HHH U13 girls romp to National road relays title

Herne Hill Harriers’ U13 girl’s team capped a remarkable winter season on Sunday by becoming national road relay champions. The winning trio were led off by Alex Brown, who despite being knocked over at the start, finished her leg in second place, with Saskia Millard then running Herne Hill into a lead that they would never relinquish. By the time national cross country champion Katy Ann McDonald crossed the line in Birmingham’s Sutton Park, the winning margin was 98 seconds, with the girls’ overall time just eight seconds shy of the course record. All three girls were also among the top-10 individual legs, with McDonald first, Millard third and Brown eighth.

Meanwhile, the phenomenal strength in depth of our U13 girl’s squad was once again demonstrated, with a Herne Hill C team finishing 16th, eclipsing our B team in 21st. Herne Hill’s U15 girl’s, U15 boy’s and U13 boy’s teams were also in action at Sutton Park, with the squads finishing 11th, 24th and 30th respectively. Standout performers included Oscar Millard for the U13 boy’s team and Ed Olsen, who ran the fourth fastest of all legs in the U15 boy’s event.

Herne Hill’s senior athletes competed at the same venue a day earlier, with the women finishing 18th and the men 21st in the National Road Relay Championships. The event doubled as the Southern road relay event following the cancellation of the meeting due to snow last month. In the context of this championship, the women’s squad of six runners finished eighth, while the men’s team of 12 was ninth.

Karen Ellison’s first leg for Harriers secured the club in 31st, with Julia Wedmore dropping back five positions on leg two. The cumulative efforts of Laura Dowsing, Estefania Escobedo and Jo Ritson then took Harriers from 36th to 22nd in three legs. Cathy Ansell then ran a strong last leg – the 26th fastest of any woman on the day – to bring Harriers up to a finishing position of 18th in a women’s race in which we have been rarely, if ever represented in past years.

The men’s ’12-stage’ race is traditionally run as a series of alternate long and short legs. Herne Hill’s men were led off by Chris Busaileh, who would be the club’s fastest man on the long leg, steering Harriers into 28th position in a fiercely-contested opening leg. Stages from Simon Coombes, Ben Paviour, Jorge Raso Gea, Mark Dooley, Deron Fagan, John Kettle and Dave Mulvee, the fastest short leg runner in our team, brought Harriers to 23rd. Jeff Cunningham gained a further place and Mohammed Ismail two, with James Fooks-Bale maintaining 20th. Despite the efforts of Basil Wallace on the final leg, Harriers slipped one place to 21st out of 72 teams in the National competition. A great effort and a good improvement on our 25th place in 2012.

Elsewhere on the road, Robert Edwards smashed his 5km personal best at the Dulwich parkrun, running 16:47 to finish 5th in a competitive fields, while Gary Ironmonger was seventh at the Brockwell Park version, clocking 18:10. On the track, Hannah Edwards won her 400m event at the Tom O’Mahoney Memorial meeting in Liverpool, clocking 61.8.