Katie Snowden finishes fifth at European Indoor Championships

Herne Hill Harriers’ Balham resident Katie Snowden represented Great Britain over 1,500m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul in her fourth successive major championship in the space of nine months.

On Friday morning Snowden placed an untroubled third in a heavily stacked first heat in which the first six athletes all went through to the final, albeit only the first three were guaranteed automatic qualification.

Her time of 4:08.27 was quick for an indoor heat and set up a much-anticipated final which included three British women and with Laura Muir seeking to become the most decorated British athlete in European Indoor Championships history.

Muir duly claimed her fifth such title on Saturday in 4:03.40. Snowden ran a fine race to finish fifth in 4:07.68 behind Muir and three athletes who all set personal bests, with silver medallist Claudia Bobocea of Romania 0.36 seconds behind the winner.

Snowden was the best of the rest and finished well ahead of recent British Indoor Champion Ellie Baker, but expressed a little disappointment that she couldn’t get into real medal contention on the day.

“I fell short of what I wanted, but it shows you are making progress when your expectations are getting higher,” she said. “Fifth is still up there, but I need to make that next step and get on the podium. I just didn’t have the legs – it wasn’t that I made silly moves or didn’t go with it when I should have as I really couldn’t.”

This has nevertheless been a successful and exciting indoor season with some key learnings and big positives including a strong 3,000m PB and an English women’s indoor one mile record in the USA. The summer will come with keen anticipation of further success.

Harriers’ top female distance racing prowess does not stop with Snowden, however, as Sunday morning saw another outstanding run from Georgie Grgec. With her best yet in a recent string of excellent results at a national level, Grgec finished fourth woman in a very elite field at the Trafford 10km road race in Manchester with a breakthrough performance.

She recorded a 45 seconds PB of 32:15 and was beaten only by British internationals Samantha Harrison and Jess Judd and Commonwealth Games athlete Beth Kidger. Running a sub-16 minutes second half of her race, Grgec also finished one place ahead of the previous week’s National Cross Country champion Sarah Astin of Belgrave Harriers as she now establishes herself as one of the strongest 5km and 10km females in the UK.

The Trafford race also saw a good PB for Herne Hill’s Australian Brandon Dewar, whose clocking of 30:50 was his first sub 31 minute 10km, placing 65th out of more than 1,600 runners.

Closer to home on Saturday morning in Battersea Park there were more excellent runs at the Mad March 10km. Lewis Laylee took a clear 19 seconds win in 31:45. Jenny Nandi was second female in a PB 37:55 as she continues her good form.

M55 Jonathan Ratcliffe put in a weekend racing double with 36:43 for fifth over 50 in Battersea and then ran 84:35 in the Dartford Half Marathon on Sunday as he continues his London Marathon preparations.

Also in Battersea James Brown ran 38:43 and W40 Suzanne Swaine clocked 39:47 as she also builds towards the London Marathon.

The Surrey Indoor Championship in Carshalton yielded a large haul of county medals for Herne Hill sprinters, jumpers and throwers, including six gold medals.

Jaydine Robinson won the U20 women’s long jump with 5.12m, Niyah Costley the U20 women’s 60m in 7.51 and Joseph Johnson Cole the U17 men’s 60m in 7.11. Pyale Wifa took the U15 girls long jump with 4.75m, Alex Abebrese won the U17 shot with 12.16m and Zico Blake took the spoils in the U15 boys long jump with 5.60m. Blake also won bronze in the U15 boys 60m with 7.46.

Jasmine Nkoso had a busy weekend winning three U15 girls silver medals and a bronze. Her second place results came in the long jump with 4.39m, the shot 9.65m and the high jump 1.45m. Her bronze was in the 60m hurdles in 9.75.

Myles Copeland-Naulty also claimed a silver medal in the senior men’s 60m in 6.94 and Dante Clarke came second in the U20 men’s long jump with 5.88m.

Harriers bronze medallists in addition to Blake and Nkoso included Rajay Robinson in the U20 men’s 60m in 7.04, Maison Dillon in the U17 men’s shot, Sam Fuller in the U15 boys long jump with 4.98m and Maliyah Boothe in the U13 girls long jump with 3.85m in her first ever competition.

At the East Surrey League cross country fixture in Lloyd Park the Herne Hill young athletes were in good form again winning the boys team award on the day with U17 Harry Bell claiming an individual win and fellow U17 Alex Jack placing third. Archy Atkinson was ninth overall and second U15 boy followed in by Thomas Clerkin 11th and first U13 boy and Edward Cunniffe 12th and second U13 boy.

With the indoor track and the cross country seasons now coming to a close the focus will switch towards the road relays in the spring and the outdoor track and field in the summer.

Geoff Jerwood