Katie wins in Poland with her first sub-two 800m while Herne Hill youngsters excel

Katie in Oregon- Photo credit James Rhodes
Fred Hake National medal winner
Thrilling sub 4 finish at Tooting BMC – photo Steve Gardner

Katie Snowden followed up her superb fourth place in the European Championship women’s 1500m final in Munich by smashing her 800m PB and breaking two minutes for the first time.

Racing in Szczecin, Poland on Wednesday evening, the 28-year-old Herne Hill Harrier ran 1:59.72 to defeat Pole Angelika Sarna with a stong finish. This was a landmark performance to go under the two minutes barrier, having run 2:01 or 2:00 for the past eight seasons, apart from her injury ravaged 2019.

Her PB by more than a second sees Snowden become the 29th British woman to go sub-two and the first female from Herne Hill Harriers to do so. She therefore set a new club women’s 800m record and also a World Championship qualifying time for Budapest 2023.

Although Snowden has moved up to fourth in the UK women’s 800m rankings for 2022, she still regards 1500m as her main event, and a few days later she travelled to Lucerne to place fifth of 14 on Tuesday in a world class 1500m field.

Poor weather conditions, cold with torrential rain shortly before the race quite literally put a dampener on anticipated fast times, but Snowden claimed some good scalps of faster women on paper and ran closer to her PB than the majority of the field with her 4:06.72 in a race won in 4:04.94.

Three current members of Snowden’s first training group as a youngster at the club under coach James McDonald raced at the England Athletics Under 15 and Under 17 Championships at Bedford over the weekend, along with some sprinters and a shot putter. 

Two Harriers brought home national championship medals as on Sunday Fred Hake won silver in the U15B 300m with 36.94 and Ella Rennie a bronze in the U15G 200m in a PB 25.49. Hake was close to his PB while Rennie’s new best time was into a headwind of -1.4 metres per second. Rennie was also sixth in the U15G 100m the day before with 12.68 after a 12.59 clocking in her semi-final.

Other Herne Hill finalists at Bedford were Alexander Abebrese fifth in the U17M shot with 13.21m, Lucy Wright seventh in the U15G 800m in 2:20.30 and Lily-Rose Brown eighth in the U15G 300m in 44.00. Wright had run 2:15.59 the previous day and had clocked a very good PB of 2:13.52 at the big Tooting Bec BMC meeting on Wednesday evening. Brown had won her heat on Saturday in 39.84.

Closer to home on Saturday, the Herne Hill girls team won the Lily B Plate final at Sutton with a convincing victory despite having many absentees due to family holidays or being at the National U15/17 Championships.

This season has been difficult as the Tooting Bec track was closed for over three months for resurfacing, meaning recruitment and development has been lower than usual years especially on the back of the previous Covid restrictions. However, this has picked up well since the track has reopened in early July. 

Many newcomers took part in their first ever competitions and performed very well to cover as many events as possible to make good contributions to a very good win by over 70 points from the host club Sutton & District.

There were triple wins from U13 Jasmine Nkoso in the sprint hurdles, high jump and shot and a double win from Rosalie Laban in the U17 80m hurdles and 300m hurdles. Individually the outstanding performance came from Victoria Alicante King in the U17 womens shot with 12.80m.

Back to Wednesday evening, the new Tooting track witnessed an amazing BMC meeting which featured some genuine world class performances which might only have been dreamed about when this fixture was conceived. These included several ground records and at least as important a very smoothly run event held for the benefit of the all of the athletes covering a good range of levels.

This was testament to the huge amount of work put in by meeting organiser Keith Newton and his army of officials and volunteers and to those who came to support a fantastic series of middle distance races.

Those present were privy to seeing two men run sub four minutes for a mile – Americans Hobbs Kessler 3:58.73 and Eric Avila 3:58.74 were only one hundredth of a second apart at the finish. There was also saw a sub two minutes female 800m from Taryn Rawlings, also from the USA with 1:59.36 and the men’s 800m was won in 1:46.19 by Australian Charlie Hunter.

The Harriers athletes all enjoyed being part of such an event. Daniel Shaw won the C 800m in a big PB of 1:56.37, with Mike Cummings second in a season’s best 1:57.00.  In the mile Brandon Dewar ran an excellent 4:13.27 to place eighth in the sub four minutes race, clocking a 1500m split of 3:56.86 en route. Georgie Grgec was third in a good quality women’s mile race with a PB 4:41.52, her 1500m split of 4:22.09 also being a PB. 

In the B mile Joe Elliott was fourth in 4:41.49, with a 1500m of 4:23.66 Ross Brown ninth in 4:45.62 and 4:27.19 and Seve Loudon tenth in 4:47.25 and 4:26.72. In the A 5000m race Sam Bramwell ducked under 15 minutes with 14:59.95 for third place, George Withers was tenth in a PB 15:56.33 and Jeff Cunningham 14th in 16:25.92. 

In the B 5000m Ronan Tanguy was fourth in 16:42.91, George Melville fifth in 16:50.63 and Jenny Nandi ninth in 18:48.93 who also ran good PBs to round off a fabulous night on the Herne Hill Harriers local track.

Geoff Jerwood