Herne Hill U15 boys win bronze medals at South of England Road Relays Champs

Herne Hill Harriers were represented in seven of the 10 age group races at the South of England Cross Country Relay Championships around a soggy lap of Wormwood Scrubs Park on Saturday.

Most successful were the U15 boys A team, who claimed area team bronze medals with a strong finish.

After Tommy Clerkin (6:35) and Leau Roch (6:50) had put the trio into a good position on the first two stages, each of 2km, Caspian Holmes (6:26) moved up from fifth to third on the final stage to elevate his team to a podium place.

The B team of James Clement-Nash (6:55), Alfie Bryan (6:57) and Herbert Clark (7:15) came 16th.

The U20 men finished fourth in their race with good runs from Harry Bell (9:53), Sam Maloney (10:33) and Robin Bebbington (10:21). Their relay was at the beginning of the programme in wetter weather than later on and around a longer lap of 3km. Bell recorded the ninth fastest time overall.

The senior women’s A team placed sixth with a consistent performance throughout the three stages around the same lap run earlier on by the U20 men.

First leg runner Sophie Tooley (11:22) handed over in sixth, which was then maintained by Kaitlin Hewitt (11:32) and Sarah Grover (11:19) as the gaps to close ahead became too much of an ask. The B team of Sophie Kinirons (12:40), Freya Hollingsworth (14:06) and Jemima Hayward-Bhikha (13:28) placed 21st.

The senior men’s A were 11th with three of their four runners being veterans, giving a good few years to those teams closest to them in the results.

In a relay of four stages of around 4km, this team was even more consistent with their lap times than the women’s A team.

Ryan Willmott (13:10) led off in 16th, M50 Ben Paviour (13:05) gained a place on second leg, then another M50 Simon Coombes (13:12) moved up to 12th before M40 Jeff Cunningham (13.12) brought the team home in 11th.

The B team of Chris Speed (14:28), M55 Norman Urquia (15:10), M45 Deron Fagan (14:50) and Stephen McLeod (14:46) finished in 26th.

The U13 girls team of Sofia Mendes (7:51), Isobel Carter (8:14) and Isobel McLennan (8:42) were 13th around the 2km lap.

The U15 girls and the U17 girls both fielded incomplete teams in their races.  The U15s were Maeve Minielly (7:54) and Summer Mackay (8:18) and the U17s were Rosalie Laban (13:39) and Izzy Perry (12:27).

Senior star Georgie Grgec again reinforced her position as one of the top female distance racers in the country as she finished as excellent second woman in a rapid 32:25 on Sunday morning at the prestigious Leeds Abbey Dash 10km road race.

She was 10 seconds outside her PB and only 20 seconds behind the winning athlete Abbie Donnelly, who recently raced for Great Britain in the World Half Marathon Championships in Riga.

Grgec now has hopes of representing New Zealand, her country of birth, in major championship races in the coming years.

Australian Brandon Dewar also made the trip north with Grgec, hiring a car from Luton to drive up after trains from King’s Cross were cancelled.

Dewar ran well to clock 31:09, one of his fastest times to date, a good return on legs which are tired in the midst of marathon preparations.

Geoff Jerwood