Herne Hill Harriers seniors didn’t quite hit the stellar heights of their younger club colleagues, but senior athletics competition is a whole different ball game and these are athletes who have seen things through to adult training and racing with the joys of the day job and everything else that real life throws at us.
It was a tough day out at Sutton Coldfield, but one that I’m sure was enjoyed by our travelling teams, who represented HHH on the national championship stage and did our club proud.
Our quality run of the day came from Chloe Tighe, who did what I know she can do, matching some of the country’s best runners stride for stride and her very fine 6th place on first leg in 14.45, almost certainly one of the top 15 times overall in the ladies relay was executed as if she belongs there. That’s because she does.
Natasha Lodge coped very well with the unenviable task of taking over on second leg, set up to be knocked down, but although handing over in 25th at the end of her 16.38 stint this was another good run for her and an experience. Olivia Zeltner stepped up from our B team at the recent Southern relay to keep up the good work and her return of 17.17 held us in the top 30 in 29th.
For our anchor leg we welcomed back Katie Moore, from Northern Ireland and Lufbra uni who has previously been part of one of our medal winning teams and here finished the job by elevating us to 27th of 62 complete teams with a decent split of 16.15. Nice work, ladies.
Our men were always up against it as my list of 9 available runners for a 6 man team on Tuesday headed downwards as rapidly as my health during the course of the week as day by day we had less until on Friday afternoon we had 5. A long way for these men to travel only to fail to finish a team, but in stepped our unlikely hero, 48 year old Dundee Dave Adam, who despite knowing he would run one of the slowest times in the race readily agreed to ensure we had a full complement, if maybe not a very fast one. Thank you David.
Another man in his 40’s Simon Coombes got us off to a decent start as although he handed over in 61st place, his 19.06 was around his best on this course. Studying just down the road at Birmingham Uni, Lascelles Hussey injected youth and speed into our team and ran very well to move us up 15 places to 46th with his 18.29 clocking, best from among our men. Jeff Cunningham almost held station as his 19.22 saw us in 47th at halfway. Deron Fagan (another over 40) ran well to keep us in the top 50 with 19.55, we then played our Dundee Dave card, at the end of which we had slipped to 66th, but crucially we were still up and running. Alex Hobley had the task of bringing us home, which he duly did in 20.45 as we ended up 67th of 79 complete teams on a day when some local rivals such as Belgrave and Thames Hare and Hounds were not at the races (at least not this one).
In other teams group members Niall Sheehan ran 18.26 for Newham and Lewis Laylee 20.22 for Dulwich Runners (great to see them taking part), both on first leg.
At the Peterborough Half Marathon, Jack Brotchie ran a good 1.16.26 in his first half, Joffah Ratcliffe was not far outside his PB with 1.18.41 and Matt Munro ran 1:21:39. We also enjoyed top HHH representation at the 23 mile Red Bull Steeplechase in Exmoor. No less than 5 guys, Sean Fitzpatrick, Ross Macdonald, Tony Macdowall, Simon Messenger and in Sean’s words the run of the day came from 800m runner Eric Sapac putting in a bit of over distance work.
Geoff Jerwood – Senior Team Manager and Coach