Dixon does it again as Highgate complete a magnificent month
Shaun Dixon achieved Highgate’s best finish in the men’s event of the National Cross Country Championships for more than 60 years on Saturday.
The Harriers travelled north to Sunderland at the weekend and, having recently won his first two England vests, Dixon came fourth out of 1,084 runners.
The last Highgate members to come that close were Ben Noad and Keith Cullen, who were fifth and sixth respectively at Parliament Hill Fields in 2006.
Dixon’s performance maintained his excellent form in 2013, following his international debut in January and his first foreign excursion for England in Spain earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Highgate’s men’s team have also enjoyed a fabulous February. The Harriers secured their first ever Metropolitan League title before coming second at the South of England Championship last week – and there was plenty more to celebrate in Sunderland.
Highgate finished sixth in the country in the ‘nine to score’ competition out of 79 teams – the top club from Greater London – and they were also eighth in the ‘six to score’ event.
The men’s race was won by Keith Gerrard from Newham & Essex Beagles, who retained the title that he won in 2012 after clocking 41 minutes 21 seconds.
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The 2010 victor Steve Vernon (Stockport) was second in 41:24 and Nielson Hall (Bedford & County) was third in 41:47, just three seconds ahead of Dixon (41:50).
The Highgate star said: “I was delighted with my result and I felt really smooth throughout. The only disappointment was I could not quite get closer to Nielson.”
Dixon finished ahead of five established internationals in Mike Skinner, James Wilkinson and Jonathan Taylor, who filled the next three spots, and Phil Nicholls and James Walsh were 13th and 17th respectively.
Highgate’s Ben Noad was 37th in 44:05 and Danny Russell was 56th in 44:50, while Ben Pochee (64th in 45:07) was the first Over-40 veteran to finish – as he had been in all of the Metropolitan League races and the South of England Championship.
Richard Scott was 114th in 46:35 ahead of his club-mates Ryan McKinlay, Henry Dodwell, Peter Downie, Rob Walker, Nick Gold, Richard Petty, David Gilbert and Martin Bright.
The Harriers had one representative in the women’s race, with their experienced veteran Natasha Cendrowicz coming 205th out of 427 finishers in 41:04.
It was Cendrowicz’s sixth consecutive appearance at the National Championships and her best result since 2009 - her best ever performance being a 31st-placed finish in 2004.
Meanwhile, in the Under-15 girls’ race, Highgate’s Georgia Fear came 22nd out of 208 finishers in 18:23, showing great promise in a national event.
Elsewhere, there were strong performances from young Harriers at the National Indoor Championships for Under-15s and Under-17s.
Arnold Mensouh was carrying an injury but he achieved a club record of 6.09m in the Under-15 long jump, securing a silver medal – and he also ran a PB of 7.62 in the semi-final of the 60m.
Khristen McDermouth has just moved into the Under-17 group and he came third in his 200m heat.
Running in the tight inside lane, he only just failed to qualify in a time of 23.96 – and he ran a personal best 60m of 7.47.