Although not contesting any club team league competitions over the weekend, athletes from Herne Hill Harriers were nevertheless in evidence achieving strong performances in road races, cross country and indoor track and field events both domestically and abroad, the latter in Spain, Portugal, Northern Ireland and the USA, with personal best times recorded in the overseas marathons on Sunday.
Two Harriers men and one woman travelled to Spain to race in the Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP and all three athletes returned with PBs. In a stacked international field, Carl Delaney was the fastest in red and black as he broke through what had been an elusive 2 hours 30 minutes barrier as he placed 185th overall in 2:28.18, a PB by over five minutes. Marc Geraghty also ran faster than before as his 2:31.45 represented a two minutes improvement on his previous best time. Evie McDermott also joined the PB party as she ran under four hours for the first time, clocking 3:52.30 on what was by all accounts a breezy course in places.
Robin Jones was equally impressive at the California International Marathon as he revised his 26.2 miles PB by around three and a half minutes as after a fast first half in just under 76 minutes he finished a great job in a time of 2:35.05, which sees him ranked 21st in the M45 UK rankings for 2021.
In Portugal Brandon Dewar (pictured) placed third in the Lisbon 10km road race in 32:13 on Sunday as he returns towards his best racing form, while in the half marathon race at the same venue Jack Brotchie and Eric Dol finished in 76:51 and 78:15 respectively.
On Saturday the Seeley Cup 10km road race in Belfast incorporated the Northern Ireland Championship and saw Herne Hill’s Katie Moore place tenth woman in a big PB of 36:00, while in Leicester in probably the biggest domestic road race of the weekend Sophie Harris placed an excellent sixth in the elite women’s race at a very windy Podium 5km in 16:47, having been in contention for second place until the closing stages. Annabel Hobday recorded a PB of 18:12 in 21st place.
Saturday’s cross country action featured Harriers athletes who were representing their schools or universities. A number of Herne Hill youngsters raced for the school teams at the English Schools Cross Country Cup Grand Final at Tretherras School, Newquay in Cornwall. The highest placed in any of the age groups was Poppy Craig-McFeely of Putney High School with a very good fourth place in the senior girls race, leading her school team to fifth place.
The Annual Oxford v Cambridge Varsity Cross Country match took place on Wimbledon Common and saw a rare cross country outing for Alexandra Brown. A Great Britain Juniors track international back in 2019, Brown raced superbly over the varied and challenging terrain (see photo) of the four miles lap in the Ladies Race and led her Oxford team to a good win over their rivals finishing in third place in a strong field.
Meanwhile some Masters athletes were competing in the Veterans AC Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre. Allan Long was the M75 gold medallist in four events, winning his 60m race in 9.40 seconds, then a much closer win over 200m in which his 32.52 saw him prevail by just two hundredths of a second. Long was also the best of his age group in the long jump with 3.53m and the triple jump with 7.61m. Giuseppe Minetti claimed the M50 gold medals in the 60m with 7.72 and the 200m with 25.46 for an impressive double.