Inter Counties bronze for Nicholas while HHH play host to Italian visitors


(Attached photo courtesy of David Cocksedge is from the Surrey County and HHH club championship 10000m, with club champion Simon Coombes following the early leader)

It may have been a bank holiday weekend, but Herne Hill Harriers athletes and officials were as busy as ever as a small contingent from the club represented Surrey at the national CAU Inter Counties championship at Bedford with distinction, while at our Tooting Bec home track on Saturday the club entertained an Italian team complete with some dignitaries who were our guests from the town of Viterbo.

At Bedford pride of place goes to Nicholas Atwell, who capped a superb track season by claiming a bronze medal for his biggest performance yet. Atwell placed a good third in the men’s 400m in a time of 48.05, which was identical to that of the silver medallist in a very close finish and after tough heats and semi finals in the same weekend to qualify. Close behind the medals was Atwell’s club mate and Surrey team mate Peter Phillips in a good fourth place clocking 48.26. Two other Harriers athletes placed fourth in their finals, as another man who has had an excellent season, Gavin Johnson-Assoon threw a fine 63.18m, while Jade Phillips finished her season with a fine wind legal PB in the 100m recording 12.08.

Also at Bedford, Penelope Cummings underlined her fabulous progress as a race walker by breaking her club women’s 3000m walk record again with 16.30.00 in 7th position. Cummings has improved her time by over two minutes in a year with her hard working schedule and application and can look forward to even greater success in the walks in the coming months and years.

At home, Herne Hill Harriers hosted their final open meeting of the season at Tooting Bec Athletics Track which incorporated an inter club challenge with a visiting club from Viterbo, Italy. In a keenly contested match which went right to the final relays Viterbo won to take back to Italy the challenge trophy Harriers had won in Italy in 2012. Needing to win all the final relays the host team won both the women’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relays but Viterbo won both men’s relays. Harriers will have the chance to reclaim the trophy next year when they have been invited to Italy.

Highlights of the meeting included the Surrey County and Herne Hill Harriers club championship 10000m incorporated in the open race, where veteran Simon Coombes was crowned club men’s champ finishing third overall in a PB time of 32.46.27 for another performance that will rank him highly among UK M40 athletes this summer. In the women’s categories, Sam Whiting’s 25 lap track racing debut brought her a Surrey champs gold medal as well as the Harriers club title as she placed 27th in a big field of 30 runners with 44.56.97. Abdi Madar also impressed clocking 33.24.34 finishing 5th in the race.

In the throws Denisha Marshall-Brown recorded a PB with the 3kg shot to win the U15 girls event and also placed second in the hammer, while her brother Dejean threw shot, discus and hammer in the U15 boys events. In the 3000m walk, where the visiting Italians excelled in providing the first three finishers, Harriers’ team manager Waldy Pauzers led his own team at the age of 60, baked up by the superb Mick Harran who is in the M75 age group.

Among our runners at Tooting, Jack Hillier scored a decent win in the men’s 1500m to follow up his 800m win at the BMC meeting at Eltham on Wednesday. At the same midweek meeting Mike Cummings ran a fine PB for 800m with a time of 1.55.85. Mike then moved on to Coventry for another BMC race on Saturday to clock a good 3.59.2 over 1500m, being just edged out on the finish line to deny him a win after leading for much of the race.

Geoff Jerwood