Miller and Minetti star for Herne Hill at Lee Valley

Giuseppe Minetti in sprinting action

A number of Herne Hill Harriers athletes were competing indoors over the weekend at the London Indoor Games senior and under 20 events at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre.

Among the stand out performers were sprinters Michael Miller and Giuseppe Minetti who raced in the senior men’s 60m on Sunday as the indoor track and field season heads towards its business end.

Miller ran a rapid 10.54 seconds for 100m last summer, one of the fastest performances by a member in Harriers’ long history and has kicked off his 2022 with a big PB for 60m. His time of 6.76 at Lee Valley is an improvement of more than two tenths on his previous fastest and augurs well for good seasons this year, both indoors and outdoors. He is currently ranked in the UK top 15 for senior men’s 60m and top 6 among Under 23 athletes in the early year lists of fastest performers. 

Minetti is towards the older end of the age spectrum as a M50 competitor, but is hardly slowing down. Indeed his 7.54 for 60m was among the 10 fastest of his long athletics career and his quickest since 2018. A big leap forward from his pre Christmas indoor racing form.

Three Herne Hill athletes opened their indoor campaigns registering good marks in the horizontal jumps . Aaron Brown set a big triple jump PB of 14.49m ahead of Great Britain Under 18 international Ignatius Aberbrese who set an indoor PB of 13.80m, while Irish multi eventer Dan Ryan long jumped a good 6.82m.

In the middle distance races only Annabel Hobday was racing at Lee Valley with most others focusing on cross country and road racing, but she also ran very well in her 800m to record a time of 2:14.02. This is only 0.3 sec outside the outdoor PB set by the Under 23 athlete in August of last year and Hobday will now target the British Universities and Colleges Indoor Championship next month with keen optimism.

In cross country action there was a strong turnout of Herne Hill women and men at the Veterans Athletic Club Champion hip on Wimbledon common on Saturday afternoon. Harriers were the best represented club and took home the most medals, with 17 finishers on the day.

Mike Cummings took the M35 silver medal, Oliver Morrison was first M45, Jonathan Ratcliffe third M50, Mike Boyle first M60 and Tony Harran was third M60.

The women were also well represented with three winning medals in the open category, Alex Marginean second W35, Penelope Cummings third W45 and Eibhlin Ni Bhradaigh second W40.

Meanwhile at Lancing Manor at the Sussex Masters Cross Country Championship former club president Keith Newton was part of a Brighton & Hove team who took bronze medals in the M50 age group. Newton has an impressive record of having raced in Sussex championships events in each decade from 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and now 2020s.

Katie Moore will wear Herne Hill colours in this coming Saturday’s South of England XC Champs in Beckenham, but on Saturday she represented North Down AC at the World Athletics Northern Ireland International Cross Country meet in Belfast, placing 31st in an elite women’s field racing close to her home.

On the roads at the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon on Sunday second claim Herne Hill men Joe Morwood and Andrew Grigg, who have both raced in Harriers Surrey League teams this season were in the top 10. Morwood placed fourth in a fast 64:53, with Grigg eighth in 71:47. Eric Dol was 21st in 76:32, Paul Calver 28th in 77:34 and Keith Collins-Achong clocked 85:54. 

Aimee Hargreaves was 10th female in 86:03, Hayley Shearman 14th female in 90:23, while Olivia Zeltner completed the course in 1:46:31, great running for someone who is now six months pregnant and who also raced in last week’s Surrey League on Mitcham Common.

Elsewhere Simon Coombes was 13th overall and second over 40 in the Fred Hughes 10 mile road race in St Albans.

There are few fell races south of the Watford Gap, but the Box Hill Fell Race provides such an opportunity relatively locally. Jack Dickenson placed sixth in the colours of St George’s Hospital AC, chased home by Eoin Brady for Herne Hill in eighth place.

Lewis Laylee was first finisher in the Brockwell parkrun in 16:13, almost a minute ahead of the next man, while Andrew Warburton was first on Tooting Common and Billy Herklots was ahead of all comers in Southampton in 17:08. 

This Saturday sees cross county athletes of all ages competing at the South of England Championship in Beckenham Place Park and the second instalment of the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley with this time the under 13 to under 17 age groups given their chance to shine.

Geoff Jerwood