In the Inter-Club Meeting at Hendon on the 23rd of July, several Highgate Harriers were out competing well. Elijah Marshall, an Under 17 athlete was second of nine in the high jump with 1.56 and first in the long jump with 5.05. Under 13 boys Idriss Mohammed-Mariche did 3.90 As so often, Tony Richards defied age and as an Over 70-year old threw the 1k discus 34.84 and put the 4k shot 11.34.
At Kingston on the 24th of July in the Derek Crookes 'Under 13' Inter-County Track & Field Meeting, Arthur Shaw, an Under 13 boy, high jumped to his personal best height of 1.51. He was second but with the same height as the winner Peter Bansaghi of St Albans. Shaw, who is coached by Highgate Harrier Sonia Martinez-Roura, was also fourth in the long jump with 4.67. Also at that meeting was Highgate's Arjuna Pflug, who was third in the U13 boys B 1500m in 4:57.06.
Highgate & Mornington composite, will have to be careful of a resurgent Serpentine RC, in the final Division 3 North London match at Woodford on the 13th of August. Currently Highgate have their overall lead cut but they are still the League leaders. However, on the 16th of July at Lee Valley the day's points were: 1 Serpentine RC 267; 2 Highgate 247.5; 3 Enfield & Haringey 246.5; 4 Orion Harriers173.5 Newham & Essex Beagles 167; and Ilford AC, 143. Fortunately, there were many who have kept Highgate going, like Middlesex Under 17 Champion Remy Weinbrecht and Karina Thornton who ran 10:49.01 over 3000m. Hopefully, a few who do Park runs will come over to do the final Southern League meet at Woodford.
In the Hercules Wimbledon Night of 3000m at Wimbledon on 13 July a new club runner with potential was Harry Allan, who won race 6 in 8:33.24 ahead of 16 others in his race. In race 7 more established Highgate Harrier, Robel Bahelbi was 3rd of 14 in a PB time of 8:25.28. Others who ran on the night were under 20 runner Ross Doran in Race 4 (9:34.56) and Jack Bailey in Race 5 who did a PB time of 8:59.21 to finish second out of 11 runners. In the same race, Henry Murdoch did a time of 9:03.99.
In the Under 20 & Under 23 All England Championships, held in conjunction with the World Junior Trials, at Bedford on the 16th and 17th of July, Dominic Ogbechie, Highgate's impressive high jumper coached by Marius Guei but who has suffered some injuries, was third of 10 in the U23 long jump with 7.08. At the same Championships, Zac Segal was 8th in heat 2 of the U20 800m with 1:56.82, a little faster than his recent 1:57's.
Jacob Allen, who did a personal Best time for 10,000 of 29:14.41 at the Night of the 10,000's at Parliament Hill, ran to a good season's best over 5000m with a time of 13:46.17 in a race coming 3rd of 14 at the Milton Keynes Special 500m races held on the 9th of July. Anything Under 14 minutes is 'very good class' club running. Others who belonged to Highgate who ran that night were James Ross (15:03.91), Henry Murdoch, 15:47.59, and Adam Horne (U23), 16:38.44.
At Battersea Park, on the 16 July the roads were burning with Highgate Harriers runners, all doing fast times in the 'Summer Sizzle' Sri-Chimnoy 10k road race. The first two Highgate runners were 4th and 5th and they were Chris Hicks, 32:13, and Sean Renfer, 32:20. Alex Davidson was the first Over 60 in 38.39 and Nina Griffith was the second woman in 34:33. Other Highgate Harriers in the race were Michael Dan, 26th overall in 34:09 and Danny Brewer, 43rd in 35:18.
To run in the English Schools Championships one has to be of a high standard to qualify so, with that in mind, it was good to see two Highgate Harriers competing in the event at Sports City on the 9th of July. Ellen Donald, who has already run a personal best time of 4:40.25 for 1500m this year, was 11th in the Final of the Under 20 women's race in 4:46.96.
An Under 15 boy Abdi Kamara ran a swift 100m in 11.75 to come fifth in heat 3, but one must point out he did a personaL best time of 11.6 when coming second in the Final at the Berkshire Schools Championships on the 11th of June.
At the other end of the age scale at Battersea on the 4th of July, Highgate Harrier Alex Davidson, now over 60, ran 5:32.40 for a mile in a Serpentine RC club race.
On the 29th of June at the ‘Nuneaton Night of 200m PB’s’, Johnathan Bull ran his personal best 200m of 22.35. Alex Bampton, one of Highgate's best road and cross country team men, won the Sri-Chimnoy 3 MMT in 16:50 at Oxford, on the 27th of June. He was also 9th in the Swansea Half marathon on the 12th of June in a personal best time of 68:27.
Some remarkable running has been undertaken by Highgate 'stalwart' Alex Davidson, who has been the first ‘over 60’ in a dozen or so races this year. He ran 18.23 for 5k at Battersea on the 28th of June. A fairly new runner with Highgate Harriers, Christopher Hicks, did a personal best 5k at the same event as Davidson with a time of 15.28; a future prospect with the club.
Highgate Harrier John Gilfedder was Highgate's fastest at the Finsbury Park track 5000's held on 1 July. His time was a personal best of 15:49.60 wiping nearly nine seconds off his previous best track time of 15:58.28. That was in Race 7. Justin Bean was first in Race 4 out of 27 runners. He did 17:16.54. David Tombor did a personal best time of 17:05.97 in Race 5.
Other Highgate Harriers who ran at the meeting and their times included: Karina Thornton, 18:56.43; David Sutherland, 20:12.46; David Musgrove, 19:26.1; and Aviv Boonin did the good time of 17:10.50.
In the Watford Open Graded Meeting on 29 June there were several good Highgate times created in the evening. Zac Segal continued his good form, after achieving a personal best over 400m at Highgate and several 1.57' 800's. At Watford, the under 20-year old achieved a fast 1500m time of 4:01.26. Highgate coach Andrea Spaccatrosi had success with his athletes. Under 20 athlete Josh Groves did a personal best 1500m with 4:25.19 and Edmund Brown, another under 20 runner, did a PB of 4:14.56. Alex Burnes (U20) did a personal best of 4:28.93 and Alex Muvihill continued to shine as an under 17, with a time of 4:21.13. Mattia Salvadori did a good time as an under 23 runner of 4:06.10, but his personal best is 4:05.22.
Jon Laybourn, Highgate Harriers’ club secretary, was in action again, coming sixth of 14 in a BMC 5000m in 16:30.41; Henry Murdoch finished fourth in the same race in 16:08.94. This was at Eltham on 22 June. Also at the meeting was under 20 runner Sam Amdor of Highgate Harries who ran an 800m in 2.00.62, a time not far off his personal best time of 1:59.98 that he did in 2021.
On the18/19 of June at Chelmsford in the Under 20's/Senior South of England Championships, Jonathan Bull of Highgate Harriers ran two sprint times of 11.33 for the 100m and 22.58 for 200m. Although he did not qualify for the finals, he only just missed out doing that when he came fourth in his heat of the 200m. Zac Segal, a London School of Economics student, ran another 1:57 time this season and will be sure to improve on that as the season develops. His time in coming 5th in U20M final at Chelmsford was 1:57.01. In the last Southern League at Parliament Hill, when he won the 400m 'A' race, he ran a Personal Best 400m time of 52.52.
Highgate Harriers, who now are amongst the best road and cross country clubs in the UK, had bit of a Track & Field revival, in the sunshine, at the Southern League Division 3 North London Match 2 event. They were competing as a Highgate Harriers/Mornington Chasers combined team on the 14th of June. Now the situation, after two matches out of four, is:1, Highgate/Mornington; 2, Enfield/Haringey; 3, Serpentine RC; 4, Ilford AC; 5, Newham & Essex Beagles; and 6, Orion Harriers. It is important, if Highgate want promotion, that they do well at Lee Valley on 16 July and in the last match of the year at Woodford on 13 August.
Two athletes who have had injuries but are high quality performers are Dominic Ogbechie and Under 20 performer Sean Oceng Engena. The latter won the high jump with 1.95. Their coach Marius has high hopes for both of them and thinks Engena can get placed in his age group in the National Championships. Ex-Highgate Harrier in all his younger days, now competing for his local club Enfield & Haringey, Mike Vassiliou, ran an amazing 58.8 in the 400m at the tender age of 62. The winner was Highgate's Zac Segal in 52.52. Ellen Donald (U20) won the women's1500m in an English Schools Championships qualifying time of 4:40.25. Hannah Viner, one of Highgate's top 'Stars', won the 800m and 5000m in 2:23.78 and 18:49.49 respectively. Karina Thornton won the 1500m steeplechase in 5:56.92. Ottis Bakker (U20) won the 'A' Triple jump with 12.90. Highgate Harriers’ women were second in the 4x100m relay in 59.95.
Since Ben Pochee first came up with the idea of improving 10k track running in the UK, by promoting a series of races to encourage Personal Best times back in 2013, lots of new 10k track events have sprung up, following on from his original idea. One of those was the Walthamstow Fast Friday 10000m races, which were held 17 June. Every Highgate runner that turned up to compete in the five races did a personal best 10k times and they were: Rui Yong Soh (31:12.05); Rob Wilson (31:12.75); Sean Renfer (32:03.42); Andres Chau (35:08.78); Aviv Boonin (36:56.67) and Adam Lennox (41:15.53).
Under 20, runner Zac Segal, ran another fast 800m, in the holiday period on the 4th of June. It was at the BMC PB Classic at Milton Keynes. He ran 1:57.36 to finish fifth out of 10 in the 'B' race. In the 'D' race, Sam Amdor of Highgate, another Under 20 runner, ran 2:6.78 but he is bound to improve on that as the season progresses
In the Hercules Wimbledon Night of 1500m Races on the 1st of June, personal best times came tumbling down in the early season event. Pete Chambers, who ran so well on the road recently, did a new PB time of 3:57.93 to come third of 15 in race 10 and he was closely followed by Terry Fawden in fourth in a PB of 3:58.0. Terry, an Under 23 last year, is now a full senior. He will be remembered for being a 'Class’ cross country runner when he was a junior. Mattia Salvadori ran a PB time of 4:5.22 in Race 9.
At the Watford open meeting on 1st June, a future 'Star' prospect, Arjuna Pflug, an under 13 runner, ran a personal best time of 4:52.84. Under 20 runner Jack Bailey, the son of Club President and runner Chris Bailey, ran a PB time of 4:10.14. Under 20, Ellen Donald ran 4:48.69 in another race at the same meeting and Lauren Russell did 5:17.92 as an Under 17 woman.
At the Kempton Park Running Festival on 29 May, several Highgate Harriers took part in the large road race fields. George Scott came third in 34:20 in the 10k race and Paul Lewis was fifth in the marathon event in 2:52.58. The day before at Sports City in the BMC Grand Prix 800m track event Zac Segal, an Under 20 runner, ran 1:57.3.
Pete Chambers, one of Highgate Harriers' best team members and once a junior international cross country runner, whose parents live in Croydon but who is a first claim member of the Highgate Harriers club, had a wonderful win in the Last Friday of the Month Serpentine 5k road race on 27 May. Chambers not only beat a field of 194 in a time of 15:03 but was followed home by good Serpentine RC runner Jonathan Poole, who was timed at 15:34. Highgate Harrier, Adam Horne came 10th in 16:45.
On 22 May in the Southern League Division 3 North London meeting the composite Men & Women’s team from Highgate Harriers and Mornington Chasers started the season well by finishing in second position after the first match at Lee Valley Stadium. They should also do well on the 12th of June on their home track at Parliament Hill Fields. The positions at Lee Valley in the first match were: 1 Enfield & Haringey 210; 2, Highgate Harriers/Mornington Chasers, 202; 3 Serpentine RC, 185; 4, Ilford AC, 170; 5, Newham & Essex Beagles, 161 and 6, Orion Harriers with 138pts.
At Eltham on 25 May Ellen Donald, who is having such a good year, was 5th of 14 and first Under 20, in a 1500m in 4:44.7, not far off her best time of 4:44.31. Robert Wilson was fourth in a race over 5000m in the good time of 15:08.9 and Jon Laybourn, the Highgate Club Secretary, in another 5000m ran 16:26.23 and was third of 16.
At Finsbury Park in the second Middlesex Young Athletes League meeting on Saturday 21 May, although Highgate Harriers were placed 7th out of a dozen or so clubs, they had some good performances. Take the Under 17's, there was Remy Weinbrecht, already a Middlesex Champion in the Centenary Championships recently; besides coming second in the Under 17 200m in 23.98, he won the long jump with 5.67 and the javelin with 38.03. The under 17's 1500m saw another impressive result when Thomas Chadwick was second in the 'A' in 4:26.99 and Alex Mulvihill won the 'B' in 4:34.33. In the Under 15's Izzy Ions stood out with 4:54.52 win in the 1500m. Arjuna Pflug won the Under 13's 1500m in 4:56.95 ahead of a Metropolitan League CC winner Jack Hayward of Ealing (5:06.50). Under 13 athlete Arthur Shaw was in good form picking up two second places, in the high jump in 1.40m and the 100m with 13.65 respectively, and he also won the long jump with 4.90. Elouise Fenton won the 'B' Under 13 100m in 13.78, in the 'A' race Amani Osman did 15.07 to come third.
Highgate Harrier Rebecca Johnson, who has been studying at Edinburgh University, has run some good times on the track recently. At the BMC Gold Standard meeting at Watford on 18 May she ran 4:25.65 for 1500m not a long way off her personal best of 4:23.48 she did last Summer. At the Birmingham Grand Prix on the 14th of May, she ran a personal best 5000m in 16:06.16.
Tony Richards, in the over 70 age group, is still a phenomenal competitor in his age group. He has been competing well indoors and outdoors. He said in the Highgate Harriers Newsletter "I competed in the British Masters Throws Pentathlon (on the 8th of May) shot, discus, javelin, hammer and weight (very heavy). All my training at Parliament Hill paid off as I managed to win the Gold Medal. This is the first time I have managed to become a British All round throws Champion."
So many athletes have benefited over the years due to the invention of the 'Night of the 10,000m PB's', which began in 2013 thanks to the originator Ben Pochee, once an international himself. One of Highgate Harriers’ foremost distance runners last year was London Cross Country Champion Seyed Taha Ghafari, who has been recovering from injury recently but hopes to be back in action fairly soon. His friend and fellow countryman, Mohammadreza Abootorabi, came to London, from where he is staying in Sweden, for the Men's 'Elite' 10k at the Parliament Hill track and in that race he ran 28:45.44, which was a personal best for him on the track. He told me, that evening on 14 May, "I ran 13:38 indoors in February in Sweden and 28:35 was my best 10k on the road.” He added “I was happy with that but, in order to improve my English for my psychology studies, I want to come to London for a year or two to do that.” He started running as a sport at high school in Iran and now in Sweden he enjoys running with his friends in training. Regarding did he have a coach? "I am 32 now. I did have a coach but I know my own body and I can coach myself now."
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.