Herne Hill national medals double with British Indoor Championship silver for Snowden and Australia bronze for Tighe

Herne Hill Harriers female 1500m running is currently better than ever in the long history of our club. This was well illustrated over an exceptional weekend during which two athletes from the club claimed senior national championship medals on opposite sides of the world.

Katie Snowden brought home an excellent British Indoor Championship silver medal in Birmingham on Sunday the day after Chloe Tighe had won an unexpected bronze medal at the Australian National Championship racing outdoors on the Gold Coast track which will be the venue at which Snowden will represent England in the Commonwealth Games in April.

Snowden controlled her 1500m heat beautifully from the front to hold off fellow international Hannah England in winning the last race of the day on Saturday in Arena Birmingham. In the final Snowden also raced superbly in the famous red and black Herne Hill colours in a race covered by BBC TV and was beaten only by the in form and experienced World Championship 5000m finalist Eilish McColgan. Snowden can take away some very strong positives from a good performance as well as her first senior national medal in her build up to said Commonwealth Games.

Tighe meanwhile pulled off a big surprise in winning a medal in Australia, where her opposition included three Olympic silver medallists and another strong contender who was defending her national title. Tighe is currently home in her native Australia since Christmas after two years living in London, but retains her Herne Hill Harriers membership and coach. Her fastest time prior to returning to Australia had been 4.18.32, but two weeks ago this was lowered to 4.15.94 when winning the New South Wales title. Next up was the Australian Championship where she qualified automatically from her heat in 4.13.91 (4.18 would not have qualified) and upset the form book to the astonishment of many in finishing third in the final in a brilliant 4.11.12!

Also in Birmingham, Herne Hill’s 18 year old sprinter Kristal Awuah finished a marvellous fifth in her first national women’s senior 60m final in a PB time of 7.36 to increase her dominance at the top of the UK under 20 60m rankings heading into next weekend’s England Indoor Championship for her age group.

Nicholas Atwell raced in the men’s 400m heats with a good time of 48.56 to place third, but this was not quite enough to progress to the semi-finals. Fiona de Mauny made her British Championship debut at the age of 35. A season’s best 800m time of 2.16.37 to place sixth in her heat bodes well for the European Masters Champs in Madrid next month. As well as the oldest, Harriers also had the youngest competitor in the women’s 800m heats as 17 year old Mollie O’Sullivan also placed sixth in her heat.

At the British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) Indoor Champs in Sheffield another Harriers sprinter Marvin Popoola finished fourth in the final of the men’s 60m in a season’s best 6.82 on Friday and then over the weekend won the men’s 200m bronze medal with an indoor PB of 21.52. Julien Allwood placed a good fourth in the men’s triple jump with a season’s best 14.66m and Tayo Andrews cleared 1.85m in the men’s high jump qualifying round.

Sarah Grover made it through to the women’s 800m semi-finals with a couple of back to back 2.17 clockings in her heat on Friday and semi on Saturday and will be an asset to the Herne Hill UK women’s league track team this summer.

On an extremely busy weekend of indoor championships Harriers also claimed nine gold medals at the Surrey County Indoors at Carshalton. Sebastian Wilson Dyer Gough won the senior men’s long jump with 6.75m, while in the under 15 boys long jump Ignatius Abebrese won gold with a best jump of 5.49m. Also in this same age group Clayton Mytil won the 60m hurdles in 9.53 and Kai Broadbent was a clear winner of the shot put with 11.46m.

Long jumping was a rich source of gold at this meeting as under 13 boy Dante Clarke (4.56m) and under 17 woman Ore Adamson (5.73m) were also crowned as county champions. Lakeisha Owusu-Junior prevailed in the under 20 women’s 60m by one hundredth of a second in 7.85, while Sophie Williams won the under 15 girls high jump in 1.45m and Sapphire Haley the under 13 girls 60m, the latter with a championship best performance of 8.08.

Also indoors at Lee Valley at the Southern Counties Veterans AC Championships M55 Gary Ironmonger had a busy afternoon of racing with his treble of 800m in 2.16.42, 3000m in 9.52.99 and 1500m in 4.46.20, while M40 Dan Hallam and M50 Andrew Simms clocked 2.23.81 and 2.30.84 in their respective 800m races.

There were also Herne Hill men in road race action. Simon Coombes clocked 73.51 for second place at the Milton Keynes Winter Half Marathon, just a few seconds faster than Carl Delaney whose first attempt at the distance saw him place seventh in the Hampton Court Half Marathon in 73.54 on a mainly towpath surface. At the Wokingham Half Marathon Joffah Ratcliffe was rightly delighted with recording a PB at the age of 50 with his 77.43 ahead of Jack Brotchie 78.58 and Robin Jones 79.02 with very fine efforts all round.

Geoff Jerwood