Herne Hill Harriers men’s British Athletics League team travelled up to Liverpool in need of a good result in our final match of the season to ensure we avoided the grim spectre of relegation. We needn’t have worried, as despite missing our best two javelin throwers, some of our fastest 100m and 400m runners and a very good 400m hurdler who all usually score very good team points, those present produced a brilliant all round team contribution to finish fourth in Saturday’s match and fifth overall of the eight teams in our division. With the seventh and eighth teams being relegated we can claim to have finished comfortable mid table in the end to preserve our status in BAL National One, the second tier in national men’s club team athletics.
After a solid start in the first three field events we got off to a great start in the track races as Blade Ashby won the 400m hurdles A race in a season’s best time of 52.14, followed quickly by Lewis Lloyd’s clear win in the A 800m race in 1.51.06 and a B string victory by 16 year old Feysel Nadew in a personal best 1.53.99. The fact that our only other event victory also came by way of Ashby’s second of the day, in the B string 110m hurdles race in another season’ best of 14.44 emphasised the true collective team nature of our performance. This included a number of others placing second, third or fourth with a couple more PBs and SBs into the bargain as every single team member’s effort was both valued and valuable to our cause.
Our best placed field eventers were Charlie Maw, who was equal 2ndin the A pole vault, a returning Michael Wheeler and Thomas Ashby (3rdA and 2nd B string shot), Alex Hill-King (2nd B discus) and Tayo Andrews (equal 3rd high jump). Back on the track, Peter Phillips was 2nd in the A 400m clocking 48.43 followed soon afterwards by 3rd in the B 200m in 22.51. Mike Cummings ran a fine 3000m PB of 8.37.52 for 3rd in his A string race, while John Tayleur also ran a PB in the 3000m steeplechase with his 9.58.31 for 5th in his A string race. We ended the match and our league season on a high note as our 4 x 400m relay team of Blade Ashby, Peter Phillips, Michael Dyer and Feysel Nadew placed an excellent 2nd with a time of 3.24.15.
But for our very poor first match result we should have been at least fourth in this division, but fifth was nevertheless a decent finishing position and should give us cause for optimism for the 2016 season.