A very good number of Herne Hill Harriers athletes were in competition at the South of England Cross Country Championship in Beckenham Place Park on a course which was considerably drier under foot than two weeks earlier when a Surrey League fixture was held there.
The Under 13 boys continued their hot streak of results as they claimed team silver medals in second place. Serial race winner Caspian Holmes had to settle for eighth on this occasion, but led home a strong quartetwhich also included Lucas Heath 28th, Edward Cunniffe 30th and Luca Boulton 45th. The boys will go into February as the Surrey League age group leaders and will challenge for medals at the National Cross Country Championship later in the month.
The Senior women have also enjoyed a strong season so far and even when missing five team regulars their squad depth still won them sixth team position only a dozen points shy of winning more medals. Captain Julia Wedmore ran her best cross country race of the season so far to lead her team in 30th. She was followed by Karen Ellison 43rd, Nikki Sturzaker 64th and Eliza Cottington 72nd completing the scorers. A B team was formed comprising debutante Sophie Gunning 81st, Charlotte Kenyon 86th, Megan Gildea 112th and Hannah Edwards 132nd.
The Under 20 women were frustratingly one athlete short of a good scoring team in an age group where only four clubs finished a full complement of four. The three Herne Hill athletes had superb runs, led by Poppy Craig-McFeely who was an excellent seventh, the highest individual position achieved by any Harriers runner on the day. She was well backed up by Kaitlin Hewitt in 17th and Phoebe Bowen 30th. All three will still be in this age group next winter season.
The Under 15 girls placed eighth team through Orla Carroll 12th, Sophie Jack 35th, Orla Wright 52nd and Lily Kitto 59th, while the Under 17 women were also eighth with their scorers being Eva O’Hanlon 47th, Vivi Marshall 68th, Grace O’Hanlon 84th and Rosalie Laban 94th
The Under 17 men were also top ten in tenth place. Robin Bebbington was 52nd, Harry Bell 54th, Mori Alimi 60th and Alex Jack 63rd.
In the Under 13 girls race the team were 17th courtesy of Florence Mills 41st, Sofia Mendes 98th, Summer Mackay 102nd and Assie Ubhi 151st. 17th team was also the position for the Under 15 boys Archy Atkinson 41st, Jack McLennan 93rd, Alex Wilson 96th and Alfie Bryan 122nd.
In the final showpiece race of the day saw around 700 Senior men replicate that 17th team placing. As with the women, some regulars were unavailable and the team was led home by a trio of experienced veterans. M40 Jeff Cunningham was a good 99th, then 50 year olds Ben Paviour and Simon Coombes were next in 113th and 139th respectively. The scoring six man team was completed by Joe Fenwick 146th, Ryan Willmott 219th and Jack Coy 243rd. The latter was very nearly caught at the end by the seventh Harriers finisher Ben Millar, another veteran (M45) in 249th.