Herne Hill Harriers round-up: Craig shines at London Cross Country Championships

BY GEOFF JERWOOD

Jessica Craig won the senior women’s event at the London Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday.

She produced a superbly judged run, ignoring a fast early starter and making her own decisive break at just the right time.

Craig, over from Northern Ireland where she trains with lifelong Tooting born HHH Masters athlete and coach Francis Marsh, got her team off to the best possible start.

Her race win helped the team to claim silver medals for the second successive year after having won bronze in 2016.

Marvellous runs from Julia Wedmore (25th), Fiona de Mauny (28th) and Olivia Zeltner 30th completed the medal-winning quartet.

W45 Nikki Sturzaker (32nd) finished just outside the scoring team for medals, but this provided further evidence of the rapidly developing team strength with a formidable red and black presence on the start line and throughout the race.

Harriers young athletes competed for their borough teams at the London Youth Games cross country races at Parliament Hill and then several travelled to Camberley for their popular cross country meeting on Sunday. Lily Rose Brown, running for Lambeth won the U11 girls race with Sophia Sahai placing fifth.

Jake Swinhoe was fifth in the U11 boys race helping his Wandsworth team win the race, while Johanna Nicholson placed second in the U13 girls event, helping Wandsworth finish second in the girls competition overall. Fabien Whitelock, a recent medallist in the national cross country relays was seventh U13 boy, whilst Jacob Taylor was seventh in the U15 boys race, as Wandsworth finished second borough in the overall boys event.

Sunday was a superb day for the Emer Casey Foundation, the charity the club has supported for a decade, as Brockwell Park was the home of another very successful staging of the Emer Casey London 10K.

Andrew Warburton was a clear race winner as he glided away from Jack Brotchie to claim victory in the men’s race in 34:20 and an inaugural course record over the new route. Brotchie placed second in a time of 35:24 ahead of Benedict Holmes of Kent AC in third.

Jonathan Ratcliffe claimed fifth place overall and retained his M50 title with time of 37:58 despite having raced at Parliament Hill the day before and with it closed the trio which scored another win for the host club in the men’s team race.

Sturzaker saw off her nearest rival in the closing stages to claim her second victory in the Emer Casey event in 42:01 following her previous victory back in 2012. She was well backed up by Monika Gajek in 43:41 and Patty Gnoato in 50:25, the latter securing a win in the W45 age category.

Lily Rose Brown won the U11 girls race at the Camberley Open races on Sunday with Sophia Sahai second.  Freddie Hake was fourth U11 boy, Johanna Nicholson was second in the U13 girls and together with Rosalee Laban and Alice Stevens-Cox, Herne Hill placed second team. Fabian Whitelock finished second in the U13 boys race and with Joe Russian third and Sam Maloney fourth, Harriers were the winning U13 boys team.

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