When Lily-Rose met Jessie

Herne Hill Harriers athletes enjoyed some good bank holiday results over the long weekend, mainly in track and field competition.

Saturday’s South London Athletics Network (SLAN) open meeting at Coulsdon attracted some top quality athletes, including Tokyo Olympian, former Harrier Jessie Knight, who still holds our club women’s 400m record and was racing over 300m against men and one younger athlete.

The latter was Herne Hill club U15 girls 300m record holder Lily-Rose Brown, now a U17 and although nervous, was not overawed by coming up against one of her heroes. 

Brown, coached by James McDonald who has previously looked after both Knight and Katie Snowden, ran her own race and maturely stayed n touch with the leaders. Her time of 40.02 was less than a second outside her PB and is well inside the English Schools qualifying time of 41.2. This performance currently ranks her third U17 nationally.

At the same meet U20 Harry Bell made a big breakthrough in the 3000m. Bell recorded a huge PB of 9:04.45 to finish second in the second race, over half a minute inside his previous best time. 

Bell had a busy weekend as he then raced again at the UK Youth Development League match in Lewes on Sunday. Like some others who go unreported here (see final paragraph below) Bell put in a superb shift for his team as he raced in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m during the course of the day. He kicked off his afternoon placing second in the 1500m in a PB 4:16.98, then won a tactical 3000m in 9:32.34 before filling in at 800m for team points. 

U17 Eliza Nicholson is new to the Harriers team but is already making big waves as she improved her already very good 3000m PB by almost 20 seconds as she clocked 9:41, fastest in the UK for her age so far this year and like Brown she could also be a real force at the English Schools Championship later in the summer.

One of the club’s bigger senior stars in recent weeks is Georgie Grgec and she added to her growing reputation by placing second in a very strong elite women’s race at the Comeback 5000 track meet in Battersea Park on Friday evening. 

Only three seconds behind a breakthrough race winner who surprised absolutely everyone, Grgec was again on a first three podium for a big race with a 5000m time of 15:52.16. A very encouraging early season mark, this was only fractions of a second outside her PB from last season and sets up a track campaign of exciting potential for her.

In the earlier open races at Battersea, Harriers’ fastest man and thereby our club 5000m champion was Lewis Laylee who ran 14:55.98, just a few seconds outside his PB to open his season. George Withers was similarly close to his best, kicking off with 16:01.17, while Simon Coombes went to the top of the early season UK M50 rankings with 16:12.73, also a new club record for this age group.

PBs were set by Ryan Willmott, 16:20.44 only five days after racing to a PB at the London Marathon, U20 Alex Jack a very promising 16:30.39, Greg Mills 17:10.22 and Micheal Tay, whose 17:26.57 saw him on the podium for placing third in the first open race of the day.

At the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) Championship at Sportcity in Manchester on Bank Holiday Monday, Saskia Millard returned to form approaching her best as she placed a good fifth in one of the strongest events of the three days of big competition. As with Grgec a few days earlier, Millard ran her second fastest track 5000m, her 16:07.04 was five seconds shy of her best and bodes well for the season as she is yet to get back into full training after an end of indoor season break.

In the USA at the Texas Invitational meet, Texas San Antonio University student Ore Adamson recorded a wind assisted long jump of 6.03m on Saturday and then a triple jump of 12.55m, also with a wind over the permitted limit on Sunday, She backed up the latter with a legal wind 12.28m, to further back up her indoor 12.80m back in February which currently ranks her third senior woman and second U23W in the country. 

Back at Coulsdon on Saturday, Isaac Ogunlade ran his first 400m hurdles race of the season and posted a solid 55.56 in a strong field after having run some good sprint times on the flat in recent weeks and he can expect to bring this time down substantially in the coming weeks once his hurdling catches up with is current speed and strength levels.

In the 100m races U17M Rikaion Smith rab a PB 11.34, U15G Ella Rennie won her race in 12.68, as did U15B Yunas Amoo-Gottfried with 12.77. U13G Sasha Nolan was another race winner with 14.28. Smith also clocked 23.12 for 200m.

U17W Orla Carroll ran a 3000m PB in 10:41.00, while in the 800m races U13B Zaccchaeus Kelman ran a superb 2:21.25 to rank sixth nationally in his age category, with a PB also for Edward Cunniffe with 2:23.26. U15B Tommy Clerkin won his race in a PB of 2:16.94 and U20M Evan Cowell-New ran a PB of 2:14.14.

U17 women Lucy Wright and India Blakey ran 2:21.31and 2:27.74 respectively. U15G Sophie Wright ran 2:36.41, with U13G Sophia Mendes running 2:40.81 and U15G Summer Mackay ran 2:42.44. 

On the roads in the Belfast City Marathon James Brown completed his first race at the distance in 3:18.18.

More will be reported on what looks like it was a good win for our U17/U20 team in the YDL Uppet at Lewes when the full results are finalised.

Geoff Jerwood