Herne Hill Harriers young athletes distance squad took on the cream of the countries distance runners at the weekend in the National Road Relays at Sutton Park Birmingham and returned with a National title and some superb team and individual performances to provide a timely tonic to coach James McDonald who is recovering after a recent operation.
The clubs U15 girls were convincing winners of their race regaining their title last won in 2013 winning by almost a minute to regain their title. Lily Newton ran a super first leg finishing fourth in 14.15 to move the team in close contention and then Lucy Olsen stormed around the course to take the lead and establish an empathic distance to the chasing clubs. Alex Brown, runner up in last years national cross country championship, drew further clear to win by 55 seconds. Lucy’s time of 13.38 was the fastest of the day and our B and C teams both ran superbly to finish 12th & 14th respectively showing the depth we have in this age group.
The U13 girls team ran superbly to win bronze medals in the first race of the day, Rosie Hammond finished a close 10th on leg one which saw a super run from Jessica Tabraham who was 8th on first leg for the B team , Amy Miller was fifth fastest on leg two to pull the A team into medal contention in fourth and significiantly closer to the leading clubs handing over to Maisie Collis, setting off to chase the leaders Maisie had a great battle with the Blackheath & Bromley girl for the medals and held on for third place. All these girls were winning National medals for the first time and the B team of Jessica Tabraham, Eva Holland & Lily Waldeck-Evans ran superbly for fifteenth place. Maisie was fifth fastest girl in the race.
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The U13 boys were in one of the most exciting races of the day. Led off by Toby Reynolds who was sixteenth on leg one Jaden Kennedy ran 13.41, the second fastest leg of the day to move into the lead on leg two and handed over to Jacob Solon with a narrow lead. Jacob held off challenges from the chasing clubs on the hilly first half of the race and then battled with each athlete who caught him & with 400m metres to go we were still in a medal postion but a tremedous surge by Birchfield got them third place and we had to settle for a gallant fourth place. Our B team were an excellent 20th with Jacob Harrison running 14.24 on leg one.
Our U15 boys also finished top ten for our highest ever placing in this agegroup. Ben Harris (13.16) ran a good race on a highly competitive first leg to finish fifteenth and England international Mohamed Mohamud (12.52) moved through to seventh place on leg two handing over to Oscar Millard (13.14) who held on for eighth place.
Our U17s found the going tougher against the top clubs in the country but both teams ran superbly well with the U17 womens team of Ella Newton, Kate Brown and Tatianna Cooke finishing 15th and the U17 men of Laurie Pope, Abel Tadesse & Feysel Nadew finishing 23rd.
Overall the club would have placed amongst the top five clubs on the day given the aggregate placings in each age group highlighting the strength of the clubs youngsters distance training group which augers well for the future.