HHH Youngsters strike gold at Bruce Judd Surrey Relays

Over the weekend Herne Hill Harriers young athletes warmed up for the upcoming National cross country relays in impressive style by winning four age group races at the Bruce Judd Memorial cross country relays at Stoke Park, Guildford, which incorporate the Surrey Championships.

The first race set the tone with Herne Hill under 13 boys having a superb win by 21 seconds to beat Walton and Epsom. Christo Chilton was well placed on first leg coming in second place in 7.37 which was the second fastest time of the race. Jacob Taylor then shot into the front on second leg to build up a good lead, clocking 7.46. Fabian Hurst ran a time of 8.07 on the final stage to increase the lead for a comfortable team win. Harriers’ B team of Ben Birch 8.28, David Aisa Miller 8.40 and Evan Cowell-New 9.05 finished thirteenth.

The under 13 girls led throughout their race with a very strong open leg from Stella Thomas who ran the fastest leg of the race in 8.13. Herne Hill were chased throughout the race by a strong Guildford team who had previously won medals at the Southern road and cross country relays this autumn. Thomas set up a goodnine second lead with a strong finishing burst on her leg to pull clear and on the second and third legs Johanna Nicholson (8.27) and Annabella Bailey (8.29) showed great composure to retain the lead from the chasing Guildford athletes for an impressive win.

Harriers’ under 15 boys had a great race with South London Harriers and only pulled clear on the final leg. Charlie Krammer kept the team in close contention on first leg with 7.09. Jaden Kennedy ran well with 7.07 to pull clear of the SLH scoring team on second leg, but just behind a non-scoring team and then Jacob Harrison ran a very solid leg in 7.25 to pull clear of the field to win by 23 seconds. The Herne Hill B team ran very strongly to finish fifth with fine runs from Luke Stevens-Cox 7.27, Ben Harrison 7.43 and Jacob Alley 7.33.

The under 15 girls had an exciting win, coming from behind after the first leg for a very convincing win. On a tense first leg Eva Holland came in a close fourth with 8.06, after which Isobel Penniceard surged through the field on second leg to storm into the lead with the fastest leg of the race in 7.49, pulling well clear to allow Poppy Craig-McFeely to bring the team home to win by 33 seconds with her time of 8.01. Harriers’ B team of Tilly Stevens-Cox 8.27, Sophie Williams 8.36 and Jessica Tabraham 8.25 were an excellent fourth and the C team of Katya Millard 9.00, Madeline Smith-Londono 9.06 and Ana Duffy-Markovic 13.26 were nineteenth.

Herne Hill had incomplete teams in both of the under 17 races, but nevertheless there were good runs from Katie Balme, 8.00 for the fourth best time overall and Jemima Hayward-Bhikha 8.39 in the U17 women’s race and Oscar Millard 7.07 on his own in the Under 17 men’s race. The club will next travel up to Mansfield for the National cross country relays on Saturday in good heart after some excellent performances in all of the age categories.

On Sunday the club joined forces with the Emer Casey Foundation ovarian cancer charity to host the annual 10km road race in Brockwell Park, which was again a successfully organised and well received event. The women’s podium consisted of winner Georgia Tindley of Hunter’s Bog Trotters from Edinburgh in a time of , with Stacy Wheat​ second in 40.58 and Karen Ellison​ third in 41.00, both from the home club.

Herne Hill’s Chris Busaileh​ won the men’s race in 33.48, holding off the challenge of Richard Henderson​ (34.24) to win with Alex Hobley​ claiming third (35.30) as the first seven finishers were all wearing Harriers’ red and black colours.

Over 40 Kate Crawford, who was sixth woman overall in 42.52 claimed the W35 prize and M55 Gary Ironmonger​, who was fifth man in 36.37 was the first male veteran as Jonathan Ratcliffe​ won the M50 prize placing seventh overall in 37.22. There was also a double home win for Herne Hill in the men’s and women’s races with Jack Brotchie​ (fourth in 36.18) the third men’s team scorer and Shannon Sinclair (fourth woman in 41.19) closing the women’s team.

On the continent at the Frankfurt Marathon Australian club member Matt Robertson​​ recorded a PB time of 2.41.33, an improvement of seven minutes on his previous fastest, while Tony Macdowall ran an excellent 2.42.00 in his debut marathon. Both athletes have reaped the benefits of training with the Herne Hill group based at Tooting and Streatham.

Steve Bosley/Geoff Jerwood