McKinlay leads the way for Highgate Harriers at North London Championships

Ryan McKinlay roared to second place as a depleted Highgate Harriers side secured a top three finish in the North London Cross-Country Championships at Alexandra Park.

The prolific McKinlay completed a tough, hilly course in 26 minutes 24 seconds, bettered only by experienced New Zealand international mountain runner Glenn Hughes, who clocked 25:22 for Serpentine RC.

It was Serpentine who claimed first place overall on 66 points, with London Heathside second (114) and Highgate, who were missing several first-choice athletes, doing well to take third (117).

McKinlay’s effort was well backed up by Jon Laybourn in fifth (26:50) and Luke McMullan in ninth (28:03), with Chris Beecham (28:29) the first Harriers veteran to finish in 13th.

Tom Christopher (29:12) in 19th and Maarten Van der Hoeven (32:07) in 69th were the other scorers for Highgate, while four others also ran – Richard Stewart (76th, 32:22), Andrew Collins (81st, 32:45), Greg Fuzesi (118th, 35:23) and Nick Stockman (125th, 35:43).

In the senior women’s event, 18-year-old Hannah Viner sped to victory for Highgate in 20:24, while team-mates Emma Burgess (21:27) and Louise Faherty (23:30) came in sixth and 25th respectively.

Meanwhile, London Heathside’s young athletes voted Jacob Phillips the winner of the October 2014 Jack Petchey Award after the 16-year-old retained his Under-17 men’s title at the North of the Thames Championships.

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The competition has been running for 120 years and the Under-17 men’s event was established in 1968, first being won by Shaftesbury’s David Bedford, who went on to break the 10,000m world record and become the race director if the London Marathon.

Phillips, who attends Fortismere School in Haringey, won the race in both 2013 and 2014, making him only the second Under-17 athlete to retain his title in the competition’s long history.

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