Herne Hill teams prominent in cross country relays at Wormwood Scrubs and Guildford

Club team athletics competition over the weekend offered mainly cross country relays championships, with Herne Hill Harriers senior and under 20s at the South of England event at Wormwood Scrubs and the younger runners at the Surrey Championship at Stoke Park in Guildford.

On the fields adjacent to the Linford Christie Athletics Stadium in West London on Saturday the club fielded an A and a B team in the 3 x 3km senior women’s race. The A team placed sixth and the B team were 18th overall and were the third B team to finish.

Both A and B teams were off to a strong start as Sarah Grover handed over in sixth in 11.09 and Ella Newton 11th in 11:36. 20 year old Grace Leyland ran very well to move the A team up a place on leg two in 11:38 and then team captain Julia Wedmore completed the team in 12:01 for a top six finish. In the B team two more young seniors Jemima Hayward-Bhika 13:22 and Jennifer Nandi 13:40 brought their team home nicely for a good show of squad depth. 

The senior men placed 13th in a strong field and for good measure Harriers had a complete under 20 men’s team for the first time at this event, placing 14th in their age group.

The U20 men were Sam Camenzuli 10:28, Jacob Alley 11:14 and George Rates 11:15, who ran around the same lap as the women, while the men raced a longer loop of approximately 4km. The quartet of Mike Cummings 12:12, Jack Dickenson 12:43, Joe Elliott 12:59 and Josh Pewter 13:09, 13th or 14th throughout their race, holding position well.

Also on Saturday Herne Hill contested five races at the Bruce Judd Surrey cross relays at Guildford. With a number of young athletes away on half term holiday Harriers were still able to win one race and had two second places, plus a fourth and a fifth place.

The Under 15 boys team of Oak Buchan 7:38, Freddie Hake 7:51 and Fabien Whitelock 7:21 emerged victorious with Whitelock moving through from fourth place on the final leg with the third fastest individual time in the race overall. Harriers B team of Jon Goldston 7:44, Thomas Tope 8:10 and Oliver Caldicott 9:18placed tenth.

Herne Hill had two teams in the first six in the Under 13 girls race, with Florence Mills 9:03, Sophie Jack also 9:03 and then anchored into second place by the fastest overall leg of the day in her age group from Orla Wright as she clocked 8:27. The B team of Maeve Minielli 9:19, Summer Mackay 9:52 and Emelie Cherel 9:37 finished sixth.

There were similar team finishing positions of second and sixth for Harriers Under 15 girls, albeit the B team contained an athlete who ran twice in the same team, so were deemed to be non scorers according to the race rules. The silver medakl team comprised Orla Carroll third in 8:35, Vivi Marshall moving up to second with 8:32 and India Blakey holding her place with 8:18, the third quickest individual in her category. The B team was Rosalie Laban 9:07, Anna Forster 8:48 and then Laban ran again with 9:34 to complete the team crossing the line in sixth.

In the remaining races Herne Hill teams placed fourth in the Under 13 and fifth in the Under 17 boys, with no Under 17 girls team present. Jack McLennan 8:17, Will Perry 8:50 and Louis Harvie 9:02 were the under 13s, while the U17 team was David Aisa Miller 7:41, Alex Jack 8:05 and Evan Cowell-New 7:57. McLennan ran the second fastest individual time in the U13 boys relay.

Geoff Jerwood