Strong Herne Hill London Marathon turnout and a Cross Country Team Win

After a hiatus of 18 months, the Virgin Money London Marathon returned as a mass event with more than 40,000 runners taking to the streets of the city to complete the 26.2 miles between Blackheath/Greenwich and The Mall.

Among these and figuring quite prominently among the field was a good number of Herne Hill Harriers, with those wearing their distinctive club colours of red and black hoops being easily visible in the midst of the hoards of participants.

The leading four club members were closely matched in terms of their finishing times, with Nick Bester placing 146th overall in 2:33.26, Josh Pewter 170th in 2:34.28, Carl Delaney 172nd in 2:34.31 and Brandon Dewar 214th in 2:36.00, all having good runs, with Delaney, having started right at the front pacing himself conservatively to run a faster second half, in contrast to the three others who went out at a quicker pace after the initial charge from the start line.

Next in finishing time order was Andrew Perfect, who was 32nd of the M45 athletes, followed in by M50 Jonathan Ratcliffe who was 18th in his age category with 2:43.14. Eric Dol ran a PB 2:47.24, followed by M45 Jon Key clocking 2:50.07. M40 Robert Peacock 2:54.27, M50 Trevor Chilton 3.:04.16 and M45 Mark Peskett was next in with his 3:09.38.

The first Herne Hill female athlete wearing red and black was Jordan Foster who, less than a year after giving birth to her first child ran a very well paced 3:10.55, an especially impressive run which will qualify her for next year’s championship entry within the overall London event.

Other leading Herne Hill women included Martha Reynolds with 3:17.50 and Laura Donnelly 3:24.49, with a number of other finishers ensuring a good turnout from the club in the biggest mass participation road race in the UK this year.

Harriers numbers were even bigger in the London Mini Marathon held on the same morning as the Marathon, as the club had 67 runners.

The highest placed performances were Orla Wright fourth in the Under 13 girls race and Sophia Sahai fifth in of the Under 15 girls. 

A very wet Saturday afternoon in Lloyd Park, Croydon saw the start of the club cross country season, where Herne Hill senior teams were the winners in both the men’s and women’s contest in the opening East Surrey League fixture.

Mike Cummings and Jack Dickenson got the men off to a good start placing second and third, very well backed up by fast improving Under 20 Sam Camenzuli in seventh and new man M40 Ben Millar finishing 15th to ensure Harriers had the first 4 man team.

Another new member Charlotte Kenyon was second female finisher and led a trio of herself, Lara Langston (fifth woman) and Alex Marginean (12th) to their team victory for a good start to this new season.

In the young athletes races the Herne Hill boys and girls teams both finished second behind Epsom & Ewell. Fabien Whitelock placed second overall and first Under 15 boy, with Freddie Hake sixth overall and third U15B, David Aisa Miller seventh overall and second U17 Dylan Gillies eighth overall and second U13B completing the second placed team. Despite having the first two female finishers courtesy of U15 girls Vivi Marshall and Orla Carroll, Harriers were second team, with tenth placed Marnie Millar, an Under 11 girl bringing her team home.

A number of Herne Hill athletes were also running at various parkrun venues, with Northern Ireland based Jessica Craig being the fastest of all female runners around the UK on Saturday with her 16:46 at the Belfast Victoria parkrun, seven seconds outside of her own course record on a day when the adverse weather was worth more than this difference.

Geoff Jerwood