Another Global 1500m Semi-Final for Snowden in Oregon

Photo credit Total Sports
Photo credit Justin Britton

Herne Hill Harrier Katie Snowden raced for Great Britain on both Friday and Saturday evenings in Eugene, Oregon in the World Athletics Championship women’s 1500m.

The Balham athlete was drawn in a disproportionately loaded heat on Friday which was always going to make qualification for Saturday’s semi-final very tough. Such was the depth of quality in this second of the three heats, she found that a battling tenth place still saw her into the next round as one of the fastest six non automatic qualifiers. Indeed her time of 4:06.92 was faster than the winning time in heat one and this meant that following last year’s semi-final qualification at the Tokyo Olympics she now also has World semi-finalist to her name.

Unfortunately her journey at these championships ended the following evening as despite a kinder draw Snowden placed tenth in a big race for the second time in two days, this time clocking 4:08.29. 

Racing against the best athletes in the world can require the best of luck, which hasn’t really been forthcoming. The last weeks leading into this meeting have been far from ideal with an injury in early June followed by Covid later in the month. Snowden’s achievement against this backdrop in particular is immense. She leaves the USA with head held high, having again fully justified her place in Team GB.

In her own post race words, Snowden said “I’m frustrated as I still had high expectations for myself and sad that I couldn’t give my best here when it was needed. I’m glad there’s still plenty of the season left to do better and perform how I know I can”.

Her next opportunity will be when racing for England in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in early August. Snowden will now train at home to top up the physical benefits which will have been derived from having raced twice as many times in two days in Eugene as she had been able to in the previous six weeks before her arrival there. She also takes away some more valuable major championship experience to put to good use in the upcoming championships.

A Herne Hill athlete who with better luck could have been a GB team mate of Snowden this week was instead racing at Stratford on Sunday. Kristal Awuah took advantage of warm London weather to clock season’s best times of 11.30 for 100m and 23.15 for 200m, her fastest of the year so far with following winds within the permitted limits.

Also in a very sunny south London the official reopening took place for the newly resurfaced and refurbished Tooting Bec Athletics Track and Gym track on Saturday.

This was in conjunction with a Southern Athletics League match. VIPs present included local councillors, the local MP and representatives from England Athletics. Harriers’ former President Keith Newton also spoke and some of the Herne Hill young athletes who were English Schools medallists and/or team members from last weekend in Manchester were also invited to attend. 

In the SAL match the combined Herne Hill men and women’s team placed a good second behind Kent AC with a good number of strong performances during a hot afternoon. Men’s A string winners included Isaac Ogunlade 400m 49.47, U20 Oliver Hector 110m hurdles 17.06 and 400m hurdles 52.55 plus both the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay teams. U17 Khalil Sesay won the B string 200m in 22.83, while other B winners were U17 Keeran Sriskandarajah 400m 51.71, M45 Ben Paviour 5000m 16:18.07 and 69 years old Andy Lea Gerrard hammer 14.21m.

In the women’s events Julia Wedmore won the A 3000m in 10.57.74 with Kaitlin Hewitt claiming the B string. There was a a win double in the 2000m steeplechase, with U17s Rosalie Laban first in the A with 8:02.18 and Izzy Peery the B with 8:39.33. Laban had earlier won the A 400m hurdles in 71.1.

Jaydine Robinson and Joyce Kalombo were winners of the A and B long jump with 5.35m and 4.86m respectively. Robinson also won the B 100m in 12.98 and Kalombo the B 200m in 26.79. U17 Victoria Alicante-King won the A shot with 8.40m and another U17 Ye Sung Park the A javelin with 21.05m. Harriers’ 4 x 100m sprint relay team also took the win towards the end of the match.

The previous Wednesday evening saw a veritable PB fest at the Hercules Wimbledon 3000m Night of Races. 

Georgie Grgec was again a star, recording a big PB of 9:09.15. This was a very good follow up to her superb 5000m PB win at Milton Keynes the previous Saturday, albeit there was on this occasion another very good female athlete just ahead of her Grgec’s time elevates her to second on the Herne Hill all time list for female 3000m runners behind Chloe Tighe’s 8:54.90 and leapfrogging no less than a certain World Championship athlete Katie Snowden on this list!

Other PBs on the night came from Max Rose third in race two of the eight with 9:42.57, Ross Brown fifth in race three in 9:26.34. Then George Withers claimed the spoils in race four with a blistering final 300m finishing in 9:05.60 ahead of another good season’s best for M40 Jeff Cunningham who was fourth in 9:08.58 Cunningham was very closely followed in fifth place by Grgec’s excellent run.

Race six featured a PB for Brandon Dewar with fifth place in 8:39.78, then in the next race Andrew Warburton and Lewis Laylee were almost inseparable for the entire 7.5 laps before Warburton finally prevailed by a narrow margin placing eighth in 8:31.69 to Laylee’s ninth in 8:31.93 for two more PBs to round off a fabulous night of races.

In road racing at the Sri Chinmoy 10km road race on Saturday morning in Battersea Park Warburton was again in action to finish sixth in 32:25. Rose was also racing again in 20th with 33:55, followed by M40 Paul Calver 41st in 35:00, Seve Loudon 45th in 35:29 and Jonathan Ratcliffe first M50 in 36:36.

Geoff Jerwood