A trio of Herne Hill Harriers’ teams finished in the top-10 at the national cross country relay championships at the weekend, with the U15G team of Lucy Olsen, Zoe Tompkins and Alex Brown claiming a superb silver medal in Mansfield.
The U13B team, meanwhile, finished fourth and an U13G squad eighth against top-class opposition, but it was the performance of the U15G that proved to be the dramatic highlight for the Tooting-Bec based club.
The U15G race came down to a sprint finish with Basingstoke, Herne Hill and Blackheath and Bromley fighting for the medals. After Olsen put Harriers in contention, finishing fourth on her leg, and Tompkins lifting the team to third, a last leg charge from Brown was ultimately tracked by ex-Harrier Katy-Ann McDonald, who pulled clear in the final 100 metres to win the title for Blackheath. Nonetheless, in the process, Brown had run the fastest lap in the U15G category and Tompkins medalled on the national stage for the first time, while success was achieved in spite of the absence of English Schools’ medallists Saskia Millard and Eloise O’Shaughnessy. To demonstrate Harriers strength in depth, a U15G B team finished 14th and a C team 25th.
The U13B had another exciting race after Mohammed Ali ran well on leg one for tenth place. Jacob Alley kept the team in contention, but Oscar Millard had too much to do going into the final leg after taking over in 15th. Millard charged through the field, moving into fourth with 600m to go and gave chase for the bronze medal, closing the gap with every stride but just failed to catch the third runner by 30 metres. Fourth place was Herne Hill’s highest placing by an U13B team in these championships and Millard was the eighth fastest runner.
The U13G team of Clarissa Nicholls, Lulu King and Lily Newton were also top-ten finishers in eighth place, while a B team was 32nd. An U17W team of Daisy Setyabule, Kate Brown and Alice Setyabule ran well in 20th, and a B team was 45th. An U15B squad finished 45th.
At the senior end, Herne Hill’s men finished sixth at the Reigate Priory Relays, with Alan Barnes running the day’s ninth fastest split. A women’s team was also sixth at the same event; Karen Ellison was joint fastest leg runner.
Harriers’ women’s squad have also been buoyed by the news of the likely return of Stacey Ward. The Brunel University student – who has a 10k best of 33.55 – won the Northala Fields parkrun in 18 minutes, 15 seconds, on Saturday, and should feature in upcoming cross country races for the club.
Please see the Gallery for photos: