The track season continues into October as outside events in parks and on common land still present potential problems while pandemic restrictions are in force and Herne Hill Harriers athletes were in action over the weekend at the South London Harriers Middle Distance Race Fest at Coulsdon on Saturday and at the London Hurdles and Middle Distance Open Event in Norman Park, Bromley on Sunday.
The highlight for Harriers’ senior athletes was at the end of Sunday afternoon at Bromley in three of the four 3000m races, with the floodlights on by the end of the meeting. Mike Cummings and Brandon Dewar dominated the A race with Dewar leading until the final 500m when Cummings increased the tempo and his final 400m in under 64 seconds saw him home in a season’s best time of 8:44.66 with Dewar a clear 2nd in 8:49.92, pretty much equal to his season’s fastest.
The next race saw a superb battle for second place between Andrew Grigg and Georgie Grgec with Grigg just about prevailing in the final sprint with his 9:19.71, a mere four tenths of a second ahead of Grgec. The latter, however survived a mid race melee in which both she and Jeff Cunningham (fifth in 9:29.05) had to hurdle over a runner who fell in front of them.
The reward for Grgec was a PB by over seven seconds with her 9:20.11, a time which ranks top 20 in the UK this year and elevates her to third on a strong Herne Hill women’s all time list for the distance behind internationals Chloe Tighe and Katie Snowden and leapfrogging Saskia Millard. Incredibly this was her first track race for two years, indeed her first race in 2020 and after only having raced 3 times in 2019.
Although not happy with his run, Jack Dickenson was a clear fourth place in 9:13.68 in the first race behind Cummings and Dewar, while in the final race of the day Julia Wedmore returned to form with a strong and very well paced season’s best of 10:47.43 as she placed a good third.
The young athletes have been trying to get in as many races as is possible during these unusual times and some raced at both Coulsdon and in Bromley and it was a testament to their level of fitness that many ran PBs on both days. At Coulsdon Jacob Alley returned to racing after almost three years away with a 2:14 for the 800m. Over the same distance new boy Malachai Balogun in his third outing won his race in a new pb 2:18.8.
Evan Cowell New continued his recent form winning his race in a new PB of 2:22.48. U13 Boy Jon Goldston also improved his PB to 2:21.73. In that same age category there were some fine performances from Josh Maguire in 2:28.24, Dylan Gillies 2:40.79 , Alfie Bryan 2:49.49, and Oliver Berry 2:50.45. For the girls Claire van Heel ran her first 800m with a 2:45.47, Sophie Wright a new pb in 2:46.02 and Imogen Weller in 2:46.32.
Still in Coulsdon in the 1500m U15B Keeran Sriskandrajah had a tough race in the 1500m finishing with 4:24.13. Phoebe Bowen looked strong finishing second with a season’s best of 4:49.88. U13G Orla Wright improved her pb to 5:21.67 in only her second 1500m race.
Caspian Holmes arrived at Coulsdon after two hours of football, winning his race and improving his PB by some nine seconds with 4:53.73. Abbey Jeffcoat was in the same race finishing third and continued her remarkable improvement with a new 4:56.05 PB. Jack McLennan won his race just outside his PB in 5:09.17. Like her sister Sophie in the 800m, Lucy Wright kept up the family’s record of a new PB in every race with an eight seconds improvement and a new 5:18.16 PB.
At Bromley on Sunday in the 800m races Zac Crowther ran 2:04 and Sriskandrajah a PB 2:05.89, while Robin Bebbington won a well-judged race in 2:11.79. Diego Lister ran 2:23.65, David Aisa Miller ran a PB winning his race in 2:21.49.
There were PBs for Alex Wilson (2:24.44), Sophia Sahai (2:25.3) and Warren Wilson( 2:27.08) all in the same race. Josh Maguire achieve a four seconds improvement from the day before with a 2:24.83 finishing second in his race.
Holmes again raced after playing football, running a new 2:22:15 PB. Freddie Hake ran 2:26.5, Vivi Marshall 2:39.43 and Eva O’Hanlon 2:42.05. Rosalie Laban and Anna Forster finished first and second in their race with Laban finally getting an elusive PB of 2:35.01 and Forster clocking 2:35.11. Both Sophie and Lucy Wright continued the family PB run with Sophie clocking 2:45.49 and Lucy a four seconds improvement with 2:25.71.
In the 1500m races Fabien Whitelock ran a season’s best 4:51.43 and Alex Jack finally dipped under five minutes with a 4:49.35 PB. Izzy Perry ran 5:08.21, Sophie Jack ran a gutsy 5:34.85 PB after almost pulling out on the start line with a sore gluteal, while in the same race Orla Carroll ran a 5:37.90 PB rounding off a very busy weekend for the Herne Hill athletes.