Herne Hill Harriers’ U13 boys won silver at the English Road Running Association Relay Championship on Saturday in the fabulous setting of Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, writes Geoff Jerwood.
Edward Cunniffe ran an excellent opening leg to hand over in third (13:32). Zacchaeus Kelman held this position well (14:04) and then Mini London Marathon star Caspian Holmes stormed into the silver medal position running the third fastest individual leg anchoring the team home (13:09).
The U15 girls were close to the medals as Orla Carroll started the team off well in eighth (14:05), then Sophie Jack moved up to fifth (14:28). Orla Wright finished strongly to bring the team home in fourth (14:11).
In the U17 men’s race Robin Bebbington came 23rd on the first leg (12:22). Keeran Sriskandarajah then came through into 15th (12:44) and Afghan refugee Mori Alimi moved up one place to 14th (12:32).
Harriers had two teams in the U15 boys race, placing 22nd and 33rd. For the A team Archy Atkinson was 41st (13:41), Alex Wilson 18th (13:06) and Fred Hake 22nd (13:47). The B team featured Warren Wilson 30th (13:22), Jack McLennan 31st (14:04) and Dylan Gillies 33rd (14:46).
The U17 women’s team of Rosalie Laban 50th (16:02), Grace O’Hanlon 41st (15:54) and Eva O’Hanlon 33rd 15:39 enjoyed the experience of a national championship event.
The women’s team did well to finish 30th of 67 complete teams given that both Julia Wedmore and Sarah Grover had been unwell in the days immediately before the race.
Wedmore was 38th on the first leg (16:06). Jenny Nandi goes from strength to strength and moved up to 33rd (16:08), then Charlotte Kenyon, who had offered to help fill a B team, found herself in the A team and kept the team 35th (17:43) . Grover used her racing experience to ensure a top-30 position (15:56).
The men were little more than a kilometre away from emulating this as they were lying 29th when Angus Butler sustained an injury to his quad muscle. He very gamely limped home to end up 55th as the team were left to rue what might have been with better luck on the day.
The first five team members had set Butler up well. Lewis Laylee opened in 30th (17:55), then Sam Bramwell 32nd (18:10), Daniel Shaw 31st (18:47), Brandon Dewar 27th (18:19) and Oliver Walker 29th (19:34).
Butler was still able to finish with around 20 teams behind him which, on paper, would not seem too bad for a team who were nearly declined an invitation to this superb event after their result at the recent Aldershot relays.
The much lower key East Surrey League cross country event was held on a sunny afternoon in Lloyd Park, Croydon on Sunday .
Herne Hill won the women’s team award with four in the first eight female finishers, led home by the first woman on the day as Steph Ainley placed 16th overall in an event where the men and women all raced together around an undulating 8km course.
This coming weekend sees the first major cross country league fixture of the season.
The Surrey League is one of the strongest in England, with all due respect to the Lloyd Park meet, which served as warm up preparation for some runners before the big guns come out on at Effingham Common this Saturday.