Harriers roll back the years to take third at championships

HIGHGATE Harriers’ men produced their best cross-country team result for 14 years at the South of England Senior Cross-Country Championships on Saturday.

The Harriers took the strain of the nine-mile course across Parliament Hill and Hampstead Heath in their stride, finishing third from the 87 competing teams overall with three teams inside the first 300 of the 850 runners and a total of 278 points.

The men’s A team achieved their best finish since 1997, led home in 12th place by Murray Strain (pictured right) in 50 minutes five seconds.

Following him were Henry Dodwell (25th in 51:59), Ben Pochee (36th in 52:20), Glenn Saqui (49th in 52:59), Danny Russell (69th in 53:38) and Shaun Dixon (87th in 54:29).

The Harriers’ B team ended the race 16th overall with 862 points, which placed them ahead of the A teams from Bideford, Thames Valley Harriers and Hercules & Wimbledon AC.

The scoring six were Richard Scott (118th in 55:39), Chris Panayiotou (124th in 56:03), Peter Downie (181st in 56:30), Chris Panayiotou (151st in 57:02), Jon Deane (158th in 57:14) and Chris Beecham (178th in 57:56).

The men’s C team were 25th with 1403 points, led home by Maarten van der Hoeven in 58:15, and followed by Stephen Whiting (192nd in 58:25), Dan Higgins (220th in 59:21), Andrew Aitken (230th in 59:39), Richard Stewart (284th in 60:57) and Brahama Pochee (289th in 61:10).

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Harriers’ women were without their top two runners, with Becky Penty and Svenja Abel both absent, but still managed an impressive 11th-place finish from 62 teams over an 8km course.

Tessa Hill ran well to cross the line in 27th from the 381 finishers in 32:15, in a race won by Taunton AC’s Naomi Tashchminowitz in 29:47.

Finsbury Park club London Heathside were also out in force at Parliament Hill, with their men finishing in a respectable 26th place of the 87.

Heathside’s scoring six were led by George Stewart in 118th place in 55:49, followed by Ed Samuel who also broke the hour mark, coming 160th in 57:20. Michael Davidson (248th in 60:10), Paul Lemmon (317th in 62:11), Andy Owen (327th in 62:38) and Ken Heney (340th in 63:06) completed the scoring six.

Heathside’s women came 34th with Jackie Wastell first home in 145th place in a time of 37:25, and the scoring quartet was completed by Emma Grayson (198th in 39:16), Caroline White (201st in 39:20) and Ruth Miller 206th in 39:27.