It was a weekend of cross country and road running highlights for the oldest and the youngest among the Herne Hill Harriers membership. Saturday saw both the English National Road Relay Championship in Sutton Coldfield and the Surrey County Masters Cross Country Championship in Nonsuch Park.
Herne Hill Harriers youngsters travelled to the National road relays this weekend with a mixture of excitement and trepidation knowing this was the first time in two years due to covid that the club has competed at this level and for many the first time ever. They acquitted themselves very well returning with three top ten finishes and being very competitive against the best youngsters in the country – a reward for the hard work the athletes and coaches have put since since the return of sport since lockdown.
The U13 boys were closest to medalling with a good opening leg in eleventh place from newcomer Lucas Heath who only joined the club in July and has made a huge improvement in a short space of time. He handed over to Caspian Holmes who shot through the field gaining eight places and moving the team up into third with the 10th fastest time of the day of 13.51.
Dylan Gillies held third place for most of the final leg but the places changed dramatically in the final half mile with several clubs surging through and we finished an agonizing eighth, still an excellent result for such an inexperienced team. The B team finished 28th.
The U13 girls made steady progress with Florence Mills finishing 16th on first leg before Sophie Jack moved into seventh on leg two. Orla Wright who had been unwell the night before maintained that position with the teams fastest time of 15.13 for another top ten placing with the clubs B team finishing 31st.
The Under 15 boys were led off by Freddie Hake who came in 34th after a very competitive first leg, Fabian Whitelock gained 20 places to finish leg two in 14th place with the second fastest time on leg two and handed over to English Schools 800m champion Keeran Sriskandarajah who moved up into ninth place for the clubs third top ten placing of the day with the B team finishing 46th.
The Under 15 girls squad suffered a number of late withdrawls meaning that there were several late changes up until the night before. It was a test of the depth in the squad that despite the difficulties Harriers were still able to finish three teams in the top 25. Fastest individually were Sophia Sahai 14.47, Orla Carroll 14.49 India Blakey 14.52 and Vivi Marshall 14.53 with their consistency auguring well for the rest of the winter season as they finishing 19th, 21st and 25th respectively.
More locally, Harriers veteran athletes impressed in a dry and sunny Nonsuch Park, a venue only secured in the final days before the Surrey Masters event following a double booking at the originally planned Morden Park, as the athletes brought home medals in seven categories across the age groups.
Team gold medals were won in the M40 and M60 and the W35 ladies won silver. There were M45 individual medals for Andrew Perfect and Ben Paviour, M60 silver for Mike Boyle and M40 bronze for Ben Millar.
In the first race for veteran women and over 60 men, the top ten finishers in their age groups were W35 4th Annes Stevens, 7th Jess Winfield, 8th Alex Marginean, W40 10th Sam Whiting, W60 6th Gillian Wheeldon. Among the men M60 2nd Mike Boyle, 5th Tom Conlon, 6th Tony Harrah, 7th Mark Bebbington, M65 7th Valdis Pauzers and M70 3rd Steve Knight.
Then in the second race for men aged between 40 and 59, the top placings were M40 3rd Ben Millar, 6th Paul CalverM45 1st Andrew Perfect, 2nd Ben Pavioiur, 8th Robin Jones, 9th James Cooper, M50 5th Muhamud Haile.
At Sunday’s Manchester Marathon Ross Brown ran a good PB with 2:38.44, followed in by two men who raced the London Marathon seven days earlier. Eriç Dol clocked a strong 2:47.38, only a few seconds slower than his PB the previous weekend, while M50 Jonathan Ratcliffe 2:52.31 didn’t quite hit the heights of the week before. He did win the Burnley parkrun on Saturday though in 18:40.
The Tooting Common parkrun saw a Herne Hill 1-2-3-4. Andrew Warburton won in 16:39 and Aimee Hargreaves was first female in 19:40. Joe Elliott in 17:29 and Sam Camenzuli in 17:37 came 2nd and 3rd, with Henry Brown clocking 17:45 for 4th place in a dominant display.
Other Herne Hill parkrun winners included Mike Cummings 17:25 in South Norwood and Sarah Grover 19:42 in Colby while holidaying in Wales.
Another Harriers masters athlete racing well was M45 John Kettle in the Worthing 10k on Sunday, where he recorded the good for his age time of 33:40 to round off another good week of club racing for the runners in red and black vests.