Herne Hill Harriers enjoyed an excellent turnout of athletes through the age groups at the South of England Masters and Inter Counties XC Champs races in Oxford on Saturday.
Success for the Harriers runners spanned from the first and youngest age group race of the day, in which Christo Chilton led his Surrey County under 13 boys to team gold medals to the final race for all males over 40 where Herne Hill club men won both individual and team medals.
The club M40-49 team took pride of place with team silver medals in a close contest where three finishers in the first eight was somehow insufficient for gold. Simon Coombes ran a fine race to place second overall and also second M45, supported superbly by Ben Paviour who was sixth overall and third M45 and John Kettle eighth overall to form the scoring A team in this group. Raj Paranandi placing 13th, Robert Peacock 29th and James Ward 32nd in their categories provided our M40 backup.
The M50 team were very unlucky not to also claim medals, edged into fourth by just three points and incredibly only six points behind the winning team. Jonathan Ratcliffe led a tightly packed team as the 16th M50, followed in by Keith Newton who ran a canny race in 20th and Derek Lee closing the scorers in 24th. Trevor Chilton in 38th, Andrew Simms was 83rd and Ian Strong 109th also raced for the team.
Nikki Sturzaker was a little disappointed not to claim an individual medal as she was fifth in the W45 age group, but this should not detract from another very good performance in her latest comeback. Patty Gnoato placed 20th W45 and 77 year old John Garber was 54th of the M60s.
Yasmin Marghini and Pheobe Anderson were stars in the under 17 women’s inter counties race, both claiming individual medals with strong performances in second and third place, both leading their respective counties (Marghini for Middlesex and Anderson for Buckinghamshire) to strong team placings.
Poppy Craig-McFeely in 15th place in the under 15 girls’ race closed the silver medal Surrey team in this age category, exactly replicating the individual and team positions achieved by club mate Johanna Nicholson in the under 13 girls event.
In the combined senior and U20 women’s inter counties Harriers were very well represented. Ella Newton was an excellent third under 20 in her Kent county vest, while Zoe Tompkins in eighth and Katie Balme in 23rd were part of the winning Surrey U20 squad.
In the senior women’s race Sarah Grover placed 27th representing Hertfordshire, chased home by Katie Kedward, who had probably her best cross country race to date as she finished 33rd, just ahead of Fiona de Mauny who was in the top 40 and Julia Wedmore who was back racing in a Surrey team vest for the first time since her younger age group days.