The TCS London Marathon was back in its full glory over the weekend, with the big race over 26.2 miles attracting over 40,000 competitors on Sunday and the Mini London Marathon being expanded this year to cater for larger entries of young athletes and moved to the day before the main event on the Saturday.
A good number of red and black clad Herne Hill Harriers athletes completed the distance in very strong finishing times, placing highly among the huge field, while in the junior races over 2.6 miles there was a good representation from club members racing for their London Borough teams in the Borough Challenge, which was incorporated into the British Athletics Road Championship for the best youngsters in the country.
The young star of the weekend was Caspian Holmes in the Under 13 Boys race on Saturday, winning the gold medal in his age group representing Southwark in the Borough Challenge and claiming a superb podium position in the British Championship with his time of 8:29. Holmes was 21 seconds ahead of the next finisher in the Borough race and a similar distance behind the national race winner from Yorkshire & Humberside.
Other Harriers who were very prominent in the Borough Challenge were Florence Mills (Southwark), fourth in the Under 13 Girls race (9:39), Orla Wright (Wandsworth) fifth in the Under 15 Girls (9:15) and Edward Cunniffe (Wandsworth) sixth in the Under 13 Boys behind Holmes. Also in the top dozen in the London Boroughs Under 15 Girls race were Sophie Jack (Lambeth 9:22), Orla Carroll (Lambeth 9:23) and India Blakey (Wandsworth 9:26). The Under 17 Boys race saw Keeran Sriskandarajah (Lambeth) finish 11th (7:58), Harry Bell (Wandsworth) 13th (8:02), Alex Jack (Lambeth) 18th (8:15) and Robin Bebbington (Lambeth) 20th (8:15).
First of the Herne Hill athletes was Irishman Marc Geraghty in 154th in 2:34.48, just two places and one second ahead of Carl Delaney in 2:34.49. Next in was M40 Jeff Cunningham, 320th overall in 2:39.57 followed closely by Ryan Willmott 328th in a PB time of 2:40.11. Ross Brown was 516th in 2:44.40, then came M55 Jonathan Ratcliffe who ran yet another sub 2:50 with his 2:49.50 which placed him tenth in his age group.
Eriç Dol was next in with 2:51.07, just ahead of M45 Ben Millar in 2:51.20. Tom Irish just ducked inside 3 hours with 2:59.55, then Jack Coy clocked 3:06.12, M50 Trevor Chilton 3:08.18 and Pedro Henrique Pinto ran 3:13.58.
First Herne Hill female on the day was Rose Botfield in 3:34.25, followed by Rosie Crampin with 3:39.51, while other Harriers to finish in the humid weather for October included Jonathan Boyle 3:44.12, Ron Obodai 3:35.07 and Joanna Mundie 4:26.19.
A very good overseas performance was logged by M55 Robert Nagorski who recorded 3:17.38 at the Kosice Peace Marathon in Slovakia for an improvement of some 25 minutes over his race in Helsinki last year, finishing 173rd of 1,393 runners.