Another week brings another Herne Hill Harriers senior women’s club 1500m record for middle distance ace Katie Snowden! A storming run at the Watford BMC Gold Standard meeting on a warm Wednesday evening has catapulted her right into contention for Great Britain team selection.
Having been frustrated that her recent fine improvements were not where she had really needed to be, this time Snowden hit her target, running a big PB in an epic race in which she was held off at the finish line by long-time rival Jess Judd by the narrowest of margins. Snowden’s time of 4.05.29 is an improvement on her previous best by over 5.5 seconds and is a qualifying time for the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Although now elevated to fourth in the UK rankings, there are half dozen other women with the world time, so there's still more work to do in the upcoming British Athletics Team Trials meeting in Birmingham over the first weekend in July.
To cap a truly exciting week, Snowden was then last Thursday named in the Great Britain team that will compete in this coming weekend’s European Athletics Team Championship in Lille, France. For this international match it is the 800m at which the club’s star 23 year old has secured a berth in the British team in a top class fixture which will provide a good under distance racing opportunity before the following weekend’s World Trials.
The Watford BMC women's 1500m A race featured no less than three Herne Hill affiliates as behind Snowden’s second place Chloe Tighe finished an excellent sixth in a PB 4.18.32 to eclipse a lifetime best for her that had dated back to the World Youth Championship ten years ago as she is now only the second woman in Harriers’ history to run under 4.20 and in the same race as Snowden became the first to break 4.10. The third representative in the race was second claim member Steph McCall who placed ninth in 4.31.52, only a fraction outside her PB and demonstrating a welcome return to form for her.
Meanwhile over the weekend Harriers had athletes competing at the England Athletics Under 20 and Under 23 Championship in scorching weather at Bedford International Stadium. Pride of place goes to up and coming sprinter Kristal Awuah, who produced the three fastest races of her young career to date in the Under 20 women’s 100m. After winning her heat in what was then her best legal time of 11.72 seconds, Awuah then won her semi-final in 11.71 before unleashing a scintillating burst to win the final in a great PB time of 11.61 seconds to take her place on top of the podium and go to equal first in the UK Under 20 rankings for 2017 to date.
Another Harriers young athlete clearly on an upward trajectory is Alfred Mawdsley. Throwing in an Under 18 competition within the England Under 20 men’s discus final, Mawdsley set a new Herne Hill Under 17 men's club record in winning his event for the second Saturday in succession. This week’s new mark is 49.08m with the 50m line now beckoning, progress which is testament to both athlete and his coach Herne Hill past president Garry Power.
Herne Hill had two other highly placed performers at Bedford, as another top sprinter Marvin Popoola placed a very good fifth in the Under 23 men’s 200m final in 21.48 seconds against a strong field. Popoola improved his PB from two years ago in qualifying from both his heat in 21.30 and his semi-final in 21.27 as he returns from protracted injury lay-offs. Harriers’ other top six in England athlete was Under 17 long jumper Ore Adamson, who was again competing in an Under 20 championship and again performed very well to place sixth with a leap of 5.84m that didn’t quite match her PB of 5.98m set at Crystal Palace the previous weekend.
In other action at the South Eastern Schools Inter Counties match at Basingstoke on Saturday Maisie Collis produced a superb Under 15 girls 1500m race win in 4.41.26, comfortably beating an athlete who currently has a faster PB and then on Sunday clocked a very good 800m PB of 2.15 in winning at Herne Hill’s Youth Development League fixture at Tonbridge. The club team placed fourth in the match, with another highlight being a new club Under 15 girls record in the 4 x 300m relay with a time of 2.58.7. Herne Hill’s senior team placed third in their Southern Athletics League match at the David Weir Leisure Centre, Carshalton, while back at Basingstoke Oscar Millard placed fifth in the Under 17 boys 800m in a PB of 2.01.45 as the busy track season is now into full swing.