Another weekend saw more individual and team cross country medals for Herne Hill Harriers women, this week in Beckenham, while Katie Snowden set a new female course record at the Dulwich parkrun and Lewis Lloyd’s fine run in Liverpool proved that he can mix it with the fastest cross country men in the UK.
Snowden wanted to test her fitness on her return to London from a British Athletics altitude training camp in Font Romeu with a local run out at the Dulwich parkrun and she improved her own women’s course record from earlier this year by eleven seconds with her new fastest time of 16.17. This strong run ranks her as the tenth fastest of all time among female UK parkrunners and was an encouraging performance as Snowden’s preparations for next April’s Commonwealth Games 1500m in Australia begin to gather pace.
Further north the British Athletics Cross Challenge races that incorporated the European Championship team trial were run over a very wet and muddy course in Sefton Park, Liverpool. Lewis Lloyd followed his excellent Surrey League second place with another superb run as he finished twenty-second in a huge field of 525 finishers that contained many of the best cross country men in Britain. After initially finding things difficult under foot during the first of three laps, Lloyd then worked through very well to overtake a number of top exponents and was able to finish the 8.1km race strongly. Having represented the Great Britain Under 20 men’s team at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 2013, Lloyd is beginning to demonstrate his high quality after a period of injuries and transition and is rounding into some good form as the season unfolds.
In Beckenham Place Park, Herne Hill women claimed a set of bronze team medals at the South of Thames 5 miles Championship race to follow up the silver medals won seven days earlier in the London Championships. Again the team was led by an individual bronze medallist, this week it was Ella Newton, who also won the award for the first Under 20 woman in the race in her first year in this age group. Harriers were successful with another different A team quartet to the previous race as Shannon Sinclair, who had missed out on a medal by a narrow margin at Parliament Hill the week before placed a good tenth on this occasion to ensure her place in this scoring team. Newton and Sinclair were well supported by Suzanne Swaine, returning from injury to place fourteenth and Jess Winfield closing the team with her forty-eighth position. Herne Hill were also able to close out a women’s B team of four who placed thirteenth.
The Herne Hill men’s A team placed fifth in the main four to score championship, again led by Alan Barnes, this week placing thirteenth. The remaining team scorers were Alex Hobley twentieth, Jeff Cunningham twenty-third and Jack Brotchie thirty-fifth. Harriers’ B team placed fourteenth, courtesy of Sam Knight sixty-third, Tom Conlon sixty-fourth, Dan Hallam sixty-eighth and Mike Cummings, also returning from injury with a tentative seventy-third and the A and B team runners also combined to finish fourth in the men’s eight to score team contest.
Following the fine Saturday performances, there were further good runs on Sunday from Ryan Burling and Simon Coombes who were second in 24.44 and tenth in 26.25 respectively at the Wolverton 5 mile road race in Milton Keynes. Both men took home prizes with Burling second overall and Coombes first M45. Simon Messenger was close to his marathon best in San Sebastian with his 2 hours 54 clocking, where his wife Pippa ran a PB in the half marathon event in 1.48.26, a rewarding trip for both.
Over in Ireland, Loughborough based Katie Moore was an excellent Under 23 women's bronze medallist at the Irish XC Champs in Abbotstown, placing twenty-sixth overall in the women's race. Gen Huss was fifth woman at the Self Transcendence 10k in Battersea Park in 42.27, while more parkrunners from the Herne Hill ranks included Tony Macdowall winning Lloyd Park in 18.13, Ben Paviour second in Reading in 17.35 and Matt Cartwright third on Tooting Common in 17.56, where Gavern Newsum (18.34) and Fraser Hagell (18.35) were eighth and ninth respectively on their home course.