The first week of the New Year saw a busy weekend of racing for Herne Hill Harriers, with the majority competing in the Surrey cross country championship at Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking on Sunday, with some others at various other county championships around the country.
However, in among all the mud running there was also an indoor 3000m track time set in Glasgow that is the fastest time for this distance ever set by a female Harriers member as Katie Snowden took to the track for the first time in competition since the summer. After a fast start, Snowden found herself racing solo for the second half of the race, finishing an isolated second place in a women’s only race that saw her revise the Herne Hill club women’s record down to 9.13.54. This was Snowden’s first ever attempt at a track 3000m and was used as some racing practice before flying off to South Africa for a training camp as part of her preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in April.
Herne Hill Harriers’ young athletes produced performances of fine vintage at Denbies Vineyard reported separately in Keith Newton’s post. In the senior races at Denbies, Harriers women’s team placed fifth as newcomer Georgie Grgec made her club debut in fine style to lead her team home. Grgec, of New Zealand origin, placed a superb sixth in a strong field of over one hundred finishers. This was an excellent effort in her first cross country race for a few years and her first on a UK style course. Karen Ellison continues to return towards form while managing the injury issues that have frustrated her last couple of years of racing and placed fifteenth, followed in by Fiona de Mauny, who by safely negotiating an 8km race was racing at ten times the distance she will be enjoying on the track indoors this coming Sunday at Lee Valley. The Herne Hill women’s scoring team was closed by Stacy Wheat in thirty-seventh position as the team were close behind fourth place on the day.
A depleted men’s team placed sixth, but all seventeen who turned out raced well over the hilly 12km. Andrew Clarke led the team home by a narrow margin having raced Ben Paviour pretty much throughout the proceedings, as they placed twenty-ninth and thirty-first respectively. Bryn Reynolds had a good run to finish close behind in thirty-sixth, Mohammed Ismail was forty-fifth, Matt Robertson was a mere three seconds and two places behind him while former Surrey champion Dave Taylor scored in the Herne Hill six man team yet again, placing fifty-seventh just two days before his fifty-fourth birthday.
Herne Hill men were in evidence at some other county cross country championship races on Saturday. At the Bedfordshire Championship, Rich Henderson and Simon Coombes were fourth and fifth place, Andrew Warburton was eighth in a strong Notts Championship race, while Alex Hobley was sixteenth at the Warwickshire Champs after illness and Jack Dickenson was sixth in the Under 20 men’s race at the Worcestershire event.