In what has so far been a very good year for Herne Hill Harriers female athletes, Alex Brown made her Great Britain under 20 international team debut on Sunday at the prestigious and high quality annual Loughborough International meet.
Racing against mainly senior athletes and with the slowest personal best time among all on the women’s 1500m start list, Brown ran superbly despite having at least one eye on the A level exams she is sitting this week and onwards and placed 11th of the 14 in a strong race.
Brown’s time of 4.27.10 is a PB which also eclipses the club under 20 women’s 1500m record previously set by Katie Snowden in 2013 by the narrow margin of five hundredths of a second. With some stellar under 20s in the Herne Hill ranks now it is very unlikely that this record will stop there this year and it was fitting that Brown should claim it in her first selection for the Great Britain Juniors team.
At home, a much stronger Herne Hill Harriers team than in the first Southern Athletics League fixture contested an excellent match with Hastings in the second outing at Tooting Bec. The host club were rewarded with an 18 points team victory margin on the day as a follow up to second place in the first match of the league season.
In the men’s sprints Peter Phillips ran 11.3 for 2nd place in the 100m, while Morgan Lewis also came 2nd in 12.0. Tobi Ogunbode won the 200m in a well-judged race where both runners ran 23.7, while U17 Noah Ojumu was a fine 2nd in 23.8, only a tenth off the winner.
Herne Hill had a powerhouse 400m squad with the top 3 in the current club rankings. Phillips and Memphis Ayoade stormed round in 50.3 and 51.3 respectively for a double win, well ahead of their scoring opposition, while David Ryan raced around for a non-scoring 49.3!
The middle distance events saw a treble victory for Angus Butler in his first race since the Shakespeare Marathon. Butler raced to wins in the 800m in 2.01 and 1500m in 4.15, both with well-timed 80m drives for home. He went straight from the 1500m into the Steeplechase to win that as well – a remarkable afternoon. Butler was backed by Steve Pugh in the 800m who came 2nd in 2.11 and Charlie Krammer in the 1500m with 2nd place in 4.21.9; an excellent run on limited training during his exam time.
In the 3000m Eoin Brady debuted for the team running 9.52 for a first time PB. Winning the B string, Eric Dol ran 9.56.8.
Harriers had rare double win in the 400m hurdles with Isaac Ogunlade running a nicely controlled 57.8 and Sam Knight winning the B string in 77.9.
The men’s field events yielded far more points than usual, largely down to the return of our supervet Stuart Thurgood. Team Captain Ayoadekicked off the proceeding with a 1.73m in the high jump while Sam Knight was only 2cm off his best winning the B string in 1.58. Another vet, Keith Newton placed 2nd in the A string pole vault.
Ignatius Abebrese had a magnificent afternoon. He jumped a super 5.92m PB in the Long Jump for 2nd place in his first competition against adults and then in his first ever Triple Jump comp, he won the event with an amazing 12.78m. Lewis supported him with a fine 2nd in the Long Jump with 5.83m.
Thurgood won the Shot with a fine 12.30m, came 2nd in the Discus with 33.90m and had a big win in the Hammer with 50.19m. Des Austin won the B string Hammer with 25.69m and the welcome return of Dejean Marshall saw him win the B string Shot with 10.37m. Nnaemeka Anyamele also returned to club competition to win the B string Discus with 26.44m.
The now established partnership of Alex Tischlerand Garth Francis (v60!!) in the Javelin had a good afternoon. Alex re-found his fire and a super 41.64m for 2nd and his senior partner won the B string in 30.49m.
In the women’s events sprints Esther Fuja was second in the 100m with 12.5, the same time as the winner. Lilian Matamola also impressed with her a strong 12.9 2nd place as well. Michelle Watson and U17 Scarlett Martin also had fine 200m runs with 2nd spots again with 26.5 and 27.3 respectively. Barbara Folayan also ran a sparkling 12.5 in the non-scoring 100m. Nadine Odalakun returned to racing after a long injury to run 63.5 for 2nd in the 400m and Aimee Hargreaves won the B string in 66.0, only an hour after winning the A string 800m in 2.20. Meanwhile her training partner, Helena Page ran another PB of 2.27 to win the B string 800m for another win.
Another supervet, Nikki Sturzaker ran 5.08 for a close 3rd in the 1500m, while returning from injury, Julia Wedmore finished 2nd in the B string with a pleasing 5.18. Monika Gajek clawed back a big early lead on her training partner Stacy Wheat in the 5000m. Gajek produced a sparkling last lap for a 20sec PB to win the A string in 19.29 while Wheat won the B string in a solid 19.36. Katie Balme won the 1500m steeplechase in a time 5.17.3. The qualifying time for the English Schools is 5.17.0, a tantalising 0.3 to try to make up in her next race!
Niyah Costley Long Jumped 4.70m for 2nd place. A position matched by Michaela Mensah in the triple jump with 9.56m. Jen’ae James again dominated her adult rivals with a fine win in the Shot with 10.32m while newcomer SeandelleHaley won the B string in her very first athletic competition with 8.91m. She then won the A string Discus with 21.24m and was then 3rd in the Hammer with 17.79m. Emily Callaghan had her usual strong effort in the Javelin, winning the A string with 33.15m again taking on senior athletes.
At the end of the meeting, the Harriers relay teams cleaned up. A very strong men’s quartet won the 4 x 100m. Cathan Marcell stormed round the lead off leg, Lewis ran a solid second leg, Ojumu set up the win with a great bend and Ogunbode brought the team home with aplomb. The women won with equal style; Vanessa Grant, Matamola, Martin and Fula all ran away from their counterparts for an impressive 40m win.
Unusually there was a mixed long 4 x 400m relay. The Herne Hill A and B teams were first and second in 3.48 and 4.00 respectively. For the A team Odalakun ran 63.1, Phillips ran 51.3, Hargreaves 65.0 and Ryan anchored in a solo 49.3. Page led off the B team in 66.2, Ogunlade ran 53.0, a tired Balme ran 71sec only 4 minutes after her steeplechase win and Ayoade stormed through to grab the B string win with a 49.8 to round off a fine day of competition and seal the team win.
On the roads Herne Hill teams travelled to Sutton Coldfield for the BMAF British Masters road relays and placed a very good 4th in the M55 National championship and 7th in the M45 race.
The M55 A team set off with Vic Maughn working out a gritty 9th for Keith Newton to take over. By the end of his leg, Newton had clawed back four places for 5th overall, handing over to Gary Ironmonger. Despite months out with injury Ironmonger overtook two athletes but was unable to respond to Bristol’s last leg man who claimed the bronze for his team. Ironmonger ran the 9th fastest M55 leg of the day and had given his all.
The M45’s had begun the Herne Hill interest with Simon Coombes’ aggressive running throughout the first leg, handing over a close 2nd, only losing out over the last 400m metre incline. This still deservedly earned him the third fastest M45 leg overall of the day in 16.47 for an excellent performance. Coombes passed on to Jonathan Ratcliffe who kept the team close to the front in 4th at the handover.
Dave Adam stepped out for third leg, but a sixhour car journey from Scotland and took its toll and Ben Paviour took off for the 4th and final leg in 9th place. Paviour stormed to the 7th best M45 time of the day for a more than decent 7th place in a national age group race with the red and black colours proudly on display at this big annual event.
Geoff Jerwood (with considerable input from SAL team manager Steve Knight and Masters team manager Waldy Pauzers