Herne Hill Harriers athletes turned out in force for Saturday’s Surrey League Cross Country races, with 24 runners in the senior women’s race in Nonsuch Park and 29 in the men’s on an incredibly wet Wimbledon Common as the heavens opened mid-afternoon.
Herne Hill had the winning women’s A and B teams of 5 runners each, led to collective victory by the race winner GB international track athlete Katie Snowden, showing that she can also produce a good turn of pace on a longer course with some mud and varied terrain. Snowden ran away from the field on the second of two laps to win by 33 seconds to record her first senior victory in this league
In addition to Snowden, Harriers were also boosted by the presence of England road running international Stacey Ward – now Mrs Ormerod after her recent wedding – in third place. Both of these performances obviously made a big contribution to the winning team score, but all of the Herne Hill women raced superbly on the day.
Fiona de Mauny in 22nd, Sarah Grover 28th and a rapidly improving Katie Balme 29th formed the rest of the winning A team. Julia Wedmore continued her excellent return from injury in 36th, leading Suzanne Swaine 42nd, Nikki Sturzaker 51st, Olivia Zeltner 60th and Lara Langston 63rd to the B team win. After two of the four league races Herne Hill women are lying second in Division 1 and currently have the leading B team at the halfway stage.
Elsewhere in the British Athletics Cross Country Challenge races in Milton Keynes, another female international star in the red and black colours was Charlotte Alexander, who placed an excellent second in the under 20 women’s race and was first of the under 17 finishers as she prepares for the European Trials in Liverpool at the end of this month.
Another Harriers female winner was Johanna Nicholson, who was first in the under 13 girl’s race in Nonsuch Park, leading the team to third place, a team position that also appears to have been emulated by the under 13 boys at Wimbledon the very provisional results so far available.
In the monsoon like conditions on Wimbledon Common, Harriers’ men’s A team placed sixth and the B team were fourth on the day in a ten man per team contest. The men are now placed fifth of the nine teams in the Division 1 standings after two races and were led by Andrew Clarke in 23rd place, despite an ankle sprain.
Clarke was followed in by Mike Cummings in 38th, Richard Henderson 41st, Chris Busaileh 44th, Simon Coombes 52nd, Ben Paviour 56th, Andrew Warburton 64th, Jeff Cunningham 67th, Jack Brotchie 75th and Jack Dickenson 87th to complete the scoring A team.
Andrew Grigg led the B team in 93rd, with Matt Robertson 107th, Oliver Morrison 126th, Raj Paranandi 133rd, Jonathan Ratcliffe 145th, Gavern Newsum 151st, Sam Knight 156th, Derek Lee 157th, Jon Key 166th and Dan Hallam 168th the remaining B team scorers on a day which presented one of the greater cross country racing challenges.
This coming weekend sees the London Cross Country Championship in conjunction with the London Youth Games cross country races, all at Parliament Hill Fields, often called by many the home of English cross country.