Herne Hill Harriers’ mens team rounded off another successful weekend of athIetics action for the club with a narrow, but very exciting win over a decent team from our local rivals Belgrave Harriers in the Surrey County Cross Country Championship at Lloyd Park, Croydon.
The standard of the mens top 10 was good compared to most recent years, making Chris Busaileh’s 3rd place behind GB internationals Phil Wicks of Belgrave and HHH track team man James McMullan of Thames Hare and Hounds all the more impressive. Chris led our winning team home, followed by track man Jonny Henderson in 8th place, running his best cross country race to date. Alan Barnes shrugged off the after effects of a Christmas illness to place 9th, while Ben Paviour’s willingness to get out of his sick bed to put in a sterling effort in 16th and former multiple champion Dave Taylor’s last minute decision to help his team the day before his 47th birthday by finishing just behind Ben in 17th. Our vital 6th man to close our team was another who raised his game from past form as John Kettle pulled out the stops to achieve a great top 20 finish in 19th.
As Belgrave had the race winner and runners placed 5th, 10th and 12th it all came down to the last 2 scorers from our respective teams and with our rivals’ final counters finishing in 23rd and 26th our more consistent team prevailed by 5 points. To underline our depth, Sarwar Khan backed up our 6 scorers by placing 25th, just ahead of Belgrave’s 6th man, but the maths tells us that every one of our 6 team counters were absolutely vital to the cause. Our women were able to close a team in 8th place in their championship, led by a very good run by Suzanne Swaine in 18th place. The other 3 members of our womens scoring team were Helen Sharp 27th, Samantha Whiting 31st and Debbie Jackson 55th, on what was a big weekend for the club with our young athletes also performing well at these championships and a number of club members competing in the South of England Indoor Championship at Lee Valley the following day.
Full results from the Surrey Cross Championship are on surreyathletics.org.uk.