World Indoor Championship qualifying time for Snowden in Belgium and local cross country success for Herne Hill teams

On Saturday in Belgium Herne Hill Harrier Katie Snowden ran her first 1500m race of 2018 and produced a very good performance to finish in second place behind a good Ethiopian junior athlete. Snowden’s of 4.10.09 is a big indoor PB, easily the fastest indoors ever run for the distance by a female club member and is a qualifying time for the World Indoor Championship which take place early next month in Birmingham should she achieve selection.

After Chloe Tighe’s excellent outdoor race win last week in Sydney, the Herne Hill 2018 women’s 1500m top end rankings are already looking good given we are only in early February. Both Snowden and Tighe will be in National Championship action this coming weekend, the former in Birmingham for the British Indoor Championship and the latter in the Australian Championship on the Gold Coast.

More locally in Richmond Park Harriers under 13 girls cross country team enjoyed another fine win in final round of the Surrey League races in Richmond Park. Phoebe Bowen recorded a superb individual race victory and was backed up by Lois Levy fifth, Hebe Hunter sixth and Johanna Nicholson seventh which constituted very strong and unassailable team packing.

The under 15 girls team placed second on the day thanks to some good running from Poppy Craig-McFeely in third, Isobel Penniceard seventh Tilly Stevens-Cox eleventh and Maggie Fairn closing the scoring team in seventeenth.

Herne Hill senior women and men both finished a very good fourth overall in their respective final Surrey League Division 1 tables of the season, albeit in somewhat contrasting styles. The Harriers women turned out superbly in Richmond Park with eighteen runners for the second successive league race and placed an excellent third on the day, a result which ensured the team leapfrogged Ranelagh and Belgrave to move up from sixth prior to the race to fourth overall after the four league races.

Georgie Grgec returned to her true form to finish in fourth of the 233 finishers, followed by some great team packing courtesy of Karen Ellison in 20th, Sarah Grover 25th, Herne Hill debutante Sophia Tucker 27th, Fiona de Mauny 37th, Suzanne Swaine 39th, Shannon Sinclair 48th, Lara Langston 50th, Stacy Wheat 54th and Monika Gajek 71st. Between them these ten ladies secured the A team position and also that of the best B team of five women on the day.

The men’s team meanwhile were involved in one of the strongest ever Surrey League races and despite a decent enough team on paper with 21 runners on the start line, Herne Hill we were only able to place equal sixth of the nine Division 1 teams on a muddy Wimbledon Common in the midst of some ferocious promotion and relegation battles.

At the front of the race Lewis Lloyd provided real quality leadership in a race in which his third place finish was beaten only by the current and previous South of England XC individual champions in a top class field. The remaining members of the ten man scoring team found themselves in positions lower than which they are accustomed to, but they stuck well to their task as Richard Henderson ran well for 27th, followed in by Andrew Warburton 57th, Jeff Cunningham 59th, Chris Busaileh 63rd, Mike Cummings 75th, Simon Coombes 76th, Bryn Reynolds 85th, Jack Brotchie 112th and Matthew Robertson 120th who completed the A team list.

In the age categories within the overall races the eleventh Herne Hill man on Wimbledon Common Jack Dickenson was the second under 20 over the course of the league season. Simon Coombes was second over 40 and within this was the first of the over 45s, while Herne Hill club president Valdis Pauzers led by example as the second over 60 in that age group.

At the Active Wandsworth Awards for 2017, which took place last Friday evening, Pauzers, along with David Wilson was one of those club stalwart volunteers who were honoured for their services to the club and the sport with a presentation for Voluntary Services to Sport and Physical Activity, while long-time Harriers sprint and jumps coach Ivor Northey was the richly deserved winner of the very prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Sport and Physical Activity Award.

Katie Snowden and Jaden Kennedy were shortlisted for the Wandsworth Sports Person of the Year and Young Sports Person respectively as the in competition performances and off the track contributions made by club members both locally and in the world at large were again recognised.

The London Schools Cross Country Championships in Wormwood Scrubs last Wednesday saw some outstanding performances from Herne Hill young athletes. Gold medal race winners were Eva Holland, Jaden Kennedy, Johanna Nicholson, Christo Chilton and Saskia Millard, with silver for Jacob Harrison and bronze for Phoebe Bowen and Zac Crowther.

In addition to the medalists in the relevant age groups a number of other youngsters from the club have qualified for the London Schools team who will compete at the English Schools Cross Country Championships next month.