Top performances and records galore while Katie books her place at the Euro Indoors

Photo James Rhodes
Jessica Craig club marathon record

Herne Hill Harriers have enjoyed another week of stellar results at a number of diverse venues. These include National age records and medals, more club records, high ranking  and at the highest level Katie Snowden was again in racing action. Back from the USA, Katie claimed a 1500m silver at the UK Athletics Indoor Champs in Birmingham on Sunday, a result which secured automatic selection for Team GB for the European Athletics Indoor Championship in Istanbul from 2nd-5th March.

Katie had a comfortable heat win on Saturday evening in 4:20.74 and went into her final as the fastest on paper, but all was not quite right as she has been unwell following her long haul travel return. Katie still put herself on the line for the British title and it took a championship record of 4:06.73 from rival Ellie Baker to narrowly beat her in one of the best races of the day.

Katie’s 4:06.98 with the first 2 guaranteed selection if they had run the qualifying time means that both she and Baker will be on the plane to Turkey along with favourite Laura Muir for what will be strong British representation in this event. Her immediate focus now will be to return to full health in readiness for this next big challenge.

Also at these championships, sprinters Saskia King and Niyah Costley both clocked 7.63 in their 60m heats on Saturday. King ran a good PB and was unlucky not to advance to the semi-finals, while Costley did get through in an automatic qualifying spot and then ran 7.65 in the next round to bow out.

Saskia Millard raced on Sunday shortly before Snowden’s final and finished an excellent sixth place in the 3000m in 9:17.72, only a fraction outside her lifetime best. Annabel Hobday raced in the other 1500m heat to Katie on Saturday clocking her second fastest time so far with her 4:34.94.

The BMAF British Masters Championship was held in Sheffield and was the scene of two British age 80 records for super veteran Allan Long. First of all a triple jump of 8.15m and then later in the day a 200m win in 31.97 were Long’s two M80 record breaking gold medals on Saturday. Then on Sunday there was a 60m gold, albeit no record this time, but an amazing weekend’s work for one of the club’s oldest champions.

Mike Cummings won M35 1500m gold in 4:10.24 and BMAF medals were also claimed by Nikki Sturzaker, who won gold in the W45 800m in 2:32.34, 1500m in 5:12.28 plus the long jump and a silver in the high jump. Harriers Club President Glen Keegan took home a M55 silver medal in the 3000m race walk and Penelope Cummings also won silver in the W45 walk. Byron Robinson won silver in the M35 60mwith 7.24 and Dion Panambalana a bronze in the M60 triple jump with 8.18m.

Herne Hill club senior records keep on coming as Northern Ireland based Jessica Craig smashed the women’s marathon record with 2:38.38 at the Zurich Maraton de Seville on Sunday morning. This was a stunning debut at the distance for Craig, who took over four minutes off the previous club best set by Rosalind Kieran in 2012. Craig had run a strong 74:29 for half marathon in January and overcame calf cramps in the closing stages in Seville to maintain some impressive time splits throughout her 26.2 miles. Alex Russell also raced and set a new PB of 2:48.47. In the Barcelona Half Marathon George Withers ran a PB 71:54.

Another Harriers record went a week earlier when Arlo Ludewick broke the men’s one mile in the USA on the same day as Snowden set a new club women’s time. Buried in an amazing set of results at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational meet in Boston where 52 men ran sub four minutes, Ludewick clocked a tantalising 4:00.49 to take down a record which had stood to Mike Gowan (4:01.1) since 1965! Ludewick also broke the club men’s 1000m record last month, also in the USA where he is now studying as he recorded a time of 2:22.17.

On Friday evening the Podium Under the Lights 5km road race in Battersea Park attracted very strong fields. The elite women’s race saw a superb run for Georgie Grgec, clocking 16:06 for third place. Georgie finished close behind a Tokyo Olympian who set a new course record and a Commonwealth Games athlete and was ahead of another who raced in the same Commonwealth event in Birmingham last year. Georgie therefore raised eyebrows in some quarters in keeping such company as she continues to make her mark.

Gaby Reynolds shattered her PB as she ran 16:59 having never even run under 18 minutes previously. This time elevates her to the top of the UK W40 rankings for the year to date. Simon Coombes excellent 16:08 sees him to the top of the UK M50 list. Others who raced with a few PBs thrown in were Brandon Dewar 14:53, Daniel Shaw 14:56, Lewis Laylee 14:59, Matt Cartwright 15:34 and M45 Raj Paranandi 16:12.

Earlier in the week Keeran Sriskandarjah went to the top of the UK U17M rankings for 800m running a PB time of 1:54.58 at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre. This places him fifth on the UK U17 men’s all time list for indoor 800m and it looks like the club outdoor record beckons for him come this summer. Others who raced at lee Valley were U17 Lucy Wright clocking 2:18.98, close to her season’s best and U13 Zacchaeus Kelman ran a big PB of 2:29.03.

Geoff Jerwood