A-Team Alexander and Awuah excel on the big stages in Birmingham and Sweden

Herne Hill Harriers celebrated another English Schools Champion in the club ranks as Great Britain Junior cross country international Charlotte Alexander won a national schools title on the track over 3000m in Birmingham. Meanwhile over the same weekend in Sweden another A-lister Kristal Awuah placed sixth in the 200m final at the European under 23 championship and for the first time ever the club had two female representatives at the same major international athletics championship as Michella Obijiaku represented Italy and finished ninth in the shot put final.

Alexander was arguably the Harriers star of the week with her emphatic win in the senior girls 3000m in the aptly named Alexander Stadium, claiming her gold medal by a margin of around eight seconds in 9.35.10. This gun to tape front running victory signalled a return to form and indeed health for Alexander after recent illness had threatened her season, but the manner of this winning performance in a time quite close to her personal best suggests there is more to come before this summer season is over.

Awuah went into the European under 23 Champs in Gavle second ranked in the 200m, but is a relative newcomer to the event with her more famous results having so far come at 60m indoors and 100m outdoors, where she has represented GB teams over 100m in the World Junior Champs last year (bronze medals individually and sprint relay) and the senior team at the European Indoors in Glasgow in March of this year.

After finishing fourth in her heat in 23.88 Awuahreplicated this positon in her semi-final to qualify for the final where she placed sixth with 23.66. Obijiaku was delighted to qualify for her shot put final and then performed very well to place ninth of twelve in the final with a throw of 15.56m. This was a fine reward after her excellent throws at both shot at hammer on the very high level USA collegiate competition circuit.

Back in Birmingham Alexandra Brown now has a full set of gold, silver and bronze English Schools track medals in her quite wonderful collection. Her record at 1500m at these championship over an amazing schools athletics career is to have finished 5th, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st and 3rd! A superb sequence of results which made her the overwhelming choice to be a very well deserved London Schools team captain this year as one of their finest ever representatives. Brown ran the best race she could on the day to claim a fine bronze medal in the senior girls 1500m in 4.29.80 against fellow British Junior internationals in a 1500m final of the highest quality.

Ore Adamson placed fourth in a very close senior girl’s long jump in which only 10cm covered the first four, with Adamson’s 5.78m missing out on bronze by 7cm and was only another cm ahead of fifth place! Alie Sesay placed sixth in the junior boys shot with 13.40m. Morgan Lewis placed a good seventh in the intermediate boys long jump with 6.43m, while Memphis Ayaode filled the same position in the inter boys 400m final clocking 50.87 after running closer to his PB in qualifying from his heat in 50.56.

Behind Alexander another Wayne Vinton coached athlete Phoebe Anderson placed eighth in the same race in 10.08.83, while there were also very good performances from Katie Balme and Lily Newton who were sixth and eighth in the senior girls 1500m steeplechase. Balme ran a big PB with 5.11.90 and Lily was close to hers with 5.17.60. The Herne Hill female under 20s are putting a very good season together with SaskiaMillard due to race for Great Britain Juniors at the European under 20 championship, also in Sweden with her 3000m heat this Friday and hopefully the final on Sunday.

Harriers’ athletes took home relay medals from Birmingham in the London Schools team. Je’naeJames ran the first leg and Niyah Costley the third leg for the Inter Girls relay team who won their heat convincingly and then won silver medals in the final in a national standard time. Adamson ran first leg for the Senior Girls relay team who won their heat and then won silver medals in the final with 46.50 which beat the championships best time which Essex had set in the heats (and beat again in the final). So this was the fastest time ever run at these championships by a London SG relay team and the second fastest time ever run by a SG relay team.

Dante Clarke ran the third leg for the Junior Boys relay team who won their heat in a national standard time. After a disappointing long jump Clarke ran a superb third leg in the final to bring the team back into medal contention and the London boys won silver medals.

The London Senior Girls had the highest number of points of the 11 A counties at the end of the championships so were awarded the Joan Hayward Cup for the best in this age group, with four Herne Hill girls playing a great part in ensuring this trophy was brought home.

The Herne Hill Southern Athletics League team travelled to the seaside at Worthing and won the match with a multitude of good performances on another day when the Harriers “development team” being built to support our National League A teams all pulled together to score points in some of their less favoured events as well as their main ones showing true team spirit. Next up is a clash with division table topping Hercules Wimbledon’s Ateam at Tooting on 17th August, which will be a big test of how far the Herne Hill B team have progressed.

Off the track on Saturday a huge performance of note came from Jordan Foster making her ultra-running debut at the big Race to the Stones 100km race and was a fabulous second female and 19th overall out of 1,036 finishers in 10 hours 1 min 34 seconds, an awesome achievement and such a long way to run non-stop at a good pace. Foster said she felt good until 70km (!) and she could actually walk the next day!

On Sunday at the South of England Inter Counties Championship at Ashford Fiona de Mauny bounced back from a disappointing 800m race in Oxford the day before to finish fourth against very good quality 1500m opposition as she challenged younger opponents in a race which was inevitably tactical at a traditionally windy venue. De Maunyalso ran a very decent 4 x 400m relay leg at the end of the afternoon to contribute to the Surrey women’s team match win on the day.

Geoff Jerwood