Men give up our Surrey League title, but the kids are alright

Herne Hill Harriers’ defence of the men’s Surrey cross-country league ended in disappointment on Saturday – but strong performances by the club’s senior women and juniors proved there is room for optimism.

The senior men’s team went into the final fixture of four at Farthing Down, Coulsdon, trailing Thames Hare and Hounds and Kent AC, and knowing only victory would do. Although three Harriers men – Kojo Kyereme (13th), Mark Dooley (16th) and Mike Cummings (19th) – finished in the top-20, an outstanding team performance by Kent made the efforts of the Tooting-based club irrelevant. By the time Ben Paviour (21st), John Kettle (31st), Simon Coombes (37th), Basil Wallace (58th), Matt Donnery (66th), John Tayleur (76th) and Jonathan Ratcliffe (78th) had completed Harriers’ scoring team of 10, Kent were already celebrating victory. Herne Hill’s small consolation was securing third overall in the league.

Meanwhile, Harriers’ senior women ended their season on a high with a third place finish at Denbies Vineyard, Dorking. The charge was led by Sue Swaine (17th), followed closely by Ceri Diss (19th), Julia Wedmore (20th), Helen Hadjam (27th) and Laura Dowsing (40th). The result secured the team fifth place overall in their respective competition.

The juniors once again recorded a string of impressive performances. Saskia Millard won the U13 girl’s race, while the team also secured victory with fine runs from Livy Newton (ninth), Clarissa Nicholls (12th) and Eimear Griffin (16th). The win, however, was not enough to secure overall victory in the league, with the U13 girls finishing second. Alice Setyabule (fourth), Daisy Setyabule (sixth), Olivia Lamont (21st) and Alex Lindsay-Black (22nd) ensured third place for Harriers’ U15 outfit, which – like the U13’s – was enough for second in the league overall.

At Coulsdon, Merhawi Yemane won the U17 boy’s race, while Paul Burgess was victorious in the U15 version. Oscar Millard almost completed a clean sweep of junior boy’s victories, but had to settle for second place in the U13 race.

On the track, there were a number of strong performances at the British Athletics European Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield, where at least nine HHH athletes competed. The pick of these was Robert Graham, placing fourth in the 60m in a PB of 6.74. Blade Ashby placed seventh to make the 60m hurdles final in his first year competing against seniors at championship level, while Julien Allwood (15.07m) in the triple jump, and Jonathan Grant, who has only just moved out of the U20 age group, in the long jump (7.03m), both placed 8th.

Elsewhere, ultra-runner Glen Keegan’s took part in Quadzilla, a challenge to run four marathons in four days around a lake in Milton Keynes. Keegan’s phenomenal challenge began with a marathon of five hours, 13 minutes, and culminated in a time of four hours, 43 minutes, meaning he finished in 37th place with a cumulative time of 19:37.