BLACKHEATH & Bromley Harriers’ fortunes at the south of England cross country championships were varied.
A magnificent team performance by the U15 girls squad was the highlight of the day and there were some tremendous performances in the other younger age groups but the Senior men will be looking for an improved placing at the National Championships next month.
It does not seem long ago that the Club dominated the Senior Mens race winning the Championship seven times in eight years in the 1990s. However, a team is only as good as it’s last race and History will show that in 2014 the Club are 20th best team in the South Of England, and if Serpentine Running Clubs B team were scored, the 21st.
Too many runners were not available to compete but there were some good runs from those there, not least from Alex Gibbins, who despite being in marathon training, came in 53rd place in a field of nearly a 1000 finishers.
Similarly Sam Barnes put up a good effort to place 122nd , Kev May powered round to place 162nd and Gareth Evans continues to improve with a 171st finish. Jonathan Vintner in 268th and Danny Brewer, who started behind the whole field after mislaying his electronic finishing chip, in 403rd completed the scoring.
The Senior Women finished in 23rd led home by improving Carole Penlington in 122nd place. She was backed by team manager Jane Bradshaw in 127th, Sarah Belaon 162nd Charlotte Stickings 194th and Claire Austridge in 302nd. Carole, Charlotte and Claire had all had children racing in the younger age group races.
The Club did not complete teams in the under 20 races but Will Ruiz had a good run in the mens race in 35th with Amber Reed 39th and Bethany Frost 67th in the women race.
The under 17 men were also one light of a team member but Will Fuller had a fine run to finish in 6th place and had to hurdle a dog at one point. Richard Webb had good run in 20th and Tom Desborough in 97th achieved his best ever placing.
The womens team finished in an excellent 4th place led home by Niamh Bridson Hubbard who continued her successful Winter by finishing in 15th place. Charlotte Rhule in 51st, Anna Myers 62nd and Samantha Leighton 95th completed the scoring.
Going into their race the under 15 girls looked a good bet for medals but they dominated proceedings with their four scorers in the top 11 places. After steady starts they moved through the field much to delight of an increasingly noisy band of supporters. Jessica Keene swept up to 4th ; Kelsey Fuss, who for much of the race was the Club’s lead runner, held 6th , and Naomi Kingston and Yasmin Austridge battled together to finish 8th and 11th respectively.
They won by 41 points from Aldershot Farnham and District, a big margin. The National Championships should be interesting. What was also so pleasing was the depth in quality and numbers with another seven athletes in support.
Marco Arcuri was first home for the boys in 74th and with Aleksander Wiltshire 88th, Charlie Davis 107th and Joss Barber 116th they finished in 14th place in the team contest.
Both under 13 squads had fine performances with the boys 5th and the girls 6th. Henry James Cowie just missed out on a medal as he came in 4th and he was backed up by Michael Eagling in 31st, Coleman Corry 61st and George Pope 76th. Demonstrating the quality and enthusiasm of the squad another nine runners finished for the Club and this was despite some being unavailable For the girls Millie Smith was 21st with Imogen Meers 47th, Jessica Sellar 55th and Emilie Penlington 85th. With a further seven finishers the squad is looking extremely healthy.
The athletes now look forward to the National Championships which take place at Nottingham on the 22nd of February.
Alex Bruce Littlewood is currently based in Ireland and on this occasion could not get over to compete at Parliament Hill. He was not without a race, however, as he made his debut over 10 miles on the road. Conditions in the Dungarven 10 in Cork were far from ideal and the runners were not helped by having to wait on the start line for 15 minutes in a hail storm while a funeral procession passed by. With strong winds to contend with as well, 6th place in a time of 50.39 was a good first effort.
A number of the Club’s athletes competed in the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley with some good results. Dina Asher Smith set a new best of 7.31 in the 60 metres which is the third fastest in the country this year and the quickest by an under 20. Montell Douglas time of 7.34 sees her ranked 4th in the nation. Dina’s time of 24.00 for the 200 metres is the best Senior and Junior clocking of 2014.
Shannon Hylton timed 24.62 for the 200, while sister Cheriece’s 55.61is the fastest under 20 400 of the year. Rachel Dickens ran a seasons best 400 of 55.90 and Dan Putnam started his season with a very useful 48.23 while Craig Morten timed 50.86. Jahisha Thomas set a new best of 8.59 in the Senior womens 60 metre hurdles and Kertis Beswick was just a hundredth of a second off his best in the under 20 mens event with 8.00. In the field Jermaine Olasan was second in the long jump with a leap of 7.09.
Shaun Lightman finished in 7th place in the Steyning 15km walk in a time of one hour, 37 minutes and 42 seconds. Peter Hannell was 9th in 1.40.25 For all the latest Club news visit the website at www.bandbhac.org.uk