Herne Hill Harriers round-up: PBs aplenty at Battersea 5k event

Tom O’Mahoney was at the head of a whole series of personal best performances at the Friday Night Under the Lights 5km road races in Battersea Park on the night, writes Geoff Jerwood.
O’Mahoney clocked 15:06. Close behind were Harriers’ other two men on this wave as both Lewis Laylee and Andrew Clarke ran 15:13.
The earlier waves saw a PB fest for the runners in red-and-black hoops. The five female runners all ran PBs or in one case only fractionally outside. Poppy Craig-McFeely – yet to reach her 20th birthday – ran an excellent 16:54 for a PB by almost a minute. Behind her were Grace Leyland 17:33, Liv Stillman 17:44 (PB), Sophie Tooley 17:45 (PB) and Jenny Nandi 17:48 (PB).
The remaining men claimed five PBs between them, in finishing time order Joe Elliott 15:50, Jack Brotchie 15:53, Harry Roberts 15:55 (PB), Oliver Walker 15:57 (PB), M50 Ben Paviour 16:00, Russell Drummond 16:26 (PB), M45 Ben Millar 16:28, Alex Lee 16:30 (PB), Scott Morrison 16:35 (PB), M40 Paul Calver 17:05 and M45 Jon Key 18:02.
Simon Coombes placed fifth representing Great Britain in the European Masters indoor track and field championships in Poland in the M50 3,000m final (9:06.47), his fastest time in this event since 2021.
The English Schools Cross Country Championships at Pontefract on Saturday rounded off the season for the young athletes. Caspian Holmes has raced older boys all winter in club competitions, but here at the top of his age group he finished seventh in the junior boys race.
Holmes led his London Schools team to bronze medals with three more Harriers in the scoring team of six. These were James Clements-Nash 26th and Edward Cunniffe 35th. Thomas Clerkin, racing for Surrey, was the second Herne Hill athlete across the line in 23rd place.
The senior boys race included Harry Bell producing his best cross country race to date in 68th, with Alex Jack (152nd) and Fabien Whitelock (204th) also members of the London team.
In the intermediate girls race Sophie Jack was 83rd, followed by Maeve Minielly (115th) and Lily Kitto (186th), while among the junior girls  Sofia Mendes was 106th. The intermediate boys race saw Alex Wilson finish 172nd while brother Warren Wilson was 283rd.
The Podium Festival 5km road races were arguably even bigger than the Battersea event the previous day.
With World Cross Country Championships athlete Georgie Grgec wisely opting not to take up her entry straight after a long flight back from her native New Zealand, Lucy Jones flew the club flag in the elite women’s race and her 17:15 was her fastest since 2021 and bodes well for this coming season.
Ryan Willmott raced in the open 5km and ran a road PB of 16:11 and then clocked 2:50 in the 1km road time trial event.
As we are now also in half marathon season before the big spring marathon events it’s unsurprising that there was also Herne Hill representation at the Bath Half Marathon on Sunday where
Morgan Roberts put in another strong performance with his 68:32 for 16th place in a big field of runners.
The female categories featured some in red and black, with Karen Ellison 6th W40 in 89:03, Lily Newton 78th overall in 93:33, Hayley Shearman 79th in 93:13 and Sue Swaine 11th W40 in 95:39,
At the Liverpool Half Marathon Jamie Brown was 54th and ran his first sub 90 minutes time with 89:27.

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