By Jonny Muir

Defending champions Herne Hill Harriers had to settle for third place at the South of Thames 7.5-mile cross-country championships on Saturday.

Tim Elsey was Harriers’ first finisher, claiming 12th, in a competitive field at Richmond Park.

Elsey was followed by Ben Paviour, Mike Cummings, Mohammed Ismail and Simon Coombes in 15th, 17th, 22nd and 33rd positions respectively, with Basil Wallace in 35th closing the club’s scoring six.

Harriers were defending champions, but competition from Tonbridge AC, the eventual winners, and Kent AC, proved too strong.

Paviour and Coombes restored some respectability by securing first and third place in the M40 age category.

Harriers women finished sixth overall, with Hayley Cook the club’s top finisher in 28th.

Harriers’ annual Christmas road relays were staged at Tooting Bec on Sunday, with the winning team made up of a mother and her two highly-rated daughters.

Fiona Brown clocked 12 minutes one second on the two-mile course, before passing on to 13-year-old Kate (12:16) and then 11-year-old Alex (12:25).
Alex was part of the Harriers team that won the U13 girl’s team title at the English Cross-Country Relays.

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Saskia Millard, another member of the victorious girl’s team, was the fastest female at the road relays, clocking 11:25.

Less than 24 hours after running at Richmond Park, Ismail was Harriers’ fastest individual, stopping the clock at 9:58.