Herne Hill Harriers athletes performed with great distinction on the testing course at the English National Championships at Donington Park as our club returned to London with bronze medals for the Under 15 girls team, fourth place in the Under 13 girls and sixth in the Under 13 boys and also enjoyed three further top twenty teams including the senior men who placed twentieth.
Harriers’ individual athlete highlight was a superb second place for Alex Brown in the Under 15 girls race. Alex was winning an individual medal in the national championships for the third year running and and ran the first half of the race in tandem with Josie Czura of City of Portsmouth as the pair opened up a 100 metre gap from their nearest pursuers. Going onto the second lap of a tough course Czura broke away but Alex chased her throughout and maintained her advantage of the chasing pack for a well earned silver medal. It was a repeat 1-2 of the Southern Championships the previous month, albeit with Alex much closer on this occasion with the two beating the Northern champion into third place.
Not far behind Alex, Eimear Griffin had a great run to finish twelfth after being one of the early leaders and then battling back in the final half mile and then Katie Balme 39th and Lily Newton 63rd moved through the field in the second half of the race to finish strongly and earn super bronze medals for the Under 15 girls. Clarissa Nicholls ran well for 93rd place and Isabelle Setyabule had her best run of the winter for an excellent 115th place.
In the Under 13 girls we had three girls in the top twenty finishers with Lulu King 11th, Maisie Collis 14th and Rosie Hammond 18th all running superbly. Late withdrawals had affected the squad and Isobel Penniecard, competing in her first national championships and having made great progress this winter was our fourth scorer in 130th place. We came fourth team over 100 points ahead of the fifth team with Katya Millard 272nd and Madeleine Smith-Londono 403rd enjoying their first experience of a national championships on a course which was challenging for everyone.
Jaden Kennedy was a super 10th in the U13 boys moving through the field in the first half of the race and then battling away for a top ten finish in a high quality race. Jaden is in the same age group next winter as are Jacob (50th) and Ben Harrison (87th) who have been ultra consistent all winter. Jacob Alley completed our scoring quartet as third scorer in 67th place with Charlie Krammer 102nd and Jacob Solon 164th both running bravely and comfortably finishing in the top half of the huge field.
In the opening race our under 17 women were a very good fourteenth team with good packing from Kate Brown 96th, Tatiana Cooke 99th and Alice (126th) and Daisy Setyabule (200th) whilst in the U15 boys Oscar Millard had a great run for 24th place supported by Mohammed Ali (69th) and Jamie Krammer (175th) and Alex Chilton (346th) who was handicapped by a sprained ankle in18th place.
We had a number of absentees through injury in other age groups and had incomplete teams in U17 men (Thomas Riguard Asquith 180th) and Callum Barker (194th) U20 men where Billy Black was 98th and an excellent run in the U20 women from Katie Moore in 43rd place.
At the end of the afternoon in the biggest races of the day Stacey Ward produced her best senior women’s National to date with a superb 17th position of 739 finishers, while solid packing by our senior men ensured a top 20 team place among 123 complete men’s teams of six runners to score. 1,730 men finished the race and as ever the start was the greatest spectacle in world cross country racing.