Highgate Harriers show their strength in depth at Southern six-stage road relay

Highgate Harriers’ A and B teams both finished in the top 25 sides at Saturday’s Southern six-stage road relay to qualify for the national event.

With 72 full teams competing at Rushmoor Arena in Aldershot, Highgate’s A team came fifth and the B string was 19th – finishing ahead of many clubs’ first teams.

They will therefore both be involved at Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham on October 4.

The Harriers had three of the fastest 20 men on the day. Audun Nordtveit made his return from injury, taking part in his first race since May, and was the 10th quickest, while Robel Bahelbi was 11th and Shaun Dixon was 17th in the individual list.

That meant little though as the team results were all-important. Bahelbi was first up for the A team and he finished his leg in 18 minutes 20 seconds, while team manager Ben Pochee went second and clocked 19:27.

Dixon took the third leg, recording 18:25, ahead of Robert Wilson (19:21), Ben Noad (18:50) and Nordtveit (18:19) as the Harriers team totalled 1:52:42.

Brahma Pochee led the B team out and finished in 19:41, followed by Fergal Smithwick (19:18), Ryan McKinlay (19:26), Richard Scott (19:37), Darryl Davison (20:18) and Jon Laybourne (19:48) as the B string completed the event in 1:58:08.

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Highgate also showed their strength in depth by fielding a C team, which came 34th, and also a D side, which was 66th in the high-quality event.

The winning team was Aldershot & Farnham & District in 11:50.27, while the fastest runner in the day was Olympic marathon runner Scott Overall of Blackheath & Bromley, who clocked 17:47 - but his team was 14th, well behind Highgate’s A side.