Herne Hill Harriers’ class of 2013 made history on Saturday, claiming a club record haul of medals at the Surrey Cross Country Championships. The Tooting-based club struck team gold in three of the 10 races at Croydon’s Lloyd Park, as well as winning two individual golds and three silvers.
The gold rush was led by Harriers’ under-13 girl’s team, with Katy Ann McDonald and Saskia Millard clinching a sensational one-two, while strong supporting runs from Hebe Morley-Fletcher (16th) and Tatiana Cooke (19th) secured team gold. The baton was then passed to Harriers’ under-15 boys who duly responded by winning the team award by a huge margin. After Paul Burgess won individual silver, Billy Black (7th), Tom Singhgolden (8th) and Mohamed Ethari (19th) ensured our second team gold of the championships.
Harriers’ second individual gold followed soon after, as Lewis Lloyd blew away the competition in the under-20 men’s field to win by 22 seconds, becoming the first HHH athlete to achieve the feat in this age group. Lewis added a silver to his medal collection, as John Tayleur (12th) and Charles Philpott (15th) closed the three-man team in second place.
A third team gold arrived courtesy of our senior women’s team. Although no HHH woman finished within the top-10, outstanding packing from Karen Ellison (12th), Suzanne Swaine (18th), Nici Cahusac (19th) and Ceri Diss (21st) meant Harriers won by four points from Thames Hare and Hounds. Our team success ended a 15-year wait to be county champions, having won the event seven times in the 1990s. The race was also a personal milestone for Diss, coming 23 years after she won the individual race in the first ever HHH women’s team-winning performance.
Having won this championship in 10 of the previous 11 years, our senior men’s team had to settle for bronze this time around. Tim Elsey led the charge superbly in 8th, with Ben Paviour (13th), Dave Taylor (16th), John Kettle (20th), David Robinson (24th) and Basil Wallace (28th) completing a team that was pipped by Belgrave Harriers and Hercules Wimbledon.
Herne Hill’s other individual medallist was Katie Snowden, who came second in the women’s under-20 event, having been a past winner of the under-17 women’s title at this venue. Other HHH performances of note included Oscar Millard’s 5th place in an under-13 boy’s race in which he is currently deemed too young to score in the team and Francesca Reid-Lloyd ran strongly for 4th in the under-15 girl’s race.
Club secretary Steve Bosley said: ‘I suspect this is the first time for several years we have won three team gold medals and it is our largest medal haul for many years and possibly ever.’