Herne Hill Junior Alexander takes on the world and Masters Athlete Long beats the world

Another week and another Herne Hill Harriers young athlete is in the spotlight wearing an international vest. This time it was at a major global championship event as Charlotte Alexander took on the World Cross Country Championship in Aarhus, Denmark and raced superbly as the youngest member of the Great Britain team in the Junior Women’s race.

Meanwhile one of the oldest competitive athletes at the club, Allan Long became Harriers’ latest World Champion when claiming the 60m gold medal for men over 75 (M75) at the World Masters Indoor Championship in Toruń, Poland.

Aarhus staged a fantastic world cross meet with one of the toughest and most innovative courses ever seen in the sport, featuring hills, including one on the roof of a museum on each lap and other very testing attributes, some natural, some man made.

Alexander finished an excellent 49th position, which saw her as the 4th team counter for the Great Britain team who were 7th in the Junior Women’s race. She was the first Under 18 European  to finish (in a race for Under 20s), was 10th Under 18 woman of all nationalities and the 8th Under 20 European. The GB under 20 women’s team was the first European team in a championship with a recent history of dominance by the African nations.

Alexander is now taking a short, well deserved break in the sun, but will have learned a huge amount from such an experience and will prepare for the summer track season highly motivated to work towards even greater success. Her young age among the competitors is illustrated by the fact that she will still be eligible for this same age group when these championships will be held in Australia in March 2021.

In Poland Allan Long was crowned as a world champion at the Masters Indoor global track and field meet. Long won the M75 60m final by a clear margin in 8.91 seconds, the culmination of a hard winter’s training with these championships as his goal. A couple of days later, Long followed up his 60m gold in Poland with silver in the 200m. He produced season’s bests in both his heat and the final but was beaten in both races by Larry Barnum of USA. Their respective times in the final were 29.73 and 30.10. So following Fiona de Mauny’s gold and silver at the outdoor Masters world champs in Malaga last September, Herne Hill now have another athlete to bring home world gold and silver medals.

Nearer home, Myles Preston showed he is reaping the benefits of a good training regime as he ran a good 79.10 to place 3rd in the Croydon Half Marathon on Sunday over a challenging course, running a well-paced race which saw him closing in on the two men in front of him in the final stages.

This Saturday sees the National Road Relay Championship at Sutton Coldfield where South of England Women’s Champions Herne Hill will be looking to build on their recent excellent team victory.

Geoff Jerwood