Southern Cross Country Relay medals for Herne Hill athletes

Sarah Grover, Annabel Hobday & Julia Wedmore

On Saturday Wormwood Scrubs Park played host to the South of England Cross Country Relay Championship, where Herne Hill Harriers were represented with at least one complete team in seven of the ten age groups. The club teams brought home team medals in four of these races.

The senior women’s A team finished a superb third to claim their medals near the end of the day, following the successes of the Under 13 boys with sliver and the Under 15 boys and Under 15 girls who both also won bronze.

The U13 boys were agonisingly close to winning gold. After Zacceheus Kelman handed over in third place on the opening leg (6:57), Tommy Clerkin then ran into the lead on the next stage (7:02). Herbie Clark (7:41) then held onto the lead on the last leg only to be overhauled in the until the final 50 metres of the 2km lap run by each of the boys in this age group. 

The women took third place in what was numerically the best contested race of the day with 41 complete teams and were beaten only by Aldershot and Thames Valley Harriers who are both traditionally strong. 

800m track runner Annabel Hobday ran well to set things up on the first 3km leg as she came in fourth (10:36). Julia Wedmore bounced back from a couple of weeks of illness to retain fourth (11:07), then Sarah Grover moved into a bronze medal finish (10:54). Hobday’s time stood up as the fifth fastest and Grover’s the eighth best individual time overall. 

The U15 boys won their bronze medals courtesy of Warren Wilson sixth (6:35) and Fred Hake up to fourth (6:39), before Alex Wilson came through strongly to finish third (6:27). 

The U15 girls also raced around the 2km lap for the third team placing. Orla Wright started them off on fifth (7:18), Sophie Jack remained in this position (7:24), then Orla Carroll (7:09) passed two runners to claim third and more medals for the red and black clad athletes.

The U17 men’s team placed sixth of 29 teams with Mori Alimi seventh (9:39), Alex Jack sixth (9:59) and Keeran Sriskandarajah sixth (9:55) and the U17 women were 11th of 23 teams with Rosalie Laban 19th (12:53), Izzy Perry 17th (12:32) and Vivi Marshall 11th (12:21).

The men’s team of Mike Cummings, Andrew Georgeson, Ryan Willmott and last minute replacement M55 Robert Nagorski acquitted themselves well to finish ninth. Cummings was sixth on first leg, Georgeson and Willmott both seventh and then Nagorski hung on to a top ten position.

The high quality Leeds Abbey Dash 10km road race on Sunday morning was run in monsoon like weather. Two Harriers this finished in the first four in the M45 category. Raj Paranandi ran a lifetime PB of 32:51 for third and not far behind him John Kettle ran 33:23 in fourth.

Jessica Craig, wearing the colours of her Northern Ireland club North Down was 13th woman in 33:52 and Sophie Pikett, now based in Newcastle and racing under her married name for only the second time was 17th with 34:30. Both ladies are expected to race for Herne Hill club teams later this season.

Geoff Jerwood