Herne Hill Harriers’ Saskia Millard hoping for Euro call after smashing U20 win in Watford

BY GEOFF JERWOOD

Saskia Millard produced a breakthrough U20 win at the British Milers Club Grand Prix at the weekend – and boosting her chances of being selected for next month’s European Championships.

The meeting at Watford assembled some of the very best domestic fields ever seen in graded races ranging in distances from 800m to 5,000m and steeplechases.

The men’s and women’s 3,000m events incorporated the trials for the Great Britain Juniors team for the European Athletics U20 Championships in Sweden from July 18-21.

Millard chose the trial race to make her debut at the 3,000m distance and made a huge breakthrough to place second overall in the women’s event.

Millard’s time of 9:20.82 is a new Harriers club U20 women’s 3,000m record to add to the 1,500m record she set in May for the same age group.

It is also well inside the qualifying time that should see her selected for the GB Juniors team and become another addition to the Herne Hill ranks of female middle-distance athletes to represent GB Juniors this year following Charlotte Alexander in the World Cross Country Championship in March and Alexandra Brown at the Loughborough International track and field meet in May.

Like another Harriers female international – Katie Snowden -Millard grew up in Balham and came through the club young athletes ranks.

She is coached by GB international Hannah England’s husband Luke Gunn at Birmingham University.

Gunn has carefully resurrected Millard’s training and racing after several years of interruptions due to past injury issues and she now looks to fulfil the early potential she showed when coached in the younger ranks by club coach James McDonald.

Mike Cummings ran a season’s best 1,500m clocking 3:55.88, while Alexandra Brown ran 2:14.38 for 800m, closely followed in the race by Masters champion Fiona de Mauny with 2:15.20.

Ella Newton recorded 4:38.19 for 1,500m with Phoebe Anderson also close behind with 4:39.77. Northern Ireland senior international club member Jessica Craig came in with 9:54.07 in the same race in which Millard placed second.

At the Herne Hill open meeting at Tooting Bec athletics track earlier on the same day there were soom good performances – Andrew Warburton’s solo 800m win in 2:00.26, chased home by Arlo Ludewick whose final 200m in around 30 seconds saw him overtake everyone else to clock 2:02.37. Jack Brotchie also ran negative splits to record 2:09.38 in the B 800m race, with Steve Pugh running 2:10.29 and Eriç Dol 2:11.18.

Just behind the men in the 800m B race Helena Corbin elevated herself to the top of the Harriers female 800m rankings for 2019 so far with an outdoor PB of 2:12.54.

Corbin followed up with a season’s best 400m to lead the club 2019 women’s list for this event with her 59.92.

Myles Preston (3000m) ran a PB of 9:46.92, while a great battle of the Herne Hill Masters saw Gary Ironmonger run 10:18.47, Jonathan Ratcliffe a PB of 10:19.96, Gavern Newsum 10:20.01 and Victor Maughn 10:36.41.

Herne Hill Master track and field teams took control in the men’s and women’s sections of the Southern Counties Veterans League Mid London Division with wins in both matches in Battersea Park. Both lead their respective divisions with one match remaining at Perivale this month and now aim to qualify for the league finals in September.

PICTURES BY NIGEL BRAMLEY

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