Highgate Harriers claim third place in London championships

Sean Renfer and Fergal Smithwick recorded top 10 finishes on home soil to help Highgate Harriers secure third place in the London Cross-country Championships.

Renfer clocked a time of 34 minutes 19 seconds in the pouring rain as he crossed the line in sixth place at Parliament Hill Fields, with Smithwick (34:39) three places behind him.

Jon Laybourn (13th, 34:53) and Tim Gardner (36th, 37:01) completed the scoring four for Highgate, enough to ensure that they finished third overall behind Serpentine RC and Hercules Wimbledon.

Several other Harriers also finished the men’s race, contested by a field of almost 350, with Chris Beecham stopping the clock at 37:32 to take 47th place.

Jack Matthewman (39:21) was next home for Highgate in 86th, followed by Peter Downie (96th, 39:34), Alex Davidson (102nd, 39:56), Duncan Burbidge (147th, 41:16), Richard Stewart (179th, 42:26) and Joseph Lowe (181st, 42:32).

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Chris Bailey (187th, 42:43), John O’Shea (205th, 43:48), Chris Wilson (210th, 43:50), Steve Scruton (275th, 47:13) and Rick Bateson (277th, 47:15) also completed the course.

The result maintained Highgate’s impressive recent form, following wins in the Liddiard Cup and North of Thames Championships and their best-ever placing of second at the national cross-country relay championships.

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Highgate’s Terry Fawden, representing Hackney, was narrowly beaten into third place in the Under-17 boys’ race for the London Youth Games, clocking 17:23.

Other junior Harriers who ran for their boroughs included Haringey duo Marjolaine Briscoe, who was 38th in the Under-17 girls’ race (14:01) and Phoebe Littler, who placed seventh for the Under-15 girls (8:08).

Abel Sinko-Uribe (Brent) was 37th in the Under-15 boys’ race (11:55), Roland Smogyi (Camden) came ninth for the Under-13 boys (7:56) and Ava Mulvill (Haringey) was 12th for the Under-13 girls (8:21).

London Heathside’s women’s team went one better than last year as they claimed the title at Parliament Hill.

Ella Waldman continued to show her class since returning to Heathside as she finished in eighth place with a time of 24:24, while Under-20 athlete Rachel Seckl followed her home in 10th (24:37).

Rachel Newstead, who spent much of last summer on Alpine trail running, was the next Heathside finisher in 21st place (25:26), with Metropolitan League runner Celine Murray (24th, 25:31) rounding off the scoring team.

Highgate were unable to field a full team in the women’s race, although they had three finishers in a field of just over 200.

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