Wednesday 21st April saw another excellent early season Covid secure track meeting hosted by Birmingham University and the British Milers Club with some very high quality events featuring some of the faster middle distance athletes in the UK. Herne Hill’s top Under 20 Charlotte Alexander followed up her opening track and road 5000m performances with another superb race in her first 3000m of the season on the track at the university where she currently studies.
Racing a field which included the British senior women’s 5000m champion Jess Judd among others, Alexander recorded a big personal best and a European Junior Women’s Championship qualifying time. Her 9:23.01 was only a couple of seconds outside Harriers’ club age group record held by Saskia Millard, now an Under 23, who was the designated pacemaker for this race as part of her own early summer preparations.
Alexander’s previous best was 9:31 and she needed sub 9:30 for the qualifying standard, but finished well within this, placing fifth in the race and now tops the British Under 20 women’s rankings for this year to date at both 3000m and 5000m. Her next race is expected to be at 5000m at the BMC Grand Prix in Manchester on Saturday 8th May where she will hope to achieve the Euro Junior Women’s qualifying time for this distance for a second time, but this time in a race with a female pacemaker rather than a male as was the case in Battersea Park last month, an all female race being a requirement of the GB team selection criteria.
Also in Birmingham Alexandra Brown returned to racing as she ran 4:30.77 for 1500m in another quality race which was won in sub 4:15. This was Brown’s first race since winning a medal at the 2019 English Schools Championship Senior Girls 1500m final and a promising first outing of the summer in a race in which she ran mostly solo. The following evening Eriç Dol ran a PB at the Harrow 3000m Spring Open with 9:31.89.
In road racing over the weekend, five Herne Hill athletes competed at the Run Cheshire Elite Marathon and five came home with PB times. In an event with qualification by time and over 150 finishers, Nick Bester placed 17th with 2:24.04, a PB by six minutes and a good breakthrough performance. Marc Geraghty also clocked a strong PB placing 75th with 2:33.49, followed by Andrew Grigg 100th with 2:38.08. Jenna Wilkinson achieved her target for this race of under three hours with her fine 2:59.00 as she placed 21st woman and Katie Rose was 28th woman, completing a very tough race for her in 3:07.31, a PB by twelve minutes and a visit to the medical tent after crossing the finish line.
Also on the road, Ryan Willmott won the 10 miles road race at the RunThrough Lee Valley Velo Park Races with a PB 56:36, his maiden race win and hopefully many more to come.
A few younger Herne Hill athletes went to the Hercules Wimbledon Break Out Field Events meeting. Under 20 Ignatius Aberbrese won the long jump with 6.30m, with younger brother Nicholas (Under 13) seventh overall and best in his age group with 3.60m. Another sibling, Under 15 Alexander Aberbrese was the winner of the shot, throwing a PB 14.70m, which puts him at the head of the early season UK rankings for his age group. Also in the shot, Under 15 Girl Victoria Alicante-King was a winner, her 12.63m also being at the top of her age group in Britain so far this year.
Herne Hill youngsters were also out in force in cross country in action at the Downs League in Morden Park, an event postponed from December 2020 when lockdown was introduced. Late spring brought firm conditions under foot on a cool sunny day but a sharp wind made sure everyone wrapped up as though it was the middle of winter. Harriers had individual winners in four of the six races namely, Caspian Holmes U11 Boys, Florence Mills U11 Girls, Jon Goldston U13 boys and Izzy Perry U15 Girls.
Others who placed highly included Orla Carroll, who was third in the U13 Girls and Fabian Whitelock seventh in the U15 boys race. In the U11 Boys Luke Attfield placed third, Edward Cunniliffe fifth and Jack Wesley sixth. In the U11 girls race Sophie Wright in fifth place, Sofia Mendes in tenth, Jasmine Nkoso 14th, Emelie Cherel 19th and Alessia Cummings-McClinton in 24th were all running in their first cross country race.
In the U13 Boys race Goldston had support from Warren & Alex Wilson in sixth and seventh, Archie Penniceard eighth, Dylan Gillies 11th, Jack McLennan 13th, Josh Maguire 26th, Alfie Bryan 27th, Felix Marsh 28th and Biruk Cranwell 31st completing the team.
In the U13 Girls Race, Orla Wright was fourth, with a trio of Sophie Jack ninth, Bay Andreadis tenth and Anna Forster 11thfollowed by Lucy Wright in 15th . In the U15 Boys race Whitelock was followed in by Alex Jack tenth, Harry Bell 13th, and Robin Bebbington 18th.
Behind Perry’s stunning win in the U15 Girls Race were Abbey Jeffcoat third, Eva and Grace O’Hanlon fourth and fifth, Vivi Marshall 11th, Rosalie Laban 12th and Imogen Weller in 28th place.
U11Boys were 1st -1,3,5,6 total of 16 Points with SLH on 34 and Epsom & Ewell on 51.
U13 Boys were 2nd -1,6,7,8 on 22points with E&E 1st with 19 pts and Hercules Wimbledon 3rdwith 59 points.
U15 Boys were 3rd -7,10,13,18 with 48 Points. Epsom & Ewell were 1st with 25 points and Hercules Wimbledon 2nd with 32 points.
In the Girls Races:-
U11 Girls were 1st-1,5,10,14 with a total of 30 points, with Holland Sports 2nd with 35 points and Hercules Wimbledon with 42 Points.
U13 Girls were 2nd with 3,4,9,10 and a total of 26 points .Epsom and Ewell were 1st with 18 points and Hercules Wimbledon were 3rd with 47 points.
U15 Girls were 1st with 1,3,4,5 finishing with an impressive 13 points , with Epsom & Ewell 2ndon 40points and Hercules Wimbledon 3rd with 60 points.