Sam Bramwell and Harry Bell star at Battersea Comeback 5000m races 

The Belgrave Harriers and Friday Under the Lights Comeback 5000 races on Battersea Park track moved onto yet another level this year. Every race was of a high calibre, from the early open events through to the elite women’s and men’s races which were the showpieces of the evening. The weather was a bit breezy and chilly for super fast times, but the races were very exciting for a good crowd of supporters and athletes alike, with a strong meeting model for future editions to build on.

Herne Hill Harriers athletes featured in almost all of the seven 5000m track races and also in the men’s invitational 800m race. 

Sam Bramwell continued his progress towards top level when finishing ninth in the elite men’s race at the end of the night, recording a big PB of 14:03.17. 

Undeterred by the quality of opponents when running in a strong chasing pack behind a smaller lead group, Bramwell took the race to those he was amongst in the closing stages when realising the pace around him was dropping outside his sub 14 minutes time target. This was a really good track season opener, with only three other men in the long history of the club ever having run quicker and Sam being quite new to the sport.

Harry Bell ran a similarly mature and tactically astute race to place tenth in the fourth race with a superb PB of 15:02.27. As with Bramwell’s effort, there was nothing not to like about this performance and if he could find another ten seconds then the Harriers club Under 20 men’s 5000m record could become his, either this season or next year.

Georgie Grgec placed fifth in a rather up and down elite women’s race in terms of their pace per lap. The main protagonists went out hard, but then slowed after less than 1km and by four laps Grgec found herself tucked in a big pack moving slower than planned. When the first three moved decisively Grgec then became an unappointed pacer for the rest. She gradually shook off all bar one of these and at the finish both fourth and fifth ran times fractionally outside 16 minutes, her time being 16:00.83.

In the fifth race Brandon Dewar clocked 15:06.60 and Lewis Laylee 15:10.74, while in the third race Simon Coombes ran 16:18.04, which will see him high in the early season UK M50 rankings. First up for Harriers in the second race was Ryan Willmott who did well to clock 16:45.46  just five days after his marathon PB in London.

In the men’s Invitational 800m U20 Keeran Sriskandarajah attacked a strong field and got stuck in before fading in the closing stages to finish ninth in 1:54.54.

On Saturday at the SLAN open meeting at Sutton David Moyse was second in the A 3000m in 9:02.24 as he followed up his 5km road PB in Dulwich a week earlier with a PB track opener.

Also at Sutton U13 Sasha Nolan jumped a PB of 4.79m in the long jump and ran a PB of 13.37 in the 100m. U15 Esther Ency ran a PB 13.30 in the 100m, U17 India Blakey ran a PB of 49.67 for 300m hurdles and U15 Arnold Duan a PB of 10:22.59 in winning the B 3000m.

In the 800m races U15 Leau Roch ran under 2:10 for the first time with 2:09.03, U17 Orla Wright clocked 2:18.25 and M35 Mike Tay ran 2:07.90. In later 800m heats U15 athletes Herbert Clark won his race in an PB of 2:19.75 and Noah Turner ran a PB of 2:25.64. 

Over 400m U20 Fikayomi Awolope and U23 Shanpy Sealy ran PBs of 53.09 and 53.49 respectively. At 300m M35 Peter Phillips clocked 36.72, then in the next race U17 Lucy Wright won in 41.49 ahead of Roch who ran 42.10, sister U15 Sophie Wright a PB of 43.76 and U15 Blessed Awolope 45.37.

On Sunday morning Gaby Reynolds was the winner of the Hogsmill 5 miles race by over a minute in 34:02. Most would be delighted with this run, but Reynolds performance takes on a whole new dimension when considering that this race was less than six weeks after she gave birth to her third child.

Geoff Jerwood