Highgate Harriers’ ‘Night of the PBs’ is a runaway success

Highgate Harriers’ Brahama Pochee was one of four runners to set a new personal best in the club’s inaugural ‘Night of the PBs’ event.

The Harriers’ unique performance initiative, which has attracted national interest, brought together quality runners from across the United Kingdom at Parliament Hill.

Highgate hosted 75 runners, who were all striving to work together to record PBs across three races – and it was Ed McGinley of Annandale Striders who clocked the fastest time.

Taking part in the quickest A race, he shaved 45 seconds off his previous best and broke the 30-minute mark, stopping the clock at 29 minutes 53.32 seconds.

Bedford & County AC’s Darren Deed (30:02.38) improved his time by 12 seconds, while Nick Torry from Serpentine (30:02.52) ran eight seconds quicker – and Pochee also got a PB, coming sixth out of 22 runners in the C race in 34:32.18.

Ex-10,000m world record holder and former Shaftesbury Harrier David Bedford was on hand to award the prizes at the unique event.

Highgate team manger Ben Pochee said: “I would like to say a heartfelt thanks for all the support and goodwill that Highgate Harriers received during Thursday night’s 10,000m initiative.

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“Obviously I’m a little bit biased but the atmosphere came to a real crescendo for the A race.”

Highgate’s Gordon Pearce (32:33.40) also grabbed some glory for the hosts with victory in the C race, in an event that could well become an annual competition.

“The event demonstrated a wonderful collective community spirit,” added Pochee. “It simply could not have happened without the support of our partners the City of London Corporation, volunteers from a spectrum of clubs, plus an army of lap counting officials and of course the committed athletes on the night, who cemented our hopes for an annual event with momentum for growth.

“Our sport is a small community, so it’s truly uplifting to see what we can create when we all come together to facilitate, race and cheer as one. We aim to make this an even stronger event in 2014.”

Although the groundwork has been laid for an annual event, Pochee feels the weather played an unnecessarily large part in the evening.

He said: “My only grumble was with the strong wind, as at recent training sessions at Parliament Hill we have enjoyed near dead calm conditions. It was a shame that Mother Nature had her wicked way and made quick times a tough ask.”