Highgate Harriers retain Metropolitan League title and clinch Howard Williams Trophy

Highgate Harriers retained their Metropolitan League men’s title and clinched the prestigious Howard Williams Trophy to complete a triumphant day after the final race at Alexandra Park.

Harriers also went close to adding the junior version of the trophy to their collection, while there were impressive individual wins for Svenja Abel and Terry Fawden in their respective events.

Shaun Dixon headed the Highgate contingent over the men’s course, finishing second in 27 minutes 38 seconds – only two seconds behind international marathon runner Paul Martelletti.

Pete Chambers moved through the field efficiently to take third place in 27:49, followed by Chris Rainsford (11th in 28:21), captain Robert Wilson (16th, 28:56) and Robel Bahelbi (18th, 29:08).

Jon Laybourn (33rd, 30:04) was the next Harriers runner across the line, with Guillaume Cribier (37th, 30:25) and Dominic Smith (38th, 30:28) close behind.

Finally, Darryl Davison (51st, 31:06), Ash Chambers (53rd, 31:15), Tom Christopher (56th, 31:23) and Edward Hickman-Casey (69th, 31:46) made up the scoring 12.

To underline the club’s strength in depth, they had eight more finishers on the day – Michael Ussher (74th, 31:50), Laurent Liote (76th, 32:02), Jon Deane (82nd, 32:18), Oliver Kean (83rd, 32:22), Duncan Burbidge (85th, 32:24), Rob Walker (86th, 32:24), Brendan Donnelly (93rd, 32:44 and Peter Downie (98th, 32:54).

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It meant Highgate ended the campaign at the summit for the fourth year in a row, almost 500 points clear of runners-up Woodford Green.

In the senior women’s race, Abel – a close second in the recent Southern Championships – stormed clear on the first steep hill and never looked back as she swept to victory in a time of 20:45.

Harriers’ Hannah Viner, in third place (21:37) was the fastest junior to finish, backed up by Emma Dixon (fifth, 22:02), Ashley Scott-Wilson (sixth, 22:08) and Alex Gounelas (10th, 22:47).

Emma Burgess (20th, 23:40), Sophie Sheldrake (26th, 23:56), Lucy McGuinness (57th, 26:29), Natasha Cendrowicz (72nd, 27:40) and Kirat Nandra (128th, 34:49) completed the scorers.

Meanwhile, Fawden’s winning time of 15:16 ensured victory for Highgate in the Under-15/17 boys’ race, with team-mate Oliver Haddad finishing fifth in 16:04.

They were followed by Alistair Sleeman (10th, 16:42), Dempster Fawden (13th, 17:01), Oliver Kemp (17th, 17:23 and Alfie Zak (39th, 19:17).

Harriers also finished third in the Under-17 girls’ and Under-13 boys’ races.