Herne Hill Harriers rising stars Charlotte Alexander and Maisie Collis claimed national championship medals at the England Age Group Championship track and field meeting at Bedford on Saturday, with Alexander taking home the big prize of a gold medal in winning the under 17 women’s 3000m.
Although starting the race as favourite on paper, Alexander had a cold throughout last week which limited her to jogging and just one short session. Alexander really had to grind it out in the end but great champions find a way. She was pitted against third and fourth at the English Schools Championship, so there was little room for taking it easy and her winning time has only been beaten by seven U17W (including Alexander herself) this year and two were in the race.
The first kilometre of the race was on target, but Alexander then realised there was little in the tank. Keeping a cool head she continued at a pace she could sustain and pulled away convincingly in the last 1000m to a comfortable victory.
Her great promise is illustrated by the fact that Alexander has another year in the U17 age group. England Athletics reported: “Charlotte Alexander went to the front of the U17 women’s 3000m and ran away to win in 9:49.92”, while online streaming production team Vinco called the performance: “A dominant front-running display” as Alexander had led all the way except the first 150m.
Maisie Collis, a team mate and training partner of Alexander also has a further year in the under 15 girls age group and her excellent bronze medal in a time of 4.41.22 was another superb performance which leaves Wayne Vinton, coach to both Alexander and Collis already very excited about their prospects for next summer.
Another Harriers athlete was desperately close to winning herself a place on the medals podium as sprinter Monae Winston placed fourth in the final of the under 15 girls 100m, with her time of 12.30 seeing her only one hundredth of a second shy of a medal. Memphis Ayoade placed fifth in the final of the under 15 boys 300m in 37.25, while Jaden Kennedy finished 9th in the under 15 boys 1500m in 4.20.69. These were all excellent performances at national level from our young Herne Hill Harriers competitors.
At home, Herne Hill Harriers hosted the last of their very popular open meetings of the season at a very sunny Tooting athletics track. Highlights included a season’s best senior men’s shot put for Michael Wheeler with 15.73m and a personal best shot for under 15 Kai Broadbent with his winning throw of 10.65m.
The meeting incorporated the Surrey and the HHH club 10000m championship and first Herne Hill runner (sixth overall in the race) was Jeff Cunningham in 34.42.61, followed in by Ed Turner who was the next from the club (twelfth overall) in 38.52.10. Under 13 boy Clayton Mytil clocked 11.95 in winning the 75m hurdles, a time which was a club Championship Best Performance.
Among older competitors, Tom Conlon recorded a good double in the 800m and 1500m races with his times of 2.16.29 and 4.35.03 both ranking highly among M55 athletes for this year. M75 runner John Garber ran a season’s best 800m of 3.09.62, his fastest time for 28 months at the age of 75. Garber then followed this up with a season’s best at 400m of 83.1 seconds and races next at the Watford open meeting on Wednesday. At the Veterans AC championship at Kingsmeadow Mary Setyabule won a W45 gold medal with a huge personal best time of 22.29.72 for 5000m.
Off the track, at the St Albans parkrun on Saturday, England half marathon international Stacey Ward made another move forward in her return from injury, placing second overall and first woman in a time of 17.56.