England women’s record for Katie Snowden & Surrey League titles for Herne Hill teams

Balham’s Katie Snowden has made a storming start to her indoor track racing campaign.

After clocking a Herne Hill Harriers club women’s 3,000m record in Boston recently, Snowden repeated this strong form seven days later to finish a much closer third behind race winner and British number one Laura Muir and with another big PB.

The setting was another World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meet, the 115th Millrose Games at the Armory track in New York on Saturday.

Snowden’s time of 4:21.19 in the showpiece Rudin Wanamaker Women’s Mile was not only another Harriers club record but elevates her to third on the UK all-time list for the women’s indoor mile and is also a England women’s indoor one-mile record as the two athletes above her on that list are both Scottish.

Her mile time is inside the qualifying standard for 1,500m at this year’s outdoor World Athletics Championship in Budapest in August and her split time going through 1,500m of 4:03.98 is a qualifying time for the European Athletics Indoor Championship in Istanbul next month. This 1,500m clocking has only ever been bettered by one English female athlete to date, Dame Kelly Holmes.

Next up will be this coming weekend’s UK Indoor Championship in Birmingham where Snowden is on the entry list for both the 1,500m and 3,000m, but is likely to opt for the former with those heats on Saturday evening and the final on Sunday afternoon.

Herne Hill teams claimed league titles in three age groups as the Surrey League cross country season drew to an exciting climax. The senior women, U15 girls and U13 boys all came out as overall winners on cumulative points scores. The combined U15 boys and U17 men were also team winners on the day, but fell 10 points short of winning their league.

The Herne Hill senior women were in the biggest cliffhanger of the day going into the fourth and final race with a very slender 13-point lead and with closest rivals Kent AC pulling out all the stops at their disposal in their own hunt for glory. The Harriers’ A team prevailed as they secured a one point team win on the day. They were crowned as league champions by 14 points over the four races.

Georgie Grgec was again a clear individual race winner and by her most emphatic margin of the three league races she had run, an impressive 71 seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer. Gaby Reynolds (W40) produced her highest placing to date in 10th, as did Grace Leyland in 13th. The A team was closed in by ever-present Jenny Nandi in 21st and team captain Julia Wedmore (22nd).

Grgec was the first individual overall with her three wins from three attempts, the award going to the scores of the best three performances from the four league races.

The women’s A team featured only seven different runners over the four-race season for a scoring team of five runners per race. Olympian Snowden won the opening fixture, the other who was unable to be there on Saturday was Sarah Grover, who was a A team scorer in the first two races.

This really was club team racing at its finest, further illustrated by the back-up provided by a winning B team of five on the day, with the Harriers squad finishing the series as second B team overall. Natasha Lodge (24th), debutante Jen Clancy (31st), Suzanne Swaine (40th), Karen Ellison (41st) and another Surrey League first timer Sophie Gunning (52nd) were the B scorers on the day.

The U15 girls had a much more comfortable win over their four race series with some really strong efforts throughout the season. On the day their league championship was secured by Lily Kitto in third place, Sophie Jack (fourth), Martha Brennan (10th) and Lily-Rose Brown (11th).

Orla Carroll was unavailable to race on this occasion, but was vital to the overall league win as she finished second in the individual standings for her strong performances in the other three league races.

The U13 boys were first team, both on the day and overall as league champions. Star runner Caspian Holmes was a serial winner as, just like Grgec in the women’s team, he won on Saturday and was first in all three of the four races he was able to attend. He therefore won the individual award.

Saturday’s winning team comprised Holmes, Lucas Heath (third), Edward Cunniffe (fourth) and Thomas Clerkin (sixth) for a very clear win. Cunniffe was also second in the overall standings for the best three races of the four.

The combined U15 boys and U17 men’s team did their best to close the gap on the leaders with a great win in the final match. A strong win on the day came courtesy of Mori Alimi (second), Robin Bebbington (third), Harry Bell (sixth) and Archy Atkinson (18th). They had to settle for second place in overall team standings, but Alimi was third in the cumulative individual scores for the season.

The senior men’s team have had a tough season in which a number of absences have meant that anything more than a mid-table challenge in an exceptionally strong Division 1 would have been unrealistic. The squad is rebuilding though for the upcoming road relay championships, the summer track and for next cross country season.

On Saturday the A team was seventh of the nine teams on the day to secure sixth place in the final league table. The scoring 10 were Brandon Dewar (25th), Carl Delaney (33rd), John Franklin (47th), Daniel Shaw (48th), M40 Jeff Cunningham (51st), Ronan Tanguy (61st), Simon Coombes (63rd, first M50), Matt Cartwright (68th), M45 Raj Paranandi (75th) and Joe Elliott (95th). The men’s B team of the next ten finishers in red and black also placed seventh on the day.

Geoff Jerwood