Big breakthrough USA race win for Katie Snowden

Katie Snowden produced a storming victory in the USA at the Sound Running Track Meet in Irvine, California on Saturday May 15th. The 27-year-old Herne Hill Harrier finished strongly for her biggest win to date in the women’s 1500m race, in the process securing her target of achieving well inside the Olympic Qualifying Time as she took over two seconds off her PB to clock 4:02.98.

Snowden surprised many, including the ESPN race commentators with her finishing straight charge to the line as she defeated a world-class field, beating runner-up Olympic 800m finalist Kate Grace by just over half a second with Australian Jessica Hull third, former world steeplechase champion Emma Coburn fourth and former world 800m silver medalist Melissa Bishop-Nriagu fifth. 

This stunning breakthrough performance lowers her own Herne Hill club senior women’s record and as well as being an all important for this year Olympic standard elevates her to second in the current 2021 UK rankings for this event behind Laura Muir. 

A delighted Snowden has now returned home to South London after two months of altitude training in Arizona and will now plan some 800m races in preparation for the British Championship and Olympic Trials meeting in Manchester at the end of next month.

Snowden was not the only Harrier competing at this big meeting, as in the race immediately beforehand international sprinter Kristal Awuah also ran her second race of her outdoor track season, having opened her 100m account eight days earlier with a wind assisted 11.62 in Houston, Texas. 

Here Awuah got another early race under her belt as she placed eighth in her event clocking 11.69 with a legal wind this time. Awuah also faced world-class opposition as she progresses and also has the Manchester trials meeting as her first big target for this year.

Other Harriers in much more local racing action included Bryn Reynolds at the RunThrough Battersea Park road races on Saturday morning, where he clocked 33:35 for eighth place on the first wave in the 10km race. His wife Gaby clocked a very good 36:53, which replicates her official PB from 2017 and saw her finish third female overall and first W35. Laura Donnelly also had an excellent race to place tenth female on wave one with 39:56, her first time under the 40 minutes landmark.

In the 5km races in Battersea at the same event, Ryan Willmott lowered his PB to 16:15 in finishing a good fifth place, while Adam Westbury was 17th in 17:27and Jonathan Boyle was 26th in 18:26.

Also on Saturday, Eriç Dol was a superb race winner at the Eastbourne Track Marathon where he ran for 26.2 miles around a 400m track in a PB 2:46.54. Dol has only run 200 miles in the past eight weeks, which is low volume for serious marathon racing, but he has “supplemented” this with cycle rides from London to Bristol and then back again and also an even more epic London to Manchester through the Peak District. A novel approach to running success.

In more track action Jeff Cunningham ran his first 3000m steeplechase on Saturday since pre Covid and recorded a time of 10:45.1, while at the famous four minute mile track at Iffley Road in Oxford Myles Preston clocked 17:37.5 in a 5000m race.

On Sunday Fiona de Mauny raced 800m at a very wet and windy Southampton track and added another race to her season, her time of 2:22.54 in the bank with heavy training and a very recent Covid vaccination as mitigating factors. 

Geoff Jerwood