HHH update – Feb 8-9

Herne Hill Harriers’ Katie Snowden narrowly missed out on a medal as she took on the best of Britain over 800m at the British Athletics Indoor Championships.

The 19-year-old had qualified for the final at the event in Sheffield by clocking 2:06.23 in a fast heat won by Jenny Meadows, a gold medallist over 800m at the European Indoor Championships in Paris in 2011.

But Sunday’s final turned into a tactical affair and after Meadows set the early pace, Laura Muir took the victory in 2:06.04. Snowden’s heat time would have earned her a silver medal, but the slow early pace meant she closed her race in 2:07.60 – 84 one-hundredths of a second behind the bronze medal runner. Snowden would ultimately finish fifth, one place behind Meadows.


Two further Herne Hill teenagers were also in action at Sheffield. After progressing through a heat, 18-year-old Marvin Popoola was sixth in his 60m semi-final in 6.86 in a race won by Croydon’s James Dasaolu. Jessie Knight, 19, was third in her 400m heat, clocking 55.20. Nicholas Atwell, meanwhile, was fourth in his 400m heat in 48.11 in what is thought to be a club record for the distance indoors.

Closer to home, Harriers were competing in the final cross country fixtures of the season before the English national championship in a fortnight. Racing at a muddy Richmond Park, Herne Hill clinched first place in the U13B and U17/15B age categories in division one of the Surrey League, while the senior men finished third. The two junior boys’ squads celebrated victory in the four-fixture league by winning the final match, with U17 Ed Olsen and U13 Freddie Hodgson individual winners.

Herne Hill’s U13 quartet of Hodgson, Mohamed Ali (second), Alex Ferri (sixth) and Ethan Vinton (seventh) comfortably saw off the challenge of Hercules Wimbledon. Harriers were even more dominant in the U17/U15 race, with Billy Black (third), Nathan Bekele (fourth) and Mohamed Ethari (fifth) giving outstanding support to Olsen.

The senior men started the race with an outside chance of toppling Kent AC at the head of the rankings, but the red and black challenge fell away following a rally from not only Kent, but also Belgrave Harriers and Thames Hare and Hounds. Mark Dooley led Harriers home in eighth, with Alan Barnes (13th), Mike Cummings (14th) and John Kettle (19th) finishing in the top-20. Simon Coombes was 30th, Chris Busaileh 43rd and Rob Edwards 55th, before a battle to complete the final three counting places between Tim Elsey (62nd), Mohammed Ismail (66th) and Joe Croft (69th). Harriers’ senior men would ultimately finish fourth in the fixture and third overall in the league this season.

Meanwhile, Herne Hill’s junior girls’ squads matched the success of their male contemporaries, as they also won the U13 and U15 Surrey league titles. Eloise O’Shaughnessy (first), Kayak Wilks (sixth), Ursula Hall (seventh) and Amy Miller (10th) secured the Herne Hill victory in the U13G race at Lloyd Park. Saskia Millard was another race winner in the U15 category and was followed home by Alice Setyabule (fifth), Daisy Setyabule (ninth) and Maddie Shaw (12th). Skye O’Shaughnessy was fourth in the U17G race, with the squad finishing fifth in their respective championship.

Finally, Harriers’ senior women rounded off their season with a third-placed finish at Lloyd Park, matching their final league position. Karen Ellison once again impressed as Herne Hill’s leading woman, finishing 10th, ahead of Sue Swaine (28th), Julia Wedmore (31st), Ieva Lobaciute (37th) and Nikki Sturzaker (66th).

A day after his top-20 placing at Richmond Park, Mike Cummings posted a time of 33 minutes, 14 seconds to finish 24th at the Chichester Priory 10k. Gary Ironmonger was the pick of the parkrun competitors, clocking 17.57 at Brockwell Park to finish second.

Jonny Muir