Katie 8th in World after taking Dame Kelly Holmes’ English 1500m record in Budapest

Herne Hill Harrier Katie Snowden finished a superb eighth in her first global championship final in the women’s 1500m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Tuesday.

In the final Snowden recorded her second fastest time only a couple of days after setting an English women’s record in Sunday’s semifinal. The 29-year-old ran three of the four fastest times of her life so far in Hungary and top eight in the world confirms her as a truly world class athlete. She is now racing on a different level after years of progression and follows her fourth place in last year’s European final in Munich. 

When the Balham resident claimed a shock victory at the UK Athletics Championship in Manchester last month, defeating the hot favourite Olympic silver medalist Laura Muir, she booked her place in the Great Britain team for these World Championships.

A big 800m PB at the London Diamond League meeting later in July set her up for even more eyebrow raising results in the Hungarian capital. On Sunday she produced a stunning 1500m semifinal performance in a very loaded race that featured nearly all of the best in the world. 

Following a fast qualifying heat on Saturday, Snowden obliterated her PB on Sunday to clock 3:56.72 having never previously run under four minutes. Snowden set a new English National women’s 1500m record, hitherto held by former double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes. Her breakthrough time elevates her to second on the UK all time rankings behind Scotland’s British record holder Muir.

The first round on Saturday saw the Herne Hill Harrier place fourth in heat 3 in 4:01.15 with the first six finishers qualifying for the semifinals.

When considering that at the time this was her second fastest run ever, Snowden looked comfortable enough to give cause for optimism for a big semifinal run the next day. This would be needed if she was to have any chance in such an inexplicably stacked second semifinal with again only the first six going into the final. 

But this year Snowden has a new found confidence based on knowledge and belief that she has trained better and more consistently than ever before, including altitude camps in Flagstaff, Arizona and in St Moritz. She delivered the performances that reflect the level of hard work she has been putting in.

Her PB time unsurprisingly also sets new Harriers club and Surrey county women’s 1500m records on a whole new level and this was followed with 3:59.65 in Tuesday night’s final to finish eighth.

Kenyan world record holder Faith Kipyegon claimed her third World Championships gold in dominant fashion to take victory in 3:54.87.

Herne Hill’s senior men’s and women’s combined team placed third in their final Southern Athletics League match at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.

As has been the case throughout this season, chances of a higher overall match position were hampered by a number of technical and field events not being filled on the teamsheet.

The Herne Hill sprinters scored very good points with Andris Thorpe winning the men’s B 100m (11.60) and A 200m (23.26), Joyce Kalombo the women’s A 100m (12.77) and 200m (26.46), Alecia Davidson the women’s B 100m (13.12) and 200m (27.50) and Luca Anderson the men’s B 200m (23.53), while the women’s 4x100m relay team also took the win (51.89). Kalombo also won the women’s A long jump (4.88m).

Nathan Latigo (51.35) and Zac Crowther (51.26) were the men’s A and B 400m winners. Grace Leyland was a very emphatic winner of the women’s A 5,000m (18:51.24) and Izzy Perry took the 1,500m steeplechase (5:41.3).

Earlier in the week Herne Hill placed sixth on Wednesday evening in the men’s and eighth in the women’s Rosenheim League Final at Kingsmeadow. 

Daniel Shaw won the men’s scoring 800m in 1:56.55, Jack Brotchie ran 8.58.8 for second in the men’s scoring 3000m and Tony Macdowall 7:44.1 for fifth in the 2000m steeplechase. In the women’s events Steph Ainley won the 1500m steeplechase in 5:15.6 with Jenny Nandi third in the 3000m in 10:41.98. 

In the non scoring races John Howorth won the 800m in 1:55.29, with Simon Wade clocking 2:09.52 and Tom Irish 2:11.98, while in the 3000m Harry Roberts ran 9:38.00.

At the Eltham BMC races on the same night there was a battle royal in the A 1500m race between Thomas Patterson, Mike Cummings and Andrew Clarke. Patterson prevailed in 4:02.03 to Cummings 4:02.06 and Clarke’s 4:02.22 as they finished 10th, 11th and 12th respectively. At the end of the evening Jeff Cunningham clocked 16:03.16 in 13th place in the 5000m. 

Geoff Jerwood