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  • Noel Carmody

Weekly Update - 14th Feb. 2024

Ayo Falola Dream Mile & BMC Elite Races, Lee Valley (Wed. 7th Feb.)

An excellent indoor meeting, writes Mick Bond, which included a mile race with three athletes going under four minutes plus a number of open and invitation races. The club had two athletes running. Chris Louden ran a PB in one of the open mile races recording 4:31.62s, whilst 10 year old Leo Carballo ran his first 800 in 2:45.57s.

Kent Cross Country League, Norman Park, Bromley (Sat. 10th Feb.)

The senior men went into the final league fixture of the season in third place in both the four and twelve to score tables, reports Clem Dixon, but in both cases just one point ahead of Blackheath and Bromley who could be expected to be out in force as they were on home soil. Our four top performers this season all showed up and all ran magnificently finishing tightly packed in positions 5, 6, 7 and 8. Our whole team was over the line before Blackheath's first finisher! Not only that but second in the league Medway and Maidstone were also all left trailing in our wake. We were not that far from winning it but Tonbridge had three in front of our four and their fourth finisher was 12th so we were beaten into second place by 20 points to 26, leaving us comfortably in third place in the final standings a feat last achieved nine years ago.

Perhaps most striking about the performance was that there was a real feeling that those first four were working together as a team, racing against the opposition rather than against each other, but inevitably in the closing stages a race within a race developed and this time it was Tom Brooke who had the better of Bobby Babaker. Those two have been neck and neck all season and either could still win our club's Grand Prix competition even though there is just one race remaining (the Nationals on 24th February). Ben Shearer was next and the first finisher in the M40 age group leaving him second in that table, with Dean Lacy just one second further back.

So what of the twelve to score? Our first four were backed up well by James Macdonald, John O'Mahony, Brett Baker and Ben Rew, and there was a great run from young Liam Carr (54th), easily his best performance as a senior. But there was then an agonising wait for Will Longhurst and Jonathan Sargent (the latter running in the League for the first time), and another big gap to Christian Poulton, our 12th finisher in 110th. But there was nothing to worry about, a comfortable third place to leave us third in that table too.

In all we had 20 finishers. Spare a thought for Martin Leat who was in contention with Christian for the honour of closing out the twelve to score team until he slipped on the silly footbridge and went down like a sack of the proverbial, he gamely finished but is now a doubt for the Nationals.

Eleven Cambridge Harriers senior women took on the final Kent League race at Norman Park, running in the standing water and mud that had accumulated after a very soggy week, writes Rose Baker.

We finished the season third in both the three to score and six to score team competitions – everyone who ran should be pleased with this. I really appreciate people turning out as some clubs struggle to get six runners. We showed the strength of our master runners – at Bromley all but one of our runners was in a masters category.

The clubs ladies collected four of the 12 individual age group trophies awarded for accumulated points across the Kent League season; well done Katie Sanders (W40 - 2nd in W35), Chris Bond (2nd W55), Maria Macdonald (W70 - 2nd W65). Julie Backley (W50) missed out on a W45 trophy by literally seconds.

Alongside the lead performances, we celebrated other achievements including Hayley Newman, Marian Hine, and Lynette Boston completing all the races in the series. Two of our three Joanne’s in the team were able to race following injury and other commitments. The team was completed by our fabulous regulars Sue Dixon and Sally Carr.

Just the Nationals to go, before we all get together for the end of season celebration.

Full results can be seen here.

England Athletics Age Group Indoor Championships, Sheffield (10th/11th Feb.)

Three of the club’s members made the trip up the M1 to Sheffield and all three made their respective finals, writes Mick Bond. Lily Gayle ran a PB in her heat of the 60m hurdles, then recovered from an off balance first hurdle in the her semi-final to scrape into the final, where she made amends with another PB of 8.74s and an excellent 4th place. Hans Nmaju, in his first year as an U17, finished 3rd in his heat and then 6th in the final of the Under 17 men’s 60m hurdles. In one of the last races of the day Sam Scrase-Field bravely stuck with the pace in the U17M 1500m but got tailed off as the pace picked up into the final two laps and finished 7th in 4:13.65s.

Meeting de Paris - World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver, Paris (Sun. 11th Feb.)

Daryll Neita opened her 2024 season at the Meeting de Paris, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver event, taking second place in the 60 metres with a time of 7.16s.

Long Mynd Valleys Fell Race (11.6 miles, 4500 feet of ascent) (Sun. 11th Feb.)

This race in the Shropshire Hills is a real classic and has long been one of the Club's favourites, it is a shame that it is usually held on a weekend where there is also a cross country fixture. This year Jon Wilson was our only competitor finishing in 100th place out of 140 in a time of 2:52:46, starting under clear blue skies and finishing just before the rain.

Eastern Masters and VAC Indoor Championships, Lee Valley (Sun. 11th Feb.)

A handful of our master athletes took the opportunity of testing themselves at these championships, which were also open to non-members of EMAC and VAC, ahead of the British Masters Indoor Championships this coming weekend.

Tim Carter (M70) was the busiest contesting the 60 metres (9.21s PB), 400m (71.20s) and long jump (3.92m). Chris Loudon (M35) clocked 2:03.48s over 800m and 4:07.49s for the 1500. Matthew Preston (M50) ran in the 1500m (4:44.55s) and 3000m (10:06.37s). Throwers Peter Wishart (M60) and Natalie Mann (W35) recorded best throws in the shot of 10.04m and 7.52m respectively.

RunThrough Victoria Park 5k, Hackney (Sun. 11th Feb.)

New member Mattia Bernardi made his debut in the colours of Cambridge Harriers, taking second spot at the RunThrough 5k event in Victoria Park with a time of 17:13.


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