Caspian wins London Youth Games Cross Country

A good number of Herne Hill Harriers young athletes took part in Saturday’s London Youth Games Cross Country Championship races held on the challenging Parliament Hill Fields course in North London. Caspian Holmes was the standout performer as he won a gold medal in the Under 13 boys’ race. 

Holmes led his Southwark team to silver medals and is enjoying an outstanding season so far. Before Saturday in his age group, he had already won the first Surrey League cross country race and was first London athlete and third nationally at the Mini London Marathon, as well as ranking highly in the recent cross country and road relay races, helping his club team to medals or high finishing positions.

The other Harriers individual medallist was Orla Carroll, who placed third in the Under 15 girls’ race as she also continues her current good form after winning her Surrey League race on Wimbledon Common a week earlier. The Lambeth U15 girls’ team with Carroll in third, Sophie Jack seventh and Lily Rose Brown 15th won team gold medals.

Individually there were top ten positions too for Edward Cunniffe who was fourth in the Under 13 boys race behind Holmes, Orla Wright fifth in the Under 15 girls’ race, Alex Wilson sixth in the U15 boys, Sophie Jack seventh U15 girls and Max Gillies seventh U11 boys. Florence Mills was hurt when trampled on at the start but determined came through from the back of the field to finish 16th in the Under 13 girls’ race.

Completing the team medals roll call for Herne Hill athletes, the Southwark U13 boys’ team which included Holmes and club mate James Clement-Nash in 14th claimed silver, while Isobel Mclennan 14th and Ava Abel 15th won U11 girls’ silver with Wandsworth.

Elsewhere another Herne Hill youngster enjoyed success as Under 13 Lucas Heath achieved a good third place in a Modern Biathlon competition, which sealed his qualification for the British Schools Modern Biathlon Championships in March 2023x

The Herne Hill senior women and men raced at the London Cross Country Championship with their races being held straight after the Youth Games event at the same venue. Although the course featured the usual tough hills, the ground under foot was dry with little or no mud despite the rainfall during the week. With some leading Harriers seniors giving this event a miss, the women placed seventh of 25 complete teams and the men were 14th of 39.

The women were led by prolific racer Jenny Nandi in 22nd, with Karen Ellison 39th, Kaitlin Hewitt 40th and Charlotte Kenyon 51st completing the scoring quartet. Nikki Sturzaker finished quickly and was only one second outside the scoring team in 52nd. Hewiit was also only one second behind Ellison, with the former placing second of all Under 20 women in the race. 

The club turnout of eleven women was good, with the line-up completed by Lauren Martin 100th, Holly Mammatt 109th, Evie McDermott 122nd, Samantha Whiting 159th, Ellen Walsh 178th and Alexandra Marginean 192nd of 252 women who finished the 6km course.

The men’s 14th placed team comprised Joe Fenwick, returning to form in 34th, Joe Elliott 67th, Ryan Willmott 118th and Seve Loudon 122nd. A further ten Harriers completed a tough race covering around 10km, these were James Brown 128th, Greg Mills 144th, Pip Bennett 184th, Tim Kerr 188th, Jon Key 194th, Muhamud Haile 207th, Pedro Henrique Pinto 218th, Trevor Chilton 248th, Andrew Georgeson 255th and Rob Nagorski 287th.

The next race for the senior teams will be the South of Thames 5 miles Cross Country Championship in Lloyd Park on Saturday 26th November.

Geoff Jerwood