on
War intervened after for proper training and his team for the previous games, in 1948, of the
the Berlin Olympics to cycling pursuit was only selected four 4000 athletes, only 385 were women
prevent the games being held again days before the event. He’d worked and were only allowed to compete in
for another 12 years. When nations in the coal mines during the war then nine events. For example, they were
gathered in London in 1948 things spent three years conscripted into the not allowed to swim further than
couldn’t be more different to pompous army. Now working in Manchester his 400 metres. Recent controversies
imperial displays of the Third Reich. employers were unsympathetic, not surrounding women athletes with
uncommonly, and even though he’d differences in sexual development
Janie Hampton’s book ‘The Austerity used his holiday entitlement to attend have roots in degrading examinations
Olympics’, published in advance of the games and won a medal, they that were introduced in 1948 to
the London 2012 games, paints a check for ‘sexual abnormalities.’
picture of Britain, and sport, which This followed doubts raised at the

40


OLYMPICS

1936 games over the German high- no meaningful competition, if it wasn’t more tantalising. A book previously
jumper Dora Ratjen. Much later, in for all the sportspeople who turn up reviewed in Red&Black, Power
1957, Ratjen, real name Hermann, for the love of their event with little Games: A Political History of the
admitted that he had been forced to chance of success, but who find Olympics (2016), by Jules Boykoff,
compete as a woman by the Hitler fulfilment in performing which tells the lost history of ‘Peoples’
Youth. Issues of legitimate nationality to the best of their Games’ that once challenged
were present too, with the British ability. the Olympics, reminds us of the
manipulating rules to their favour London 2012: How possibility that inclusive, community-
that should have allowed athletes in was it for us? Edited by building sport can be celebrated
Northern Ireland to compete for either Mark Perryman (2013) without jingoism and commercial
Ireland or Britain. And, if you think exploitation. Sport is, after all, an
swimmers at the Olympics seem to Even the quickest elaborate form of play through which
be getting younger, fifteen year old look at the history of the Olympic we live the embodied life and test
Helen Gordon from Scotland swam Games sees the same issues coming our limits. It shouldn’t be taken too
for Britain. Having only trained in round and round again. The scandals seriously because that undermines
her local 25 yard pool, she wrote, and cheats and astonishing feats its potential to be a celebration of life.
“We set off by train from Scotland are always with the Olympics. Is it Of course that doesn’t mean we don’t
with our ration books, towel soap possible ever to learn and improve the need to try hard and to excel, but if
and some eggs… there wasn’t any Games. To try to answer that question we can hold that apparent paradox,
time to practise. I’d never seen a 50 one of the founders of ‘Philosophy that in the great scheme of things, our
metre pool before and just looking at Football’ (you’ll see there t-shirts performances matter both absolutely,
it made the hair on my arms prickle.” around) Mark Perryman, also a and not at all, we might enjoy our
The decathlon was won by a 17 research fellow in sport and culture at sport even more. The collection is
year old American, Bob Mathias. the University of Brighton, produced a fascinating and deeply thoughtful
In appalling weather he arrived at an edited volume by authors, read. I’ll leave this edition’s Olympic
the pole vault, in the dark, with only academics and national newspaper round-up with just a paragraph from
the light from the Olympic flame journalist all of whom have an interest my own contribution which I think
and a bamboo pole, the type still in in sport. I have to declare an interest expresses something at the heart of
use then. Next he did the javelin in because I wrote a chapter for the the London 2012 book:
the dark too, and then finished the book which looks at the role of sport
1500m at 10.30pm. in our well-being. “I have a photograph of my
daughter, Scarlett, aged five,
Hamptons book is both sporting But the book as a whole goes running across the long, dreary
and social history. Its real delight much further to interrogate the claims raised pedestrian walkway over the
comes not from repeating the often made to justify the public platforms of Clapham Junction railway
headline feats, although these are all billions spent on the Games. Urban station in London. A late winter sun
relayed with telling, immediate detail, regeneration, inspiring a population to casts dramatic, elongated shadows
but in the way that she recreates the participate in sport and showcasing on the ground. Scarlett is running fast
domestic lives of what you might call environmental sustainability are all towards me, so fast that in the picture
the rank-and-file athletes, who trained promises that get a close examination. she almost bursts out of the frame.
as hard, with few resources and little Under the spell of sponsors, Exploding with joy, she leaves behind
support, those who took their chances television timetables and income, a shrinking perspective of shadows
but no medals home. The stories are and governments wanting to show a that stretch into the distance. I look at
moving because for the great majority clean face to the world, the Games this picture and think two things, first
of athletes outside a very small elite, frequently fall short. But because that we are born to run, and second
these kind of experiences have not we still love them in spite of their that this is what sport should aspire
changed. There would be no games, flaws it makes the question of how to.”
they could be done differently even

41


FOOD

RECIPE CORNER
THE ‘BETTER-LATE-THAN-
NEVER’ VEGETARIAN

In one of the oddest adverts ever, Kentucky Fried Chicken recently promoted their
‘I love you bacon burger’ fast food with the caption, ‘try one before you turn vegan’.
It was an attempt at being funny but more seemed like a desperate rally against one of
the fastest shifts of diet seen in modern Britain away from eating meat. Meatless meals

are increasingly seen as better for the health of both people and the planet.
Here our very own culinary guru, James Ward, offers some vegetarian treats

for hungry runners ready to ditch the meat…

W ell here I am again, back by popular demand to taste. When you drain the pasta, reserve some of the
(so the editor tells me) with some more water to loosen the sauce if needed. Dish up and enjoy -
meal ideas for those who like to train hard hot food in more ways than one!
and cook quickly. Having turned away the vegan and Spicy mixed bean and spinach couscous
vegetarian community in my last column, I’ve been
encouraged to bring them back into the fold in this one As well as being a satisfying supper, this versatile,
with a platter of meat-free hors d’oeuvres to feast on vegan-friendly feast makes a formidable lunch-box too -
when you need food fast (or have run out of my much and at a fraction of the cost of a mass-produced cheese
vaunted staple which has been tinned fish). and pickle sandwich with a flapjack on the side available
Once again, these delightful dishes are simple to from numerous fashionable eateries in the centre of town.
prepare with a few basic ingredients but pack a powerful Who needs freshly heated-up soup and allegedly artisan
nutritional punch and, whisper it quietly, actually taste bread for a fiver when your trusted tupperware box is
rather good! loaded with this stuff?
Aubergine Arrabbiata
This sizzling-hot accompaniment to pasta is quick to Couscous has long been a favourite of mine - it goes
prepare from just a handful of kitchen staples. All you with almost anything, is ready in no time at all and
will need to your pasta of choice (penne is my personal carries plenty of carbohydrate. You will need couscous,
favourite for this dish), 2 cloves or fresh garlic, six obviously, a vegetable stock cube, a tin of spicy mixed
fresh red chillies (use fewer if you prefer), a tin of plum beans (or other tinned beans of your choice) and some
tomatoes and, unsurprisingly, an aubergine. fresh spinach. Prepare as much vegetable stock as you
While your chosen pasta cooks, prepare the sauce need (allow 400ml per 250g of couscous), pour over the
by chopping the aubergine into small chunks and frying couscous in a large bowl, stir and cover with cling film for
over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the 5 minutes.
chopped garlic and the chillies and cook for a further
2 minutes. Then just add the tomatoes and there you While the couscous absorbs the stock, wilt the spinach
have it. Simmer until the pasta is ready and then season in a pan for 2 to 3 minutes and heat the beans in
another pan for 1 to 2 minutes. When the spinach and
beans are ready, fluff up the couscous and stir in the
additional ingredients. Season to taste. If you are feeling

42


adventurous, spinkle over some freshly chopped herbs for some FOOD
additional layers of flavour. Serve up and enjoy. And because you’re
eating spinach you can pretend to be Popeye! NB, this dish does 43
not need olive oil…….
Quinoa superfood salad

I will be honest, until about three years ago I had never heard
of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) but how glad I am to have
discovered this subtle South American grain that originates from
Peru. Quite how Paddington Bear came to subsist on marmalade
sandwiches, I’m not quite sure. If, like me, you are prone to
snacking on workplace treats, a healthy dollop of quinoa at
lunchtime might just help to keep those cravings at bay whilst filling
you with the right type of fuel for your evening run. Oh yes, quinoa
is a wonderful source of slow release energy without compromising
the balance of blood sugar levels!

Now, quinoa does need to be prepared carefully, otherwise you
will end up, as I once did, with a stodgy mess that you probably
won’t want to eat. Quinoa needs to be rinsed before cooking and,
for extra insurance, I’ve found it is best to soak it for about 30
minutes before rinsing. This should remove the layer that can give
it a bitter flavour.

Tip the quinoa into a pan of water and bring to the boil, then
reduce to a simmer. Cooking time can vary, but as a general rule, it
should take about 10 to 15 minutes to absorb all of the water. Drain
and fluff up the quinoa.

If this sounds unwieldy, a certain supermarket specialising in
frozen foods sells reasonably priced frozen portions. Alternatively,
cook a large batch, freeze it and defrost when you need it.

Now for the fun part - the other superfoods! My personal
favourite is a super greens mix: brocoli, green peas and peas which
should be added to a separate pan of boiling water and cooked for
as long as they need. The beans and broccoli should go in first,
then add the peas after about 3 minutes.

When the veg is ready, stir into the quinoa. For variety, I like to
add in some diced red onion as well. Some fresh mackerel also
works wonders, but other root vegetables will work just as well.
Anyone for beetroot?

Remember, this is a salad, so a dressing will add texture. If you
have time, the grated rind and juice of a lemon and a drizzle of
olive oil will blend in a lovely, crisp scent and a sprinkle of pine nuts
offers a delicious crunch that compliments the quinoa superbly.
Then just tuck in - if you’re not keen on quinoa, you soon will be!

PS - If you are looking for a tipple to accompany these fine
flavours, what could be better than a rum and coke. The author
has confessed to consuming two doubles in the course of writing
this piece …


A postcard from Paris

Pippa Messenger got out of London before Brexit came to the boil, but how does Paris
compare to her troubled homeland? What are the scores on the Eurostar doors? Here
she measures up the two great capitols for everything from the cost of races to cases

of track crime. Is it a win for the home team, or wine in a glass for away?

W hen I first moved to very encouraging on WhatsApp and It’s possible that it is simply too early
London people told me for them to get up on a Saturday
that running wouldn’t during training sessions, the phrase morning.
be as easy as it was in Edinburgh,
but no-one prepared me for the “allez allez allez” can be frequently Club support: 15million to 1.
millions of roads that you have to Marathon day in London and the
cross in Paris before you can get to heard as you / they pass by. Herne Hill Harriers supporter base
some decent sized green space, or is out in force. In Paris, it seems
how far apart they are. Once you So here are a few, thoroughly they’re only interesting in the super
are there, though, there are plenty fasties, other than one hardy soul
of runners hitting the paths and scientific big city comparisons: who waited for me. However, the
pavements in small groups, in pairs Parkrun being so small, we know
or alone with their music in. It seems London Paris the volunteers and they stayed to
that running in Paris is less of a club cheer me in, and Herne Hill even
activity than in London, and this is No .of runners. 1 1 go abroad to help their own (kudos
reflected in the size of the training to club stalwart Becky Maitland
group that Simon, my husband, and No. of club runners. 1 0 sneakily travelling to Paris to help
I train with at Stade Français. me round the marathon).
Amount of races. 1 1
Yes, I did say that we train So it turns out I didn’t know how
together and, no, I have not Cost of races 0 1 good we had it in London, from
got significantly faster. We train a running point of view at least,
in a small group on the track - (apart from the marathon, Paris and I am missing Herne Hill a lot.
approximately 12 strong at best However we (Simon) did manage
– with mostly fast runners, who tends to have lower entry prices) to hook up with a former Herne
wouldn’t look out of place at the Hill Harrier, Jack Hillier, for some
front end of coach, Geoff Jerwood’s Hills. -1 1 long runs and Parkruns so the
group. Whilst this tends to mean Harriers love spreading around the
that the track isn’t too crowded, (Paris is much flatter) world. We’ve also met a nice group
it does mean I, in particular, am of expat runners at Parkrun, which
lacking in people to feasibly chase Weather. 0 1 is helping us settle in a bit and
or be chased by. However they has given me some new friends
have been nice, and don’t mind me Illegal track activity: for my long runs, and I’m even
chatting in pigeon French, and are managing to encourage them to
London -0.5 (for the smell of weed) join our club.

Paris -1 (Simon managed to get...

shot at track one day - “nothing too

bad, just a small hole in the leg,” as

he casually says and, having also

taken aim at a few other runners,

the shooter now has 18 months

behind bars to think about it!)

Number of Parkruns: loads in

London with closest only 2km from

my old front door. And, there’s only

two for the whole of Paris. The one

we go to only gets about 20-40

people regularly and it’s either a

tube ride or 8km run away. It seems

the French just don’t “get” Parkrun.

www.hernehillharriers.org


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