Three individual wins and a set of team gold medals for Herne Hill at Surrey Cross Country Championship

Herne Hill Harriers got the year off to a great start with several superb performances at the Surrey County championships at a cold but dry Lloyd Park in Croydon.

The club enjoyed three individual winners: Christo Chilton in the Under 13 boy’s race, Johanna Nicholson in the Under 13 girl’s event and Poppy Craig McFeely in the Under 15 girls. The Under 15 girls won the gold medals in the team race, together with Under 13 boys & combined Under 17/20 women’s teams coming second and the Under 13 girls winning bronze team medals to kick-start 2019 off well for the club.

Harriers were off to the best possible start when Chilton won the first race of the day by twenty metres having led for most of the race to retain his county title, a distance which Nicholson repeated in the next race with similar tactics. Behind her Tamra Chan agonizingly missed a medal, placing fourth in a three way photo finish for second place. In both races good team packing enabled the club to win team medals with several newcomers showing excellent improvements to win their first ever county medals. The Under 13 boys missed gold medals by only three points and the Under 13 girls missed second place by a single point.

Poppy Craig-McFeely won her first County title by winning the under 15 girls race again prominent for most of the race and was well supported by Phoebe Bowen (6th) Hebe Hunter (8th) and Tilly Stevens-Cox (25th) to win team gold medals and retain their Surrey County team title.

In the U17/20 women’s race Zoe Tompkins was an excellent fifth and Katie Balme seventh Under 20 women respectively and supported by Under 17 Susannah Hirst the joint team was won silver team medals with Jemima Hayward-Bhikha 11th amongst under 20s. Further high placings came from Jacob Taylor seventh in the Under 15 boys race in which the team finished fifth and Lewis Laylee fifth in the under 20 men’s race.

The clubs senior teams were depleted as the senior men’s team finished well down a strong field and an incomplete Harriers women’s team was led home by World Masters 800m track champion Fiona De Mauny in 20th, racing at ten times her favourite track distance on the undulating course.

In other county events over the weekend, Yasmin Marghini was an excellent winner of the U17/U20 women’s race in the Middlesex Championships, while England road running international Stacey Ormerod (nee Ward) romped to a clear victory margin of 59 seconds in winning the Hertfordshire senior women’s title.

At the Kent championships sisters Ella and Lily Newton were both fifth in the U20 and U17 women’s races respectively, while in Bedfordshire Richard Henderson was third and Simon Coombes sixth of the senior men and Andrew Warburton claimed sixth place in Nottinghamshire, the latter performances going some way to atone for the disappointing senior turnouts for Herne Hill at Lloyd Park and offering some encouragement for this Saturday’s Surrey men’s cross country league races on Mitcham Common.

In track and field action, Irish junior international decathlete Daniel Ryan place a good tenth in the senior men’s England Athletics indoor combined events championship in Sheffield with a personal best points score of 5,100 for his seven events. Mike Cummings placed third in the men’s B 3000m with 8.38.82 and Swann Phelippeau ran a time of 4.40.66 in the women’s A 1500m, both of the latter racing in the British Milers’ Club indoor event in conjunction at the same venue on Sunday.

Geoff Jerwood