Herne Hill Harriers round-up: Lifetime PB for Sturzaker as she wins European Masters Championships event

There was success for Herne Hill Harriers athletics at the European Masters Athletics Championships in Pescara, Italy last weekend.

Nikki Sturzaker became the W50 800m European champion, winning the final with a lifetime PB of 2:23.55 at the age of 50. This remarkable achievement also improved her own Harriers club W50 record and sees her at the top of this year’s UK age rankings.

Sturzaker was pitted against a Belgian athlete who had been disqualified in their 1,500m final the previous Saturday after impeding her in that race.

The latter had enjoyed a longer break between events while the Herne Hill athlete was busy winning a 5,000m silver medal and was not favoured to win as she has specialised in the 800m since competing internationally as a junior.

Sturzaker determinedly followed the pace of her opponent and then produced a strong final 100m to claim the gold medal to round off a stellar season.

Mike Tay ran a season’s best of 2:06.18 when placing seventh in his M35 800m heat. Tay, like Sturzaker, was enjoying his first experience of such a major event, this despite his time being insufficient to advance him into the next round.

At the Kosice Peace Marathon on Sunday morning Eric Dol and Jonathan Ratcliffe ran their second marathons in consecutive weekends as they clocked times of 2:45.27 and 2:52.13 respectively.

M55 Ratcliffe was racing his 101st marathon and claimed his 76th sub three hours finish. Club mate Robin Jones finished third M50 with a fine time of 2:45.51.

Sunday also saw the Cardiff Half Marathon where M40 Paul Calver ran a PB with 77:05. Jack Brotchie had a tougher time of things (80:09) as problems with cramp and a possible injury meant he just had to battle on through to the finish.

Three Harriers raced at the Berlin Marathon. First Herne Hill athlete to finish was Alex Gutteridge (2:50.49)  but the star performer was Alexandra Dzeban who ran a PB of 3:03.01. Ian Jack overcame injury issues to finish in 3:20.06.

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