Huge Breakthrough for Saskia Millard with GB European trials win

Saskia Millard inthe womens 3000 metres race at the British Miler Club Watford Grand Prix at the Woodside Stadium, Watford.
Picture by Nigel Bramley


The hottest day of the year so far also saw some of the hottest middle distance competition to date at the British Milers Club Grand Prix meeting at Watford, which assembled some of the very vest domestic fields ever seen in graded races ranging in distances from 800m to 5000m and steeplechases featuring some top British international team members.

The races attracted the highest level British athletes and the men’s and women’s 3000m events incorporated the trials for the Great Britain Juniors team for the European Athletics U20 Championships in Boras, Sweden from 18-21 July.

Saskia Millard of Herne Hill Harriers chose the trial race to make her debut at the 3000m distance and made a huge breakthrough to place second overall in the women’s event and as the first under 20 finisher was the winner of the European trial.

Millard’s time of 9.20.82 is a new Harriers club under 20women’s 3000m record to add to the 1500m record she set in May for the same age group. It is also well inside the qualifying time that should hopefully see her selected for the GB Juniors team to race in Sweden.

If selected, Millard would be another addition to the Herne Hill ranks of female middle distance athletes to represent GB Juniors this year following Charlotte Alexander in the World Cross Country Championship in March and Alexandra Brown at the Loughborough International track and field meet in May.

Like another Harriers female international Katie Snowden, Millard also grew up in Balham, South London and came through the club young athletes ranks. Millard is now coached by GB international Hannah England’s husband Luke Gunn at Birmingham University. Gunn has carefully resurrected Millard’s training and racing after several years of interruptions due to past injury issues and now looks to fulfil the early potential she showed when coached in the younger ranks by club coach James McDonald.

Also at the Watford races Mike Cummings ran a season’s best 1500m clocking a good 3.55.88, while Alexandra Brown ran 2.14.38 for 800m, closely followed in the race by Masters champion Fiona de Mauny with 2.15.20. Ella Newton recorded 4.38.19 for 1500m with Phoebe Anderson also close behind with 4.39.77.

Northern Ireland senior international club memberJessica Craig came in with 9.54.07 in the same race in which Millard placed second. All of these athletes experienced a phenomenal middle distance track meet.

At the Herne Hill open meeting at Tooting Bec athletics track earlier on the same day, some selected performances included Andrew Warburton’s solo 800m win in 2.00.26, chased home by Arlo Ludewick whose final 200m in around 30 seconds saw him overtake everyone else to clock 2.02.37. Jack Brotchie also ran negative splits to record 2.09.38 in the B 800m race, with Steve Pugh running 2.10.29, Eriç Dol 2.11.18.

Just behind the men in the 800m B race Helena Corbin elevated herself to the top of the Harriers female 800m rankings for 2019 so far with an outdoor PB of 2.12.54.Corbin followed this up with a season’s best 400m tocurrently also lead the club 2019 women’s list so far for this event with her 59.92.

In the 3000m at Tooting Myles Preston ran a PB of 9.46.92, while a great battle of the Herne Hill Masters saw Gary Ironmonger run 10.18.47, Jonathan Ratcliffe a PB of 10.19.96, Gavern Newsum 10.20.01 and Victor Maughn 10.36.41 on a very hot afternoon where athletes and officials are congratulated for promoting another very efficiently run meeting.

Earlier in the week the Herne Hill Master track and field teams took control in both the men’s and women’ssections of the Southern Counties Veterans League Mid London Division with excellent turnouts and a very enthusiastic and competitive spirit which saw them win both matches in Battersea Park on Monday evening. Both teams from the club now lead the division with one match remaining at Perivale this month and now aim to qualify for the League Finals in September.

Geoff Jerwood