Herne Hill club 10000m record for Georgie while Katie leads the UK 1500m rankings 

Photo credit Noble Boutin

Photo credit Danny Easton

Herne Hill Harriers’ female distance racing was in the spotlight in the last week with a club senior women’s record and an Olympic qualifying standard as main headline acts.

The Highgate Harriers ‘Night of the 10K PBs’ meeting was held on Saturday at Parliament Hill. This was an extravaganza of high-level club and world-class 10,000m track races.

The international flavour was illustrated by Georgie Grgec placing fourth in the second of the women’s races behind athletes from Italy, Holland and Greece.

Grgec reclaimed her Herne Hill women’s club 10,000m record by clocking 32:43.18, following Phoebe Anderson’s recent debut run which had first taken the mark below 33 minutes earlier in the month.

Her excellent run was an improvement of well over a minute on her previous track best for the 25 laps as she now seeks to bring her track performances in line with her stellar road and cross country exploits.

There was a strong track season opener for Harriers’ English women’s 1,500m record holder Katie Snowden on Saturday.

Seeking to test her form after completing a block of endurance training at altitude in Arizona, Snowden ran 4:00.89 for eighth place in a stellar field at the Los Angeles Grand Prix meet. This was also an Olympic qualifying time and moves her to pole position in the UK early season women’s 1,500m rankings for 2024.

Her next big race will be over the same distance at this weekend’s Nike Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon.

A handful of other Herne Hill athletes raced at Highgate. Jack Brotchie ran a PB of 32:38.58 for 26th place in race one, Brandon Dewar was 19th of 36 men in the second of the nine 10,000m races in 31:19.67. Lewis Laylee finished 22nd of 38 in the opening race of the day in 32:07.66.

In the third race, which was the first of the three women’s races, debuts were made by Grace Leyland, 25th of 38 starters in 37:58.38 and Jenny Nandi, 28th in 38:15.08.

There were also 800m races for younger athletes and Keeran Sriskandarajah placed 10th in a fast U20 race clocking 1:52.89.

At the Watford Harriers open meeting on Wednesday Sophie Tooley and Lucy Jones eclipsed old 3,000m PBs from their teenage years a decade ago as Tooley clocked 9:43.61 and Jones 9:47.13. Poppy Craig-McFeely finished fourth in the women’s 5000m at the Oxbridge Varsity Match in an inaugural track PB of 17:12.83.

Herne Hill hosted their first Southern Athletics League fixture of the season at Tooting Bec.

Continuing the themes of female middle-distance strength, the women’s 3,000m featured a dominant one-two for Sarah Grover and Megan Gildea.

Grover led for the great majority of the race to win with 10:05.60, close to her PB. Gildea won the B string in second overall and recording a 24 seconds PB of 10:22.60. U17 Sophie Jack won the 1,500m in 4:49.7, another big PB.

On the men’s side, U20s Harry Bell and Charlie Wood won the A and B string 1,500m in 4:23.1 and 4:31.0. Another men’s double first was in the high jump, with U17 Solomon Thompson-Moodley winning the A with a clearance of 1.80m and U20 Oluwafikayomi Awolope the B string with 1.75m.

There was sprint victories for U20 Rikaion Smith (11.2) and Andris Thorpe (11.4) in the A and B string 100m, Shanpy Sealy (22.9) and U17 Fred Hake (22.9) A and B 200m and U17 Ella Rennie won both the A string 100m (12.6) and 200m (25.8).

Joyce Kalombo was the winner of the B string 200m (26.5) and 400m (63.0), with U17 Lily-Rose Brown first in the A 400m in 61.4.

Geoff Jerwood