Big runs for Katie in Honolulu sunshine and Georgie in Telford snow

Katie with men’s race winner Neil Gourley
Georgie flying through at Telford- photo Graham Smith
Allan Long at Lee Valley

The weekend saw a number of Herne Hill Harriers athletes beat the wintry weather by different means to produce some excellent performance in road racing, indoor track and cross country. 

Katie Snowden was the top woman finisher in the prestigious Merrie Mile on the streets by Waikiki Beach at the Honolulu Marathon weekend.

The GB international had experienced some freezing conditions at altitude in Flagstaff before escaping to Hawaii.

Marathon runners started at 5am on Sunday and the one milers at 7am on Saturday to avoid the heat of the day.

Snowden defeated some high-quality American women in an intriguing race in which the elite men set off 30 seconds behind the women and whoever got to the finish line first took the spoils.

Scottish international Neil Gourley, like Snowden a Commonwealth Games and European Championships’ 1,500m finalist was the overall winner as his 3:56 saw him catch the leading females.

Snowden produced a very strong finish to win the women’s category in 4:27, which is a road PB and a Herne Hill club record for a women’s road mile. She will now head home to Balham for Christmas and to prepare for the upcoming indoor track season.

Georgie Grgec came up with a stunning effort at the Telford 10km road race which attracted a very strong field, especially in the women’s race where despite freezing conditions and plenty of snow in the air throughout, 15 of the first 20 set PB times on the day. None ran a bigger PB than Grgec, who revised her best by an astonishing 81 seconds with her rapid time of 33:00.

Grgec placed fourth in a race which incorporated the England Athletics Championship and maintained her record of delivering in bigger races after winning the standards race at last year’s Highgate Night of the 10,000m PBs and also taking the win at the Milton Keynes 5,000m track races in the summer.

Jessica Craig finished 16th in 34:00, just eight seconds outside her PB. Matt Cartwright set an ever bigger PB than Grgec as he replicated her time of 33:00, albeit starting from a different wave to the elite women. Myles Preston (34:39) and Simon Wade (34:54) also had very good runs.

Allan Long entered the BFFTA indoor series at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre on Sunday.

All masters age groups on the day were grouped together in one race and Long finished seventh of seven in the 60m. the younger veterans pulled him along to beat the existing British masters record of 9.39 for the M80-85 category by a 100th of a second. A truly amazing achievement.

Harriers athletes competed at the South of England Masters Championship on Saturday and some others represented Surrey in the Southern Inter Counties Championships at Horspath in Oxfordshire.

Gaby Reynolds continued her purple patch of form as she claimed the silver medal in the W40 age group and finished second overall in the female veterans race.

Four Herne Hill ladies were in the winning Surrey squad in the senior women’s Inter County race, with Sarah Grover’s eighth place securing her a team scoring place and a gold medal. Jenny Nandi (14th), Grace Leyland (27th) and Julia Wedmore (36th) also raced for their county team.

In the men’s Masters Championship Harriers had a one-two in the M50 category with Ben Paviour winning gold and Simon Coombes silver.

M55 Jonathan Ratcliffe (13th) ensured that team gold medals were won in the M50-59 age group.

Oliver Morrison was seventh M45 followed by another M45 Jon Key. M40 Ian Jack successfully closed in an M40 team in eighth place. Richard Stansfield finished eighth M55, while a M65 bronze medal was claimed by vets team manager Waldy Pauzers.

This Saturday sees the South of Thames 7.5 miles Championship at Aldershot, one of the oldest traditional cross country races on the club calendar.

Geoff Jerwood