One of Herne Hill Harriers rising star athletes Saskia Millard guaranteed her selection for the Great Britain Junior team to race at next month’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon with a very exciting race victory in the under 20 women’s race at the British Athletics Cross Challenge meet on Saturday, an event which incorporated the European Trials.
Millard was always prominent throughout the two lap race on the mud in Sefton Park and having made her charge to the finish prevailed by a slender one second winning margin at the line at the end of the 4.4km race which she covered in a time of 15:32. Having represented Great Britain at the European Junior Championship on the track during the summer, Birmingham University student Millard is now set fair for her British international cross country debut in the Portuguese capital on Sunday 8th December and is showing excellent form.
Also in the Herne Hill red and black colours at this prestigious event in the domestic cross country calendar was Phoebe Anderson who placed a good 18th among the under 20 women in the same race as Millard. Shortly afterwards the under 20 men’s race saw another good performance from a Harriers athlete as Arlo Ludewicjk travelled from his Manchester University base to finish 32nd in a very strong field.
Much more locally, the Herne Hill men’s HHH A team of Mike Cummings ninth, Andrew Warburton 14th, Angus Butler 17th and Alex Hobley 18th secured bronze medals at Saturday’s South of the Thames 5 mile cross country team championship race in a wet and muddy Morden Park.
Harriers had the second placed men’s B team on the day who like the A team finished behind the very strong Kent AC squad who were unassailable. Some more impressive packing from Jeff Cunningham 37th, Andrew Grigg 38th, Robin Jones 42nd (second M45) and Joe Elliott 44thensured B team strength to provide backup for the A team quartet.
The women missed out on team medals despite good individual runs from Fiona de Mauny 11th, Julia Wedmore 12th, Jordan Foster 24th and Jess Winfield 55th who completed the women’s A team.
On the continent on Sunday morning the Australian twins Nick and Brandon Dewar illustrated their potential as very exciting additions to the Herne Hill men’s squad in recent weeks as they both clocked very strong half marathon times in San Sebastian. The two siblings clocked 69:37 and 70:42 respectively to ensure their qualification for a championship place in next year’s London Marathon.
Off the field of competition on Saturday night a gathering of almost 100 club members enjoyed the Herne Hill Harriers 130th anniversary celebration dinner at the Bedford in Balham. This was an occasion where many long standing stalwarts were reunited together with a good number from the current generation of club athletes with dining and speeches followed by dancing to a live band.
The speakers included Past Presidents Garry Power and Valdis Pauzers, the latter handing over to recently elected current Club President Keith Newton. Inspirational words were spoken by all with probably none more so than those of Great Britain international sprinter Kristal Awuah whose presence for the evening added the star quality of one the club’s most prominent athletes on the national stage and beyond and seemingly helped to generate the high energy that was then displayed on the dance floor until late.