There was a surprise winner of the elite women’s race at the MK5000 PB Special meet on a hot Saturday 9th July evening.
Georgie Grgec of Herne Hill Harriers was content to sit in a chasing pack detached from the front running trio until halfway through her 5000m. Feeling good, she then upped her pace to chase down athletes who had recorded faster previous times on paper and ran away to claim a clear and very impressive victory which few people saw coming.
The second half of her race was spectacular, after having allowed what looked a significant head start to three highly ranked athletes, Grgec then ran her final 2000m at least ten seconds faster than they did, overhauled them with still a couple of laps to go and romped home for the win.
Her winning time was a big 5000m PB of 15:51.54, which only very narrowly missed eclipsing the recently set club women’s record of 15:50.17 held by Phoebe Anderson and served notice that her victory in the women’s B race at the Night of 10000m PBs at Highgate in May was not a one-off.
Indeed Grgec returned to the track just four days later to record another big PB at the Hercules Wimbledon Night of 3000m races on Wednesday 13th.
Racing men and women Grgec clocked a superb 9:09.15. A very good, if perhaps a little tired follow up to Saturday, albeit there was on this occasion another very good female athlete just ahead of her, a finalist at the recent British Championship 1500m.
This time elevates her to second 2nd on the Herne Hill all time list for female 3000m runners behind Aussie star Chloe Tighe’s 8:54.90 and leapfrogging Eugene bound GB World Championship athlete Katie Snowden’s one indoor time at this distance. Grgec has now arrived!
The Wimbledon meet saw a veritable PB fest for our Harriers athletes. Max Rose ran very well to clock 9:42.57 for a substantial PB. Then in the next race Ross Brown also took a chunk off his best finishing fifth in 9:26.34.
Next up George Withers claimed the spoils with a PB win in 9:05.60 ahead of a good season’s best for M40 Jeff Cunningham who was fourth in 9:08.58, very closely followed in fifth place by that epic run from Grgec.
The next race featured a PB for Brandon Dewar with his fifth place in 8:39.78. Then in race seven of the eight on the night Andrew Warburton and Lewis Laylee were almost inseparable for their entire 7.5 laps. Warburton finally prevailed by a narrow margin placing eighth with 8:31.69 to Laylee’s ninth in 8:31.93 for two more PBs to round off a top night of racing in great style for the Herne Hill athletes, all from a strong Tooting Bec Athletics Track based training group.
Also MK there were two Herne Hill male athletes in the same race as each other earlier in the day when the weather was even hotter than at Grgec’s evening start time. M40 Jeff Cunningham maybe set the standard or at least showed Grgec what might be possible as he clocked a big season’s best of 15:49.22, while M45 Ben Paviour, who turns 50 in November also ran a very good 16:15.23.