A scorching weekend in Chelmsford saw the South Of England age group championships for Under 15 and Under 17 athletes and Open events for Under 13s.
As hot as the blazing weather was the stunning performance of Herne Hill Harrier Lily-Rose Brown with an emphatic win in the Under 15 girls 300m. Brown shattered her PB by well over a second with a very rapid clocking of 39.11.
This time is not only a Harriers club age group record, but also elevates her to the top of this year’s UK U15G rankings and second on the UK all time list.
A silver medal at last month’s English Schools Championship marked her down as one to watch, but this latest victory is on another level, more than two seconds ahead of her club mate Lucy Wright, whose silver medal run in 41.26 was also a big PB for a Herne Hill 1-2. Indeed Harriers also had the fifth placed athlete Sophia Sahai, who also ran a PB of 42.70.
It would be invidious to compare at such a young age, but inevitably some thoughts turn back to when a 14 year old Katie Snowden recorded an amazing 56.4 for 400m, a race distance which has now been replaced by 300m for athletes of this age. While a now 28 year old Snowden has gone on to become an Olympian and now raced at three major championships in 2022, Brown will aim to also enjoy her development as an athlete, coached by James McDonald who was also Snowden’s first coach at the same age.
McDonald enjoyed an excellent weekend with 14 athletes at this meeting, returning with one gold medal, number one UK Ranking and CBP for Brown, backed up by silver medals for Rosalie Laban, Lucy Wright and Caspian Holmes and bronze for Keeran Sriskandrajah and Jon Goldston.
On day one Goldston qualified for Sunday’s U15B 300m final in second place in his heat en route to his bronze medal. In the U15G 800m both Lucy Wright and India Blakey ran good races but just failed to make the Final, but Wright was to come back for her 300m silver behind Brown the next day.
Laban won a good silver in the U17W 1500m Steeplechase, a feat matched by Holmes in the U13B 800m final, running a new PB of 2:13.62. Unfortunately Josh Lee- Baum who had qualified for the U17M 800m final on Saturday was unwell on Sunday and absent, but Sriskandrajah claimed a bronze in 1:58.08. Warren Wilson finished fifth in the U15B 800m in a PB of 2:08.31 PB with Alex Wilson 11th in the U15B 1500m in 4:47.88..
Harriers young sprints squad were represented by Luca Anderson and Amari Angus who both made it to their final after qualifying from their respective heats and ultimately finished just outside the medals. Alexander Abebrese was also competing at Chelmsford in the U17M shot put final.
On the Herne Hill home track at Tooting Bec there was a well contested Southern Athletics League fixture in which Kent AC came out on top ahead of the Herne Hill team who were a very clear second on the day.
Jaydine Robinson jumped a good PB in the long jump with 5.46m and then together with B string winning team captain Joyce Kalombo went on to subsequently score good sprints points.
Also in the jumps, Ignatius Abebrese claimed a win double in the long jump with 6.63m and triple jump with 13.70m. Andris Thorpe was second in the 100m and then won the 200m, while the longer distance athletes found the temperature levels adding to the degree of difficulty.
Julia Wedmore is in good form though and her winning 5000m time of 18:26.7 saw her a long way ahead and was her third fastest track 5000m to date. Jenny Nandi won the B string with 19:53.0, while Fiona de Mauny took a good win a strong front run in the 1500m in a good season’s best time of 4:51.5.
De Mauny and Wedmore then combined with Harvey Kande and Adam Thompson to win the final event of the day, a mixed gender 4 x 400m with two men and two women in any order you want.
Wedmore kicked off, handing over to de Mauny and at half way Kent had a sizable lead. But first Kande and then Thompson had other ideas as they reeled in the leaders. There was still some work to do on the final lap, but anchor man Thompson’s fast split time of 49.1 saw a comfortable race win for the home club in the end.
On the other side of the world on Sunday morning there was an international class road race performance in Australia from Harriers member Chloe Tighe. She enjoyed a fabulous race to finish second woman and 27th overall out of a reported 60,000 participants at the Sydney City to Surf 14km road race, clocking 46:18 on a hilly course.
This event calls itself the world’s biggest fun run but the quality at the sharp end was very good as the men’s winner was recent Commonwealth Games marathon fourth placer Liam Adams, while it took a past World Cross Country Champs representative to defeat Tighe as Leanne Pompeani took the women’s win less than half a minute ahead of her.
Tighe will now return to Dubai for the final year of her contract as a primary school teacher there.