Highgate Harriers make strong start to their Metropolitan League title defence

Highgate Harriers enjoyed a successful start to their defence of the Metropolitan League title, as top-five finishes from Phil Wylie and Shaun Dixon helped them to victory in the opening race at Claybury.

Wylie, an experienced UK duathlon international, clocked 25 minutes nine seconds to finish third in Saturday’s Division One race, with Dixon (25:31) taking fifth.

There were 30 Highgate men in the race, and their scoring 12 all finished inside the top 60 places out of over 360 runners, giving them a total of 1,098 points – 78 ahead of second-placed Serpentine RC and more than 200 clear of their main rivals, host club Woodford Green with Essex Ladies.

Overall, it was the Harriers’ best ever team performance in the Metropolitan League – which started in 1966 – as their other senior sides all enjoyed a degree of success.

Wylie and Dixon were followed by Ryan McKinley in 13th (26:32), Robel Bahelbi in 20th (26:55) and Richard Scott in 24th (27:05).

The scoring 12 was completed by Sam Robinson (32nd, 27:30), Andrew Lawrence (35th, 27:40), Henry Dodwell (36th, 27:47), Fergl Smithwick (42nd, 28:01), Jon Laybourn (47th, 28:26), Brahma Pochee (57th, 28:42) and Rob Walker (58th, 28:44).

Katie Meredith (11th, 23:57) led the Harriers women’s team to second place behind Serpentine, strongly supported by Under-20 pair Hannah Viner (12th, 24:04) and Hariot Brock (17th, 24:34).

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Their other finishers were Alexia Trafford (25:16), Sophie Sheldrake (26:02), Emma Burgess (26:41), Rhian Ravenscroft (27:22), Alex Goodwin (27:53), Natasha Cendrowicz (28:26), Billie Goodrick (33:45) and Helen Roberts (33:45).

Highgate’s Georgia Fear led all the way to win the Under-17 girls’ race in 15:23, and she was followed by a trio of Under-15 runners – her sister Lila Fear (24th, 17:48), Marjolaine Briscoe (26th, 17:54) and Esther Pigney (34th, 18:42).

In the boys’ event, Terry Fawden was the second fastest Under-15 finisher, taking fifth place in 14:05 ahead of team-mates Sam Willis and James Millett eighth.

Oliver Haddad (17th, 12:09) was the Harriers’ fastest finisher in the Under-13 boys’ race, with Cecily Turner fourth (12:50) in the girls’ event.

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