Although now based at home in Australia, Herne Hill Harrier Chloe Tighe produced a performance on Saturday which was undoubtedly one of the best by any club member in 2019 with her fabulous silver medal in the Albie Thomas Mile women’s A race in Sydney which was also the Australian championship event writes Geoff Jerwood.
Tighe is Australia’s current women’s 1,500m champion, but it’s fair to say that Saturday’s field was far stronger than the one she defeated back in April as this was possibly the best domestic women’s middle distance field ever assembled in the country.
The start list boasted no less than eight women who have represented Australia in major championship competition and with five of these runners having substantially faster 800m personal bests than Tighe she knew she had to make her move before the bell for the final lap, especially having run only one speed session in building up for this race with bigger longer term targets in her plan.
Coached remotely from London to Sydney by Herne Hill’s Geoff Jerwood, she ran a very tactically astute race and was perfectly placed throughout. Tighe moved hard enough at the right time to take the sting out of the 800m specialists apart from World Championship and Commonwealth Games representative Georgia Griffith who was the race winner by one second as they clocked 4:36.29 and 4:37.34 respectively. Tighe will soon now decide whether she will aim for the Australia Olympics team for Tokyo 2020 at 1500m or 5000m.
Meanwhile in a very wet and muddy Lloyd Park in Croydon the Harriers men’s cross country team won a great set of bronze medals at the South of Thames 7.5 miles championship race.
The team were led home by under 20 Arlo Ludewick in what is his longest race to date. Currently home for Christmas from Manchester University, he placed around 13th in a strong field.
The six A team scoring medalists all finished in the first 29, although with full race results not yet available the remaining five team scorers are listed here in surname alphabetical rather than in their finishing order, these being Carl Delaney, Brandon Dewar, Alex Hobley, Lewis Laylee and Andrew Warburton.
Herne Hill Harriers celebrated Christmas and made some space for Christmas dinner with two club events which were fun for all ages and abilities.
Tuesday 17th December saw the annual HHH Christmas Cracker relay on Tooting track, which comprised a parlauf where teams of three ran as many 200m reps as they could within a time limit of 20 minutes. This is a continuous relay where Christmas crackers were used as batons and was enjoyed by a bumper turnout of 30 teams of three. The winning team were three young athletes, all of whom train with James McDonald’s middle distance group.
Then on Sunday morning the club hosted a quieter, but no less enjoyable festive annual Christmas “Road” Relays on Tooting Common. Flooding on one of the usual paths meant a shorter leg for each runner with one lap per stage of approx 1.4 miles each.
The race attracted mainly the young athletes in the club, but the three fastest individual legs of the day were recorded by senior men with under 13 Josh Lee-Baum the 4th quickest. There were also some parents of the youngsters among those in the 12 teams of three, at least a couple of whom would not be out of place if running as part of the club senior teams.
The most heartwarming sight of all was coach James McDonald himself running a leg showing his athletes how it is done, quite amazing after all the medical tribulations James has endured in recent years battling against cancer.
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