Millard and Alexander on top in Cardiff for British Athletics Cross Challenge


Herne Hill Harriers could hardly have been better represented in the under 20 women’s race at the biggest domestic cross country event of last weekend, as their Great Britain junior international athletes Saskia Millard and Charlotte Alexander were placed an outstanding first and second in the highly prestigious British Athletics Cross Challenge races held in Cardiff on Saturday.

Dominating a quality field over a 4.5km course, Millard and Alexander score a fabulous 1-2 in their age group race. Millard won the race in a time of 15:33 with Alexander finishing a clear second in 15:46. This was an excellent start to the cross season for both young ladies who will be building towards the biggest races of the season with the trial race for the European Championship being in Liverpool towards the end of November.

More locally Herne Hill had teams racing in the opening Surrey League cross country races with the men and boys racing over a new course at Effingham Common near Guildford while the women and girls were competing in Priory Park in Reigate. Both courses were wet and the Reigate venue muddier than is often the case particularly in October.

At Effingham the Harriers under 13 boys claimed a good team win courtesy of Josh Lee Baum fourth, Oak Buchan fifth, Fabien Whitelock sixth and Freddie Hake 14th. The combined U15/U17 boys team placed fifth through Harvey Kande 22nd, Sam Camenzuli 25th, Diego Lister 44th and Jacob Alley 48th.

At Reigate the under 13 girls team were second with similarly good packing from Lily-Rose Brown fifth, Sophis Sahai sixth, Rosalie Laban seventh and Eva O’Hanlon ninth. The B team of ViviMarshall 10th, Grace O’Hanlon 12th, Anna Forster 14th and Isabella Brugnoli 28th placed a good fourth team overall. The under 15 girls’ team placed fifth led by Phoebe Bowen, the only Herne Hill individual race winner of the day, backed up by Hebe Hinter fifth, Annabella Bailey 33rd, Sinian McDowell 60th and Sophia Ezeh 61st. Harriet Alexander, younger sister of Charlotte made her Herne Hill debut placing ninth in the under 17 women’s race.

The senior races saw contrasting attendance for Herne Hill men and women’s teams. There was a strong turnout of 27 starters and 26 finishers themen’s race at Effingham Common, with superb team packing behind first man Richard Henderson in 23rd place which saw the A team of ten men close in 66th to place 5th of the 9 Division 1 teams and our B team were an excellent 2nd behind a very strong Kent AC squad.

Mike Cummings 26th, Andrew Clarke 31st, Lewis Laylee 39th, Brandon Dewar 48th, Ben Paviour 56th, Andrew Warburton 59th, Jack Dickenson 63rd, Josh Pewter 65th and Eoin Brady 66th completed the A team across the line with only Kent closing their 10th man before Herne Hill. Brady became the 299th different Herne Hill Harriers man in the history of the league to score in the A team, with the 300th man awaited soon!

The B team comprised Jack Brotchie 83rd, Joe Elliott 86th, Bryn Reynolds 101st, Oliver Walker 108th, Robert Peacock 111th, Henry Brown 113th, Jon Key 116th, Marc Geraghty 117th, Matthew Munro 119th and Jonathan Ratcliffe 136th, backed up by Gavern Newsum 146th, Duane Matthews 147th, Sam Knight 162nd, Trevor Chilton 177th, Andrew Simms 216th and M65 Valdis Pauzers 224th of the 228 who completed a good new course.

The women at Reigate enjoyed a less than auspicious team result but that should not detract from the fine performances of the eight who did race. Fiona de Mauny 25th, Julia Wedmore 28th, Karen Ellison 44th after a heavy fall near the finish on a muddy course, Susan Mair 85th and Jess Winfield 111th closed our A team in 13th with Jemima Hayward-Bhika 116th, Samantha Whiting 129th and Evie McDermott 170th were what was unfortunately an incomplete B team.

The men will be looking to consolidate on this very solid team effort in the next league fixture on Wimbledon Common, while the women will need a much better all-round show of numbers at a home fixture on Mitcham Common next month.

Geoff Jerwood