The weekend saw Herne Hill Harriers represented in six events by five different athletes at the British Athletics Championship World Team Trials meeting at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, while more locally club members also played a key role in a Surrey team victory at the Southern Counties Senior Inter Counties match at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
In the Midlands, Harriers’ British international middle distance runner Katie Snowden wore the famous red and black club colours in the women’s 1500m on both Saturday and Sunday. On the first day Snowden placed third in her heat for automatic qualification into Sunday’s final shown on BBC2 TV, just a week after representing Great Britain in one of the biggest international team competitions of the season. Snowden went into her final with genuine hopes for a medal and to stake a claim for a place in the Great Britain team for the London 2017 World Championships.
Following the early pace Snowden was one of six athletes to break clear during the second lap, lying fifth going into the final lap and finishing strongly to cross the line in fourth place in one of the most competitive events of the entire weekend. However frustrating it will have been to miss out on a place on the medals podium, this was still an awesome achievement for Snowden at this point in her development.
In what is her first full season at 1500m racing, Snowden’s time of 4.09.70 was the second fastest she has so far run for the distance. In what has already been a breakthrough year, big progress has been made and she is now competing on a bigger stage and is in the mix for selection for British teams. However, the one remaining space in her event for the London 2017 World Championship will be chosen at the discretion of a selection committee that meets the day after this coming Sunday’s Anniversary Games in the London Stadium.
Other Harriers athletes competing in Birmingham were Michael Wheeler, who placed seventh in the men’s short put final with 14.78m, Nicholas Atwell who was fifth in a very strong men’s 400m heat in 48.04 and Marvin Popoola, also fifth in his men’s 100m heat in 10.79. Completing the Harriers Saturday line up was Lascelles Hussey in the men's 1500m heats on only his 20th birthday, clocking 3.53.12 in a tough race that had included a recent Diamond League race winner and an Olympic 5000m man, good experience and as with Snowden another excellent illustration of fine year on year progress. Popoola was back on the track on Sunday to place sixth in a men’s 200m heat in 21.52 at a championship where only the top athletes in the country are invited to compete.
At the inter counties meeting at Kingston, Herne Hill supplied the winner of the women's 800m and 1500m races as second claim Helena Corbin smashed her 800m race in 2.13.42, almost four seconds ahead of the next finisher, while another second claim Harrier Fiona de Mauny raced to a nicely judged win over the longer distance in a season's best time of 4.37.86, another who ran her second best 1500m time to date on Sunday afternoon.
Race walker Penelope Cummings won a close battle for a track walk as she was the winner of the 3000m walk in a season’s best of 16.37.7. In the men’s events, Seb Wilson Dyer Gough won the long jump for Surrey with 7.06m with a following wind just over the limit, but he backed this up with a legal wind leap of 7.05m.
Competing for Middlesex, Allandre Johnson won the javelin with 57.68m and Tony Macdowall was only two seconds outside his PB for 3000m steeplechase set five years ago. Julia Wedmore was also in the Surrey team as she too recorded a season's best run of 10.57.75 in the 3000m as the Surrey women’s team won their match and also contributed to an overall combined men’s and women’s team victory for the home county at Kingsmeadow.