A trio of teenage Herne Hill Harriers starlets came of age with stellar performances on the national stage.
Ed Olsen and Saskia Millard ended the weekend as national indoor champions in their respective age groups over 800m, while Katie Snowden, another 800m specialist, smashed her own club record and rose to ninth in the Surrey all-time list.
In a remarkable sequence of results from Herne Hill athletes competing across the UK, Hannah Edwards also won a 600m title in Manchester, while on the road Chris Busaileh and Nikki Sturzaker clinched the men’s and women’s titles at the club-organised Frank Harmer 10k in Brockwell Park.
Snowden began Harriers’ extraordinary run of success at an international grand prix in Athlone, Northern Ireland, where she clocked a personal best 2:04.35 in finishing second behind Katie Kirk in the 800m. The 19-year-old’s time is the fastest indoors by a Surrey woman and ninth overall on the county all-time list, and also means she is the quickest teenager over 800m in the UK this year.
Snowden’s lifetime best fittingly came hours after the memorial service for club stalwart Stan Allen, who died on January 1, had taken place at St Michael’s Church, Stockwell. Mr Allen had been a member of the Tooting-based club for 62 years and was a great supporter of the 800m as a race.
Harriers’ extraordinary depth in the 800m was ruthlessly illustrated by Olsen and Millard, as both struck gold at the England Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield. Olsen dominated the U17M final, finishing in 1:56.99, while Millard was triumphant in the U15G race, posting a time of 2:15.12. Maddie Shaw was seventh in Millard’s race, clocking 2:25.
A third medal came when Ade Adeniran stormed to silver in the U15B 60m hurdles. Marvin Popoola was Harriers’ fourth medallist, securing a bronze in the U20M 200m with a run of 21.65. Popoola had earlier impressed in his journey through the heats of the U20M 60m before finishing fifth in a competitive final. Rushane Thomas was fifth in the final of the U20M 60m hurdles in 8.01.
Michella Obijiaku finished an agonising 4cm outside the medals in the U17W shot, but a personal best throw of 11.74m – a huge improvement from her previous best of 10.84m – was enough to finish fourth. Edwards, meanwhile, raced over the unusual distance of 600m at a Sale Harriers open meeting at Sportcity, clocking 1.38.4 in finishing first.
Away from the track, Herne Hill dominated the annual Frank Harmer 10k, with eight club athletes finishing in the top-10. Busaileh led from gun to tape, finishing in 34.01, with Robin Jones in second and Mike Boyle in fourth making up the three team counters for the host club.
Elsewhere on the road, Francis Marsh ran an impressive 73.47 to finish 30th at the Bath half-marathon, with James Mason clocking 74.19 in placing fourth at the Tunbridge Wells half-marathon. Mohammed Ismail, meanwhile, was fourth in 56.58 at the Self Transcendence 10-mile race in Battersea Park. Racing at the Thames Riverside 20, Rob Edwards was fourth in two hours, seven minutes, 32 seconds.
There was also notable success for Herne Hill in local parkruns, with John Tayleur the fastest runner at the Dulwich event in 16.51 and Rob Clark another first place finisher at the Burgess parkrun in 17.27.
Ade Adeniran actually also won a bronze medal in the U15 boys 60m (without hurdles) on 1st March, the day before his silver over 60m with barriers on 2nd March, so he brought home two medals making a total of five national medals won by four different HHH club members.