Herne Hill Harriers update – January 3-4

Herne Hill Harriers’ senior men’s team triumphed in the mud of Lloyd Park on Saturday as they stormed to victory in the Surrey cross country championship.

The six-man team, led by Chris Busaileh in seventh overall, secured a decisive first place, finishing 44 points ahead of Belgrave Harriers.

There were further gold medals for three other Herne Hill teams at Lloyd Park, with the U13B, U13G and U15B squads all clinching victory. Oscar Millard – second in the U13B race – would finish as Harriers’ highest placed individual athlete, while Clarissa Nicholls and Kate Brown won creditable bronzes in the U13G and U17W events respectively. The U17W squad also won team bronze, taking the Harriers’ medal haul to eight.

Elsewhere, Stacey Ward was another individual silver medallist, as she finished second at the Essex cross country championship behind international Gemma Kersey.

However, it was the senior men’s team at Croydon who stole the headlines as they claimed their first win of the cross country season. Behind Busaileh, Lewis Lloyd (ninth), Kojo Kyereme (11th), Alan Barnes (14th), John Kettle (16th) and Tim Elsey (35th) completed the scoring six, ensuring that Harriers went one better than last year’s team silver at Dorking. Behind the scorers, Robin Jones (52nd), Dave Robinson (54th), Alex Hobley (59th), Jonny Muir (67th), Vic Maughn (71st), Deron Fagan (74th), Jonathan Ratcliffe (78th), Tom Conlon (81st), Sean Fitzpatrick (86th) and Sam Knight (97th) ran themselves into the Surrey top-100.

The U13G had earlier started the medal rush, with Lulu King (fourth) closely behind bronze medallist Clarissa Nicholls. Abigail Cunningham had her best run of the season in 14th and Amy Miller closed the scoring team in 16th, followed by Georgie Nunn (18th), Ursula Hall (21st) and Marli Anderson (27th).
Oscar Millard was then a close second in the U13B race as he was agonisingly caught in the final 50 metres. He emerged from the woods with a narrow lead, being chased by old rival Luke van Oudtshoorn of Aldershot, and despite Millard’s efforts to pull away, his rival’s surge up the final hill prevailed. However, Millard led the U13B team to victory, with Mohammed Ali in fifth, Jaden Kennedy in 10th and Jacob Alley in 15th. There were also fine runs from Toby Reynolds (18th), Alex Ferri (32nd), Jacob Solom (36th), Alex Chilton (51st) and Anthony Bartisch (57th). 
In the U15G race, Eloise O’Shaughnessy and Lucy Olsen had a good battle for fourth and fifth places, and led a strong squad to team gold, with Zoe Tompkins and Katie Balme closing the team in 10th and 11th positions respectively, while Tatiana Cooke was 13th and Jemima Hayward-Bhikha finished 25th.
Kate Brown led the charge for Harriers in the U17W event and her individual bronze was matched by team bronze, as Daisy Setyabule (ninth), Alice Setyabule (16th) and Alex Rispoli (25th) closed the scoring quartet. 
The medal chances for the U15B team were scuppered when Mohamed Mohamud dropped out when in second place. Nonetheless, Jonathan Chen had an excellent run for fourth place, with the team of Daniel Craig-McFeely (32nd), Malik Nahaili (33rd) and Thomas Risguard-Asquith (37th) finishing fifth. Herne Hill could not field a full team in the U17M event, but Nathan Bekele and Paul Burgess ran well as individuals to finish seventh and 13th.

An U20M team was also incomplete, but John Tayleur impressed in finishing seventh. A weakened senior women’s squad finished sixth, with Julia Wedmore leading her team-mates home in 20th. Mel Edwards returned from injury to finish 31st, with Ieva Lobaciute (35th) and Steph Mitchell (38th).

Further afield, Mike Cummings finished 14th in the senior men’s race at the Hampshire cross country championship. Simon Coombes was fourth senior man and first M40 at the Bedfordshire championship. Another senior man, Dave Mulvee, was fifth in the Merseyside championship. Racing at the Kent championships, Lily Newton was fifth in the U13G race, while Ella Newton was 14th in the U15G race.

Jonny Muir