Herne Hill’s Fiona de Mauny is a World Masters 800m Champion

The World Masters Athletics Championship was staged in Malaga, Spain from 4th to 16th September across four different excellent venues in the area. Pride of place among Herne Hill Harriers athletes taking part goes to Fiona de Mauny, who on Tuesday was crowned a World Champion, winning the W35 800m final in a season’s best time of 2.10.24, the second fastest time she has ever recorded.

The race went according to plan, with de Mauny leading from gun to tape, stretching out her lead throughout the second of the two laps and producing a strong finish for an emphatic winning margin of three seconds over an athlete with a faster time in 2018 who had actually only turned 35 a week prior to the race.

As impressive an achievement as this victory was, de Mauny was far from finished as she had a full week of races and followed up racing in the 400m and then the 1500m with heats and finals between Wednesday and Sunday.

After safely negotiating her 400m heat in second place later the same day that she had won the 800m final, de Mauny went on to place fourth in the final on Friday with an incredible run for the line which saw her move from last place around the final bend to almost catching the third place finisher. Although fourth can often be a disappointing finishing position, she can be very happy with two PBs as her 58.22 in the final followed a previous PB of 58.46 in the semi-final.

Then came the 1500m on Saturday and Sunday with qualification in second place in her heat in one of her fastest times of the season, followed up by a fabulous run in the final to win her second medal of the championship, this time the colour was silver. De Mauny’s time in the final was another season’s best and as with the 800m her second fastest time ever, 4.37.44, saw Fiona win a fabulous silver medal to go with her gold. A wonderful week was rounded off by running first leg in the Great Britain W35 4 x 100m relay team, her eighth race in seven days.

Another Herne Hill athlete to excel was Simon Coombes who placed sixth in the M45 1500m final and was right in the mix until the last 40m or so with a great competitive effort. Coombes’ time in a tactical race was 4.15.49, only around 1.5 seconds behind the winner, but while his fastest final lap of 62 seconds was quick, there were five other men who ran faster.

Other club members who were racing included second claim man Kojo Kyereme who placed fourth in an exceptionally strong M40 5000m final in 15.05.39, beaten by three very fast Kenyans, but defeating another one in the final few strides as he produced a superb finishing straight.

M70 athlete Mike Mann placed a very creditable twelfth in his 1500m final in a season’s best time of 5.45.06, while Francis Marsh in the colours of Ireland missed out on a place in the M50 1500m final by only 0.08 with his 4.26.59 in his heat. Sprinter Giuseppe Minetti made it through the heats into the semi-finals of both the M45 100m and 200m, running 11.92 in his 100m heat and 12.05 in the semi, plus 24.34 and 24.31 in the 200m heats and semi respectively.

At home in Wimbledon Park on Saturday the Herne Hill senior women and M50 teams were both crowned as county champions at the Surrey Road Relays.

For the women, Helena Corbin, Stacy Macpherson, Katie Balme and Steph McCall formed the winning team with McCall using her experience to move up from fourth to first on the anchor leg in her road racing debut for the Herne Hill team.

Ella Newton and Shannon Sinclair both posted good times in the B team to demonstrate strong depth in the club ranks, despite having a number of faster ladies unable to race at this event. Newton is a Kent qualified athlete, not Surrey, hence her appearance in a non-scoring B team with a time faster than any of the winning A team runners.

The M50 team returned to winning ways with Gary Ironmonger, Mike Boyle, Jonathan Ratcliffe and Derek Lee forming the victorious quartet, while there were also strong runs among the M40 and senior men with Jack Brotchie, Robin Jones, Jack Dickenson and Ed Crowther among those running decent times around the testing 3 miles course, with the M40 team of Jones, Gavern Newsum, Robin Sanderson and Oliver Morrison placing fourth in their age category.

Some Herne Hill young athletes raced at the Will Bolton Memorial Cross Country relays at Sparrows Den in Hayes. The under 15 girls team of Phoebe Bowen, Tilly Stevens-Cox and Sophie Williams placed second, while the under 13 girls team of Roaslie Laban, Annabella Bailey and Izzy Perry were third. The under 13 boys were also third through Fabian Whitlock, Evan Cowell-New and Diego Lister, with the under 15 boys team of Ben Harrison, Joe Roberts and Jacob Harrison finishing fifth in this early season curtain raiser for cross country.

Geoff Jerwood