Sun then wind, rain, hail and even some thunder, but that didn’t stop Herne Hill as they prepared for the final Surrey League, the girls in Lloyd Park and the boys in Richmond Park. After being huddled in cars and under hoods, everyone emerged and began the gruelling preparation for what was going to be a hard race.
As the U13 and U15 girls struggled around the course, fighting to stay standing, the senior and veteran women began their 5 mile race which involved two long laps through Lloyd Park including the extensive mud which seemed to cover every available part of your body. As they were doing two laps to the U15’s one lap, the course was already nicely churned up, twice over!
The next race was the U15/U17 girls, standing shivering on the start line, nudging each secretively with their elbows and jostling each other ready for the first sprint of their 2.5 mile race. The whistle blew, but the sound was lost in a gust of wind and shouts of “sprint”, “come on” and “go on Herne Hill”. From the beginning there was a cluster of Herne Hill girls at the front, with Saskia Millard leading from the start. As the race became more drawn out you became more exposed to a wind that took your breath away and used other girls as buffers against the strong wind.
Saskia Millard finished 1st with a huge gap with an amazing time of 16:14 which made her overall individual league champion, followed by Alice Setyabule in 5th, then Skye O’Shaughnessy in 8th place and 4th U17 Woman. She was closely followed by Daisy Setyabule 9th , Maddie Shaw 12th, Tatiana Cooke13th, Ella Newton 15th, Olivia Lamont 24th and Florrie Craddock 27th , ensuring all HHH girls finished in the top half of the field and our A and B teams finishing 1st and 3rd For that race and 1st and 4th over the 4 matches in the League…
Then, it was the turn of the U13s with 2 miles to run. Just as they lined up on the start line, it began to pour down with rain, inciting squeals from the waiting girls. The whistle blew, again lost in the wind, and they sprinted off pushing and shoving, Eva Holland leading the pack with a very fast start. Elsa Palmer of Dorking Mole and Valley, lead by about 20m, until Ellie O’Shaughnessy took the lead and stormed through the finish line, beating her by the same distance. Ellie is also the overall individual champion and the U13 girls possible the overall team winners.
After a wet and exhausting race, Kayah Wilks came in 6th, which was followed by Ursula Hall 7th, Amy Miller 10th, Abigail Cunningham 12th and Lily Waldeck-Evans 16th, who are all in Year 6. They were followed by 9 year old Eva Holland 27th out of a field of 47 and who is only in Year 5.
After the successful races, the changeable and extreme weather, everyone piled into the changing room, trying desperately to rid themselves of the mud and cold, so their parents and lifts would let them get into the warm and dry haven of their cars. Those who travelled by tram tried to get rid of the mud, so they would not get as many funny looks from complete strangers and leave trails of mud wherever they went!
By Alice Setyabule