Herne Hill claim County Young Athletes Cross Country medals

The Herne Hill Harriers young athletes gained some reward for what has been a consistent autumn of relay races by winning medals in the Surrey County young athletes relaychampionships held at a rain soaked Stoke Park in Guildford on Saturday.

The recent wet weather meant that the course provided some testing cross country conditions by the time the under 13 boys and girls races were under way and after recording top ten finishes at the South of England road and cross country relays and also at the National road relays both teams ran very well to bring home medals in their age categories.

In the under 13 girls race Rosalie Laban led the Harriers A team off in fifth place, with Eva O’Hanlon improving to second on leg two. Her time was only one second from the fastest time of the day in her race. On an exciting final leg Izzy Perry held on for third place to continue the improvement of the under 13 girls’ team. The B team finishing fifth was a strong demonstration of the depth in this squad.

The under 13 boys’ team of Joshua Lee-Baum, Fabien Whitelock and Oak Buchan placed second in a high quality race having always been in the top three throughout the relay. Lee-Baum finished third on the first leg and then Whitelock moved the team up to second on leg two, a position which Buchan maintained to the finish. The B team in19th provided good backup in this race, while the under 15 boys’ team of Diego Lister, Harvey Kande and Sammy Morgan were seventh in their category.

The seniors had a relatively quiet weekend, but some still good PBs were recorded. The highlight was on Sunday as Jessica Craig represented Northern  Ireland at the amazingly stacked Leeds Abbey Dash 10km road race and ran a PB time by 53 seconds as she clocked 34:40. Craig produced a strong second half to her race as she clocked 17:32 for her first half and 17:08 for her second 5km.

On Friday in Hyde Park Joe Elliott 16:25 finished just ahead of Eoin Brady 16:27, the latter a PB by 18 seconds, at the Serpentine 5km road race as both were to then go on to race well again on Sunday. Close behind them was M45 Simon Coombes 16:34 still shaking off his recent coldand M50 Jonathan Ratcliffe, whose 17:46 again close to his PB as he continues in the form of his life

Brady and Elliott were then back in action on Sunday morning. Brady, like Craig ran under 35 minutes for 10km for the first time, his performance being at the Croydon 10km where he finished in 34:56 on a course which is undulating and less PB friendly than Leeds. Elliott ran the Rugby Half Marathon during a rugby union World Cup weekend and placed second in 76:49 which was a huge PB of around 5 minutes

Saturday’s parkrun action included Herne Hill wins for Mike Cummings, who fared rather better than his favourite football team on Friday evening as he won by more than a minute and a half at Osterley, while Jack Dickenson was first home on Tooting Common, as was Henry Brown in Burgess Park. The latter ran a parkrun PB of 17:09, one second ahead of Myles Preston, both showing they have recovered very well from their PB marathon just six days earlier. Ratcliffe had also run a marathon five days before his Hyde Park 5km performance and then ran well at the Dulwich parkrun the following day where he placed 11th.

This coming weekend the club are aiming to have teams racing in all age groups at the very popular National Cross Country Relay Championship in Berry Hill Park, Mansfield, where the under 17 and under 20 womens teams will be defending the National titles won at last year’s event.

Steve Bosley and Geoff Jerwood