Lily Newton breaks own club Steeplechase record

Photo credits @AC_PHOTS

The South of England Senior & Under 20 Championships at Walton-on- Thames on Saturday was the scene of another Herne Hill Harriers’ club women’s record.

Lily Newton, still an U23, but racing against some older women at this event, claimed a silver medal in the senior women’s 3,000m steeplechase.

Displaying good barrier and water jump technique, Newton ran superbly to clock a PB of 11.18.91. This was an improvement of more than 15 seconds on her own club record set last year.

Newton will look forward to racing this event again at the England U23 Championships later this month.

A sunny Saturday afternoon also saw the Tracksmith Amateur Mile meet at Tooting Bec Athletics Track, an innovation which proved a great success.

The early races gave an introduction to track racing for some, including two Harriers women whose running has developed through the Tooting Run Club which attracts large numbers on a weekly basis as it continues to provide structured and safe training for local community members of all standards.

Anisah Khan and Milli Simcock-Brown ran inaugural PB times of 7:01.70 and 5:49.15 respectively, showing lots of future promise. Behind Simcock-Brown, seasoned racer Robert Nagorski ran a PB of 5:56.11 at the age of 60.

In the elite races, at the end of the day, Nikki Sturzaker clocked 5:19.99 for a good fifth place against younger women. This time moves her clearly to the top of the UK W45 rankings for 2023.

Among the elite men Mike Cummings was also fifth in 4:17.56, very close to a time he ran in 2017 when in his lifetime-best racing form, with Andrew Clarke ninth in a PB of 4:19.14 and Brandon Dewar just behind in 10th with 4:20.14.

Alex Lee squeezed a win in 4:51.54 in the eighth of 17 races with Adam Westbury coming second in 4:51.87 in a great battle to the line.

Matt Cartwright won race number 12 in a PB of 4:36.05, then Seve Loudon almost matched this when placing second in the next race, also in a PB 4:36.59. Ryan Willmott (4:40.73) and M45 Raj Paranandi (4:42.87) both ran PBs.

Joe Elliott (4:40.95), U20 Alex Jack (4:45.94), Ronan Tanguy (4:51.49), Michael Tay (4:52.25) and M45 Ben Millar (5:05.79) all contributed to a strong Herne Hill turnout at their home track.

Harriers have a couple of athletes competing in the USA. One of these is top sprinter Kristal Awuah, who on Saturday recorded 11.72 in a quality women’s 100m race at the Music City Track Carnival in Nashville.

On a busy Saturday there was also the BMC PB Classic meeting in Oxford, which was for athletes in the U20-or-younger age groups.

U17 Keeran Sriskandarajah was fifth in the men’s A 800m in 1:56.30, while in the women’s A 800m Lucy Wright, also U17, was eighth in 2:19.76.

In the women’s C 1,500m another U17 India Blakey was eighth in 5:04.47. In the women’s 1,500m steeplechase U20 Kaitlin Hewitt was fourth in 5:27.59 and U17 Izzy Perry sixth in 5:37.43.

On Sunday morning there was also Herne Hill representation at the Dorking 10 Mile Road Race.

Sophie Gunning demonstrated that she is back in good form following her excellent 2:53 in the London Marathon by placing second at Dorking in 63:56. Bryn Reynolds was 20th overall in 58:36, Muhamud Haile was eighth M50 in 63:47 and M55 Simon Evans also ran a PB of 73:00.

Geoff Jerwood