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18th May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

A SPRINKLING OF COUNTY MEDALS

In the 100th Year of the Middlesex Championships, held on the 14th & 15th of May at Lee Valley Stadium, there were a few medallists from the Highgate Harriers club and they included Under 17 Remy Weinbrecht, who obtained a gold in the 100m hurdles in 14.78 and in the long jump with 6.08.

Arthur Shaw competing in the Under 13's did well gaining a gold in the high jump with 1.50m and in the long jump with 4.67. In the 100m he was second in his heat and fourth in the final with 13.82. 

In the Under 15 high jump Said Mohammed-Mariche jumped 1.40 for gold, while Elijah Marshall was a winner in the Under 17 high jump with 1.55. An impressive run by Izzy Ions (Under 15) won the 800m. There were eight in the Final and her time was 2:22.28. Lili Hake was second in the Under 15 high jump with 1.25 behind Alette Ganyushin who did 1.43.

18th May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

AMAZING ALLEN

On the 14th of May, under the expert organisation of Ben Pochee's team, the Night of the 10,000m PB's truly lived up to it's name and all the way round the track was thick with spectators. For the home club, Highgate Harriers, had one truly amazing result. Jacob Allen competed in his first ever track 10,000m and ran the remarkable time of 29:14.41 and was 4th but, the first UK runner, in the race. It was the highest grade race of the evening not counting the Elite race (It was No 6 on the cards). Also in that race with a good time was Alex Lapretre who did 30:18.42. Another quick Highgate man was Alex Bampton, who ran 30:51.11 in Race 5.

International Jess Judd of Loughborough University won the Women’s Elite race in a World Championships qualifying time of  31:22.34. Regarding the Elite Men's race, Yamaneberhan Crippa, the Italian, who won the last time at Parliament Hill in the corresponding race in 2019, won again this time in 27:16.18. He told me afterwards he knew he could win the race right from the when it began. Crippa comes from Trentino in Northern Italy and explained. "It was very nice weather for me tonight and I had been training well at the camp in Kenya".

12th May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

UPCOMING EVENTS

On May 14th and 15th the 100th Middlesex Track & Field Championships will take place at Lee Valley. For both days the first track final is at 10:30.

On the 14th of May, in the evening, are the UK Athletics Championships for the 10,000m for both men and women, which in both cases incorporate the selection trials for the World Championships. The event takes place at Parliament Hill track and since the first one in 2013 the event has been held and organised by Highgate Harriers’ Ben Pochee. It has been called the “Night of the 10,000m PB's" each year since it began in 2013. This year the evening will also include the Emsley Carr Mile, first run in 1953, and the Millicent Fawcett Mile. 

8th May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Salvadori shines

Highgate Harrier and under 23 runner Mattia Salvadori, who studies at UCL, added to his good performance at the Highgate Harriers Open Meet by running a personal best 3000m in 8:59.38 at the British Milers Club event at the Linford Christie Stadium Wormwood Scrubs on the 27 April. Lucca Spaccatrosi was timed at 4:24.02 to be the fastest under 17 runner in the Highgate Open Meet. Both those two runners are coached by a Highgate middle distance coach Andrea Spaccatrosi. Another result worth noting was Dominic Ogbechie's 7.47 long jump, when winning at the Chelmsford Open Meeting on 27 April. Well known high jumper, Ogbechie's long jump mark was his best outdoors.

8th May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Ellen Donald at Cardiff

Ellen Donald was fourth scorer in 17.41 in the winning England Under 20 team in the Cardiff International 5k on the 1st of May. They were up against Wales and the Armed Forces. Ellen will be remembered for running in the Highgate team that finished second in the National road relay at Sutton Park on 9 April and she was sixth in the Southern Cross Country Championships Under 20 race on the 29 January.

2nd May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

CHADWICK CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Thomas Chadwick, an Under 17 Highgate Harrier, won the BMC Race 'C' 800m in a personal best time of 2:11.1. He is bound to improve on that time, which he did at the Linford Christie Stadium, Wormwood Scrubs on the 27th of April.

2nd May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

A GOOD START TO TRACK SEASON

Highgate Harriers held their early Spring Open Track and Field Meeting on the evening of the 20th of April at Parliament Hill Fields. Quite a few personal best performances were achieved, but credit must go to Mattie Salvadori who ran 4:12.91 for 1500m and rising 'Star' Thomas Chadwick, an Under 17 runner, who ran 4:27.47.

There were a string of personal best performances in the evening within the younger age groups over 1500m. James Watts (U15) ran 5:20.11; Faduma Omar Abdi (U15) did 5:22.96; Mia Cobbold (U15) ran 5:36.00, and Under 13 year old Arjuna Pflug ran 4:57.02. An M35 Man, Mark Opie, did 4:58.54 

In the 100m Highgate's 'over 55 year old', Neil Middleton, ran in with a 12.85.

Tony Richards was third overall in the discus but, of course, the first over 70; he hurled the discus out to 33.22. An athlete with great potential but, just under 13, is Arthur Shaw, who was second in the high jump with 1.50m. Others who did 1.50 were two under 17's, Elijah Marshall and Benjamin Andruiser. Said Mohammed Mariche, Under 15, did 1.50 as well.

2nd May, 2022, Alastair Aitken

ELLEN DONALD - RISING 'STAR' RUNS FOR ENGLAND

Ellen Donald, who first ran for Highgate Harriers when she was 11 and is now 18, has been selected for an England Under 20 team to compete at Cardiff over 5k on the 1st of May. Recently she was the sixth fastest in the National road relay at Sutton Coldfield. She is advised by Highgate top runner Hannah Viner, so she is in good hands.

18th Apr, 2022, Alastair Aitken

ALEX STILL ON FORM

On the 15th of April, Alex Lepretre of Highgate Harriers came straight off a successful road and country season to run his second best ever 5000m track time of 14:29.84, in the Elite Race 7 at Battersea Park track in the ‘Comeback 5000’. Alex’s personal best over 5000m is 14:27.23 which he achieved in 2019. His time in 11th place in the elite race was faster than any of the other seven race winners achieved on the day. His race was won by International Ben Connor in 13:49.15.

10th Apr, 2022, Alastair Aitken

HIGHGATE MEN IN INTRIGUING BATTLE

It was very unusual in the history of Highgate Harriers for both the women and the men to get major team medals in a National Championship on the same day but that happened at the National Road Relays on Saturday 9th of April at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield.

In the Men's race over 12 stages, six long and six short, Highgate were only beaten by the Southern Champions, Tonbridge AC, in the last half mile, when Tonbridge put a fast 800m man on the last leg. 

The race had promise from the word go when Jacob Allen ran a controlled race, going into first place with less than 600m to do. His time for that long stage was 25:42. James Ross took over and came in second in 15:32 on a short stage. Robel Bahelbi ran a good leg in 26:46; then came Sean Renfer in 15:51, still holding the second position. On Leg 5 Alex Lapretre ran a blinder, doing the second fastest long stage of the day for all the clubs competing. His time 25:25 for a long stage gave Highgate the lead. Then came Rob Wilson, who held first place in 15:37 for a short leg, probably his most impressive run ever at the park.  A reliable road relay man Alex Bampton then took over to run a 26:40 for a long stage with Highgate still in the lead. Flurry Grierson, an orienteer specialist, who is 19 and at UCL, ran a 15:49 short stage with Highgate still in the lead. Charlie Haywood ran a long one on stage 9 in 27:11; Pete Chambers ran 15:31 for a short one and Roger Poolman. fought well (26:35) to still maintain Highgate's position at the front of the field but, unfortunately Jens Sudmeier (16:45), although he fought hard, could not hold off a very fast Tonbridge runner, who took his club to the front, so late on. A terrific display of courage by Highgate who did well out of the 53 complete teams that finished, of that there is no doubt.

See separate report on the women's result.

10th Apr, 2022, Alastair Aitken

HIGHGATE HARRIERS WOMEN MAKE HISTORY

Highgate Harriers Women’s team made history at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield on Saturday 9 April by finishing second in the National Six Stage Road Relay Championships, which first started in 2000.  They came second in a total time of 2:18.12 behind Salford who did 2:14.27, but behind Highgate were strong clubs including Birchfield Harriers and Liverpool. That was out of 36 starting clubs, including 25 complete finishing teams. There were two long legs (stages) and 4 short ones to make up the number. Hannah Viner, the 'Highgate Star', went first running a long stage and ran 30:31 (6th fastest overall on the day) to come in fifth. Then came teenager, Ellen Donald, who gained one place with a fast short stage in 18:26. Yasmin Goater took over and her 18:39 moved Highgate up to second and then Nina Griffith took over for a long stage, which she did in 31:11, a fine performance for somebody out of athletics for a year. Then Jemima Storey on leg 5 came in third in 19:55 and Karina Thornton did the last leg and moved Highgate back into second place in 19:30 for a fantastic team performance.

7th Apr, 2022, Alastair Aitken

A SPRINKLE OF MAGIC FOR SUCCESS

The whole Highgate Men’s 'A' Team, that were a creditable second in the Southern 12-Stage Road Relay, have been selected for the National 12-Stage Road Relay. That was the sort of faith Ben Pochee has in the team that will compete against the best in the country at Sutton Park near Birmingham on Saturday the 9th of April. The names are Rob Wilson, Charlie Haywood, Jens Sudmeier, Robel Bahelbi, Peter Chambers, Roger Poolman, Sean Renfer, Alex Bampton, Taha Ghafari, Jacob Allen, James Ross and Alex Lepretre. “All these runners have credentials worth noting. Ghafri, having been injured, is coming back to form, and will have some strong memories of the National Six Stage in October 2021 in which Highgate finished second. Lepretre is running better than ever this year so hopes are high” said Press Secretary Alastair Aitken.

Elsewhere on the 26th of March, Danny Isaacs of Highgate Harriers did a personal best road 10k in the Shri Chimnoy 10k at Battersea. His time of 35:16 placed him 16th out of 83 runners.

31st Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

HIGHGATE HARRIERS IMPRESSIVE SILVER

In the Southern 12-Stage Road Relay held at Milton Keynes on 27 March Highgate had a strong team out, that will be well worth watching when they go for medals in the 'Big' one in the National 12-Stage Road Relay at Sutton Park on the 9th of April, thinks Ben Pochee their Team Manager.

In the Southern 12-Stage, Alex Lepretre set the club off on the first leg with an impressive long leg in 25:31 to come in second. It was on leg 3 that Jacob Allen put the club ahead with a 25:40 for his long stage. Right up to the last couple of stages, Highgate looked like taking the title but the final Tonbridge AC runners were a bit stronger on the day. The overall times of the top clubs were 4:10.00 for Tonbridge AC; Highgate Harriers, 4:10.52; Bedford & County, 4:11.58; Hercules Wimbledon, 4:11.47; and Cambridge & Coleridge, 4:13.39.

In a 5k race for Under 15's, also at Milton Keynes, Highgate Harrier Alex Mulvihill won in 16:53, well ahead of the second runner Connor Morgan, who ran 17:29.

31st Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

HIGHGATE MEN WIN MIDDLESEX MASTERS

Highgate's Over 40's Men’s team was the first team in the first race of the day, over tufted and the lightly undulating Trent Park course. The 4- Man scoring team were all over 50, which was remarkable. Highgate's 53 year old Sion Parry (35:40) was crowned as Middlesex individual Masters Champion. The other Highgate scorers in the winning team were: 3rd, Alex Davidson (37:37) who will be 60 on 4 May; 4th, Chris Beecham, 37:48 and 14th Joseph Lowe, 41.07. Outside the scoring four but also running for Highgate was John O'Shea (55) in 28th in 45:14.

Louise Faherty (V45) was 2nd in the over 45 women’s race in 28:44 and Sabina Russell (V55) was first in over 55 women’s race in 29:42.

31st Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

GILFEDDER RUNS WELL AT HYDE PARK

In the last Friday of the month 5k road race on 25th of March, near the Serpentine in Hyde Park, John Gilfedder of Highgate Harriers came fourth in 16:02 out of a field of 182. That followed his two wins in the Gladstone Park run and a 2:34.05 time in the London Marathon last year. In the Hyde Park race, ex-Highgate Harrier Andrew Aitken (44) ran 17:00 in 23rd place and, over 55 runner John O'Shea was 84th in 20:49. The winner was the well-established Andy Greenleaf of Serpentine RC in 15:27. 

27th Mar, 2022, Kani Hinshelwood

Get Involved

Highgate Harriers relies on volunteers to organise activities, coach our athletes, and officiate at events. If you are interested in helping with any of the roles listed below, we would be pleased to hear from you.  

We are keen to increase the number of UKA accredited officials at Highgate Harriers. Throughout your development, you will be mentored by experienced officials and learning costs will be covered by the club.

Our Track & Field Helper roles can be undertaken on an occasional basis and are a great way for non-competing, resting or recovering athletes, parents of young athletes, and 16+ years D of E students to support their club. 

https://www.highgateharriers.org.uk/get-involved

 

23rd Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Highgate Harriers team victory at Victoria Park

On Saturday 19 March Highgate Harriers won the team award with London Heathside second and Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets third at the Mike Penman Victoria Park Open Five Mile race. The race was won by Edward Chuck of Dulwich in 24:18. Highgate Harrier Alex Bampton was second, 7 seconds behind him. In 2019 Alex had some great runs including 14:57 for 5k, 67:13 for a half-marathon and in the Frankfurt Marathon he ran a personal best of 2:21.59. The rest of the Highgate 'A' team were: 5, Sean Renfer, 25:08; 6, Robert Wilson, 25:11 and 10, Chris Hicks, 26:37. Out of the field of 131 the first Highgate 'B' runner in 17th was Andres Chau in 27:11 and the second 'B' runner was Highgate Club Secretary Johnny Laybourne in 23rd spot in 27:44. The 'B' team were the fifth club team of 14. Over 50 runner John O'Shea finished 66th in 34:35.

23rd Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Jacob Allen back to fast running

One of Highgate's top runners did a Finsbury Park Parkrun record on 5 March. Jacob Allen's new course record was timed at 14.58 and he was well ahead of the second man Sam Mills of Kent AC, who ran 17:10. Metropolitan League winner at Uxbridge, teacher Allen had been side lined with Covid but is now in the sort of form that will encourage Highgate's team for the Southern and National Road Relays. On 5 March 573 finished and over 50 runner Chris Beecham was 18th in 19:01. 

15th Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Very fast time by Alex

Highgate Harrier Alex Leprete continued his good form this season with an incredibly fast time and a course record to win the Paddock Wood half marathon on 13 March. Alex ran 1hr 4min 39 sec to easily beat the course record set many years ago. The race has previously been won by several top international runners.

15th Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Ross Dashes Home

Highgate Harrier, James Ross, came 3rd in the Wimbledon 5k Dash, around the roads of Wimbledon on Sunday morning the 13th of March. It was out of a field of 136 finishers. Ross had won the Deal half marathon on the 20th of February and his time at Wimbledon was 15:26, not far behind the winner from Hercules, Bradley Goater, who was timed at 15:17.  The other Highgate runners were: 8th James Sudmeier, 16:11; 14, Henry Murdoch, 16:33; 21, Johnny Laybourn, 17:14; 77, Rob Saunders, 20:29 and 95, David Sutherland, 22:04.

15th Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Hannah Viner in great form

Hannah Viner was the first Middlesex runner in the Senior Women’s Inter-County Cross Country Championship at Loughborough on Saturday 12 March.  She finished 17th in 33:09 out of 274 finishers. She had won the Middlesex Cross Country Championships at Greenford on 8 January in muddy conditions which she also experienced at Loughborough, which was an even better run than she had in the National at Parliament Hill when she finished 23rd. Hannah ran some useful track races when winning 800m and 1500m events in the BMC events last season.

8th Mar, 2022, dbrewer

The First IAAF World Cup

                                      Looking Back

The first ever World IAAF athletics Cup was held in Dusseldorf, West Germany on the 2-4 of September 1977 and, in some ways,  more exciting than the following one’s. Perhaps Dusseldorf does not quite stand up to the glamour of places like  Rome, Tokyo or Rio but still  the athletics  was intense. I was also at the 1994 World Cup, near my home in Crystal Palace and, have quite a bit to say about some of the African team that won the Men’s competition but, firstly it will be  1977. The event was split up into the following teams GDR; USA ;FRG (As the Hosts); Europe; Americas; Oceania and Asia. The 1977 competition was won by GDR Men/ Europa Women. In 1994 it was Africa Men and Europe Women were the winners.

1977 World Cup

Several performances stand out.  Irena Szewinska (Poland/EUR) won the women’s 200 in 22.72 and the 400 in 49.52. The  latter ahead of Marita Koch (GDR) who did 49.6. Popular Norwegian Greta Waitz, running for Europe, won the 3000 in 8:43. 5 beating the Olympic 1972 1500 Champion, Lyudmila Bragina  (URS/Russia) who ran 8:46.3 for second position.

Regarding the Men, there were a lot of interesting high quality middle distance runners taking part.

Ethiopian, Miruts Yifter ‘The Shifter’ who won the 5 & 10,000 in the 1980 Moscow Olympics won the  5 & 10, in Dusseldorf for Africa and in the 5000 the first 4 were high caliber runners. Yifter did 13:13.8; Marty Liquori, voted by the top American magazine Track &

Field News as No,1 in the World for that year over 5000) 2nd  13:15.1; Australian Dave Fitzsimons of Oceania was 3rd in 13:17.4 and 4th of 8 was Nick Rose of EUR /GBR) 13:20.4’

In athletics, as so often happens there is a changing of the guard at the pinnacle 0f World  athletics stardom. The Greatest miler of 1975 & 76 was 1976 Olympic Champion John Walker of New Zealand, who was the first man to run under 3:50 for a mile. Along came the fast improving Steve Ovett, Here in this one race the indicator was out for a new person to hit the top. Steve Ovett overtook John Walker and the man who came 2nd Thomas Wessinghage of FRG in the last ap when Ovett ran a 54.5, with a last 200 in 25.1. Ovett’s winning time was 3:34.5, a UK record with Thomas  Wessinghage of FRG in 3:36.0 and Jurgen Straub (2nd in Moscow) of GDR 3rd in 3:37.5. So, Steve Ovett, Coe and a little later Steve Cram, took the middle distance supremacy back from the .’Great’. New Zealanders.

            There was an almighty clash in the final straight of the World Cup 800 when the ‘Giant’; 1976 Olympic 400/800 Champion, Alberto Juantorena ‘White Lighting’ from Cuba came up against that ‘Great’ Kenyan Mike Boit, No 1 in the World in 1975. In Dusseldorf the 800 was won by the  Alberto Juantorena but only by a tenth. It was 1 Alberto Juantorna of AMER/Cuba 1:44.0; 2 Mike Boit Kenya and Africa 1:44.1 3 Willi Wulbeck (FRG) 1:45.5; Mike Boit. was a  close up third in the Olympic 800 in Munich in 1972 (1:46.01) but when he was training out in Kenya, less than a year before he was unable to run much faster than 1:49-He made a remark to me, showing great modesty, which fascinated me “ In the school in Kenya in 1971 Bruce Tulloh taught me. I remember Bruce telling me I was as good as anyone else in the 8oo and I couldn’t believe it.  I thought  he was probably trying to create some interest to make to make me keep going.! I ran cross-country with Bruce to build stamina . We were looking ahead to the Olympics of ‘72 but I was not quite sure. I did not think I was going to make the team as there were several runners better than me at that time” That showed what a great motivator Bruce was, with, his background of being a European Champion over 5000 in 1962.

              Edwin Moses had 122 400 hurdles races that he won outright, before being beaten by a fellow countryman Danny Harris. He had two very big rivals from Germany and they were 2nd and 3rd in the World Cup in 1977 1 Edwin Moses (USA) 47.58, 2 Volker Beck GDR 48:83; NS 3 Harald Schmid (Frg) 48:85 and 4th in that was European Champion of 74’ Alan Pascoe (Europe and GBR) 49:73.

What was Edwin Moses most satisfying  performance ?

I think the AAU at Los Angles, Westwood, when I broke the World record of 47.45, on the 11th of June 1977- It beat the record I had set in Montreal (Olympcis in 76), although it was not really a good race Knowing I had run that time under those conditions told me I was in terrific shape at the time. It gave me a sign which told me to keep going, as I could go under 47 seconds

Steve Williams was a Big Tommie Smith fan. And ran a World record  of 9.9 for 100m in the AAU Chamionships ahead of Don Quarrie, Reggie Jones, Ivory Crockett etc. Steve won  the AAA Championships 100 at Crystal Palace in 1974 in windy  conditions in 10.2 and that, was a where I met him for the first time. He was injured at the two Olympic which was a big blow and his consolation prize was winning the World Cup 100 in Dusseldorf for the United State in 10.13 2nd was Eugene Ray (GDR) 10.15; 3rd Silvio Leonard (Cuba/Americas) 10.19 and 4th Pietro Mennea (Italya/EUR0). In Dusseldorf Steve Williams was part of the World record winning USA 4x100 relay team that won in 38.03 and the team included Steve Williams, Steve Riddick, Cliff Wiley and Bill Collins)

Now for something completely  different that I asked Steve.What music did he like?                               “ I don’t go nowhere. without my music. I am pretty diversified with the music I like. Jazz, rock. Popular music. My knew kick is very strange electric sort of music. I like Herbie Hancock and Wes Montgomery.  I am a guitar freak. My favorite guitar player is Jimmy Hendrix. An Italian guy asked me  if I was to come back as somebody else, who would it be. I said I would come back as Jimmy Hendrix . I think that would be the life: making money playing the guitar.

 

Regards Alastair Aitken

8th Mar, 2022, dbrewer

Ron Hill MBE ‘A Legendary Character’

Ron Hill MBE ‘A Legendary Character’ (March 2022)

 Ron Hill will go down in athletics history as one of the ‘Greatest’ all-round distance competitors, not just as a ‘Big’ Championship marathon winner but, also as one of the truly ‘Great’ club athletes that strikes at the heart of grass roots athletics. He did end up being with Clayton Le Moors club but it was Bolton & Lancashire’s County teams that he ran his successful road relay’s and cross-countries or as, I am sure his international Bolton United clubmate, Mike Freary would testify. Ron ran, even if injured, up to a mile a day between 1964 and 2017; that was 19,032 consecutive days).When he stopped running seriously was when he had heart trouble on a run in 2017 and, did not want to be a danger to his family particularly his wife May and, his two sons. However, even with the oncoming of a dementia related illness in 2018 when he was 80 he still managed a Park run at Hyde Park   ‘You can’t keep a good man down’ one is tempted to say’ (He died May 23rd 2021)

Ron  was born in Accrington in Lancashire on the 25th of September in 1938 and, his parents became supportive of his love for running, when he went to Accrington Grammar School. He was in the athletics team but. all his life in one way or another, he really worked hard for his eventual success in the sport. He got a PH.D at Manchester University. He then worked at a large textile firm as a research chemist and his knowledge, grew and grew. He invented those Ron Hill Freedom shorts & string vests , that were very popular, particularly in the 1970’s and 80’s and he founded Ron Hill Sports, which his two sons have worked for. Even in 1964 when I talked to him first of all he said “My wife May never grumbles when I am so often away from home racing. I don’t talk about athletics much at work, as it is personal but to a lot of other athletes I do”

As the years went by he learnt about the best diet for the week of a marathon build up. A lot of runners followed his ideas about a  protein diet followed by the last three days of carbohydrates. He was also a good organizer of events in later years.

Regarding his career I have decided not to pick a lot on the failures he thought he had had on the way but more on his successes, which to me are quite revealing in themselves. I asked him in early 1964;

What was his most satisfying result to that date?” he said to Alastair Aitken then “My win against the  Americans at the White City in 27:56.0 over 6 miles in July (63) on a sloppy track, on a windy day.-It proved my AAA’s win in 27:49.8 was not just a flash in the pan’ particularly as I ducked under 28 minutes twice in three weeks”(Jim Hogan was 2nd in the AAA’s in 27:54.2 ). 

On the 14th of  October 1964 Ron ran his first Olympic race in Tokyo over 10,000. He was the first GB runner in 29:53.0 and on the 21st of October Ron ran the marathon in 2:25.34.4 coming 19th of 53 (Basil Heatley 2nd and Brian Kilby 4th were the other GB runners)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In 1966 and 1968 Ron Hill won the National cross-country but it was Tim Johnston of Cambridge University’ who, back in 1963 won the Inter-Counties & British Universities  (Ron was 4th  in the latter) Memorable because they were all in the considerable snow about at the time! In the former Gerry North the 1962 National Champion was 2nd. After that Bas Heatley won the National in the mud in 1963. A very good cross-country runner in tough races was Thurrock’s Mel Batty who won in 1964 & 1965, with  Ron Hill 3rd in the former and in 1965 Ron was 4th English runner behind winner Mel Batty. Dick Taylor won in 1967 and Trevor Wright in 1970. Ron was 2nd in the 1964 International. The really amazing National was when at Graves Park, Sheffield in 1966. Ron Hill won  by a few inches from Mike Turner of Liverpool and Cambridge University, in their last 100 for a dash for the line. Of the two times in the International (Old World CC) when Ron came 2nd in Tunis in 1968 in 35.27. just one second behind Mohamed Gammoudi of TunisIa (25:26), who gained gold silver and bronze medals over the space of three Olympics at 5 or 10k.  Ian Stewart, that great competitor, waxed lyrical about Mohammed’s ability. when I talked to him. 3rd in Tunis was Roy Fowler (35:32) who won in 1963. Like with Mike Tagg’s victory in 1970. They both finished just in front of  Gaston Roelants, the 1964 Olympic steeplechase Champion.                            Often, like with Bruce Tulloh the 1962 European 5k Champion Ron Hill, ran barefoot on the country and the track. The Lancashire team were very  often in the frame as winners of the CAU inter-Counties senior CC race with runners like Mike Turner,  and Mike Freary running and of course Ron Hill too.

In 1968 Ron Hill ran in the Mexico Olympics at high altitude. It was in the 10,000 where so many came unstuck. Ron Hill came 7th in 29:53.2 just behind Multi World record holder Ron Clarke (6th) of Australia 29:44.8 suffering the serious effects of altitude. Bill Adcocks was 5th in the marathon. Tim Johston 8th, Because of the effects of altitude Tim told me in Mexico “it was a’B…. waste of time racing at altitude in the those Olympics” so. all in all it must be a plus for Ron Hill.  Ron ran in 115 marathons in all so, I am going to pick out about a few but, of course, one must also remember he ran a World Best for 25,000 of  1:15:22.6 on July 21st 1965. His fastest 10 miles was 46.44.0 and he ran 6 miles on the track in 27:26.0  He was only the second person to ever break 2:10 for a marathon. Something of interest was Ron never liked to train with anyone after his university days and went for extensive runs in the country side on his own, which did upset one farmer when he ran across his land. Even though it was a public footpath. and he physically turfed Ron off the ground, Ron had a few things to say!

In the very hot conditions of Athens on the historic route he was  first in the European Championships of 1969.

21st of September 1.Ron Hill (GB) 2:16.48; 2 Gaston Roelants (Belgium)2:17.22.2; 3 Jim Alder (GB) 1:19,05.8. I talked to Ron in Glyfada/Athens and at his home about the race.

Ron comes in “At about 32 kilometers at the end of a long hilI I could still not see Roelants. as he was out of sight, but the message was he was 2 minutes ahead at one stage earlier and I did not know just how far he was ahead at this stage. It was when we came to the top of the hill I gained a psychological boost: all it was from this point was downhill run to the finish. I was feeling good.                        I remembered when training over the course that I had seen this sign that it was only a matter of six miles downhill run to the finish. I remembered thinking then’ When you see this sign in the race you know there are no more hills. I changed gear and started running faster. Jim Alder changed gear as well, but not so drastically as I had done, and I went past him and away, and that was it I was certainly worried at that point but at the time the main thought was simply to maintain the pace for as long as possible and hold on to that silver medal. With a mile to go I suddenly saw Gaston ahead of me, and it was just with half a mile to go I chopped him. When I got nearer to the finish. I went down towards the orange lights. I had no idea where Roelants was. I could see where the stadium was  on the left hand side, over the Central reservation and moved from the right hand carriage way to the left hand side’ Just as I did this a landrover went right across in front of me-one of the convoy leading the race so  I almost collided  with the vehicle, my hands stretched out in front of me to stop the impact. Needless to say he got a mouth full of English he probably didn’t understand. I continued running up the ramp into the stadium and almost sprinted along the track to the finish’

I thought’’ That’s shown’em. A few days afterwards when you can think back ‘I won the European Championships’ it’s a nice feeling”

On the 20th of April 1970, Ron Hill sped through a continuous down-poor of rain to take the famous Boston Marathon race victory in a course record breaking 2:10.30, which was the second fastest ever time recorded and finished 42 seconds ahead of Eamon O’Reilly with Pat McMahon 3rd in 2:14.53.

      “I did not intend at the outset of  taking the cross-country seriously this Winter as I have in the past., and yet  was only part of the buildup. For in the past cross country was an end in itself. It was part of the marathon build up for the Commonwealth” said Ron.

 In the athletes village, before the Commonwealth Marathon in Edinburgh, it appeared to me Derek Clayton, running for Australia was very confident, particularly as he had run a World record of 2:08.35 for the marathon in 1969 but of course in Edinburgh on the 25th of July 1970. amongst others  to contend with who were running was Ron Hill and 1966 Commonwealth Champion Jim Alder!

As well as a fast man over the Athens marathon course  Olympic 5th placer Bill Adcocks.

The race started and in the front was Jerome Drayton of Canada and Harnek Singh were just in front of Derek Clayton with Ron Hill just tucked in behind that. Drayton was leading the front group as they went through 5 miles in 23:21. Ron Hill had  gone ahead by 10 miles in 47:45. Ron  was still ahead at half way in 1:2.35.It was 1:37.32 at 20 miles and two of his toughest opposition Drayton and Clayton, had dropped out. Morpeth’s Jim Alder was now in second place. Don Faircloth started to move and went into 3rd position. Into the Meadowbank stadium Ron came in. It was quite something to see. It was the fastest ever competitive marathon time to date of 2:09:28; 2nd was Jim Alder (Scotland) 2:12.04; 3rd  Croydon’s, Don Faircloth (England) 2:12.19.

On the 12th of August 1971 in the European Marathon Championships in Helsinki the winner was Karel Lismont of Belgium (2:13.09) but all three British competitors filled the next three positions., one of those being Ron. 2nd Trevor Wright 2:13.59.6; 3 Ron Hill2:14.34.8, and 4 Colin Kirkham 2:16.22.

In 1972 was Ron’s third Olympic Games and he ran the Marathon, won by stylish Frank Shorter of the USA in 2:12.19.8. Ron Hill was the first British runner in 6th place in 2:16:30.6 just one ahead of Don Macgregor of GB who did. 2:16.34.4. Amongst many other claims to fame over his extensive career was when in 1975 he ran 2.15.59.2 for a course record, when winning the Enschede marathon in Holland and he won the event back in 1973 too. He will always go down as an inspiring Northerner to all that had the chance to talk to him or saw him running in so many places.

 

Regards Alastair Aitken.

  

 

 

 

 

5th Mar, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Highgate's Senior Men's team finish sixth in the country

Highgate’s Senior Men’s team finished sixth out of 132 teams that finished in the National Cross Country at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday 26 February. There were an amazing 2,089 runners who completed the three-lap, glue like, Hampstead Heath course, as a lot of the time it was running through thick mud. There was another sparkling performance by Alex Lepretre, who came 17th in 43:22 ahead of 'A Star' Surrey runner, Dominic Nolan of Croydon (18th) and the Middlesex Champion, Dylan Evans of Shaftesbury Barnet (20th). The rest of the Highgate scorers were: 83, Alex Bampton 46:02; 84, Pete Chambers 46:02; 99, Rob Bahelbi, 46:21; 105, Charlie Haywood, 46:30; and Roger Poolman,125th in 46:50.

Highgate finished ahead of some 'Big Hitters' like Sale, Bedford, Notts AC and Aldershot. Other Highgate runners to finish very highly in the huge field were: 177, Rob Wilson, 47:43; 208, Sean Renfer, 48:20; 247, James Ross, 48:57and 261, Henry Murdoch 49:04 The race was won by Mohamed Mohamed (40:52) of the winning Southampton AC team. 

1,016 finished the Senior Women’s race. Hannah Viner, who had been second in the last two Metropolitan League races, came in a good 23rd in 31:16. The other scorers were:146, Karina Thornton, 35:28 and 190, Emily Young, 36:33.  Also in the field were: 327, Ellen Kerr, 39:13, 352, Sabina Russell, 39:37; 393, Jemima Storey, 40:28; and 402, Natasha Cendrowicz, 40:38. The winner of the race was Jessica Gibbon of Reading AC in 29:00.

A few of the other results for 'The Gate’. In the Junior Men's race Kamal Hamid was the first Highgate junior home in 109th of 215. In the Under 17 Women’s race Lauren Russell was 62nd and Jess Parry 89th as the first two Highgate home. Jack Bailey was 89th in the Under 17 Men’s race out of 313. Ellen Donald continued to run well in coming 41st of 145 finishers in the Junior Women’s race and Mia Parry was 79th. It was noticeable that Highgate had a good amount of runners in the Under 15 race for boys and these were the names: 22nd, Thomas Chadwick in 15:24; 111, Joseph Hayes;150, Felix Kent; 178, Alexander Mulvihill; 281, James Cameron; 336, Riyad Saleh; and: and 385, Joseph Drinkell.

22nd Feb, 2022, Alastair Aitken

Highgate men win clearly without a fight!

After the storms on Friday (18 February), and after discussions with Enfield Council, the fifth and final Start Fitness Metropolitan League fixture due to be held at Trent Park on 19 February was cancelled. As a result, the standings after the fourth fixture held on 15 January stand as the final overall League result in all categories. That, of course, includes results from the Claybury, Welwyn, Uxbridge and Wormwood Scrubs races combined. The organisers said they could not re-schedule the final fixture so the points would stand. Therefore, the Howard Williams Trophy for the most successful Senior Men and Women combined points would go to Highgate Harriers.

The full League table for the Men in Division 1 was: 1, Highgate Harriers, 6,046 points; 2, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets, 5,127; 3, London Heathside, 4,252; 4, Thames Valley Harriers, 4,230; 5, Woodford Green & Essex Ladies, 4,053; 6, Ealing, Southall & Middlesex, 4,037; 7, Hillingdon AC, 3,461; 8, Highgate Harriers' B', 2,600; 9, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets 'B’, 2,268; 10, Serpentine RC, 1,929; 11, Trent Park RC, 1,883 and 12, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, 1,814.

London Heathside topped the Women’s Division 1 with 1,396 points with Highgate Harriers second with 1,122 and Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets third with 1,084. The Highgate Under 13 girls did well by being third of 20 clubs in their division.

On the day the Met League was cancelled, one of Highgate's top dozen distance runners Pete Chambers was fifth in Division 2 of the Surrey League race at Lloyd Park. Croydon; and he also won a ‘Mob Match’ between the Striders of Croydon and Croydon Harriers at the Parkrun at South Norwood Country Park earlier in the month.