Rous marks final league appearance for Highgate Harriers with hat-trick of victories

Gemma Rous marked her final Southern League appearance for Highgate Harriers with a hat-trick of victories as the club secured their place in Division Two.

Highgate went into Saturday’s meeting in 11th place out of the 16 clubs in the table, but they were second out of the four teams at the event to ensure they avoided relegation.

Host club Woking were first with 232 points and Highgate were second (181) ahead of Plymouth (146) and Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers (101).

Rous is now set to leave Highgate as she is moving away from the area but she departs on a high after winning three events at the weekend.

She opened proceedings by winning her best event, the 400m hurdles, in 62.3 seconds and also triumphed in the 100m hurdles (15.4) and the 200m (25.3), beating Shaftesbury’s Shereen Charles on the line.

Rous said: “It was Highgate Harriers who got me back into athletics. My personal best time in the 400m hurdles heat in the British Championships in July (58.79) was my career highlight, and then coming fourth in the final.”

Hannah Viner won two events in Woking, triumphing in the B-string 2,000m steeplechase by well over half a lap in 7:35.9 and coming first in the 3,000m B race in 10:38.1.

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Meanwhile Chris Rainsford, one of Highgate’s best six distance runners, won both the 1500m event (4:0.7) and the 5,000m (15:19.0).

Aimee Rutherford was in good form, winning the 400m and being part of the victorious 4x400m relay team.

Her sister Melanie Rutherford was taking part in her first athletics event, and she utilised her skills as a personal trainer to come second in the women’s Over-40 B 1500m (6:02.9) and throw the shot 5.51m.

Two younger prospects also performed well, with Under-17 runner Tal Pelmont winning the B-string 800m (2:10.8) and Under-20 athlete James Millet coming out on top in the B 1500m in 4:14.2.

Ben Gritz, 37, is a little more experienced. Having been in the top 10 in the UK over the sprint hurdles as a teenager, he returned to athletics a few years ago and, at the age of 37, has obtained world & national Masters medals during the last two years.

Gritz won the 400m hurdles in 62.8 in the absence of Matt Dore-Weeks in Woking and was a part of the 4x100m relay team that came second in 45.7 behind the host club.

Marius Guei, who used to be a sprinter, won the B triple jump with 10.02m and was third in the A long jump, while James Rossiter was second in the pole vault with a personal best of 2.40m.

Alima Diabate was as smooth as ever in her 200m run, winning the B race in 26.9 and coming third in a hotly-contested 100m race (13.2) – the same time as the second-placed competitor from Woking.

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