Three Herne Hill Surrey League wins led by Alex the youngest ever ‘Senior’ winner?

Racing over the extensive common land that comprises Mitcham Common, the Club’s athletes secured three individual wins in the three Surrey Ladies League races, leading their teams to third, in the Senior Women’s race seconds place for both Under 15 and Under 13 girls. All three victorious athletes, Alex Brown, Charlotte Alexander and Maisie Collis are amongst the best in their respective age groups in the country. In 2016 Brown was second in the English Schools 1500m, Alexander is ranked first in the U15 3000m, and Collis third in the U13 1500m. 

 

Brown at the age of 15 years and 239 days was probably the youngest ever winner of the senior race in this league, running with ease and elegance, floating over the ground. No wasted arm swinging and backlift, Brown combines superb technique with her outstanding ability and race tactics which defy her years. Brown’s record exhibits longevity rather than quick fixes even at the age of 15, which demonstrates the benefits of incremental changes to training quality and volume - she has won age group Inter Counties’ titles, English Schools’ track medals and schools international honours.

 

As the 400 strong senior race got underway with fast going underfoot, Brown held back from the lead group that included a sixth placer from last year’s national senior inter counties championship Steph McCall of South London Harriers, an Olympic triathlete Gill Sanders of Ranelagh and the third place athlete in the recent World 50km road championships Amy Clements of Kent AC. Also racing was another top Under 17 Claudia Lance Jones of Guildford who eventually placed an excellent fourth.

 

Brown closed down the lead group by the end of the first of two laps of just under 3km each and as the runners hit the undulating section at the far end of the course four were locked together at the front of the field. This was going to be an exciting final km. When they entered the final field Brown was dictating the pace and taking the sting out of the other athletes prior to any final sprint at the finish. On the downhill slope to the finish she held off others to take a famous victory - some Surrey League debut! tation where we should be.  Also the senior ladies are really polite and friendly. There is no pushing and shoving on the start line. Everyone just smiles and moves up to let other people in."

 

Brown was well backed up by another under 17 Ella Newton who finished sixteenth overall (Divisions 1 and 2 are combined), with Natasha Lodge producing her best cross country run to date in twenty first.  Sue Swaine moved through the field to finish forty third, whilst Annes Stevens closed the third placed Harriers scoring team in forty seventh. Julia Wedmore provided excellent back up in fifty second with ten other Harriers runners completed the race. 

 

Charlotte Alexander, an Under 15 athlete who won the first Surrey League match, repeated her victory here in the combined U15/U17 age group. This is Alexander’s first year of club athletics following a sensational debut season in schools events last winter that included a fifth place at the English Schools Cross Country Championship. Alexander won by 12 seconds and was well backed up by Lily Newton who had an excellent run in tenth place and with Clarissa Nicholls sixteenth the Under 15 team placed second.

 

Maisie Collis laid down the gauntlet in the Under 13 race, hitting the early pace hard.  Like Alexander, Collis faced a tough test in a real head to head battle with a good local rival that saw Collis’ superb piece of front running produce a win by two seconds. Collis was well supported by newcomers Maggie Fairn and Anna Duffy-Markovich, to take the second team placing.

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