Highgate Harriers stars rise to the challenge at Night of the 10,000m Personal Bests

Highgate Harriers hosted their third annual Night of the 10,000m Personal Bests at Parliament Hill on Saturday – and the club’s runners responded with top times.

Hannah Viner broke Highgate’s women’s club record in the first of the six races, completing the 25 laps in 36 minutes 41.35 seconds to beat Becky Penty’s time of 36:59.05, which was set at last year’s event.

Peter Hawkins and Tom Christopher recorded their best times in the second race, clocking 33:52.44 and 34:00.56 respectively – and in the fourth race Robel Bahelbi (31:01.38) and Chris Rainsford (31:26.39) were quicker than ever too.

The final two races were the men’s and women’s British Championships and England Championships, and Highgate’s Audun Nordtveit and Shaun Dixon were in the field in the men’s event.

Both posted PBs, with Nordtveit coming 10th in 29:23.11 and Dixon 20th in 30:15.20. Indeed, out of the 150 racers – of which 130 finished – 70 per cent achieved a PB.

Liverpool’s Johnny Mellor won the race in 28:46.80 ahead of Wales international Dewi Griffiths (28:55.24).

Meanwhile, in the women’s event, last year’s European Under-23 cross country champion Rhona Auckland from Edinburgh outsprinted the previous title holder, Jess Coulson, in 32:28.32.

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Dave Bedford OBE – the last British world 10,000m record holder – and world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan handed out the medals, while it is estimated 2,000 people turned up to watch – more than double the 2014 attendance.

Bedford said: “I think as an event it is developing well. This is the best weather we have had over the three years.

“I think the work by [Highgate Harriers’] Ben Pochee on this event should be particularly applauded.”

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