Herne Hill Harriers’ veteran athletes demonstrated the strength of the club in older age groups in the past few days to add to our often reported younger successes. National medals were won at the British Masters 10km road race championship in the Olympic Park at Stratford, while further afield in Ancona, Italy the club were well represented in the European Masters Indoor Athletics Championship with three of our athletes finishing close to podium positions.
In Italy M35 competitor Stuart Thurgood placed an excellent fourth in both the hammer throw (50.51m) and the 15.88Kg weight throw (16.38m), while Giuseppe Minetti placed fifth in the M45 200m final (24.30 sec after clocking 23.98 in his semi-final).
Harriers’ oldest athlete at the Europeans, M70 Allan Long also placed fifth in his final, the 60m (8.87). Mike Mann qualified for three M65 finals, placing seventh at both 800m (2:42.19) and 1500m (5:27.05) after having kicked off his schedule with eighth in the 3000m (11:35.77). In the women’s events W60 Barbara Macanas was also busy and achieved ninth place in the hammer throw (23.63m), tenth in both javelin (13.23m) and 5.45Kg weight throw (9.04m) and twelfth in the shot put (6.75m).
Back in London at the 10km championship race John Kettle placed third overall in a race that also included younger senior athletes, but claimed a BMAF national silver medal clocking 33:31, Simon Coombes in sixth overall was first M40 in 34:06, while Harriers’ over 55 squad of Mike Boyle (36:35), Tom Conlon and Tony Harran (both 43:00) combined to collect the M55 team gold medals and Boyle claimed an individual medal for good measure. Elsewhere another club veteran runner Jonathan Ratcliffe ran a PB time of 78 minute 11 seconds at the Reading Half Marathon, no mean feat for a man approaching his 49th birthday.