On a day when the weather was not for the faint hearted, with blustery winds and as the day progressed, heavy driving rain blowing across the South Downs, the South of England Cross Country Championship in Stanmer Park in Falmer, just outside Brighton yielded a fantastic result for the under 15 girls team from Herne Hill Harriers who were crowned as area champions for 2018.
A superb fifth place for star runner Eva Holland led her team to a remarkable victory against the best runners from across the south. Followed in by team mates Poppy Craig McFeely in 20th, Tilly Stevens-Cox in 37th and Isobel Penniceard 43rd, the girls amassed the lowest combined team score of 105 points to take the win by a margin of 14 over the silver medal team. Additional back up was provided by Susannah Hirst who placed 55th to seal a very strong overall showing for the young ladies and their coach James McDonald with richly deserved gold medals.
Harriers under 13 girls missed out on team medals as they placed fourth on the day, through the efforts of Phoebe Bowen, who produced another fine run to place tenth, Hebe Hunter 21st, Stella Thomas 49th and Johanna Nicholson 63rd.
The senior men’s team, although down in overall numbers, performed very well as a unit to place seventh of the six to score teams that contest the main championship. Good running from all of Chris Busaileh 48th, Andrew Clarke 97th, Jeff Cunningham 108th, Simon Coombes 132nd and Andrew Warburton 150th, closely followed by a great battle between Alex Hobley 154th and Carl Delaney 155th to secure the sixth team counter position in which Hobley prevailed.
The Herne Hill under 13 boys team placed ninth, courtesy of Christo Chilton 17th, Oak Buchan 64th, Alex Spaul 115th and David Aisa Miller 126th, while the under 15 boys were 11th team. The best placed individuals in races in which the club were unable to field complete teams were Liv Stillman 28th under 17 woman and in the senior women’s race Georgie Grgec and Karen Ellison were a good 31st and 53rd respectively.
Racing Indoors at the London Senior Indoor Games at Lee Valley Athletics Centre, sprinter Kristal Awuah cemented her position as the top ranked under 20 female 60m runner so far in 2018 as she raced to a clear win in her age group with a cracking time of 7.39 seconds. Awuah will be looking towards international representation this year as she aims to follow up her winning the England under 20 women’s 100m title outdoors last summer and is looking very good so far.
Other Herne Hill athletes to compete with distinction at Lee Valley were senior men triple jumper Julien Allwood, who placed second with a best of the day of 13.99m and Sebastian Wilson Dyer Gough, who leapt to 6.76m for seventh place in the long jump.