Georgie Grgec a clear winner in Surrey League

Photo credit Chris de Mauny

Georgie Grgec was a clear winner of the women’s race in the second Surrey League cross-country fixture on Wimbledon Common on another very mild Saturday afternoon.

It was the second league race in a row the club’s senior women enjoyed an individual race victor but again they were also beaten by a single point in the A team scores.

When the points from the first two races are added together it means Herne Hill are at the top of a close Division 1 table with all to play for in the final two fixtures in January and February.

After having missed some training following recent injury, Grgec made a late call to turn out for the team.

She probably surprised herself by finishing 18 seconds ahead of her nearest rival on an undulating course which, at around 4.5km was almost a mile short of the pre-advertised 6km.

Surrey Masters champion Gaby Reynolds was also a first finisher in her age group as first W40 and placed 13th overall.

Sarah Grover, Grace Leyland and Jenny Nandi battled together in 19th, 20th and 21st.

The A team came home with an even better score than in the first league race at Effingham Common.

Julia Wedmore was only four seconds outside scoring in the A team in 22nd and led the B team to seventh overall on the day and second B team as a big numerical turnout of 23 women paid dividends. Natasha Lodge was next in 37th, then Karen Ellison (45th), Fiona de Mauny (52nd) and Laura Donnelly (64th) to close the B team.

The red-and-black clad ladies came streaming in – Eliza Cottington (65th), Charlotte Kenyon (72nd), Annabelle Acres (97th), Hannah Edwards (98th), Lauren Martin (101st), Jemima Hayward-Bhikha (114th), Holly Mammatt (159th), Evie McDermott (182nd), Emma Peters (191st), Mary Setyabule (192nd), Alex Marginean (202nd), Jess Winfield (205th) and Rebecca Barrow (232nd).

The U15 girls were winners on the day and lead their age category at the halfway stage with two wins from two races. They were very ably led by a good win for Orla Carroll, following a third-place run in the first league race last month.

The other winning team members were Orla Wright (third), Lily-Rose Brown (seventh) and Martha Brennan (eighth).

More female team success came in the U17 women’s race with a second placed team courtesy of Eva O’Hanlon (fourth), Vivi Marshall (seventh), Grace O’Hanlon (13th) and Izzy Perry (14th).

The U13 boys also came second with good runs from Thomas Clerkin (sixth), Lucas Heath (12th), Luca Boulton (17th) and Noah Turner (26th).

Herne Hill were fifth in the combined U15 boys and U17 men’s race – Mori Alimi (fifth), Harry Bell (13th), Robin Bebbington (16th) and Fabien Whitelock (38th) to complete this scoring team.

The senior men had started the league season indifferently with the A team placing seventh at Effingham, but a much-improved turnout helped them finish fourth at the weekend.

The A team’s scoring 10 included Brandon Dewar (13th), Carl Delaney (14th). Both are preparing for the Valencia Marathon next month.

Sam Bramwell was close behind in 17th, followed in by the club men’s 800m record holder Arlo Ludewick (26th).

Ludewick had answered the call to help the team after recent injury. The team was closed out by Lewis Laylee (34th), Daniel Shaw (53rd), Mike Cummings (54th), debutant John Franklin (73rd), Matt Cartwright (78th) and Joe Elliott (94th).

The first B team member only narrowly missed being an A team counter as Joe Fenwick came in 96th. The remaining B team scorers were Jack Brotchie (102nd), Ross Brown (105th), George Withers (117th), Ryan Willmott (120th), Ben Millar (144th), Robert Peacock (155th), Pip Bennett (174th), James Cooper (176th) and Terry Sweet (177th). These athletes were the fifth B team on the day.

There were Herne Hill men representing England teams at the British & Irish Masters Home International Cross Country in Dublin and all came home with team medals.

Ben Paviour was the star with a superb fourth place in the M50 race and, together with Simon Coombes in ninth, was a member of the gold medal team. John Kettle raced in the England M45 team and was also a squad medal winner despite struggling with a glute issue.

Two female students from Herne Hill put in fine performances for their university teams.

Across the pond in New York, Great Britain junior international Phoebe Anderson placed sixth in the NCAA Division 1 Northeast Region Championships racing for the Columbia University and will now go on to race in the NCAA National Championship.

Poppy Craig-McFeely was the winner of the Cambridge University Cuppers cross-country race which seals a unique double for Harriers runners as last month Alexandra Brown was the winner of the equivalent race for Oxford University.

The annual Oxbridge Varsity Cross Country meeting will be held on Wimbledon Common in December.

Geoff Jerwood