National Medals for Awuah and Snowden and a Herne Hill record for Millard

Three female athletes from Herne Hill Harriers enjoyed a successful Muller British Athletics Championship which was held in Manchester over the weekend behind closed doors as the governing body’s hard work in making the meeting happen was rewarded with some exciting competition with some BBC TV coverage. Harriers’ athletes between them won superb silver and bronze medals, Kristal Awuah in the 100m and Katie Snowden in the 1500m respectively, whilst Saskia Millard on her 5000m debut smashed the club senior women’s record in finishing an excellent fifth place in this event.

Awuah won her women’s 100m heat impressively on Friday in 11.58. Then in the final later in the evening she confounded the TV pundits’ focus on a couple of athletes as she raced very well to split the other favourites with a strong finish to claim second place behind local friend and rival Imani Lansiquot of Sutton & District. Her time of 11.34, just one hundredth of a second ahead of bronze, was a season’s best, albeit the wind reading of +2.1 metres per second was over the limit for “legally” accepted times by the smallest of fractions. This was Awuah’s best outdoor performance of the year to date and her silver medal a very welcome reward for her hard work. 

Very few athletes will have welcomed a place on the medal rostrum more than Katie Snowden, who although having taken home British national indoor medals in past years had thus far been an almost perennial fourth placer in the main outdoor championship. Finally this curse was lifted as Snowden followed up a second place qualification from her heat late on Friday night in 4:16.64 with a fine run in a tactical final in the last event on a chilly and sometimes wet Saturday afternoon. When fellow international Jess Judd and eventual winner Laura Weightman made their move Snowden covered the break well for as long as she could before coming home a clear third place in 4.14.00 and a coveted bronze medal as her season continues to flourish.

The other Herne Hill woman racing in Manchester didn’t quite take home a medal, but on Friday night she did claim a new club senior women’s 5000m record. In her first year as a senior athlete Saskia Millard ran an excellent mature race to smash the previous club best time by sixteen seconds as she recorded 16:02.03 on her debut at this distance. As is often the case in the longer races at championship the early pace was slow (as also in Snowden’s 1500m) and then wound up, but Millard kept her head well and with a more evenly paced run this time has obvious scope for further revision as her potential is enormous. A fourth Harrier at the championship Michael Miller clocked 10.94 in his 100m heat.

Wednesday evening saw a Herne Hill Harriers open meeting of 800m and 3000m races on Tooting Bec track. In the 3000m races Brandon Dewar, Jeff Cunningham and Jonny Whittall all improved on their times recorded at the Wimbledon meeting the previous week with 8:49.90, 9:23.76 and 9:32.55 respectively. Mohammed Ismail won his race in 9:47.52 ahead of M55 Gary Ironmonger 10:17.46, Sarah Grover 10:27.48 and Natasha Lodge 10:53.33. Richard Keeble was another race winner in 10:03.22 with newcomer Dave Lambourn 10:11.45.

The 800m included Hannah Edwards placing second in her race in 2:22.80, while the final race featured a close battle between under 20 Dylan Sweet and M35 athlete Mike Cummings, with both ducking under 2 minutes placing second an third with 1:59.49 and 1:59.57 respectively. Under 15 Zac Crowther won his race from the front with a PB of 2:01.88, while under 11 Caspian Holmes stole a victory in a good 2:26.72. Another under 15 boy to excel was Robin Bebbington who ran a huge fifteen seconds PB with his time of 2:12.49.

Sweet and Cummings renewed their 800m rivalry on the same Tooting track on Saturday at the SLAN open meeting, this time the older athlete prevailed as Cummings ran 1:58.98 in third with Sweet fourth in 1:59.53. Senior athlete James Stocker and under 15s Joshua Lee-Baum and Keeran Sriskandarajah ran PBs of 2:01.19, 2:06.51 and 2:08.81 respectively while under 17 Harvey Kande clocked a good 2:07.69. Under 17 Woman Poppy Craig-McFeely ran a PB 2:21.14. Young Holmes improved his best time from Wednesday to 2:23.64, while under 13 Jon Goldston executed a good front running win in a PB 2:27.49.

In the 100m races on Saturday the fastest Harrier was Victor Nzolele in 11.27, while others to impress included under 15 Dante Clark winning in 12.22 ahead of under 17 Oli Hector in a PB 12.29, under 15 Sapphire Haley 12.84 and under 17 Saskia King 12.88. Under 20 Memphis Ayoade won the fastest 200m race in 22.50 with under 15 Alecia Davidson clocking a PB 28.31 in her race. Holmes and Goldston were again winners in 30.10 and 29.00.

In the long jump Clark was finally able to open his season in the event with a leap of 6.07m during a busy afternoon for athletes, officials and other volunteers.

Geoff Jerwood