Club record for Phoebe Anderson, England debut for Jasmine Nkoso & National Masters medals

Herne Hill Harriers athletes of all ages enjoyed a successful weekend, with representation at the prestigious Boston University indoor track meet in the USA, the Schools Combined Events home international in Cardiff, the British Masters 5km road race championship in Battersea Park and the Valencia Marathon in Spain.

Phoebe Anderson studies in New York and went to race in Boston with the aim of continuing her recent excellent form while at the same time trying to shrug off disappointment and a sense of injustice at her omission from the Great Britain Under 23 women’s team for the upcoming European Cross Country Championships in Brussels. 

Although not entirely satisfied with how she executed her race, Anderson clocked a superb 5000m PB time of 15:38.47, which must surely have told the GB team selectors something they should really already have known.

This time also saw her revise her own Harriers club female 5000m track record by 6.5 seconds. Anderson will now be aiming at the US Collegiate indoor season, culminating in the NCAA finals in the early part of next year. Watch that space!

In even earlier stages of what could also be a big athletics career is our under 15 multi eventer Jasmine Nkoso who followed up her South of England age group indoor pentathlon title at Lee Valley with her international debut for England Schools six days later in the Welsh capital on Saturday. 

The England U15 Girls team won the home international, with Nkoso placing tenth overall. This was a very good result, not least because she was one of the youngest girls competing, still being in the first year of the under 15 group. A memorable experience for the youngster from South London which she will be keen to repeat.

The BMAF British Masters 5km championship was held locally on the popular fast road circuit inside Battersea Park. Herne Hill had athletes in all of the age groups up to over 55s and won a good collection of national medals.

Simon Coombes and Nikki Sturzaker continued their fabulous year of racing, both becoming national champions in the M50 and W50 age groups respectively. Both finished sixth overall,

Coombes among the male veterans and Sturzaker on the female field and both finished ahead of even the fastest over 45s in their races. 
Coombes’ time of 15:52 was his fastest for eight years, while Sturzaker’s 18:03 gave her a W50 winning margin of over 80 seconds. Ben Paviour was Herne Hill’s other individual medalist, placing third M50 behind Coombes with 16:09 and these two combined with M45 Ben Millar whose 16:18 saw him agonisingly miss an individual medal by one second, but took home team gold in the M45-54 category.

Sturzaker also led home a winning team as Harriers also won the team title in the W45-54 group. The other team gold medalists were Helen Oldfield 21:24 and Ellen Walsh 24:03.

Another team from the club won bronze medals as Jonathan Ratcliffe’s fourth M55 position in 17:41 led the M55-64 team along with Marc Bebbington 23:05 and Mark Standing 23:27. Another who finished in the top five individuals was M35 John Franklin 16:04, while Oldfield was fifth W55.

A group of more than a dozen Harriers travelled to Valencia to race the marathon on Sunday morning, a huge international event on a renowned fast course and a number of them recorded PBs. 

First man in the red and black colours was Australian Brandon Dewar who clocked a PB 2:25:10, followed not far behind by Jack Brotchie, also a good PB of 2;28.16. Max Rose was close to his best with his 2:37.19 after an injury troubled training build up. 

More PBs were clocked by Alex Russell 2:39.34, then M40 Paul Calver 2:40.09, Joe Elliott 2:41.16 and Alex Lee 2:49.28. The leading Herne Hill female was Ukrainian Alexandra Dzeban who ran her first sub three hours time with an excellent 2:58.04. 

Laura Donnelly clocked 3:12.28, then Sue Swaine ran a PB 3:16.28, Andrew Simms another of the PBs with 3:27.46 and Richard Stansfield 4:11.44 to complete a strong turnout on the continent. 

The day before the BMAF races in Battersea there was the Sri Chinmoy 10km road race which saw Harry Roberts run his first ever 10km, finishing a very promising sixth with 33.27.

Geoff Jerwood