Highgate Harriers’ women win South of England Six Stage Road Relay for the first time

Highgate Harriers’ women achieved their best ever result in the South of England Six Stage Road Relay, winning the event for the first time since its inception 16 years ago.

Highgate have won the Metropolitan League title this season but have otherwise struggled to field full teams in other races, and Aldershot Farnham & District were the favourites for Sunday’s meeting in Gravesend, Kent.

However, they ended up third as the Harriers staged an upset, with Svenja Abel taking them into first place on the second leg and Ashley Scott-Wilson finishing the job.

Georgia Fear was first off, running the initial short leg and clocking exactly 15 minutes to leave Highgate third. By the time Abel had finished her long leg in 22:02, the team was out in front – and they never relinquished that position.

Sophie Sheldrake (15:26) ran her best ever race on the road and Hannah Viner (22:42) maintained the momentum before Emma Burgess (16:34) and anchor lady Scott-Wilson (14:53) ensured there was no let-up in their final short stages.

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The team’s effort took one hour 46 minutes and 37 seconds in total as they finished more than a minute ahead of second-placed Cambridge & Coleridge (1:48:00).

Meanwhile, Highgate’s men’s team took the bronze in their 12-stage relay, coming third out of 43 clubs.

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Three of their runners were listed among the 10 fastest over the six long legs – Andy Maud was the quickest overall in 18:46, while Pete Chambers (19:28) was eighth and Chris Rainsford (19:33) was ninth.

Robel Bahelbi (20:05), Robert Wilson (20:18) and Ben Noad (20:52) also ran long legs to help Highgate claim a place on the podium, while the short stages were completed by Jon Laybourn (13:41), Brahma Pochee (13:33), Ed Hickman-Casey (13:42), Peter Hawkings (13:30), Dominic Smith (13:27) and Peter Downie (14:10).

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