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Herne Hill Harriers are double champions – who’s laughing now?
Herne Hill Harriers coach James McDonald has revealed how the club which produced new double national champions last weekend were once the laughing stock of the middle-distance running scene.
The trio of Lucy Olsen, Eloise O’Shaughnessy and Alex Brown, pictured, won the U13s English Road Running Association road relay championship in Birmingham on Sunday.
Not to be outdone, Kate Brown, Katy-Ann McDonald and Saskia Millard brought home the U15s title.
The double victory is the perfect preparation for the 2XU Surrey cross country league which starts next weekend.
McDonald said: “When you think about where we came from, the girls’ achievements are out of this world.
“About 10 years ago, we rarely had three girls to take to competitions and inevitably there would be an announcement over the tannoy calling for me to help one of our girls who had pulled out of a race. We were a laughing stock.
“Now we have so much competition for places, that the girls are really having to push themselves to get in the starting trio.”
He added: “We have some terrific runners. Alex [Brown] is only knee-high to a grasshopper, but when she goes she is awesome.
“The likes of Saskia [Millard] and Katy-Ann [McDonald] will be international runners one day.
“Saskia has the mental toughness, while Katy-Ann’s talent is out of this world.”
The U13s beat Liverpool Harriers into second place by 45 seconds, while the U15s beat Blackheath & Bromley by 25 seconds.
Remarkably, the U13 B team also finished among the top-10 clubs, with Kayah Wilks, Eimear Griffin and Clarissa Nicholls clocking 46 minutes, 23 seconds – 90 seconds behind their clubmates.
Meanwhile, the boys U15s team of Feysel Nadew, Abel Tesfalem and Paul Burgess finished eighth in 40:08.
Elsewhere, there was success for Harriers’ veterans at the Surrey Masters Cross Country in Richmond Park on Saturday.
Mike Boyle and Brian Shave won Surrey titles in the M50 and M75 categories respectively.
In the team race, Harriers were first in the M50 category and second in the M40.
More winners: U15 girls Saskia Millard, Katy-Ann McDonald and Kate Brown
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