Highgate Harriers on cloud nine at Southern road relays as they qualify for national event

Highgate Harriers’ men’s and women’s teams both finished ninth in the Southern road relays at Milton Keynes at the weekend, qualifying for the national event on April 11 with ease.

Fifty clubs competed in the men’s race, with the top 25 earning a place at Sutton Park near Birmingham later in the month.

A very strong Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers team featuring several current internationals triumphed in four hours five minutes 27 seconds, while Highgate were inside the top 10 in 4:11:52, ahead of rivals such as Herne Hill Harriers, Southampton and Brighton & Hove and South London Harriers.

There were some strong individual displays, with Shaun Dixon being the 10th-fastest finisher out of 271 entrants – clocking 24:09 over a long stage leg of 7,664m – while Chris Rainsford was the 24th-quickest in 24:43.

Robel Bahelbi ran the first long leg, finishing in 24:48, followed by Dixon, Rainsford, Sean Renfer (26:10), Robert Wilson (26:11) and Jon Laybourn (25:58).

The other six team members ran the 5,053m short stage legs, led by Michael Dan (16:36) ahead of Brahma Pochee (16:36), Peter Hawkings (16:19), Darryl Davison (16:37), Ben Pochee (17:04) and Peter Downie (16:46).

In the women’s race all of the stages were run over the 5,053m laps. Aldershot, Farnham & District were first in 1:49.47 while Highgate were ninth, finishing just inside the two-hour mark in 1:59:03 to beat the likes of London Heathside, Tonbridge, Ipswich, Kent AC and Winchester.

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Hattie Brock was first off for Highgate and she came home in 18:42, being followed by Emma Burgess (19:22), Sophie Sheldrake (19:48), Nora Rossberg (21:00), Vicky Frew (19:21) and Louise Faherty (20:50).

Meanwhile, Marcus Green was second out of 636 runners in the Age UK road race at Crystal Palace, recording a personal best time of 35:56.

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