Highgate Harriers narrowly miss out on podium place at National Cross Country Championships

Highgate Harriers' Andy Maud. Pic: Dieter Perry

Highgate Harriers' Andy Maud. Pic: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

Highgate Harriers’ men’s team underlined their status as one of the best outfits in England at the National Cross Country Championships, narrowly missing out on a place on the podium by finishing fourth.

That result was duplicated in the individual standings with Highgate’s fastest finisher, Andy Maud, also coming fourth out of the 1,730 runners, agonisingly falling short of a bronze medal.

Maud clocked 42 minutes 55 seconds over the 12k at Donington Park in the Midlands, running strongly in the last mile to cross the line just two seconds behind third-placed Nick Swinburn of Morpeth Harriers, who won the event.

Highgate’s Pete Chambers was 46th in 45:14 and Chris Rainsford (54th in 45:21), Danny Russell (56th in 45:26) and Murray Strain (57th in 45:27) finished in close succession, while Shaun Dixon (47:02) completed the scoring six in 119th place.

When all of their positions were added together, Highgate ended up with 336 points, leaving them just 10 behind third-placed Sale Manchester (326), plus Notts AC (307) and Morpeth (130).

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While that near miss may have been a little frustrating, Highgate were the best of the southern clubs, giving them plenty of confidence that they can win the Southern 12-Stage Road Relay on March 20 and then compete strongly in the National 12-stage Road Relay on April 15.

Maud can also reflect on the fact that he beat last year’s national champion – and the current holder of the northern title - Charlie Hulson of Sale (43:14).

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Eleven other Highgate men took part in the event. Robert Wilson (127th in 47:11) and Peter Hawkings (196 in 48:41) were inside the top 200 and were followed by Jon Laybourn (206th, 48.48), Dominic Smith (237th, 49:24), Robel Bahelbi (268th, 49:59), Tom Christopher (316th, 50:36), Laurent Liote (394th, 51:58), Peter Downie (404th, 52:04) Emmanuel Lunimeau (840th, 57.58), James Rossiter (1,175th, 1:02:58) and Gregory O’Toole (1,430th, 1:07:57th).

Meanwhile, in the women’s race, Svenja Abel was ninth over 8k in 31:22, while Emma Burgess was 137th (36:22) and Natasha Cendrowicz came 383rd (41:56).

Highgate had two competitors in the Under-20 women’s race – and both of them did well over the 6k course, with Georgia Fear coming 11th in 23:00 and Hannah Viner finishing 17th (23:18) out of the 129 entrants.

Terry Fawden was Highgate’s quickest representative in the Under-17 men’s race, coming 52nd out of 243 in 21:20. Ava Mulvhill (14:58) was 46th out of 499 over 3k in the Under-13 girls’ race, while Finlay Sleeman (15:30) was 268th out of 420 in the boys’ event.

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