The weekend of competition for Herne Hill Harriers began on a warm Friday evening in Walthamstow with an excellent new club senior women’s 5000m record set by Georgie Grgec, who has made a considerable impact in Harriers teams and has raised some eyebrows with one or two individual performances, but this latest run was on a new level.
In a race with mainly male competitors, Grgec set a consistent pace throughout her 12.5 laps of the track to record a time of 16.18.89. Grgec’s time was fifteen seconds faster than her PB set when winning the South of England women’s title in Bedford and was one second faster than the previous Herne Hill club record held by England road racing international Stacey Ward as the Harriers senior women’s record books continue to be rewritten in 2018. For good measure this was also the fastest 5000m time set by a female to date on the Walthamstow track.
Saturday and Sunday saw the British Championship and European Trails in Birmingham, also in very hot weather throughout a programme of very strong competition. Herne Hill had five athletes in action over the weekend, the highest placed being Katie Snowden, fourth in the women’s 1500m final, one of the feature events with BBC TV coverage on the Sunday afternoon.
Snowden had been highly ranked going into the meeting and finished just outside of the medals in a very tactical final after a comfortable qualification from her heat a little under 24 hours earlier. This top performance in one of the hottest contested events consolidates Snowden’s position as one of the best female 1500m athletes in the country, while just falling short of her main goal of selection for the Great Britain team for the European Championship in Berlin in August. Snowden can nevertheless take positives from the weekend and remains right in the mix in terms of her potential for selection for teams for the biggest events at a continental and world level.
Michaela Obijiaku has set Harriers club women’s records in both hammer and shot earlier this year while competing on the collegiate circuit in the USA. It was in the latter event that she placed eighth in Birmingham on Sunday with a mark of 13.37m, some way down on her best performance over in the States at the end of what has for her been a long season, with indoor competition running more or less straight into the outdoors, which begins earlier across the pond than in Europe.
The other Herne Hill three athletes at the British Championship all raced very well and were all very close to their recently set PBs, albeit none were able to advance through to their finals. Samuel Adeyemi achieved a last ditch qualification for the men’s 400m event with a PB of 47.40 last Sunday at Newham and six days later was again under 48 seconds as he placed fifth in his heat with 47.81.
Marvin Popoola has already won the British Students and Southern men’s 200m titles this season and was only six one hundredths of a second outside his PB when placing third in his heat of the 200m on Sunday as his 21.19 was very close to the 21.13 he ran when becoming the double BUCS student sprints champion (100m and 200m) in Bedford in May.
Lewis Lloyd placed seventh in a strong men’s 1500m heat with a very good 3.47.20 on Saturday, around a second outside his recent best at Watford earlier this month and he will be hoping to set a new PB at the British Milers Club Grand Prix meeting this Saturday at Eltham, where Grgec (3000m) and Snowden (800m) are also expected to race.
Herne Hill will also have teams competing in National League competition this coming weekend, with the men in the British Athletics League Division One at Bedford on Saturday and the women travelling to Liverpool for a UK Women’s League fixture on Sunday.