Katie Snowden polishing off a Diamond season in Switzerland

Herne Hill Harriers 1,500m Olympian Katie Snowden was last Thursday back in top level racing action for the first time since her Tokyo personal best performances which saw her reach the semi finals in Japan at the start of the month.

Balham local Snowden competed in the women’s 1,500m placing eighth in a world class field of thirteen athletes in 4:09.81 at the Wanda Diamond League in Lausanne.

Racing on tired legs after her Olympics exertions, she nevertheless gave a good account of herself at a windy venue which was the first of the Diamond League meetings to enjoy a capacity crowd since the global pandemic restrictions. Gaining further world event experience, Snowden enjoyed visiting the picturesque Swiss city and what she felt was by far the best track and field atmosphere this season.

Another big performance came on Sunday evening with Sophie Harris clocking 16:31 as the sixth woman in the Cardiff Victory 5km, another event which allowed crowds supporting the athletes, this one around a road race circuit.

Harris was part of the winning Welsh women’s team in an inter area contest that was incorporated into the event, which also included the Welsh Championship and an open race. She might perhaps have run even quicker if she hadn’t run a PB 9:22 for 3km en route followed by a hill in the fourth kilometre, but can be happy with this result.

On Sunday morning the Antrim Coast Half Marathon saw Andrew Warburton, Joe Elliott and Northern Ireland local Jessica Craig all recording PBs for the distance. Warburton placed 35th in the elite race with 70:14, Elliott clocked 73:55 from the separate mass start and Craig was an excellent eighth in the female elite race in 74:49.

The final Herne Hill National Athletics League fixture of the season was held at a windy Lee Valley Athletics Centre on Saturday afternoon, with Harriers showing an improved team performance in field events in particular and finishing third in the match.

On the track Isaac Ogunlade won all four of his NAL 400m hurdles races this season, running close to his season’s best on Saturday with 54.56, while the stand out performance in the field came from Ignatius Abebrese’s 14.15m winning triple jump. Abebrese recently made his international debut at the Manchester International where he represented Great Britain U18s and his class showed at Lee Valley with a winning margin of well over a metre.

U17 Dante Clarke set a new high jump PB of 1.80m in less than ideal conditions in placing second in his first senior competition and clearing the same height as the winner, while another U17 Makarios Mensah ensured the club team won both triple jump competitions on the day with her leap of 10.58m.

The other event in which Herne Hill enjoyed four wins in four NAL matches was the women’s 800m, but achieved with four different athletes, Fiona de Mauny, Nicole Montgomery, Sarah Grover and Zoe Tompkins. The latter was a clear winner in 2:18.72 on this occasion, while Grover won the 3,000m in 10:49.31 and they then raced 400m with Tompkins second in 60.92 and Grover won the B string with 64.23.

In the men’s middle distance races Jeff Cunningham and M45 Simon Coombes both doubled up to score for the team. Cunningham ran 10:53.56 for 3,000m steeplechase and then less than an hour later 16:33.40 for 5,000m placing second in both A strings, while Coombes had less than half an hour in between his 4:22.04 for third in the A 1,500m and 16:54.73 for second in the B 5,000m.

At county championship events on Sunday and bank holiday Monday Ogunlade placed third to win a bronze medal in the Middlesex senior men’s 400m in a season’s best time of 50.31 seconds, while Mike Cummings was sixth in the Hampshire men’s 800m on Sunday in 2:00.7 and then claimed a silver medal in the 1500m the following day with 4:04.6.

Saturday’s parkrun first finishers from Herne Hill were Nick Bester fastest in Dulwich Park with 15:30, Bryn Reynolds at Warwick Racecourse with 16:54 and Charlotte Davies the leading female on Wimbledon Common with 19:22.

Geoff Jerwood