Big Herne Hill runs at the Vitality Big Half Marathon

The Vitality Big Half Marathon in London, starting at Tower Bridge and finishing close to the Cutty Sark was the scene of a big breakthrough run from Herne Hill Harriers second claim athlete Ryan Burling, who is a member of Harriers British Athletics League track and field team and competes for the club in Surrey League Cross Country races. Burling’s superb eleventh place overall and top ten of the British men in a huge field headed by Sir Mo Farah saw him smash his PB by almost two and a half minutes as he clocked a top class time of 66.28 for the 13.1 miles.

Nick Bester improved his lifetime best by an even bigger margin as his clocking of 70.53 in 41st place, a few seconds ahead of established Herne Hill man Chris Busaileh (43rd in 70.59) represented an improvement of well over five minutes on his previous official fastest for the distance.

The Herne Hill men in red and black were very well represented as next to finish was another second claim man Richard Henderson (who appeared in the TV coverage when running with the leading ladies in the race) in 65th with 72.19, followed by Jeff Cunningham 94th in 73.44, Matt Robertson 119th 74.59, Andrew Grigg 138th 75.45, Tony Macdowall 148th 76.02, Mohammed Ismail 319th 81.22, Simon Messenger 374th 82.47, Gavern Newsum 398th 83.19 and Craig Barney 416th 83.35, all of whom finished in the first 500.

Also on Sunday there were some high quality performances in the context of older athletes’ competition at the England Masters Inter Area Indoor match at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre.   Simon Coombes won the M35 3000m in 9.06.80 having led from the gun in his first ever indoor race at the age of 45, so he was giving up to ten years to some of his opponents.

M55 athlete Gary Ironmonger was also racing younger men in the M50 800m and he also adopted front running tactics with a first 400m in 65 seconds before giving way to a couple of M50 athletes. The race winner ran a faster second half of his race for 2.09 while Ironmonger was rewarded with a season’s best of 2.15.31 and should be ready for next weekend’s British Masters Indoor championship at the same excellent venue.

As will Fiona de Mauny who won her W35 400m by a clear margin in 60.61 before later in the afternoon running a 28.3 split in the 4 x 200m relay. Ironmonger also ran a leg for his age group sprint relay team. Allan Long, who a week earlier had set a new British age 75 record for the triple jump with his leap of 8.51m at the South of England Masters Championships won the long jump on this occasion with a best jump of just under 4 metres.

The Herne Hill Harriers organised Frank Harmer Memorial 10k race scheduled for Sunday 4th March was postponed after much snowfall in London before the weekend and this event will now take place on Sunday 25th March in Brockwell Park, with additional entrants now invited to add themselves to the entry list.

Geoff Jerwood