Anderson and Marghini star in US College Indoor Track

Phoebe Anderson at British Championship 2021

Yasmin Margini racing in New Mexico

On a weekend when domestic athletics was dominated by national indoor track and outdoor cross country championships, the two stand out performances from Herne Hill Harriers runners were seen in the USA on the collegiate indoor track and field circuit. 

On Saturday under 23 students Phoebe Anderson and Yasmin Marghini both improved on their already strong 3000m racing this year with shiny new PBs as they join British Students champion and fellow under 23 Saskia Millard in the top 20 British women ranked in 2022 so far. For good measure, Marghini’s 3000m best came the day after her 5000m track debut in a good 16:38.87.

Anderson followed up her PB 3000m earlier this month with another sizeable improvement of more than six seconds as she clocked a superb 9:17.12 to place third in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at the Armory Track & Field Centre in New York on Saturday. This time elevates her to tenth in the UK, leapfrogging her club mate Millard who now sits eleventh just a couple of tenths of a second below her. 

Marghini improved her recent 3000m best time by over five seconds with 9:30.76, finishing seventh in the Mountain West Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico to currently rank 20th in the country. Marghini’s run was within 24 hours of her 5000m performance on Friday and with both runs at almost 5,000 feet altitude at the same championship meeting. Marghini’s 5000m time puts her ninth is what is a very early year 5000m ranking list.

It is exciting to have such young athletes coming through, with all having raced well at both cross country and indoor track so far this winter and the promise of greater success to follow.

At the British Athletics Indoor Championship in Birmingham, the sole Herne Hill representative was sprinter Michael Miller, whose fourth place in the men’s 60m heats in 6.94 wasn’t quite enough to qualify him fore the semi-finals, but gave him valuable national championship experience.

Giuseppe Minetti traveled to the European Masters Indoor Championship in Braga, Portugal and placed 8th in the M50 60m in 7.66, then 5th in the 200m in 24.44 and was part of the M50 4 x 200m relay team who brought home silver medals. Minetti ran faster in his semifinal races in both the 60m and 200m for a very fine weeks work.

Outdoors the main event by far was the English National Cross Country Championship held on the iconic course at Parliament Hill and saw thousands of athletes racing across all age groups. The senior women’s and senior men’s races alone had over 1,000 and over 2,000 finishers respectively on a gloriously sunny Saturday over very muddy ground.

Herne Hill’s highest placed individual on a day of very competitive fields, was Poppy Craig-McFeely who was 15th in the Under 20 women’s 6km race as she overcame recent illness and injury niggles to produce an excellent run. Next highest finisher across the races was Phoebe Bowen who was a good 46th place in the under 17 women’s 5km race.

Harriers best team position came in the Under 15 girls 4km race, in which Orla Carroll 58th, India Blakey 79th, Vivi Marshall 80th and Eva O’Hanlon 92nd combined to finish as ninth team on the day. Grace O’Hanlon was also in the top 100 placing 97th, only four seconds behind her sister. The under 13 girls came 11th in their 3km race, the scoring quartet being Sophie Jack 70th, Lily Kitto 99th, Florence Mills 100th and Summer MacKay 175th.

The boys found the going and the opposition tough, but the under 13s finished 14th team in their 3km race thanks to Caspian Holmes 62nd, Jack McLennan 82nd, Matthieu Ladure 109th and Alfie Bryan 120th, while the under 15 boys were 19th over 4km, courtesy of Oak Buchan 58th, track star Keeran Sriskandarajah 79th, Alexander Wilson 132nd and Fabien Whitelock 243rd. The under 17 men’s team were 23rd through David Aisa Miller 217th, Alex Jack 238th, Harry Bell 247th and Evan Cowell-New 266th.

The senior teams turned out well with the women placing 20th of 104 complete teams, led home by Natasha Lodge 108th, followed in by a trio of under 23 women as Katie Balme came home from Exeter University to place 113th, then Grace Leyland 132nd and her fellow St George’s student Jennifer Nandi completing the scoring in 287th. Just one place behind was a returning Fiona de Mauny as a total of 13 Herne Hill women finished.

The men had 31 finishers and placed a very solid 23rd of 133 complete teams in a huge field of which at least 2,087 finished and a good number were unable to do so on an attritional course. Andrew Warburton was first of the red and black clad athletes to cross the line in 200th, with Brandon Dewar next in 239th.

Herne Hill’s third man was Ben Paviour who will be 50 years old later this year, finishing a good 300th, chased home by Jack Hillier 315th, Jeff Cunningham 317th and Eion Brady completing the scoring six runners in 352nd, just ahead of Arlo Ludewick in 353rd. Another who turns 50 this year is Simon Coombes, also finishing in the first 400 in 395th place.

In road racing at the Serpentine Last Friday of the Month Hyde Park 5km Julia Wedmore was first female in 18:50, Jonathan Ratcliffe second M50 in 18:21 and Mike Boyle first M60 in 18:29, while on the Wednesday eveningSophie Harris was first female in the RunThrough Battersea 5km in 17:02, while in the 10km Ross Brown was sixth in a PB 33:54, Ratcliffe was first M50 in 36:55 and Tom Foster ran a PB 39:17.

In Sunday’s Wokingham Half Marathon M45 runners Raj Paranandi and John Kettle ran 73:25 and 74:16 respectiveky, with Paranandi’s time a PB by around a minute.

Geoff Jerwood