Herne Hill athletes smash marathon PBs in Valencia

Carl Delaney Photo: Georgie Grgec
Poppy Craig-McFeely photo: Zoe Lynam
Alex Brown Photo: Geoff Jerwood

With no club senior team races on last weekend’s calendar at least ten Herne Hill Harriers athletes had targeted the prestigious and notoriously fast Valencia Marathon on Sunday with the aim of bringing home some personal best times.

A perfect day on the rapid course which features only 18m elevation in all of its 26.2 miles saw massive runs from all.

Carl Delaney heroically overcame sickness to take pride of place with a PB by five minutes of 2:23.39 to lead the way. Australian Brandon Dewar took ten minutes from his previous best time as he clocked a superb 2:26:38.

Irishman Marc Geraghty was next Harriers finisher and was close to his best with 2:32.08, followed in by Ross Brown, whose 2:34.31 was a PB by some four minutes.

Max Rose took six minutes from his best with 2:37.05, then came Joe Elliott 2:45.48, Paul Calver 2:45.53, Jack Coy 3:22.44, Hayley Shearman 3:23.51 and Simon Evans 3:38.26 to complete a very strong set of performances from the athletes in red and black hoops.

Closer to home, also on Sunday morning there was a grand master racing performance from Gaby Reynolds at the Goodwood Running Grand Prix Half Marathon which featured cold and windy laps around the motor circuit. W40 Reynolds was the winning female in the race with a supetb PB of 77:12, well inside her target of sub 80 minutes for the distance.

More Harriers masters produced excellent runs at the BMAF 5km road race championship which was held on a fast course in Battersea Park. 

Individual National medals were claimed by Mike Cummings third M35 in 15:17, Ben Paviour third M50 in 16:10 and Nikki Sturzaker second W45 in 18:59, while some team medals were also won in the age groups.

More very good runs were recorded by Oliver Morrison fourth M45 16:43, Jonathan Ratcliffe eighth M55 17:41, Mike Boyle seventh M60 18:33,, Sue Swaine sixth W40 19:08, Andrew Simms 18th M55 20:27 and Sarah Allen 8th W55 25:38, all completing an impressively strong showing.

The younger element from the club  was well represented at the Annual Oxbridge Varsity Cross Country races on Wimbledon Common on Saturday. This was an afternoon which saw the unveiling of a World Athletics heritage plaque and the opening of a new bridge across the Beverley Brook in the name of the legendary Roger Bannister, Chris Chattaway and Chris Brasher as added attractions.

Herne Hill’s 18 year old Poppy Craig-McFeely had a superb run in a dominant Cambridge University ladies team in sixth place and Alexandra Brown raced superbly In finishing ninth for the Oxford University team in one of the strongest female fields seen in the long history of this annual fixture.

Earlier in the week Matt Cartwright ducked under 16 minutes for the first time at the RunThrough 5km road race in Battersea Park with 15:59 and Neil Gibbons went sub 17 with his 16:57. Laura Donnelly also clocked a PB with her time of 19:10.

Donnelly then went on to record a second PB in the space of a few days when running 39:27 at the Weybridge 10km on Sunday showing very strong form and improvement.

This coming weekend sees the South of England Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Horspath in Oxfordshire where a number of Herne Hill young athletes and senior women will represent Surrey and the Harriers veterans including Reynolds will be competing in the Southern Masters Cross Country Championships at the same meeting.

Geoff Jerwood