Saturday saw some sunshine and good conditions under foot for the London Youth Games Cross Country races for young athletes and the London Cross Country Championship for senior men and women. So it was at an unusually benign Parliament Hill Fields that the Herne Hill Harriers women’s road and cross country team revolution continued apace.
On our last visit to this iconic venue in January Harriers women took home team bronze medals in the South of England Cross Championship. On Saturday the team added silver to the collection in the London Champs and individually we celebrated a clear victory for Stacey Ward, who was crowned as London Cross Country Ladies Champion 2016.
With superb team backup from Annes Stevens (18th), Julia Wedmore (32nd) and Suzanne Swaine (39th), Harriers edged out bronze medalists Ranelagh by one point! Ward’s emphatic race win was of course vital, but also Swaine beating the final team scorer from Ranelagh by one second and one place was absolutely crucial to this excellent result as Harriers’ women rewrite club history.
Herne Hill men placed ninth in their team contest, courtesy of Jeff Cunningham (23rd), Simon Coombes (33rd), Alan Barnes (61st) and Simon Thompson (69th).
At the London Youth Games races which preceded the seniors, Harriers also had some stunning performances across various London Borough teams. In the Under 11 Boys and Girls races, Christo Chilton was a winner by a huge margin, with Annabella Bailey fourth in the Girls race. Jaden Kennedy, Jacob and Ben Harrison provided a 1-2-3 in the Under 13 boys race with Cameron Welsh eleventh.
Eva Holland had an awesome run in third place followed by Maisie Collis in eighth, Layla Wilkinson tenth and Poppy Craig McFeely eleventh in the Under 13 Girls Race. Our top Under 15 Girl was Clarissa Nicholls in tenth, with Jessica Tabraham twelfth. Our top Under 15 Boy was Oscar Millard in ninth place. Finally the club enjoyed another gold and silver performance in the Under 17 Women’s race as Alex Brown and Eimear Griffin placed a marvelous first and second, backed up by Katie Balme in ninth.
The following day at the Camberley Young Athletes Cross Country races gave the younger siblings of some of our athletes an opportunity to show off their talent. In the Under 9 races, Harriers had individual and team successes. Jaden’s sister Lily Rose won the girl’s race with Pearl Cooney fifth and Isabella D’Amico’s twin brothers Matteo and Marco were second and fifth. Noah and Joel, siblings of Christo and Annabella, completed the Boy’s team. Christo Chilton won the Under 11 Boys race completing his double following the LYG but only had a two man team with George Cooney. Lois Levy won the Under 11 Girls race and along with Alice Steven-Cox and Cecelia Hayward-Bhikha, completed the Bronze medal winning Team.
Jaden Kennedy, Jacob and Ben Harrision completed their second clean sweep of the medals on consecutive days as well as team gold in the Under 13 Boys race. Poppy Craig-McFeely was third, Jess Butland fourth, Tilly Stevens-Cox seventh, Isabella D’Amico eleventh, Shanice Daley twelfth and Zoe Cruywagen thirteenth completed the gold medal winning Under 13 Girls team. Mohammed Ali won gold in the Under 15 Boys race with Jacob Alley bronze and Jacob Solon fifth and the team bringing home gold. In the Under 15 girls race Isobel Penniceard was fourth, while finally Katie Balme followed up her top ten placing at Parliament Hill the day before by winning gold in the Under 17 Women’s race.
Geoff Jerwood/James McDonald