Highgate Harriers are on course to retain Metropolitan League title
Defending champions Highgate Harriers are on course to retain their Metropolitan League title, leading the Division One table with just one of the five races to go.
Phil Wylie led the Highgate team home at Horsenden Hill on Saturday, coming third as the Harriers’ scoring 12 finished joint first alongside their title rivals Serpentine.
Both teams recorded 1,083 points in the men’s event, but Highgate remain top of the overall standings with 4,450 points, ahead of second-placed Serpentine (4,127) and third-placed Woodford Green with Essex Ladies (3,586).
The climactic final meeting will take place at Wormwood Scrubs on February 8 – and, before then, Highgate will be aiming to win the South of England Championships on January 25 at Parliament Hill Fields.
But, for now, Highgate can enjoy another strong team performance, with all 12 of their scoring runners finishing inside the top 48 places in a field of 366 competitors.
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While Nick Torry of Serpentine won the race in 29 minutes and 49 seconds, Wylie was close behind in 30:02, ahead of his clubmates Ben Noad (eighth in 30:31), Shaun Dixon (10th in 30:44) and Chris Rainsford (11th in 30:50).
Robel Bahelbi was 24th in 32:01, while Ben Pochee (32nd in 32:43) was the first Over-40 veteran to cross the line.
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Andrew Lawrence came 37th in 32:54, and he was closely followed by Henry Dodwell (38th, 32:58), Ryan McKinley (40th, 33:02), Jonny Laybourne (43rd, 33:13), John McKeane (47th, 33:40) and Tom Christopher (48th, 33:43).
Highgate’s men’s B team are in third position out of 10 clubs in Division Two of the Metropolitan League.
Meanwhile, Highgate’s women have moved to the top of their Division One table.
Third-placed Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers won Saturday’s race but Highgate were second, which gives them 1,414 points in the overall standings and took them above Serpentine (1,322).
Kate Meredith was the Harriers’ first finisher, coming sixth out of 152 runners in 24:08, while Alex Gounelas was seventh in 24:10 and ninth-placed Hannah Viner (24:36) was the first junior to cross the line.
Imogen Turner was 11th in 24:44 ahead of Heather Bijman (20th in 25:32), Harriot Brock (33rd in 26:25), Sophie Sheldrake (43rd in 27:03), Nora Rossberg (52nd in 27:29) and Emma Burgess (54th in 27:47).
Fallon Everitt came 66th in 28:20 ahead of Natasha Cendrowicz (77th in 29:01), Alex Goodwin (93rd in 29:51), Sarah Chapman (135th in 34.36) and Kirat Nandra (144th in 37:24).
Highgate’s combined men and women’s team is currently in first position for the Howard Williams Trophy.
The junior section is also in good shape, with the Under-17 boys topping their division despite coming third in their event on Saturday.
The Harriers were missing their star man Terry Fawden, but Ben Hatch came 11th out of the 62 finishers in 13:36, while Under-15 runner Esteban Ghrous was right behind him in 12th (15:39).
Joshia Mills was 17th in 14:05 ahead of Alastair Sleeman (21st in 14:18), Adam Stewart (32nd in 14:48), Daniel Light (28th in 14:40) and Filip Bastien (54th in 16.19).
In the Under-17 women’s race, Esther Pigney was 18th out of 45 in 16:26 while Senga Russell-Donn was 25th in 17.32 – and in the girls’ Under-13 event Jessie Wilkinson was 11th of 45 in 13:18.