Herne Hill Harriers senior women’s squad demonstrated not only a year on year progression, but impressive strength in depth at the London Cross Country Championship on Saturday at a wet Parliament Hill Fields racing on the iconic course on Hampstead Heath. Despite racing with a completely different team of four to last year’s bronze medal winning team, Harriers’ ladies brought home team silver medals and indeed had six runners all vying to be among the first four to finish in red and black vests and thereby score in our team.
Last year’s team was led by individual race winner, England international Stacey Ward and this year in her absence Herne Hill were spearheaded by Chloe Tighe’s individual bronze medal performance in what was generally acknowledged as a stronger field than twelve months ago. Tighe’s strong run was a nice reward in what was her last race in Herne Hill colours before she will return to her native Australia at the end of this year. The club will miss not only her fast running, but her great sense of belonging to her team.
Tighe was very well supported by the re-emerging Karen Ellison in sixteenth, Fiona de Mauny in nineteenth after surviving a traffic scare that almost led to her missing the start and Steph Mitchell who in placing a superb thirty-eighth closed the scoring A team as she too heads back towards her best form. The scorers enjoyed fabulous backup from Shannon Sinclair, who in forty-third was only overtaken by Mitchell in the closing stages and Katie Kedward also close behind in fiftieth. Zoe Cooke in 80th, Jess Winfield 108th, Zoe Buckland 179th and Sarah Allen 243rd all also completed the tough course on another good day for the club.
It was also yet another successful weekend for Herne Hill youngsters. On Saturday the London Youth Games Cross Country races preceded the Championship races for the seniors. There were a number of top ten finishers from Herne Hill athletes representing their London borough teams. Lois Levy and Oak Buchan both won their respective Under 11 races running for Lambeth, Phoebe Bowen, won a bronze medal in the Under 13 Girls race for Lambeth with Stella Thomas in seventh place. Jacob Taylor won an Under 13 Boys silver for Wandsworth, while also for Wandsworth in the Under 15 Boys race were Charlie Krammer fifth, Jaden Kennedy sixth and Jacob Harrison tenth representing Southwark. Eva Holland was fifth in the Under 15 girl’s race for Lambeth and Alex Brown was tenth in the Under 17 Women’s race representing Wandsworth.
On Sunday at least twenty-five young Herne Hill athletes attended the Camberley Cross Country Open races, once again winning several individual and team medals and three team trophies. Lois Levy completed a remarkable double by winning for the second day running with gold in the Under 11 Girls race with Lily Rose Brown third. Phoebe Bowen won the Under 13 Girls race, Susannah Hirst won the Under 15 Girls race with Tilly Stevens-Cox second, while Jaden Kennedy was second in the Under 15 Boys race and Christo Chilton second in the Under 13 Boys.
Back at Saturday’s London Cross Champs, the Herne Hill men’s A team placed ninth, with Alan Barnes placing thirty-second, Jack Brotchie 106th, Matt Robertson 110th and Jonathan Ratcliffe 141st. This quartet was backed up with Trevor Chilton 216th, John Appleton 259th, Andrew Simms 349th and club president Waldy Pauzers 439th celebrating his home country Latvia’s Independence Day.