Newsletter – JANUARY 2003





9th CHICHESTER 10km WOKINGHAM half-marathon.
23rd BRAMLEY 10 miles and 20 miles
2nd CAMBERLY Half-marathon
16th FLEET Half-marathon
22nd COMPTON DOWNS 20mile & 40mile multi-terrain
23rd EASTLEIGH 10km WORTHING 20 miles.


Congratulations to JOSH in winning the Hampshire County Schools cross-country title in his age group. Since joining the club last summer he has impressed everyone with his natural ability and his willingness to train. I believe that our last schools champion was Ronnie eight years ago and this victory is further evidence that our small junior section can look forward to bigger things under Geoff’s guidance. Rumour has it that this win is the one that has given Mike the most pleasure.

Many thanks to all of you who helped out at our home cross country fixture at Ashe Meadows. A lot of work went into marking out the course that had to have several modifications compared to last year due to the slightly higher water level. I believe that the refreshment team had a busy afternoon with a smooth male member of the club attracting a lot of extra custom.

Thanks to everyone’s hard work the day was a complete success.

In the actual cross-country league the Vet. Women’s team looks a good bet for the title should they complete a team at the last fixture in Bournemouth with Cath in the hunt for individual Honours. The U15 boy’s team should take at least the runners up spot with Aaron looking for an individual top three placing. Unfortunately, following several excellent seasons the senior men’s team looks to be heading for the drop to division two though the Vets. have a chance for a top three place.

I will update the consistency table once I have received the results for the January fixtures. February is a zero race month with the next league race being the Petersfield half-marathon in early March.


The big event for next month will be the training weekend in Bude where some of us hope to kick-start our marathon training. Lets all hope for some decent weather


A relatively warm evening saw the handicapper hoping to make a big challenge for the top placings but, despite having a fairly good run, he found himself languishing down in 14th place. Almost everyone who started in front of him decided to run blinders as is clearly shown by the 7 PB’s on the night.

Following his huge improvements in the opening two races Alex was expected to suffer under the handicappers axe. However no one told him as he took his third victory of the winter with another 53-second improvement. Another big PB came from runner up Ian who was only two seconds behind at the finish as he cut 51 secs. Off his best. Elaine with a 23 second PB led home the cavalry charge for third place ahead of the heavy training Mark and the surprise package of the night, Mick Woods. He ran his fastest time for almost three years and was quite pleased afterwards. Other PB’s came from Karen (15 sec.), Claire (10 sec.), Belinda (9 sec.) and last but not least Dave Titcomb (6 sec.).

Fastest was that man Jones ahead of the non-scoring Keith who whipped Mr. Simcox by 5 seconds. Third fastest counter was the ever-cheerful Dave Vosser.

1 A.BRIGHT 33.34 6.07 27.27 13
2 I.VOSSER 33.36 6.50 26.46 10
3 E.SMITH 34.04 4.02 30.02 18
4 M.SIMCOX 34.06 12.35 21.31 2
5 M.WOODS 34.08 6.39 27.29 14=
6 K.BURTON 34.12 3.44 30.28 21
7 C.BOYLE 34.17 55 sec 33.22 23
8 B.LADE 34.18 GO 34.18 24
9 E.SANDALL BALL 34.19 7.15 27.04 11
10 D.TITCOMB 34.21 7.58 26.23 9
11 A.PAUL 34.30 7.07 27.23 12
12 A.HARTLEY 34.43 11.22 23.21 5
13 E.TILBURY 34.48 9.01 25.47 8
14 R.FRANCIS 34.57 9.34 25.23 7
15 D.WICKE 34.59 4.41 30.18 19
  K.VALLIS 35.00 13.34 21.26  
16 M.BROWN 35.04 4.41 30.23 20
17 K.CLARK 35.11 11.55 23.16 4
18 D.VOSSER 35.12 13.25 21.47 3
19 C.WHEELER 35.15 11.28 23.47 6
20 J.JONES 35.50 15.06 20.44 1
21 J.THOMAS 36.34 5.14 31.20 22
22 A.DENNISON 36.43 9.14 27.29 14=
23 F.KENNEY 37.34 7.58 29.36 17
24 J.HODGE 38.27 10.09 28.18 16


The handicap league tables are now on the board and interest is beginning to rise now that the season approaches the penultimate race. In the time league Jamie leads the way and only needs to finish in the top three of either of the last two races to take the title. Defending champion Mark has a two point gap over Dave Vosser but will lose out should he miss another race. Little separates Keith and Andy while Josh in 6th place is having an excellent season.

In the actual handicap section young Alex’s third win of the winter gives him top place. He cannot afford to miss another race and his handicap is getting tougher. Contending the minor positions and waiting for the leader to slip up is Josh who is a point clear of Karen. Also in contention are Claire and the ever-honest handicapper, though it’s a well-known fact that he always goes off the boil at this time of year.

The next race could be the big decider on February 13th over the Foxdown course; the starting list is on the notice board.

Hampshire XC Championships from Geoff


Eleven members of the Village Club made the now annual trip to Applemore in the New Forest on January 4, to compete in the Hampshire Cross Country County Championships over a fast undulating parkland and forest trail course. The cold but still winter conditions made for a pleasant afternoon for competitors and spectators alike and were ideal for racing, producing some very fast times.

In the under 15 Boys race, Josh Bliss craftily stormed passed a slightly below par Aaron Harris near the finish, to steal his 8th place, whilst Craig Williams was just behind in 15th place in a field of 41.

In the ladies event Wales International Cath Wheeler was 6th overall in the 8Km race, and won the coveted over 40s veteran category for the second year running. Audra Dennison had a good solid run to finish 21st whilst Liz Sandal-Ball won the over 50s category. Karen Burton made up the team that finished 8th, completing the course in 76th spot.

The Men’s Race was a three lap course of nearly 7½miles, and our Duathlon International Ian Ford still suffering from the after effects of a cycling accident, surprised himself by finishing 4th in the over 45s veteran’s category. Dave Vosser was next to finish in 46th spot, Martin Crawshaw was 99th, Andy Hartley 108th, and Dave Titcomb was 179th.  

Committee meeting 13 January


Present G. Cloke, M. Dennison, C. Wheeler, P. Wheeler, G. Mclaughlin.

Matters Arising.

  1. London Marathon places given to A. Hartley & D. Mills.
  2. Changing rooms. Have been painted, also looking to change water circulation. Paul looking into this issue.
  3. Cross Country Went well. Thanks to P. Wheeler & G. Cloke.. Made £150 on teas and cakes. Also Rugby club and Harriers made £260 on car-parking, this was donated to the ORC..Light weight posts used on the course were a great success.
  4. Cyclists race many thanks to J. Hoare for organising this & the Christmas dinner.

Treasures Report

Income £1007.00

Expenditure £1119.79

Current £746.41

Reserve £2182.20


  1. Decided to raise donation given to ORC from proceeds of car-parking at X.C Majority of donation therefore coming from the Harriers.
  2. New member. Michele Brown.
  3. AGM. Need to discuss at next committee meeting subs etc also possible family memberships £40. Also possibility of ORC putting up subs.

Meeting closed 9.25p.m.

Date of next meeting 10/02/03


HAMPSHIRE XC LEAGUE – READING – 30.11.2002 from John Hoare (Omitted from last month’s issue)

These were the best set of results overall this season although some rather quirky results didn’t help our Senior Men’s team. But the stars of the day belonged to our Boys team. Aaron had an absolute cracker to finish in 2nd place and put himself in line for an individual medal as he moved into third place overall. Another best came from Josh who came home an impressive 5th and he is still in the bottom year of the age group. Very promising for next year. Although Craig was unable to run Scott completed a very good team result with a strong run to give our Boys third place on the day and maintain their second place overall. Well done too to young Alex who finished stronger than any race I have seen him in.

More good results from the Junior squad came from Natasha in the Girls who seemed to benefit from her first race at Goodwood as she put in an even better performance here and from Matt in the Youths. He also is in his first year and competed well against the bigger lads in a strong field. Without exception I thought the whole of our Junior squad are looking stronger and more determined and can look forward to even better results over the rest of the season.

The Ladies came up with another good set of results, particularly in the Vets section where, although they were beaten on the day by Reading Road Runners, their second place consolidated their lead in the Vets league. Cath was a bit under par following a heavy cold but still did well enough to finish third Vet and maintain her overall lead. Determined runs from Audra and Liz confirmed the runners up position which was also worth 6th place in the Senior Ladies competition. There was also an excellent debut from Catherine who will surely benefit from her first run and can look forward to even better things over the rest of the season. Karen completed our squad and was a bit disappointed with her run after suffering from a fall on the big hill.

Our Men’s squad produced their best team result of the season finishing sixth. But it was somewhat disappointing to find that we had lost to the three teams immediately above us in the league although we had beaten the 3rd, 4th and 5th placed teams. Overall that has put us in an even more perilous position and we will need a full turn out and a couple of good results to avoid relegation to Division 2.

Mark maintained his position as our leading counter this season with another strong run finishing just ahead of Ian who made a very welcome return in his first race of the season and who finished 3rd Vet. Dave ran to form with a fine run just over a minute behind and his 10th place in the Vets competition has raised him to 5th place and an outside chance of an individual medal. Our team was completed by Keith and Martin who ran well but can probably expect better later in the year as their fitness improves. One other bonus to come out of this was second place in the Vets team competiton, courtesy of Ian, Dave and Martin, which gave us a lift to 5th place in the league.

Excellent packing from Greg, Andy and Gavin who finished within 20 seconds of one another led our ‘B’ team which was completed by Eric and Dave Bright just a further minute or so behind. But I have no details as to how they finished or where they are in their league. Solid runs from Dave Titcomb, Geoff and JT completed a healthy contingent of 13.

Hants XC League Results Reading
2nd A Harris 13m 45s   37th A Bright 17m 20s    
5th J Bliss 14m 12s            
27th S Graham 15m 42s     40 finished      
53rd N Millar 15m 10s     57 finished      
9th C Wheeler 16m 25s   96th C Taylor 22m 09s    
25th A Dennison 17m 27s   102nd K Burton 22m 44s    
58th E Sandall-Ball 19m 31s     114 finished      
SENIOR MEN              
40th M Simcox 31m 06s   134th G Duncan 35m 46s    
45th I Ford 31m 21s   154th E Tilbury 36m 45s    
63rd D Vosser 32m 34s   160th D Bright 37m 04s    
103rd K Clark 34m 26s   205th D Titcomb 39m 50s    
114th M Crawshaw 34m 55s   234th G Cloke 44m 14s    
126th G England 35m 25s   240th J Thomas 48m 56s    
130th A Hartley 35m 40s     243 finished      
LEAGUE TABLES (after 3 matches)
1 Aldershot 3   1 Portsmouth 10    
2 Basingstoke 6   2 Bournemouth 11    
3 Reading 14   3 Reading R R 13    
4 Southampton RC 15   4 Southampton RC 14    
5 New Forest 16   5 Overton 15    
6 Bournemouth 18   6 Aldershot 15    
7 Portsmouth 19   7 Hardley 18    
8 Reading R R 20   8 Fleet 18    
9 Overton 24   9 Stubbington Grn 25    
10 Stubbington Grn 30   10 Basingstoke 26    
1 Aldershot 4   1 Overton 4    
2 Basingstoke 12   2 Victory 8    
3 Havant 13   3 Portsmouth Jog 15    
4 Reading 13   4 Havant 21    
5 Team Solent 15   5 Hamworthy 22    
6 Portsmouth 24   6 Hardley 24    
6 Overton 24            
8 Victory 37   BOYS 

8 Farnham 37            
10 Hardley 42   1 Aldershot 3    
        2 Overton 7    
        3 Portsmouth 10    
        4 Basingstoke 13    
        5 Team Solent 15    
        6 Isle of Wight 18    
Stubbington Green 10k Sunday 12th Jan 2003 from Dave Vosser


I think I’ve run this one 9 out of the last 10 years, and it never gets easier making that 10.00am start particularly when it was minus 3 and the day after our successful Hampshire League event.

Arriving at about 9.45 gave me just enough time to have a quick warm up in the freezing conditions. This event has always been popular and this year despite the freezing conditions was no exception with 960 finishers.

My lack of pace training told straight away as Amanda Procter left me for dead. Half way in 17min 48 and my hands were still cold (they never did warm up) and with a slight drop in pace on the run in I finished just under 36minutes. At least it was a pb for 2003.


David Vosser 35min55 30th (7th V40)


The South of England Cross Country Championships at Bicton College, Exmouth on Saturday 25th January 2003 from Dave Vosser

Just two us headed the 110 miles west to run the South of England Championships. Martin had been looking forward to this one, he attended this college many years ago so he was keen to re-visit. He wasn’t sure that they would let him back in the grounds though.

A very well designed course in limited grounds meant a tight and twisting route with a couple of short sharp hills on each of the three laps. Underfoot was surprisingly dry but the farmland which made up a good part of the course was rather too uneven for my liking.

I started a little too quick and suffered on the first lap with our summer steeplechaser, Keith Vallis passing me. I used Keith as a target and later managed to redeem things and catch him on the second lap. The field was clearly smaller than previous years with other clubs obviously feeling ‘it was too far to go’. It was however real cross country and an excellent spectator course with plenty of parking so I reckon they might use this venue again.

I didn’t manage to speak to Martin after the run but I’m sure he will be pleased with his result which clearly reflects his improved fitness.

Results-: D. Vosser 179th in 44:01 and M. Crawshaw 291st in 46:39 628 finished



A fairly mixed set of results from our home fixture but it was good to see a number of athletes making their first appearances for the club this season. Two of then, Thomas Ridley and Sean Williams, ensured for the first time this season we had representation in the under 13 boys race and they put in a couple of solid runs to finish well up the field. In the under 15 boys Aaron had a most unfortunate start losing his shoe in the opening skirmish. But starting again at the back of the field he worked his way through to take a fine seventh place, in the process pulling Josh round to another fine result as he finished eighth. Aaron’s run had the effect of putting himself in the bronze medal position for the season and another good run at Bournemouth could seal his first individual medal in this league. Josh meanwhile is confirming his promise as he lies 7th overall and this as a bottom year. Robert Ridley had a most important run as he finished in 15th place to ensure second place for the boys team and keep them in the frame as favourites to win the silver team medals in the team competition. Another debutante Chris Walker and young Alex made up a solid team performance. One more good result came from the juniors where Natasha kept up her good form in the under 15 girls and her ever present record for the season.

Although Cath was outside the top ten in the ladies race for the first time for ages the ladies team kept up their form for the season with 6th place overall. This was due in no small way to the form displayed by Audra and Liz who both had superb runs. The leading trio also made up our Vets team and although they finished second on the day they have now virtually assured themselves of the league title. Well done you three. It was good to see Nicky back again after all her problems and it won’t be long before she will be challenging again for a team place. Elaine and Madeline are both running exceptionally well at the moment and this was reflected by their positions as they just got the edge over Karen, all three finishing within twenty seconds of one another. Catherine put in another promising run less than a minute behind while there was another close battle between our final three finishers, Belinda splitting the two debutantes, Jo Greenfield and Jess Watkins. A very good turnout from the girls.

Mark is proving the man of the season in the senior mens field as he kept up his record of first counter this season with his highest ever position in this league. But the three Vets of Ian, Dave and Martin all had fabulous runs as our next three counters and in the process won the Vets team race on the day and moved themselves into a chance of taking the overall title. And Dave has now moved into 4th place in the individual competition. The team was completed by a tremendous run from Iian Adams in his first run in club colours which gave us our best finish of the season in 5th place. Unfortunately we are still in deep trouble in Division 1, four points adrift from safety and it will need some special results at the last fixture at Bournemouth to avoid the drop.

Just outside the team places, and making his first Cross Country appearance this season was Mark, another to make a very welcome return following a long lay off as he finished well ahead of Keith who had a bit of a disappointing run by his standards. The remainder of our contingent then came in in pretty regular intervals with Andy finishing ahead of Eric who in turn got the better of the two Daves, Bright and Titcomb.

Hants XC League Results Overton
U/13 BOYS              
26th T Ridley 16m 01s            
36th S Williams 18m 08s     42 finished      
U/15 BOYS              
7th A Harris 15m 43s   39th C Walker 19m 19s    
8th J Bliss 15m 51s   45th A Bright 24m 13s    
15th R Ridley 16m 32s     45 finished      
U/15 GIRLS              
39th N Millar 19m 59s     40 finished      
SENIOR LADIES              
11th C Wheeler 21m 13s   75th K Burton 27m 58s    
29th A Dennison 22m 44s   81st C Taylor 28m 50s    
44th E Sandall-Ball 24m 24s   90th J Greenfield 30m 52s    
52nd N Clark 24m 57s   92nd B Lade 31m 20s    
71st E Smith 27m 39s   93rd J Watkins 31m 29s    
74th M Vosser 27m 49s     94 finished      
SENIOR MEN              
25th M Simcox 22m 17s   104th K Clark 37m 17s    
32nd I Ford 32m 44s   113th A Hartley 37m 47s    
40th D Vosser 33m 15s   128th E Tilbury 38m 45s    
76th M Crawshaw 35m 20s   139th D Bright 39m 28s    
85th I Adams 36m 02s   165th D Titcomb 40m 55s    
94th M Dennison 36m 30s     200 finished      
LEAGUE TABLES (after 4 matches)          
1 Aldershot 4   1 Bournemouth 13    
2 Basingstoke 8   2 Portsmouth 14    
3 Reading 17   3 Reading R R 16    
4 Southampton RC 23   4 Overton 16    
5 Reading R R 24   5 Southampton 21    
6 Portsmouth 25   6 Fleet 23    
7 New Forest 25   7 Aldershot 24    
8 Bournemouth 25   8 Hardley 26    
9 Overton 29   9 Basingstoke 32    
10 Stubbington Grn 40   10 Stubbington Grn 35    
1 Aldershot 7   1 Overton 6    
2 Basingstoke 14   2 Victory 13    
3 Reading 17   3 Hardley 27    
4 Havant 20   4 Hamworthy 29    
4 Team Solent 20            
6 Overton 30   U/15 BOYS (leading teams)      
7 Portsmouth 35   1 Aldershot 4    
8 Farnham 47   2 Overton 9    
9 Victory 49   3 Portsmouth 15    
10 Hardley 51   4 Basingstoke 15    
11 Hamworthy 60   5 Team Solent 19    
        6 Isle of Wight 24    
        7 Reading 31    
        8 Camberley 33    


I hope that you fellow Harriers have recovered from the festive season; it certainly seems a long time ago now that I have had a complete cultural change since 9th January! At least in SL you can guarantee that it will be warm and, on most days, you can sit on the beach (only 5 minutes walk from my office!) and watch the sunset drinking an ice cold beer. Just like Overton in winter!

I will be in SL for six months until early/mid July. I am the Chief Logistics Officer within HQ United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). Being a ‘Chief’ in UN terms, I also get given my own Toyota 4×4! UNAMSIL has been here since 1999 and was set up to administer a peace agreement. You may recall that significant violence occurred in 2000 and UK deployed Army units to stop a full scale civil war and to provide essential support to UNAMSIL. The UK forces left in 2001 and there are now only a handful of British Servicemen working for the UN. Some are employed within an international Military Observer Team which is spread throughout the country. I and six others are in various key appointments within the HQ itself. The HQ operates from the former Mammy Yoko Hotel (what a great African name!) and a portacabin style ‘city’. I have a military staff of about 35 representing some 19 countries; mostly from W Africa, Asia and E Europe. Apart from the Brits, most of the other nations send their people here for 12 months. My staff is fully integrated with our civilian counterparts which is great from a professional and social perspective. Many of the civilians have been employed in the Mission since it started.

All the Brits that work in the HQ live in a private rented house in a village called Lumley, about 4-5 miles south of the Hotel on the Freetown Peninsular which, thankfully, is situated well outside the main city. This house is an excellent ‘bolt hole’ to return to after dealing with endless international trivia one minute and major operational events the next! In the case of the latter, our small team ‘punches well above its weight’ in terms of numbers and rank! The past ten days have been quite frenetic with a significant increase in the security threat to the country’s stability which, thankfully, has been thwarted due to the arrest of some key personalities.

There is only a fledgling government apparatus which is slowly establishing itself. The climate takes some getting used to (28-30C during the day and 25-26C at night) and humid. The regular sea breezes keep the coast relatively cool. The frustrations of the UN bureaucracy are more than compensated for by the beach, good food and ice cold beer! The running routes are varied; either flat along the beach or quite hilly just a ½ mile inland. I have been hashing each Monday and will be doing a long beach run on Sunday. Hope you enjoy the cold and wet in Hampshire!!

HAMPSHIRE SCHOOLS XC CHAMPS – 18.01.2003 – NEWPORT (I.O.W.) from Mike Bliss


Our thanks go to Geoff, as had it not been for him, Aaron and Josh may not have been able to run these champs. Testbourne School and Andover & District Schools made practically no effort or help in entering them, or obtaining the details. They did tell us it was on the I.O.W., but not where or what time the races were! It was only three days before and after much time and effort, that Geoff managed to find out the details from other sources. Whereas other schools and districts arrived in mini-buses and coaches, with representatives in all age groups and teachers accompanying them, we had to make our own travel arrangements. When we got there, we found that there were three other runners from Andover & District Schools (1 in Josh’s race, 1 in Aaron’s and a girl), who had also made their own arrangements. As there was not a teacher with them, which was a formal requirement, the organisers ‘turned a blind eye’ and allowed me to act as team-manager. This poor example set by Andover & District Schools does not exactly encourage youngsters to take up athletics in our area, and could well lead to others that are doing something, dropping out. Each District could have had 16 runners in each race, and probably all, had an inter-school race to select the teams. From the numbers in each race, most districts probably fielded at least a scoring 12. Andover & District had no selection race and just the 5 runners in total for 6 races.

The good news is that both Aaron and Josh did extremely well. The course was the proverbial ‘of two halves’. The first half being flat, but windy playing fields, the second half having some tough hills. In the schools championships, as opposed to the Hants League, Josh was in the top year of his age-group, whereas Aaron was in the bottom year of his. Still lacking in experience, Josh was pushed back on the start line and blocked from going off with the leaders in the opening straight. Consequently, he probably ran too hard too early, to catch them. He may lack experience but showed confidence by taking the lead and thereafter, was always the one trying to break away from the 2 or 3 that he was battling with. A few times he opened a lead up and down the hills, but was pegged back again each time on the flat. Up the final hill, he again dug deep and again pulled away. This time there was no response from his one remaining rival, and he extended his winning margin to about 50 metres in the finishing straight. The first and hopefully not the last, championship he will win, though Aaron may have something to say about that.

Aaron had picked up a foot injury after the Overton Hants league, and was doubtful of being able to compete. However, showing the determination required to ‘get to the top’, he not only ran but put in a gutsy performance against many older boys. Needing to finish in the top 8 to gain selection for the English Schools Champs, he was running in a group fighting for 12th for most of the first lap. During the second lap, he gradually pulled away and picked off others one by one to get up to 8th with about 1k to go. A sharp downhill and not being able to negotiate the turn at the bottom, pushed him back to 9th and a 10metre deficit up the final hill. Again determination, and the training on the hills of Overton, showed, as he stormed past off the top of the hill and succeeded in creating a comfortable gap for the all important 8th place finish. Well done boys!!

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