Snowden stars in the States with a record, while Herne Hill’s National League season kicks off at home

One of Herne Hill Harriers’ brightest stars who has come through the club junior ranks, middle distance runner Katie Snowden continues to make her mark in the senior ranks as she started her track season with a fine win on the other side of the world in the USA last Friday evening.

Having just completed a month long high altitude training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, Snowden’s entry was a late acceptance to the international start list at the hugely prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational meet in California, where many of the best Great Britain distance runners were opening their seasons.

Snowden was not entirely happy to be put in the C race of the women’s 1500m, but she grasped the nettle and really went for it with a very positive and confident solo front running victory from gun to tape out on her own. In the process she broke her own Herne Hill club women’s 1500m record by more than a second with a PB time of 4.12.21. The fact that the A and B women’s 1500m races were won in 4.10 and 4.12 with the added luxury of pacemakers and highly competitive fields makes Snowden’s performance all the more impressive and must bode very well for her season to come.

Back in London on Saturday, Harriers men’s flagship track and field team placed a good second in the British Athletics League Division 2 match at Kingsmeadow that Herne Hill were hosting. The end result was a source of frustration as although in one sense the team got away with having a number of filler events, in another this also cost the opportunity to win the match. The scores were very close throughout the afternoon, with three or four among the eight in the division swapping the lead, until the ultimate victors proved to be Kingston & Polytechnic Harriers, with Herne Hill just ten points behind. Indeed only forty-nine points separated the first six teams on the day.

Harriers enjoyed two event victories in the afternoon, the first courtesy of 110m hurdler Rushane Thomas, who won his A string race by a clear margin in 14.92 seconds. The second was the sprint relay team of Seb Wilson Dyer Gough, Peter Phillips, Byron Robinson and Nicholas Atwell. England 400m international Atwell also contributed two individual second place performances, in the A string 100m and his specialism, the A 400m. Others who placed second in their events were Allandre Johnson in the A javelin, Michael Wheeler in the A shot put, Mike Cummings in the A 800m, Wilson Dyer Gough in the A long jump, Phillips in the B 400m and both the Herne Hill high jumpers, Tayo Andrews in the A string and Daniel Ryan in the B. Robinson was third in both the B 100m and A 200m, Stuart Thurgood was third in the A hammer and Daniel’s younger brother David Ryan was third in the B long jump. Next British League match will be hosted by Bristol on Saturday 3rd June.

On Sunday the Herne Hill women’s team travelled north to Wigan to compete in their national league fixture in UK Women’s League Division 3. The team placed fourth of the seven in the division, hampered by insufficient numbers to be able to fill up some of the jumps and hurdles events.

However the middle distance runners did their team proud and some good points were also scored in the sprint races. Fiona de Mauny, in her Harriers team debut, placed second in the A 800m in 2.12.18 (her second best ever time) and Katie Kedward was second on the B string. Chloe Tighe was a double A string winner at both 3000m and 1500m, showing a fierce turn of finishing speed to clearly win both races. Natasha Lodge was second in the B 1500m with a PB time of 4.53.57, with Julia Wedmore third in the B string 3000m clocking a season’s best time. The middle distance ladies also filled the 4 x 400m relay team, courtesy of de Mauny, Kedward, Lodge and Tighe.

In the sprint races Cheyanne Evans Grey placed second in the A string 100m and fourth in the A 200m, accompanied by Michelle Watson who won the B 100m and was third in the B 200m, while in the field events Denisha Marsall Brown was second in the A shot put and Charlotte Nicholls was the winner of the B string hammer. With the remaining fixtures in June and July being in Rugby and Glasgow, Herne Hill have a good deal more travelling to come, the hope and aim now is to ensure much more complete teams in those two matches to complement more excellent individual performances like some of those in Wigan and try to move up the league table.

Geoff Jerwood

8 May 2017