Top level European season opener for Snowden and a big win for Tighe in Australia while Herne Hill National League teams struggle


Herne Hill Harriers Commonwealth Games 1500m finalist Katie Snowden opened her summer outdoor season at the highest level as she raced in the women’s mile race at the FBK Games IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Hengelo, Holland against a world class field of athletes. Back on an international stage, Snowden acquitted herself very well as she placed twelfth in recording her second fastest one mile track time, clocking 4.29.56 for the classic distance.

The somewhat scrappy nature of the race with an uneven pace with athletes inevitably spiking each other was not ideal, but this was a vital first outing for this stage of the season. It was a race from which Snowden will take away some key learnings as she continues to develop her racing craft. Her summer track season now starts to unfold, leading into more big races in the coming weeks with the European Championship Trials meeting scheduled for the end of this month.

Another top Herne Hill female middle distance runner, Australian Chloe Tighe pulled off her biggest race win to date with a superb victory in the Elite Women’s Mile race at the prestigious 2018 Leonora Golden Gift meet in the Australian outback. Tighe surprised many by beating two established World Championship athletes as her return to her homeland this year now sees her racing women she had usually previously watched race on TV. Tighe will now go into the cross country season down under with great hope and enthusiasm and the aim of qualifying for the 2019 World Championship.

Back in England, Harriers National League track teams have both got off to disappointing starts as the men’s British League team followed a very poor first match with a much better showing in the second on Saturday at Portsmouth, but this fine great effort nevertheless still saw the team finish eighth of eight, on this occasion a very frustrating four points behind seventh and five behind sixth.

The UK Women’s League team was badly affected on Sunday by a very low turnout which in turn puts unfair pressure on those who do make themselves available and the team inevitably finished seventh and last in their opening fixture at Bedford.

There were nevertheless some excellent individual performances in both matches. Although Samuel Adeyemi was Herne Hill’s only event winner in the B string 400m in 48.42, this was a day of strong competition as Harriers are currently in the second highest men’s division in Britain. Second place results were achieved by Nicholas Atwell in the A 400m with 47.83, plus Rushane Thomas and Dan Ryan in the A and B 110m hurdles with 14.40 and 15.20 respectively.

Third placed athletes were in the field events, thanks to Stuart Thurgood’s 49.50m in the A hammer and 11.74m in the B shot, plus Sebastian Wilson Dyer Gough’s 7.05m in the A long jump. In the A pole vault Charlie Maw cleared 4.63m, a PB by 13cm, but found this good for only fourth place points.

In the women’s team Herne Hill picked up event wins through Fiona de Mauny’s 800m front run in 2.14.14, Stacey Ward’s winning return to the track with 9.51.08 in the 3000m and Michaela Obijiaku’s 13.25m shot put.

Obijiaku also placed second in the hammer throwing 52.04m, as did Lakeisha Owusu-Junior with 12.40 and Lillian Matamola with 12.74 in the A and B string 100m races, Hazel Robertson in the B hammer with 40.19m and Charlotte Nicholls was second in the B string discus with 26.06m.

De Mauny was also second in the 400m in a season’s best 60.11 and later came third in the 1500m in 4.54.20 for a very busy afternoon of racing, but the team overall suffered too many absences and empty events.

Geoff Jerwood