Katie Snowden makes strong finish to 2023 with 5k road debut

Katie racing in Barcelona

Herne Hill Harriers’ world top-10 ranked 1,500m athlete Katie Snowden rounded off her best year of racing at the highest level with a 5km road debut in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve, writes Geoff Jerwood.

The 29-year-old jumped straight in the deep end, as the Cursa dels Nassos female race saw a successful world record attempt for world road champion Beatrice Chebet, chased home by the other two world medalists from the world event in Riga in October.

In her first race at this distance, Snowden found herself running the entire race in complete isolation, coming home in an excellent seventh place finish behind six top African 5km specialists as she clocked 15:23.

This time ranks her third in the UK for the year and claims both the Herne Hill club and Surrey County records from Georgie Grgec. With the latter also ranked ninth nationally, Harriers have two women in the UK top 10 for 2023, while Snowden also moves to 10th on the UK all-time list.

Nikki Sturzaker travelled to Sheffield last Friday to race indoors at the Run, Jump, Throw & Masters Grand Prix meet. Sturzaker was part of a Great Britain Masters W45 quartet who set a new world age group record in the 4x800m relay in a time of 9:34.25.

This achievement is all the more impressive given she turned 50 during 2023 and was helping to beat a record set by a team of younger runners than herself.

Sturzaker set lifetime PBs at 800m, 1,500m, one mile, 3,000m, 5,000m and road 5km in 2023, all bar one of these being run since her 50th birthday. She tops the UK W50 rankings for the year at 800m, 1,500m and one mile.

Grgec has been included in the New Zealand team for the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia at the end of March.

Harriers had three finishers in the first dozen in the Serpentine Last Friday of the Month 5km road race in Hyde Park, headed by a win for Morgan Roberts in 15:18.

Twin brother Harry Roberts was ninth in a PB  of16:15, while in 12th place was Simon Coombes, whose 16:27 was enough to win the M50 category on the day. Stephen McLeod was 41st in 17:55, M45 Deron Fagan was 55th in 18:16 and M55 Jonathan Ratcliffe just behind him in 18:17.

Geoff Jerwood