Snowden ends super season with another sub four min 1500m time

Photo credit Gary Mitchell
Crossing the line in NYC
Starting in Brussels – photo credit James Rhodes

Herne Hill Harriers’ world championship 1500m finalist Katie Snowden rounded off her breakthrough season with the last two races of her campaign over the weekend. She finished an excellent fifth in a star studded Brussels Wanda Diamond League 1500m on Friday evening and then flew straight to New York to record a PB for a road mile race on Sunday. 

A long, successful summer kicked off with a big 1500m PB in Los Angeles at the end of May and ended with her ninth place of 20 top athletes in the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile elite women’s race on Sunday where she clocked 4:24, only four seconds behind the race winner on a wet day. 

The Brussels race was a big performance as the 29-year-old recorded the second fastest 1500m time of her career so far with 3:58.03. This result consolidates her position in second among all British females over this distance behind national record holder Laura Muir who was the race winner in Belgium.

Snowden will now take a short break at the end of a busy year which has seen her place fifth in a European indoor final, eighth in a world championship final and score a shock win at the UK women’s 1500m championship. 

Last month in Budapest she set a new English 1500m record when running her current PB in the world 1500m semifinal en route to her final. Next year will, if all goes to plan, feature the European Championship in Rome in June and then the Olympic Games in Paris in August.

Locally the Surrey Road Relay Championships were held in torrid weather on Saturday in and around Wimbledon Park. Herne Hill claimed county team medals in four categories and also two individual gold medals for fastest individual times overall. 

Harriers vets team were clear winners of the W35 team gold medals even though there was nobody under 40 in their quartet. 50-year-old Nikki Sturzaker continued her purple patch as she was third fastest of all females on the day and won gold for the fastest time in the W35 relay. Sturzaker led her team which also included W40s Karen Ellison, Annes Stevens and an expectant Gaby Reynolds for the win.

The M60 team were also gold medalists with strong runs from Vic Maughn (second fastest M60 overall), Tom Conlon and Gary Ironmonger.

Although the senior men’s turnout was low key, their seventh place team featured an exceptional run on second leg from in form Sam Bramwell who claimed a gold as he ran the fastest time of anyone on the day when overtaking a string of athletes on his stage.

The senior women’s A team won silver medals thanks to the collective efforts of Charlotte Davies, Sophie Tooley, Jenny Nandi and Grace Leyland. The M40 team picked up bronze medals despite three of their four team members being over 55. Fine runs from M55s Norman Urquia, Jonathan Ratcliffe and Muhamud Haile were rounded off with M45 Deron Fagan bringing the team home in the medals on the anchor leg.

The senior women’s B team placed sixth overall courtesy of Sophie Gunning, Madelaine Parmar, Megan Gildea and Steph Ainley, while a new member on first leg for the C team raised eyebrows. This was a strong team debut from Annie Dalton, whose first leg time was only just outside the top ten overall in the senior race and suggests she could be one to watch.

Wednesday evening saw the Stan Allen Mile track meet hosted by Herne Hill on Tooting Bec track. With the aim of providing competition opportunities for all, these races encouraged a lot good number of people to try track racing for the first time. 

The late Stan himself would have been very proud, as the fairly new Tooting Run Club community project provided a staggering 20% of the evening’s participants across the ten races including some who are now training with Harriers groups and racing in club events. 

TRC held their inaugural club championship here and Herne Hill also incorporated their one mile track championship. The first three male athletes in red and black were U20 Harry Bell in 4:33.51, U15 Caspian Holmes 4:35.07 and Seve Loudon 4:36.62. 

The female club medalists were Cat Witcombe 5:15.09, just ahead of the prolific Nikki Sturzaker 5:15.26 and another U15 Florence Mills 5:19.96. Sturzaker’s time elevates her to the top of the UK W50 rankings for yet another race distance as she continued to make the most of her fabulous current form in advance of her big run at the road relays. 

Geoff Jerwood