Georgie leads New Zealand at World Cross Country Championships

Herne Hill Harriers were represented at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in fine style on Saturday by star runner Georgie Grgec.

Making her international debut on the biggest stage, Grgec ran an aggressive race to challenge some very high level athletes for at least two thirds of the 10km race on a very hot day (27 degrees centigrade during the race). Her excellent 41st position of around 100 runners saw her lead her native New Zealand women’s team to ninth place.

After 7km Grgec was just outside the top 30, but from there her ambition and exertions began to take their toll and the final lap of 2km became a battle for survival, as it also was for many others in the races there. The World Cross is probably the toughest of all of the World Athletics Championship events in depth as it brings together athletes from track and road racing as well as the cross country specialists. 

This was a very proud achievement for the Kiwi born athlete, who has lived in south London since 2018, to make such an impact in her first race for her country at the age of 30. It was a fitting way to end a season which has seen her best performances so far and she will now look ahead to track and road racing this summer.

Another superb performance by a Harrier overseas came from USA university based Annabel Hobday who ran a big PB for 1500m at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin.

Hobday lowered her previous fastest time for this distance by more than seven seconds as she clocked a rapid 4:24.05. Her performance moves her up to seventh on what is a very strong Herne Hill female 1500m all time list and she will now have ambitions to run at least a couple of seconds faster during the track season in the USA and then when returning to London. 

At home, the  Maidenhead 10 miles road race attracted Harriers athletes with Ben Paviour placing 14th overall and second M50 in 55:57, M55 Jonathan Ratcliffe 44th and 6th M50 in 61:00 and Eriç Dol 47th in 61:10. 

The bank holiday weekend also saw the very  welcome reemergence of club men’s 800m holder Arlo Ludewick after a lengthy spell of injury as he raced at the Isle of Man Easter Festival of Running. 

Ludewick was 16th in the 10km on Good Friday in 32:10 and then 21st in the 5km on Sunday in 15:54. In between these two road races he was also 13th in the Peel Hill race as he now aims to return to his full race fitness.

Jenny Nandi was second female at the Whitehead 5 miles road race in Northern Ireland in 30:49 and claimed some prize money, with partner and club mate Jamie Brown racing on ahead for a big course PB of 29:37. 

Geoff Jerwood