Harriers fly high: two golds and a silver for club at national relay event

Herne Hill Harriers Herne Hill claimed double gold and a silver team medal at the Mansfield National Cross Country Relays on Saturday, writes Geoff Jerwood.

The day got off to its best possible start as the U20  (above) women bagged top spot despite being up against 40 other teams. Loughborough Students AC ended up crossing the line in first place but the hybrid university teams were ineligible for medals.

Ella Newton worked her way through to ninth position on the opening leg, running 8:57 for the 2.5km leg.  Zoe Tompkins continued her excellent winter form with 9:05, taking the team up to sixth place. The stage was set for double English Schools 1,500m champion Alex Brown.

She moved the team up to fourth and then in the final minute of the race powered away from the other two to secure first club place and the first Herne Hill gold medals in this age group.  The B team finished 16th, with a standout run from Mollie O’Sullivan, an excellent 9:07 on leg two, moving the team up 19 positions.

The U17 women’s event saw three Wayne Vinton-coached athletes comprise the winning A team with a stunning performance, leading from gun to tape and winning by more than 45 seconds.  Yasmin Marghini produced a superbly judged opening leg with the fastest U17W run of the day.

Phoebe Anderson extended Harriers’ lead with another fine solo performance, a nine minute leg, to hand over to Charlotte Alexander with an unassailable lead.  Alexander, one of the finest distance runners in this age group in the country, duly extended the winning margin with an 8:46 final leg. It was the second fastest ever U17W team time at this even.

Wayne Vinton’s U17 team

The U13 boys team finished second. Zachary Crowther produced his customary strong opening leg finishing fifth (6:48). Fabien Whitelock moved up to third with a 7:09 performance, setting it up nicely for Christo Chilton, the third of the James McDonald coached athletes. Chilton took the team to second position (6:52).

The U15 girls team featured two more Vinton-coached athletes – Poppy Craig-McFeely and Maisie Collis on legs one and two. The former ran a strong opening leg for 10th position (7:15). Collis finished the last 400m strongly to move the team up to third. Eva Holland, coached by James McDonald and another English Schools 1,500m finalist, ran 7:17, holding off the English Schools 800m champion.

The team were fourth but just 16 seconds behind the winners.  Katie Snowden, Fiona de Mauny and Swann Phelippeau combined to produce the club’s highest ever senior women’s finishing position at this event – ninth out of 139 teams.

Senior track international Snowden handed over in fifth place after having held second for much of the leg. De Mauny finished her stage in 10th spot. Phelippeau had been unwell but brought them home in ninth. Chris Busaileh (31:34), Bryn Reynolds (34:35), Steph McCall (36:14) and Suzanne Swaine (39:57) all posted very decent times at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k.

Parkrun events saw wins for Mike Cummings at South Norwood (16:46) and Nick Bester at Tooting (16:59). Julia Wedmore was the first woman home in Dulwich (19:10). Off the track at the Herne Hill Harriers AGM, Great Britain World Junior Championship double bronze medallist Kristal Awuah was awarded Honours Membership of the club she has represented with proud loyalty and distinction since the age of 11.

Hercules Wimbledon Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s senior men’s cross country runners will be aiming to take full advantage of being on their home course when the club hosts the second of this season’s Start Fitness Surrey Cross Country League Division One matches on Wimbledon Common tomorrow, writes Tom Pollak.

They won their opening match in Richmond Park last month, beating reigning champions Kent AC in the process. They will be strengthened by the return of Ross Matheson and Andrew Penney, who both missed the opening match. Matheson will be competing in his second Surrey League match after finishing fourth on his debut appearance in the league on Wimbledon Common last February.

Penney, like Matheson, will be competing in his first cross country race of the winter. He was 10th in the league race last February, although he finished sixth in January’s league match over a more testing course on Farthing Downs, Coulsdon. They will both be aiming for top 10 finishes to help secure another victory for Hercules Wimbledon and strengthen the club’s position at the top of the league.

U13 boys secured silver medals

Hercules Wimbledon showed strength in depth by winning both the A and B team contests in the first match. But they will be without Ben Toomer, who led them to victory, as he is now working in the United States. Hercules Wimbledon took the team honours in an inter-club match in Richmond Park in which none of the club’s top 12 runners took part. Their top finisher in the 4.9 miles race hosted by the Bank of England was teenager Zac Purnell who finished third of the 56 runners in 26:37.

Fellow teenager Hector Revill was eighth in 29:33 with John Hazell (10th in 30:43), Fred Jimack (12th in 30:52), Richard Evans (14th in 32:18), John Querstret (16th in 32:47), Stewart Bond (17th in 32:59), top woman finisher Lisa Thomas (21st in 33:37), Ben Revill (23rd in 33:50) and Hannah Fernando (28th in 35:38) completing the scoring team. Hercules Wimbledon narrowly won the 10-to-score contest with 152 points beating Thames Hare & Hounds (158) and the Bank of England (258).

Justin Reid was seventh out of 1436 runners in the Bushy Park 5km parkrun on Saturday in 16:44 with Dave Grima 10th in 16:51. Adam Harwood was once again the best of 16 Hercules Wimbledon runners on Wimbledon Common finishing third out of 621 runners in a personal best of 17:15. Gina Galbraith was top woman finisher in 19:05.

The event was won by Hercules Wimbledon’s Jonny Earl in 16:03, just one second shy of his best set last month. Joe Toomey was second out of 640 runners on Clapham Common in a PB of 16:44.

Hercules Wimbledon’s distance running superset Tom Cheetham finished 11th out of 250 runners in the Thames Meander on Sunday in 3:12:30 to complete his 82nd marathon.

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