Saturday’s English National Cross Country Championships took place at the iconic venue that is Parliament Hill Fields and witnessed an individual racing performance from Lewis Lloyd of historic proportions in a club context for Herne Hill Harriers.
Lloyd’s exceptional seventh placing in the senior men’s field of 2,300 finishers genuinely merits that description. This was the first time a Harriers athlete has finish in the senior men’s top 10 since Don Taylor, a leading international athlete of his day, in 1963.
Lloyd has pedigree from his junior days, having represented Great Britain under-20s at the World Cross Country Championship in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2013. Now approaching the age of 24, his senior racing is starting to match his exploits from younger days. Saturday’s result was probably his best yet in any athletics event.
Katie Snowden was racing against international opposition over 1,500m at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow. Her 10th place in a time of 4:12.20 provided her with further important big race experience.
Also competing indoors at the England indoor age group championship in Sheffield were two of Herne Hill’s junior internationals, long jumper Ore Adamson and sprinter Kristal Awuah.
Adamson leapt to her season’s best of 5.85m to claim a national silver medal in the under-17 women’s category, defeating the top-ranked UK athlete of the year to date, but falling 6cm shy of the winning jump on the day.
Awuah placed third in the under-20 women’s 60m.
Back in the mud of Parliament Hill, Poppy Craig-McFeely finished 10th in the under-15 girls race. Also making the top 100 and contributing to a 10th team placing, Isobel Penniceard finished in 87th.
The under-13 girls race saw the Harriers’ team performance of the day. Led by Phoebe Bowen, the girls were unlucky to finish an agonising one point behind the third-placed team to just miss out on bronze medals. Bowen placed 20th of more than 450 finishers, and was backed up superbly by Johanna Nicholson (40th), Hebe Hunter (61st) and Stella Thomas (63rd).
Christo Chilton finished 22nd, leading the Herne Hill team to the same team position.
The under-17 women’s race saw Olivia Stillman finish 32nd – the team secured 12th team position. Harriers’ under-20 women’s team were ninth. Zoe Tompkins finished 44th with Ella Newton 57th.
The Herne Hill men’s team led by Lloyd’s wonderful run placed a decent 20th, with the other team scorers being Jeff Cunningham (222nd), John Tayleur (289th), Simon Coombes (300th), Ben Paviour (306th) and John Kettle (332nd).
The women’s team, short of some A team regulars, finished a solid 22nd of 84 complete teams. Northern Ireland athlete Katie Moore travelled from her study base in Loughborough to make a welcome return to the team and ran superbly to place 62nd of 1,100 finishers. Ever-present team captain Karen Ellison was next in 121st, followed in by Stacy Wheat and Lara Langston completing the scoring quartet in 256th and 288th respectively.
Returning to indoor athletics, competing at the combined South of England Masters and Veterans AC Champs at Lee Valley was M55 athlete Gary Ironmonger, who achieved a double treble, winning from the front his 800m in 2:17.12, likewise his 1,500m in 4:45.32 and rounding off with a sub 10 minute 3,000m as first M55 in a combined age group race against younger veterans.