Herne Hill’s Clarke leaps to National Age Group Gold Medal

Three young athletes from Herne Hill Harriers travelled up to Sheffield for the weekend to compete in the England Athletics Indoor Age Group Championships and all three came home to South London with national championship medals.

Dante Clarke leaped to a new personal best of 6.33m when winning a dramatic Under 15 boys long jump competition when his final round jump took him into first place. Clarke’s PB sees him firmly as the number one in the country in his age category as he has enjoyed a superb winter, having already won the South of England and Surrey indoor long jump titles and he sits at the top of the UK rankings for 2020 so far.
Brothers Ignatius and Alex Abebrese also had a memorable weekend as both claimed medals in the Under 17 men’s triple jump and Under 15 boys shot respectively. Ignatius jumped a new PB of 13.59m when placing second in the Under 17 men’s triple jump and the following day Alex, last year’s top Under 13 boy in the country, threw 11.78m to win a bronze medal in his first national championship experience.
Outdoors the biggest cross country event of the year, the English National Cross Country Championship was held over a very wet and muddy course in Wollaton Park in Nottingham. Harriers were represented in every age group throughout the day’s races.
The Under 20 women’s team putting up a valiant defence of the team title claimed in Leeds last February, albeit this time succumbing to the strength of both the Bracknell and Aldershot teams as despite a better points score this year than in last year’s victory, the team had to settle for third place this time around.
This was nevertheless an excellent achievement, led by a superb individual run from Yasmin Marghini in fifth place which represented a breakthrough performance and with Phoebe Anderson placing 21st and Liv Stillman 39th all three ladies added bronze medals to the gold medals they had won last year when Marghini and Anderson had formed part of the winning Under 17 team and Stillman had been in the winning Under 20 team. Annabel Hodbay also ran to place 92nd as an integral member of the club squad.
The next highest team position for the red and black clad Harriers was seventh, secured by the Under 13 boys quartet of Fabien Whitelock 28th, Josh McGuire 60th, Fred Hake 101st and John Goldston 106th. Further backup came in the form of Archie Penniceard 141st. Herne Hill’s next highest individual position after Marghini’s fifth, was the fine 17th achieved by Poppy Craig- McFeely in the Under 17 women’s race. Harriet Alexander in 122nd was the only other Harriers athlete in this age group on the day.
The Under 13 girls team finished 13th led home by Lily-Rose Brown, 11, who finished a very good 34th in her first National and was followed in by Grace O’Hanlon 69th, Vivi Marshall 122nd, Anna Forster 125th, Rosalie Laban 137th, Eva O’Hanlon 152nd and Isabelle Brugnoli 222nd.
The senior women placed 18th team with good runs from Julia Wedmore 107th and unlucky not to squeeze into the first 100 due to a fall in the finishing straight, Sarah Grover 113th, Karen Ellison 146th and Shannon Sinclair 216th. Katie Kedward 255th and Evie McDermott 435th of 919 finishers also completed a tough course of around 9km in distance.
Arlo Ludewick was the sole Herne Hill athlete in the under 20 men’s race and acquitted himself very well to place 41st, having been mid to high 30s for much of his race in a very strong field with real class at the front. The Under 15 boys team placed 23rd with Zac Crowther 107th, Harvey Kande 113th, Alex Spaul 236th, Robin Bebbington 238th, Diego Lister 244th and David Aisa-Miller 271st.

The Under 17 men were incomplete as a team, but were represented by Dylan Sweet 156th, Sam Camenzuli 247th and Jacob Alley 248th. Likewise the Under 15 girls, where Hebe Hunter was 154th and Sophia Ezeh 351st.

The men finished 20th team in a race over 13km which saw 1,715 runners complete the gruelling course. Carl Delaney led the team home in 150th in the huge field, chased home by Andrew Warburton 218th, Jeff Cunningham 248th, Brandon Dewar 268th, Jack Dickenson 291st and then Joe Elliott winning a very close battle to close the six to score team as he placed 353rd just ahead of Eoin Brady 355th and Jack Brotchie 362nd.
The remaining finishers were Matt Cartwright 393rd, Andrew Grigg 427th, Simon Coombes 431st, Alan Barnes 433rd, Oliver Walker 533rd, Henry Brown 585th, Richard Keeble 597th, Trevor Chilton 833rd, Duane Matthews 864th, Ben Lidgard 985th, Keith Newton 1004th (in his sixth decade of competing in National Cross Country championship races!) and Andrew Simms 1286th.
In road racing Jonathan Ratcliffe and Eriç Dol travelled to Seville to race the marathon, with the ever consistent M50 Ratcliffe clocking 2 hours 47 and Dol smashing his PB with a superb time of 2:50. Nick Bester travelled to Hampton Court to finish second in the half marathon in 72:44, with next Sunday’s London Big Half in his sights.
Indoors W35 Fiona de Mauny was at Lee Valley for the Southern Masters Indoor Championship where she put in a great day’s work to run a PB 200m of 27.92, then was timed at 59.48 for 400m and rounded off with 1500m in 4:45 to combine speed with endurance in the same afternoon.
Both W45 Nikki Sturzaker and M55 Gary Ironmonger also ran three events in one afternoon as both ran 800m, 1500m and 3000m successfully with very short recoveries.
Kwei Sankofa in the over 60 men’s events won a silver medal in the 60m with 8.03, gold in the 200m in 28.11 and gold at 400m in 58.81. Vanessa Grant won bronze in the W35 60m and silver in the 200m.