California Dreaming for Snowden with USATF Golden Games win

Herne Hill Harriers Great Britain international middle distance runner Katie Snowden opened her outdoor track season with a resounding race win at the prestigious USATF Golden Games at Mt San Antonio College in Walnut, California on Sunday.

At a meeting featuring many leading world athletes, the women’s B 1500m race was held around 3am UK time over five hours after the A race and Snowden produced a superb front running victory in a time of 4:06.06 which would have placed her well in the faster earlier race.

Snowden took the race by the scruff of the neck and struck out on her own for the final 700m after the pacemaker dropped out and she enjoyed a commanding race win, recording her second fastest 1500m time to date and her quickest since her last PB year 2017. The strength of her run was illustrated by a final winning margin of over seven seconds with her sub 64 seconds final lap being the fastest of the race. 

Having spent the last two months training at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona after racing for Team GB at the European Indoor Championship in Poland in March, this was a clear indication that she is now in very good racing shape.

Snowden will now look forward to her next race over in the States this coming weekend, where if she is included in the A race will be a good opportunity for her to aim to clock an Olympic Games qualifying time before the GB Olympic Trials meeting at the end of June.

Locally the weekend kicked off on Friday evening in Battersea Park for the Under the Lights 5km road race which proved to be something of a PB fest for the Herne Hill runners. Fastest among the fourteen Harriers in the results was Nick Bester, “fresh” from his marathon PB only twelve days earlier, producing another best for him over this shorter distance, with 14:53 on the clock.

Close behind on the same wave was Lewis Laylee with a PB 14:56, then Carl Delaney was a couple of seconds outside his best with 15:06. Andrew Warburton and Jack Brotchie ran PBs of 15:15 and 15:23 respectively and Jeff Cunningham’s 15:49 was a road PB for him. Joe Elliott with 15:53 was another PB, while Bryn Reynolds was the only Herne Hill wave winner of the evening on the very first one as he clocked 16:14

Jack Dickenson ran 16:25 followed in by more PBs from Josh Pewter 16:28 and Jonny Whittall 16:32. M45 Robin Jones showed good pace judgement to run 17:00, with Sophie Harris following up her first race as a club member last Saturday with 17:12. Julia Wedmore ran 19:08, also on an early wave to complete a strong turnout on the night

Saturday afternoon saw half a dozen racing at the Aldershot track and field open meeting where the wind against the final bend and home straight made a mockery of any attempts at fast times and tactical racing soon became the order of the day. In the circumstances the times clocked by Lea Adamson 18:06.2, Joe Fenwick 16:02.9 and Ben Paviour 16:51.2 in the 5000m races and then Fiona de Mauny 4:55.9, Chris de Mauny 5:00.3 and Poppy Craig McFeely 4:49.8 in the 1500s were worth rather a lot faster than these results would otherwise suggest.

Later in the day at the Trafford BMC Grand Prix meeting Saskia Millard was chasing a European Under 23 women’s GB team 5000m qualifying time, a target also made more challenging by the Manchester weather and again her season’s opener of 16:48.19 proved to be an early marker to be improved on next time out, when she will hope that conditions are far more conducive to the production of a performance she will need to record. A very encouraging first track race of the year for her after a winter of rehabbing from an injury sustained at the end of last summer at the British Championship.

Geoff Jerwood