Herne Hill Harriers’ young starlet of the winter season, 11 year old Saskia Millard produced another amazing performance in placing a superb 6th in the under 13 girls race at the English National Cross Country Champs at Parliament Hill Fields, the home of cross country racing on a tough, hilly course. Saskia followed up her fantasic bronze medal run at the South of England Champs last month with another gutsy effort to lead home her team mates to an excellent 5th team position, one of our best achieved in the history of the club. Breagha Campbell also ran extremely well to finish 13th of 368 finishers as part of our team that promises much for the future.
Not to be outdone, our under 13 boys also excelled in emulating their female counterparts’ 5th team placing, led home by our boy of the season, Paul Burgess in 20th place of 373 who finished. Saskia’s brother Oscar was next HHH boy behind Paul in a very good 76th place for one so young and our boys too show great potential to hopefully be realised in the coming years. Our under 20 women closed a team in 7th in a smaller field of 107 finishers, fronted by track star Katie Snowden, whose 26th position over a distance of 6km, which is a dozen times her specialist track event can only help give her more strength and confidence leading up to this summer season’s big challenges. HHH also closed a team in one more of the younger age groups, with our under 15 boys placing 26th team, led home by Sakeriye Abdirahman who was a fine 29th of 367 finishers.
Our senior men were a little less successful than we have been hitherto in this, one of our best ever winter seasons, but our 16th position of 125 complete teams in the main 6 to score team contest and 9th in the 9 man team event was nevertheless a strong showing, if frustrating in comparison to what might have been possible. A few clubs could tell a similar story and superb team packing in a huge field of 1689 finishers by Chris Busaileh 125th, John Kettle (who had a great run) 131st, Ben Paviour 143rd, Jeff Cunningham 155th, the ever improving Sarwar Khan 167th and Mike Cummings 195th was still impressive. With Simon Coombes only just behind them in 207th we should not be too disappointed given the inevitable absence of some other potentially key men. Our senior women also suffered from a less than full turn out, but those who ran performed well, with Suzie Richards in a fine 55th of 650 finishers leading our team to 18th position.
All in all this was a decent overall turnout and performance from our members, younger and older, with some exceptional individual and collective efforts from our two youngest teams competing, which bodes very well for next year and hopefully thereafter.
In addition there were some good HHH indoor performances. In Sheffield, Michael Wheeler was a great 3rd in the BUCS National students Indoor Champs men’s shot with 15.55m, just 10cm shy of his HHH outdoor PB and HHH club record. In Birmingham at the England Athletics U20/U17/U15 Indoor Champs Michella Obwiaku & Marvin Popoola both won bronze medals, in the U15 girls shot and U17 men’s 60m respectively. Also in Birmingham, Jess Knight placed 4th in the U20 women’s 400m after being baulked at the break point just before the bell, while Marvin added to his 3rd place from the day before with 4th in the U17 men’s 200m and Jonathan Grant was a very good 5th in the U20 men’s Long Jump.