Herne Hill Harriers’ youth set-up received a major boost on Sunday as two teams became national champions at the English road relays. Harriers celebrated double success following victories for the U13 and U15 girl’s squads at the English Road Running Association (ERRA) road relay championships at Sutton Park, Birmingham.
The U13 trio of Lucy Olsen, Eloise O’Shaughnessy and Alex Brown finished 45 seconds clear of Liverpool Harriers in second, with Brown and O’Shaughnessy running the third and fourth fastest individual times respectively of the meeting. Remarkably, an U13 B team also finished among the top-10 clubs, with Kayah Wilks, Eimear Griffin and Clarissa Nicholls all running times that would gain them places in other top clubs.
The U15 girl’s A team of Kate Brown, Katy-Ann McDonald and Saskia Millard were equally impressive as their U13 counterparts, with a stunning run from McDonald easily the fastest of all leg two runners and the second fastest individual time in her age category. Once again, Harriers demonstrated their strength in depth in the junior age categories, with B and C U15 teams finishing 24th and 34th.
A fourth Herne Hill team also finished in the top-10 at Sutton Park, with a boy’s U15 squad of Feysel Nadew, Abel Tesfalem and Paul Burgess finishing eighth.
Running a day earlier in Birmingham, a senior women’s squad comprising Karen Ellison, Jo Ritson, Cathy Ansell and Nicky St Clair finished 24th of 66 teams at the ERRA four-stage road relay championship, with Ansell notching the fastest individual team. A senior men’s team of six, who were competing at the same event, finished 38th of 78 clubs. Leg four runner Jorge Raso Gea was the pick of the Harriers’ six, but was ably supported by Mike Cummings, Simon Coombes, John Tayleur, Jeff Cunningham and Jonny Henderson.
Elsewhere, there was stunning success for Harriers’ veterans at the Surrey Masters Cross Country in Richmond Park. Mike Boyle and Brian Shave won Surrey titles in the M50 and M75 categories respectively. Ben Paviour was second M40, Jonathan Ratcliffe finished third M45 and Gary Ironmonger was third M50. Finishing just outside the medals were Vic Maughn (fourth M50), John Carter (fourth M70), Tom Conlon (fifth M50), Steve Knight (sixth M60) and Robin Jones (sixth M40). In the team race, Harriers were first in the M50 category and second in the M40.
In the women’s competition, Cleo Bartholomew finished fifth in the W35 race, with Sam Whiting seventh. Rebecca Barrow was seventh in W40 category, with Sarah Allen ninth in the W50. The W35 team of Bartholomew, Whiting, Barrow and Penel Fixter won team bronze medals.