No less than 25 Herne Hill Harriers men toed the start line for the Surrey County Cross Country Champs at a very wet and muddy Lloyd Park on the first Saturday of 2015. We celebrated the new year with a fabulous and very decisive team victory, our score of 92 clearly bettering our closest challengers by 44 points. Having made this trophy our own with 10 wins in 11 years between 2002 and 2012, this was our first men’s team win for 3 years.
Our team was superbly led by Chris Busaileh who was 7th in a strong field of 236 finishers, closely followed by Surrey senior champs debutant Lewis Lloyd in 9th, and second claim man Kojo Kyereme 11th and leading M40. Our great packing continued with Alan Barnes fighting off illness to place 14th and John Kettle in 16th, while Tim Elsey did a top job in closing our winning 6 man team in 35th position. We enjoyed fantastic back up all throughout the field from our other men who pretty much ensured that no matter how many scorers could have been counted in a team we would still have received the gold medals.
Although HHH women were not at full strength at the these champs, we still had 11 women racing as Julia Wedmore ran well in 20th position to lead her team to 6th place, chased home by new HHH runner Mel Edwards, who like Julia was returning from injury placing 31st and was well backed up by Ieva Lobaciute in 35th and Steph Mitchell with a storming finish brought home our scoring 4 with her 38th position. In the U20 men’s race earlier in the day John Tayleur impressed with his 7th place finish.
Elsewhere at other county champs races, HHH senior athletes also did their club proud, albeit in most cases they were wearing the vests of their second claim clubs. Pride of place goes to Stacey Ward, who placed an excellent 2nd in the Essex XC Champs at Woodford only 15 seconds behind international Gemma Kersey to reinforce her comeback after long term injury and double surgery to display the courage and talent that will hopefully see her move back on to bigger things given time. At the Bedfordshire Champs Simon Coombes was a fine 4th and best of the M40s in the race, while at the Merseyside Champs Dave Mulvee’s 5th position was very good running and at the Hampshire Champs Mike Cummings was 14th in a strong field.
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