National XC Championships – Report, Photos & Videos!

(Please scroll down for photos, videos and further links)

Johnny Muir
Herne Hill Harriers’ Alex Brown seized a sensational silver medal at the English National cross country championships at Parliament Hill, while the club also claimed two further silver medals in the team competitions.

Harriers’ U13G and U15G squads were runners-up in their respective categories, with our U13B and senior women’s team finishing just outside the medals in fourth. The senior men were 12th in the nine-to-count competition and 22nd in the six-to-count competition, and an U15B team were 24th.
Individually, Brown – who was also a silver medallist in 2014 in the U13G race – took the plaudits with a stunning second place in her first year competing as an U15, while Oscar Millard also emerged from the mud of Parliament Hill with a top-10 finish, coming eighth in the U13B event despite being hampered by a tight hamstring. Although Harriers had anticipated success for their junior runners, it was the strength of the senior women’s squad that startled team managers, as Stacey Ward (28th) led a remarkable quartet to a place a whisker outside the medals, finishing fourth of 93 English teams.

Following Brown – who was given the same time as Hallamshire Harriers’ Tilly Simpson in third – in the U15G race was Lucy Olsen (22nd), Eimear Griffin (56th) and Tatiana Cooke (59th), ensuring silver medals for the foursome. The U13G repeated the success of their older counterparts, with Clarissa Nicholls (14th), Lulu King (15th), Maisie Collis (21st) and Lily Newton (62nd) making up the silver medal-winning quartet. Despite finishing eighth in the individual race, Millard could not inspire Herne Hill beyond fourth place. Jaden Kennedy was again impressive in 15th, with Mohammed Ali (108th) and Jacob Alley (125th) completing the team. The U15B squad battled to 24th overall, with Mohammed Moham (117st), Thomas Riquard-Asquith (191st), Daniel Craig-McFeely (200th) and Malik Nadali (201st).

The senior women’s fourth place was unprecedented and achieved with a below-par Cathy Ansell battling to a top-50 finish in 47th, giving outstanding support to Ward.  Julia Wedmore followed in 57th in the National – some 40 places higher than her previous National best – and Mel Edwards, who is still on the comeback trail following a foot injury, closed the scoring four in 144th. In the senior men’s race, Jeff Cunningham led the way in 149th, closely pursued by Abdi Madar (162nd) and John Kettle (172nd). The six-to-score team was completed by Tim Elsey (232nd), Simon Coombes (254th) and Ross MacDonald (268th). The nine-to-score team would finish ten places higher in 12th than the six by virtue of good races from Matt Munro (277th), Mohammed Ismail (357th) and Jonathan Lane (485th).

Away from cross country, Hannah Edwards shaved further time off her indoor 800m personal best, as she placed fourth in 2:12.44 in the final of the 800m at the BUCS Indoor Championships in Sheffield. Earlier in the week, a Herne Hill contingent raced on the road in the Armagh International 5k. Chris Busaileh (14 minutes, 44 seconds) was 45th in a stellar field. Mike Cummings (14.57) and Michael Dyer (15.06) were 53rd and 60th respectively.

Speaking after the National, men’s cross country captain Geoff Jerwood said: ‘Although our men’s team result being outside the top-20 in the main six-to-score contest was disappointing, we again illustrated the depth of our squad, as this result was achieved despite the absence of our entire scoring six who placed fourth team at the South of England championship at Brighton a month earlier.
‘We placed 12th in the men’s nine-to-score result and following our superb fourth place at the South of England and some quality road running by three of our best men in Armagh, we should now be aiming to challenge for team medals at the Southern 12-stage road relay championships at Milton Keynes at the end of March. ‘Our aims are to take both our men’s and women’s teams to the next level in the coming months and years, challenging hopefully for area team medals on a consistent basis.’

Super big thank you to all who raced today, not an easy course, there again the National never is and never should be. The 2015 National Cross Country Champs where held at the home of Cross
 Country, Parliament Hill. Our game ladies endured a tough 5 mile 
hilly, muddy course were a few new ladies came of age. Our ladies finished in the highest position that they ever have with
 4th. The HHH R & B’s were brought home by Stacey Ward in a stonking
 28th place, the highest placed lady for many years. Cathy Ansell was
 our second lady home in 47th place, the greatly improving Julia
 Wedmore in 57th, and returning from injury Mel Edwards in a very
 strong 144th. These ladies where supported by our very own hockey
playing Steph Mitchell and first timer Elyse Jenkins in 176th & 177th.
 Natasha Lodge 255th with Mary Setyabule, fresh from her 10k pb last
 Sunday in 273th. Sian Rilstone, who ran 16 miles on Tuesday in 
preparation for her London debut finished a very creditable 441st.

 What a wonderful way to finish the 2014-2015 Cross Country Season,
 suggest we celebrate our success and life at the end of season dinner
 on on 2nd May.
Sarah Allen

Race Results
Telegraph article
Fantastic Video of our U15 Girls – showing Jemima, Katie and Isabella as they run past at the start
Video of U13 Girls – top of hill and finish

(Photos thanks to Anna Waldeck Evans – more photos here and here)
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