Highgate Harriers heroes win five trophies in Metropolitan League finale
Highgate Harriers are celebrating a stunning finish to their Metropolitan League campaign, winning five trophies after the fifth and final race at Wormwood Scrubs.
Highgate’s men won their first ever Division One title in 2013 and they retained the crown on Saturday, coming first on the day to finish top of the table for the second year in a row.
The Harriers’ women achieved the same feat, winning at Wormwood Scrubs to top Division One at the end of the competition – and the club’s combined men and women’s team lifted the Howard Williams Trophy.
The Under-17 men also finished first out of the 25 teams in their league, and the women’s B team topped Division Two to gain promotion.
Highgate’s men underlined their dominance by having all of their scoring 12 runners inside the first 51 of the 362 finishers.
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Audun Nordtveit was second in 24 minutes 41 seconds - just four seconds behind the winner – ahead of his team-mates Ben Noad (ninth in 25:24), Chris Rainsford (15th in 25:47), Robel Bahelbi (24th), Henry Dodwell (27th), Ryan McKinlay (29th) and Jonny Laybourn (30th).
Ben Pochee was the first Over-40 runner to finish, coming 39th overall, while Duncan Burbidge was the second Over-40 runner in 44th place. John McKeane was 45th ahead of Andrew Lawrence (48th in 27:44) and Tom Christopher (51st in 27:54).
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That put Highgate ahead of their nearest rivals Serpentine on the day and in the final standings in the 10-team top flight, while London Heathside were fifth.
Tom Aldred was 17th for Heathside ahead of George Stewart (56th), Andrew Brooker (60th), Dan McKeown (61st) Brent Atkins (66th), Tom Livermore (72nd), David Hellard (80th), Mark Andserson (88th), Chris Burn (90th), Peter Northall (92nd), John Driscoll (93rd) and Sergio Di Noto (102nd).
In the women’s race, Highgate’s Becky Penty came third in 26:22 after travelling down from Sheffield to take part – and the Harriers had five other finishers in the top 20.
Ashley Scott was 10th in 26:52 ahead of Alex Gounelas (11th in 26:54) and 13th-placed Hannah Viner, who was the first Under-20 runner to finish in 27:07, while Katie Meredith was 14th (27:14) and Under-20 competitor Emma Dixon was 19th (27:41).
Alexia Trafford was 28th in 28:25 ahead of Hariott Brock (29th), Astrid Wingler (44th), Sophie Sheldrake (60th), Emma Burgess (63rd), Everitt Fallon (72nd), Alex Goodwin (75th), Over-40 runner Natasha Cendrowicz (81st) and Over-45 runner Kirat Nandra (140th).
Highgate’s women won the day with 368 points while Heathside and Serpentine both got 321, and that ensured the Harriers finished top overall.
Heathside’s Sarah Swinhoe was sixth and was the first Over-40 woman to finish in 26:33. She was followed by her team-mates Sue Rust (12th), Clare Miller (15th), Cathy Jeremiah (27th), Claire Morrisey (30th), Bridget Napleton (42nd) and Karen Levene (55th), while Eilidh Wagstaff (59th), Jackie Wastell (71st), Caroline Boyle (78th), Katherine Vinnicombe (83rd), Jane Higgins (89th), Ruth Miller (94th) all finished in the top 100.
In previous years, Highgate have lacked a good crop of juniors in the 15-17 age group, but they are now celebrating great success in that section, with the Harriers’ Under-17 boys team finishing fourth at Wormwood Scrubs but top of the league overall in their age group.
The Under-15s and Under-17s ran in the same race, and Terry Fawden was ninth in 13:39 – the third Under-15 runner to finish – ahead of Joshia Mills (18th in 14:23), Dempster Fawden (20th in 14:37); Alastair Sleeman (21st in 14:38), Adam Stewart (30th in 15:01), Arnold Harrison (39th in 15:36) and Filip Bastian (51st in 16:15).
This weekend the Harriers will be in action at the North of the Thames Championship at Kingsbury, and they will then compete in the National Championships in Nottinghamshire on February 22.