Herne Hill Harriers like all local sports clubs have cancelled all club training sessions due to the escalation of the Coronavirus outbreak and it remains to be seen exactly when athletics and other sports activities will be able to restart.
The club looks forward to resuming later this year once the all clear is given by the government and the national governing body and we wish all of our members and their families and everyone within the local community good health in these unprecedented times.
Harriers athletes enjoyed a superb winter season indoors which normally would generate great anticipation for the summer track and field season and in the circumstances it is timely to reflect on some excellent performances. There are no less than seven athletes ranked number one in their age groups indoors this year as well as having national, area and county indoor champions.
In the younger age groups Dante Clarke was top ranked in the Under 15 boys pentathlon (2,953 points) and long jump (6.33m), in which both he won national, southern and surrey indoor titles. Sophia Sahai was top ranked in the Under 13 girls 1500m (4:58.08) and is also the second ranked in UK parkrun for her age group with 18:21. Zac Crowther was at the head of the Under 15 boys 800m list (2:03.95) and Mabel Smith is first equal in the Under 17 women’s high jump with 1.70m.
Not to be outdone by the younger element the masters athletes were also in top form indoors with Fiona de Mauny ranked first in the W35 1500m (4:45.28) and one mile (5:10.42), Mike Cummings tops the M35 3000m (8:45.89) and Vanessa Grant is first in the W35 60m with a personal best of 7.82.
In all 24 Herne Hill Harriers were ranked in the top 20 in the UK, ranging from the Under 13s to 75-80 age group in track events from 60m to 3000m as well as long jump, high jump and shot in the field events.
The resumption of athletics is awaited with great anticipation, but in the meantime over a weekend that would have seen the South of England AA road relay championships, athletes from Herne Hill Harriers and Belgrave Harriers took part in the first ever virtual, socially distant “12-stage relay” competition.
This was organised between their men’s team captains with Angus Butler rallying the Herne Hill men to run completely independent and solo 5km time trials over the weekend with their times and routes uploaded on Strava. Belgrave mustered 15 runners and Herne Hill 14, with the 12 fastest times posted by each club added together to provide the team race results.
Belgrave emerged as the winners of the challenge with their combined team time of 3 hours 21 minutes 44 seconds for their 12 fastest runners being 1 min 38 seconds faster than Herne Hill.
Butler said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see our clubs compete whilst also clearly showing a respect for the current situation. For those that aren’t runners it can be confusing to hear that running is a team sport. Add to that the more obvious cancellations of huge landmark races that runners spend months of their lives preparing for, it’s clearly so important we try to retain some normality in our routines for physical and mental wellbeing.“
There are already plans for a follow up socially distant contest with Herne Hill taking on South London Harriers and Thames Hare and Hounds over the weekend of 4/5th April if this proves to be possible. This next one includes both a men’s contest taking the fastest 12 male times and a women’s which be decided on the fastest 6 female times.
Geoff Jerwood & Steve Bosley