Saskia Millard wins team gold medal with GB U20 women at Euro Cross Championship in Lisbon

The biggest event on the global athletics calendar last weekend was the European Cross Country Championship on a very challenging hilly course in Lisbon screened on the BBC red button on Sunday.
Herne Hill Harriers were represented in the second race of the day, the under 20 women’s race over 4km as Saskia Millard made her Great Britain cross country debut. Millard ran an excellent race as she won a team gold medal with her individual placing of 11th against the best from the continent. 
Following on from racing for the GB under 20 women’s team on the track during the summer this was further international racing experience for Millard and as she was the second British team scorer of four on the day she can reasonably expect some more outings in those British colours.
Another immensely talented under 20 athlete from the club Alex Brown also enjoyed a very good result at the Oxbridge Annual Varsity Cross Country race in Wimbledon Common on Saturday placing a close fifth in a very strong field for this event in which the leading finishers all broke the old course record. 
While Brown who studies at Oxford was close to home in Wimbledon a good number of Herne Hill athletes were racing at Horspath, just outside the university city over more tough, muddy and hilly terrain. At the Southern Masters XC Champs there was a strong squad of 15 HHH vets contested the M40-49 and M50-59 age categories with former club president Valdis Pauzers the sole M65 representative. 
The M40 team of Ben Paviour, John Kettle and Simon Coombes were fourth, sixth and seventh in their team age bracket to claim silver medals missing team gold by one single point! Paviour was also second and Coombes third M45 to take home individual medals.
Also in the medals was Steph McCall who in placing tenth scored in the Surrey women’s A team who won silver medals in the Southern women’s Inter Counties XC championship at the same venue. McCall was joined in the Surrey teams by Helena Corbin who in 27th scored for the B team who were 5th overall, Julia Wedmore 32nd and Fiona de Mauny 44th. 
Annabel Hobday and Jemima Hayward-Bhika represented the Surrey under 20 women’s team running together with the senior race, while in the younger Inter Counties races Tabitha Brown claimed a silver medal in the under 13 girls race where Lily-Rose Brown 11th and Rosalie Laban 25th were part of the bronze medal Surrey county team. Eva O’Hanlon also placed 23rd, but like Tabitha was declared for the Surrey B team which placed 6th overall. In the under 13 boys race Oak Buchan in 13th and Fabien Whitelock 14th were in the Surrey team which won silver medals on the day.
Back with the Masters, Herne Hill M50’s were fifth team, with the scorers being Gary Ironmonger sixth M55, Joffah Ratcliffe tenth M50 and club president Keith Newton closing the team as tenth M55.
The red and black hoops did not stop there as Matt Munro was 10th M40, Gavern Newsum placed 20th M40 and Ollie Morrison was 26th M40, followed in by Trevor Chilton 18th M50, Vic Maughn 18th M55, Andrew Simms 26th M50, Tony Harran 23rd M50 and Rob Nagorski 26th M55 with a real demonstration of club strength in depth. 

In road racing on Sunday there was an excellent run by Lewis Laylee at the Telford 10km where he recorded a very good 32:12, a PB by just over a minute, followed by Raj Paranandi who smashed his PB with 33:15, an improvement of 54 seconds on his previous fastest time. Elsewhere near Guildford Fiona de Mauny placed fourth woman at the Hogs Back road race on Sunday morning the day after racing for Surrey at Horspath.


Geoff Jerwood