Super Shaun gets England call-up as Harriers close on first title

Highgate’s Shaun Dixon has been selected for England for the first time and will run in the UK Cross-Challenger in Cardiff on Saturday following his strong display for the Harriers at the weekend.

Dixon, who has been in the form of his life, finished second in the penultimate Metropolitan League race at Horsenden Hill Park on Saturday, clocking 29 minutes and 30 seconds.

That left him just 13 seconds behind the winner, regular Great Britain international Neilson Hall – and the 30-year-old’s performance caught the eye of the England selectors.

Highgate’s men’s team manager Ben Pochee said: “Shaun’s improvement will act as superb motivation to Highgate’s senior and junior members alike.

“His progress over the years has been a clear product of team-inspired hard graft, and we are all extremely proud and over the moon about his England call-up.”

Dixon’s display also helped the Harriers men’s team to win Saturday’s event and take another step towards winning the Metropolitan League title for the first time ever.

In a field of 350 runners, Highgate’s 12 A team scorers all finished inside the first 38 places.

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And, with the final league race to come at Ruislip on February 9, the Harriers are leading the way with 1,247 points ahead of Woodford Green & Essex Ladies, who have won the crown for the last three years.

Alastair Aitken has been Highgate’s press secretary since 1965, and he said: “I don’t recall any team from any club having had such a low score for their ‘scoring 12’ in the history of the event, which started in 1966.”

David Bruce was sixth in 30:21 and Ben Noad was 11th (31:02), while Tim Gardner came 15th (31:23) and Pochee was 17th (31:28) – the first Over-40 veteran to finish.

Richard Scott was 19th in 31:35, while Henry Dodwell was 22nd in 31:40, and they were followed by Danny Russell, Ryan Mckinley, Robel Balhellbi and Luke McMullan, while John McKean completed Highgate’s scoring 12.

Meanwhile, the Harriers’ B team are also top of their league in Divison Three, and Highgate are the second-placed veteran team behind London Heathside.

The Harriers’ women were also victorious at Horsenden Hill Park, but they are fourth in the league with only one race left.

Highgate’s 25-year-old Kent cross-country champion Elaine Murty was second in 22:36, while Becky Penty was fourth in 23.20.

Alex Gounelas was sixth in 23:51 and Kate Meredith came seventh (24:00) ahead of Hannah Wylie (15th in 24:53) and 10 of her other club-mates.

In the youth ranks, Bruce Allinson came 11th in the Under-17 boys’ race in 15:29.

Hannah Viner was third in the Under-17 girls’ race in 15:48, while Ellie Doolan was 10th in the Under-15 race in 16:53 and Maya Doolan was 18th in 18:07.

Callum Anderson was 31st in the Under-13 boys’ race in 12:55 and Solomon Butcher finished 33rd in 13:24.