A teenager won his international race literally running in the footsteps of Usain Bolt, writes Tom Pollak.
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club teenager Chad Miller had the amazing experience of running in the lane where the sprinter set his world record.
Miller’s victory helped Britain beat hosts Germany and France in an under-20 warm-up match for the European Athletics Championships in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
Miller is the English junior men’s 100m champion and just failed to make the 100m final at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland last month.
He was one of a trio of British individual winners in the 10-event match. Running in the same lane as Bolt set the world record of 9.58 seconds in 2009, he raced to a narrow win in 10.44 seconds, finishing one metre ahead of his nearest rival.
Miller, who missed out on a spot in the 100m final at the World Junior Championships by just 0.02 seconds, was in high spirits after his win. He said: “I was in the same lane as Usain Bolt when he broke the world record – lane five. The stadium was so big and it is like a little taste of what is to come or what could be possible if I carry on progressing the way I am. It was very nice to experience.”
Miller has taken more than sixtenths of a second off his best 100m time this summer, and added: ” I have had a bit of a change in events. I normally do the 200m but I was running very fast in the 100m and I have surprised myself and I am really pleased with how I have done.”
Meanwhile his older brother Rechmial posted a lifetime best 200m time of 20.85seconds in finishing second in his race at an open meeting at Lee Valley, north London. It was his first time inside 21 seconds for the distance and an improvement on his previous best of 21.07 set in May last year. He was also second in his 100m race in 10.41, just beating his Hercules Wimbledon club mate Theo Etienne (10.43). Miller is the fourth ranked under-23 100m and 200m UK athlete this season.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Dwayne Cowan successfully negotiated the opening round to the European Athletics Championships men’s 400m in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday morning comfortably winning the fourth heat in 45.75. He was just outside his fastest time of the season of 45.65 set in winning his 400m race at the IAAF Diamond League Anniversary Games at Stratford last month. He was seventh fastest of the 15 qualifiers for the semi-final round.
Hercules Wimbledon’s inaugural night of 3,000 metres racing proved an overwhelming success, with 77 of the 126 runners in action posting personal bests and a further 25 clocking season bests. Thirteen of the 22 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action clocked personal best times and a further three clocked season bests.
Best of the Hercules Wimbledon contingent was Andrew Penney, who finished third in the last – and fastest – of the seven graded races in 8:13.55, a big improvement on his previous best of 8:37.00 set in 2011. He finished behind Roger Poolman from Highgate (8:11.63) and John Sanderson from Guildford (8:13.12).
Veteran Hercules Wimbledon runner Pete Clarke, who was in action in an earlier race, presented Penney with a bottle of bubbly as he was the fastest Hercules Wimbledon 3,000m runner since Clarke clocked 8:07.47 at Crystal Palace in 1986. The final race also saw an outstanding run by 14-year-old Mohamed Ali from Ealing, who clocked 8:15.02 in finishing fifth. It puts him second on the UK under-17 all-time list behind the top mark of 8:13.42 set back in 1972.
Hercules Wimbledon teenager Georgie Clarke set the pace for the evening in clocking a personal best of 10:32.97 in the opening race of the night, chopping 22 seconds off her previous best time. The second fastest Hercules Wimbledon runner was Fred Slemeck who clocked a personal best of 8:25.26 in the final race of the evening in which club mate Belal Ahmend also clocked a lifetime best of 8:30.43.
Hercules Wimbledon’s Adam Harwood headed home the 443 runners in Saturday’s Wimbledon Common 5km parkrun in 17:23, finishing 11 seconds ahead of David Lewin. Lisa Thomas was top Hercules Elsewhere Finn Johnson made a winning debut when he headed home a 250-strong field in Brockwell Park in 16:28. Kieran White was second of 215 runners in Lloyd Park, Croydon, Hercules Wimbledon host the annual Surrey 5km road running championships from their Wimbledon Park track headquarters on Sunday morning, starting at 9.30am.
Hercules Wimbledon stage a 5,000m Festival Night at the same track on Wednesday evening starting at 6.45pm.
Herne Hill Harriers The Herne Hill Harriers UK women’s athletics league (UKWAL) team beat the drop at Lee Valley on Sunday, coming fourth in the final fixture.
Harriers’ middle distance athletes could hardly have done better as the team scored maximum points in every event from 400m upwards.
English Schools senior girls 1500m champion Alexandra Brown was the first of the Herne Hill winners. She won the A string 800m, easing back towards the finish as she knew would be racing again just over half an hour later in the 400m. And she was rewarded with another A string win in her debut at the distance in 60.78.
Helena Corbin followed her race plan to the letter to run a season’s best 800m and win the B string. She accompanied Brown in the 400m, emerging victorious n the B string.
Stacey Ward also ran a season’s best time in the 3,000m. Natasha Lodge stuck as closely to Ward as she could and was second across the line and winner of the B string by well over a minute. Georgie Grgec, despite not feeling her best, won the 1500m A string.
But Harriers’ athlete of the match was Sarah Grover, on standby for Brown, but replaced Fiona de Mauny, who pulled out in the warmup. Grover, who had come fourth in the high jump ,won the B 1500m and then the A string 2000m steeplechase and then ran a good anchor leg in the third placed Herne Hill 4 x 400m relay team at the end of the meeting.
Esther Fuja and Vanessa Grant were third and second respectively in the A and B 100m. Grant was then fourth in the A 200m, with Manon Bukasa-Muteba fourth in the B. In the throws Hazel Robertson was fourth in the A hammer and fifth in the A discus. Charlotte Nicholls was third in both the B hammer and the B discus, then seventh in the shot. Unable to run as had been planned, de Mauny filled in at the javelin, coming seventh. Joyce Kalumbo was third in the triple jump . Lewis Lloyd was second in the 1500m in Liverpool on Saturday British League fixture.
Andrew Clarke was third in the B string. Stuart Thurgood was third in the hammer. Promising under-17 athlete Memphis Ayoade was seventh in the high jump with 1.78m.
Harriers had a night of bests in Wimbledon Park at the Hercules Wimbledon 3,000m festival: Fiona de Mauny (10.08.61), Sarah Grover (9.59.01), Matt Robertson (9.19.69), Georgie Grgec (9.27.53), Simon Messenger (9.34.08), Lewis Laylee (8.48.76), Nick Bester (8.50.41) and Andrew Warburton (8.42.39).
Mike Cummings recorded the fastest Herne Hill time of the evening with 8.38.31, a second outside his PB. Grgec’s time elevated her to third on the Herne Hill female all-time 3,000m list behind Chloe Tighe and Katie Snowden and just ahead of Stacey Ward.