Minetti strikes European Masters gold in Venice

After narrowly missing out on making the final of the M50 400m on the Monday, Giuseppe Minettibecame the one Herne Hill Harriers athlete to win a European Masters Championship gold medal three days later on Thursday in Venice.

Minetti run a very hard, committed and fast bend to lead his 200m final and although tiring as he approached the finish line he became a European champion by a very narrow margin. Minetti clocked 24.25, just two hundredths ahead of 24.27 for the silver medalist!

Minetti had earlier in the day been a much more emphatic winner of his 200m semifinal in the fastest qualifying time 24.03 and the day before won his heat in 24.78. Also in the 200m finals on Thursday Allan Long was an excellent fourth in the M75 200m final with a season’s best 30.25, missing out on a medal, but leaving everything on the track in attempting to win one.

Harriers athletes won more European Masters medals on Friday as both Fiona de Mauny and Mike Cummings doubled their collection of silver medals, this time in their respective 800m finals.

W35 athlete de Mauny raced superbly as she placed second in a race she was realistically never likely to win, producing another season’s best after also doing so to win her 400m silver earlier in the championship with her time of 2.12.78. De Maunyagain got her race right when it matters most.

She for the first 500m against the Polish race winner who is still world class at senior level and in doing so completely destroyed the rest of the field, finishing closer behind the Pole than her margin ahead of the third place

Cummings also won his second silver medal in his first Masters Championship meet, racing in the M35 age group. He again finished behind the same Dutch athlete who had won their 1500m earlier in the week, with his time of 1.57.25 seeing him home in a very good second place as both of the Herne Hill middle distance athletes rounded off a very good weeks work. 

Cummings’ wife Penelope also came home from Venice with a European medal as after two sixth places in the short road race walk and the 5000m track race walk earlier in the week, Cummings was 4th in her W40 age group in the long and grueling 20Km race walk on Saturday afternoon in near 30c heat. This result enabled her to claim a richly deserved team bronze medal with the Great Britain Masters women’s race walk team.

Gold was obviously the colour of the week for Herne Hill M50 athletes as after Minetti’s European Masters 200m gold in Venice the Harriers M50 team won the title at the Surrey Road Relays  in Wimbledon Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon which almost matched the Italian venue for temperatures.

The winning team was Gary Ironmonger 16.44, Jonathan Ratcliffe 16.47, Mike Boyle 18.16 and Tom Conlon 17.06, the latter two being iconic Surrey athletes over a number of decades, bringing home the bling. 

The W45 team of Helen Oldfield 19.13, Fiona Nicholson 20.58 and Alexandra Fendina 23.54 also won bronze medals as the third placed team in their category.

The senior men missed medals in a valiant effort in fourth place for the A team as part of a good turnout which saw a B team with runners on the first three legs who were ineligible for the A team as they are not Surrey athletes, a demonstration of improving men’s squad depth

Angus Butler opened for the A team handing over in second place with 14.38 for the 3 miles loop, the fourth fastest overall time of the day). Nick Bester, in preparation for the Berlin Marathon recorded14.54, then Matt Cartwright 15.55, Arlo Ludewick15.31, Henry Brown 15.47 and Eoin Brady 15.57completed the team

The B team were 12th, courtesy of Simon Coombes 15.07, Jeff Cunningham 15.31, Jack Dickenson 15.53, Ed Crowther 16.16, Stuart Morrison 21.23 and Eriç Dol 16.26. The M40 team placed seventh thanks to Fabio Maroni 19.39, Robin Sanderson 17.45, James Ward 18.20 and Deron Fagan 22.41. The senior women’s team, depleted by a number of injuries and other asences finished 10th with a good run for Julia Wedmore 17.52, her fastest on this course, handing over to Shannon Sinclair 19.56, Laura Miles 23.02 and Kate Crawford 22.09.

The day after his road relay run Bester then came second at Run Through Richmond Park Half Marathon, while Jack Brotchie travelled further afield to race in the Copenhagen Half Marathon, a race where the world record was broken. Brotchie didn’t quite beat his own personal best, but his time of 73.43 was the second fastest he has ever run and came after he had also clocked his second fastest 5000m time of 15.35 when racing at the Kent AC races at Ladywell on Thursday evening.

Also at Ladywell Jonathan Ratcliffe continued his recent purple patch of racing PBs in his fifties as he ran 17.31 as a tune up before featuring in the gold medal M50 team at Wimbledon on Saturday.

Geoff Jerwood