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21st Oct, 2020, Alastair Aitken


On October 8th, George Gandy, the international coach, died in hospital aged 80. Anyone who is or was involved with high-level athletics will remember him as, countless Loughborough University students would testify, like Jack Buckner, Seb Coe, Tim Hutchings and Dave Moorcroft. I can remember in the 1970's and 1980's the Hyde Park Road Relays, the un-official European Colleges Championships, when George Gandy, the Manager of the Loughborough team, came down to encourage Loughborough to several victories. We talked over a few drinks each time and I found him a modest, amusing and friendly character, who will be missed by so many including quite a few Highgate Harriers who have studied at and competed for Loughborough.


Roger Low of Highgate Harriers at 76 ran through the wind and rain in quite cold conditions at times on the London streets and pathways and through the parks to record a time of 5:06:00 in the virtual London Marathon (4 October). That may not sound remarkable except that he has run every single London Marathon which now counts as 40 consecutive London's. 

Roger was the fourth fastest 'Ever Present' runner this year. He has run well over a 100 marathons but it is the London record that gives him a unique distinction. Living in the Camden area it was Highgate Harriers that he joined. Roger's fastest London marathon time as young man was 2:33.47 in 1983 but to do all 40 races is really good. I did the first 19 before a motor accident ruled me out, but I more than doubt I could have ever achieved such a feat as Roger's. 

The fastest runner of the 'Ever Presents' once again was young 61-year old, Chris Finill of Harrow A.C. who did 3:13.0. Chris is the Middlesex over-60 Cross Country Champion and has also run right across America 'coast to coast.'  On Sunday there were other Highgate runners running their separate London marathons. They were Ross Cattell (M 60-64) 3:56.00; Pat Davis (45-49) 3:05.2; Alan Gold (70-74) 5:16.47; Damian Lane (50-54) 3:28.47; George Leontiev (UKR) 4:9.38; and James Thompson (55-59) 3:49.33

Roger Low adds:  

“I completed my 40th London Marathon, accompanied by my son, Niels Bryan-Low.  Time 5:06.  At the halfway point, Niels stopped to help a girl who had fallen off her horse.  He's not certain whether the girl or the horse was more frightened.

The 9 other "Everpresents" also completed their races.


Another Harrier who ran the race is Alan Gold, after a nearly 20-year hiatus.

I'm not certain if Ross Cattell is a member, or not, but he also completed the race, losing his phone, in the process. Best regards and stay well.”

20th Oct, 2020, Robert Wilson

Highgate Men Still London's Distance Running Powerhouse

In the first team competition since the National Cross Country back in February at The Hercules Wimbledon Invitational 5km Mob Match (Saturday 17th Oct), Highgate Harriers Senior Men picked up from exactly where they left off - as undisputed top dogs in London distance running. The ten men of Highgate proving far faster than the competition from south of the river. 

The fixture pitted the majority of the teams that make up Surrey XC League Division 1 against Highgate, Serpentine and Victoria Park Harriers in an 11 team mob match. This novel format, designed by Highgate stalwart Ben Noad, saw athletes running in waved starts. Each club had one runner per wave and each wave started exactly 60 seconds after the wave which preceded it. Clubs were requested to seed their runners; with their fastest in wave one, second fastest in wave two, and so on, so as reduce the potential for overtaking on the course. The team competition was calculated on the basis of cumulative time across each club's ten athletes.

Over the challenging course, which saw runners skirt the famous All England Lawn Tennis club before taking on a sizeable hill, Highgate's men showed their class, running out clear victors.

Finishing with three men inside the fastest five times of the day (Roger Poolman, 2nd in 14:50, Alex Leprêtre 3rd in 14:54 and debutant Ash Harrell 5th in 14:57), recording a cumulative time for the 50km of 2:34:48 (averaging 15:28 per man) Highgate put over 4 minutes into second placed Herne Hill Harriers. Highgate men won 7 of the 10 waves outright. 

Former British 5km record holder Nick Goolab of Belgrave Harriers ran the fastest wave of the day, winning wave 1 in 14:34.

Full results can be found here

Whilst the Highgate results were:
2. Roger Poolman 14:50
3. Alex Leprêtre 14:54
5. Ash Harrell 14:57 (team debut)
11. Alex Crossland 15:11
14. Harry Wakefield 15:16 (team debut)
23. Robert Wilson 15:36
23. Robel Bahelbi 15:36
29. Sean Renfer 15:47
48. Danny Brewer 16:10
58. Lewis Greaves 16:31 (team debut)



19th Oct, 2020, Kani Hinshelwood

Underground, Overground, Wombling Free

We charged down to Wimbledon with bananas and energy and smashed the Wimbledon 5k road race. First 'official' race back since Covid and it was a beauty! 

We went in waves, and each member of the team went off seperately one minute apart, round the track, out the gates and straight up a big hill which none of us were really expecting (always check the course!). It was also nice to be able to cheer everyone else on as they were coming down the home straight ready to do the final lap of honor before finishing (as we were a minute apart). 

Overall, I think we came fifth (?) with some great times: Emma Burgess (19:14), Lisa Wenninger (19:17), Me (Kani Hinshelwood) 19:32, Catherine Airey (20:05), Sarah Dewhirst (20:59), Jo Gardner (21:47)

Very much looking forward to the Chelmsford XC next week! 

The Wombles of Wimbledon
15th Oct, 2020, Kani Hinshelwood

Missing the Mud?

If you are missing the mud and glory of the met league, take a look at ATW cross country events which are scheduled to run:

Round 1 is on the 31st of October, and location is: Merchant Taylors’ School, Sandy Lodge, Northwood, HA6 2HT

  • Individual prizes for the first three male and female in each age category.

  • Team prize for the winning club of each category, and a mob score across all categories.

  • Teams to consist of first three in U11, U13, U15, U17 &  U20 Age groups.

  • Teams to consist of first five in Senior Age group Individuals can still count for the overall series if they only complete one or two races, but will receive a default score equal to last place in the race they do not complete.

There are no finishers medals.
There are no individual prizes for each round.
All prizes will be distributed after the final event, there will be no prize-givings at any of the events.
There will be full results on the chip timing website both overall and by category.

14th Oct, 2020, Kani Hinshelwood

Welcome Back!

We are now full swing back into our sessions on Tuesday and Thursdays, and it has been wonderful to be back.

For participation in our Tuesday and Thursday sessions, don’t forget that you must book onto your session through webcollect (and make sure you log in to YOUR account rather than booking a new member slot – we only have 3 per week, so you will be taking other people’s spots if you do this!)


I have developed a training plan up until March which I will be publishing onto this website. Sessions for the B group are intervals which around 5k TOTAL in length. Intervals vary between 200m and 1200m.

We usually meet at 7pm at the track and start running at 7:15 (so make sure you are warmed up by 7:15).

Thursday sessions begin this week (15th of October -> meet at track at 7pm)


Races are far and few between at the moment, but if you would like to get speedy updates on those, please use the contact us to join the whatsapp groups.


We have a weekly newsletter which is open to everyone, send us an email and we can add you to the mailchimp.

For any queries, feel free to email:

Track Session: Joseph, Catherine, David, Jo, Jeremy
Track Session: Joseph, Catherine, Dave, Jo, Jeremy
1st Oct, 2020, Alastair Aitken


Finlay Sleeman, an under 17 runner, ran a personal best 800m time on the Harrow track on 24 September in an evening that saw 12 800m and 12 1500 m races. His time was 2:03.13 in 4th place in his 800 race, which took 3 seconds off his previous PB set at Harrow a month ago. 

There were other good times by the Highgate young men. Roger Wilcox did a 4:59.88 1500m. Personal best times by other under 17 runners over 1500m included: Eddie Brown 4:31.23, Ross Doran 4:32.11 and Joe Collinge 4:23.26. Under 15 runner Luca Spaccatrosi also ran a PB with a time of 4:31.67. 


Besides the Highgate Strava racing leader board showing Alex Holley ahead again, with 162k for the week, with Sean Renfer next, with 145.5k, there has been some strong individual running in the 'Strava run segment' round the lower parts of Parliament Hill Fields. The course is a short Lido Lap of 1.43k. 

The fastest runners so far over this course are: the good 3k/5k runner Roger Poolman at the front of the overall leader board with 3:06k/m pace in a time of 4min 27seconds; 2nd Alex Lepretre 3:11/km pace for a time of 4.34; and 3rd Mark Innocenti, 3:12/km pace in a time of 4:34; 4th, and the leading women, is Rebecca Johnson 3:14/km 4:38; 5th Rich Bayliss 3:15/km 4:39 and 6th Ben Wood 3:15/km 4.39. The next fastest were Russ Ashford, 4:42; Morgan Mitchell 4:42; Danny Russell 4:45 and Brahma Pochee 4:45.

It is noted that the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th fastest women are all 'class' runners in the Met League races, namely: Molly Renfer 5:02; Naomi Taschimowitz, 5:07; Ashley Scott Wilson, 5.26; and Emma Burgess 5:57. So far 258 people have attempted to run this special lap.


Highgate Harriers’ most successful winter cross country fixture, over quite a few years now, is and was, the Metropolitan Cross Country League.  However, the League Administrator Janice Bowman has sadly indicated that the format of the races and set up cannot meet the latest Covid guidelines, so the events for the League are cancelled for the 2020/21 season.

27th Sep, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Niki Faulkner came 4th of nine in Race 5 of the 1500m at the Hercules Wimbledon Meeting on the evening of Wednesday 23 September. His time was 3:56.33.

Russell Ashford, another Highgate Harrier, was also in action, running a personal best time of 9:42:83 for 3000m in Race 2 of this event. His previous best from 2018 was 9:46.58. 

Micheal Dan, showed he is coming back to form, finishing in 9th  in Race 3 with a time of 9:29.97. Alex Crossland, coached by Highgate’s 'star' veteran runner Ben Noad, ran a swift 8:38:40 for 3000m in race 7.


Out of the 227 active Strava Highgate Harriers running round London, Alex Holley, who has been at the top of the leader board before, was at the top again for the penultimate week of September.  He clocked up 162.5k in a total time of 13:02.13.

Second was the expert Strava runner Sean Renfer with 148.5 km and third was Alex Lepretre, currently the best Highgate cross country runner, with 122km. Last year in San Sebastian, Holley ran his fastest marathon of 2:41.06 in November. 

27-Sep-2020     Alastair Aitken

27th Sep, 2020, Highgate Harriers


With so many events being called off, it was good to see there was a track event at Parliament Hill on the evening of Wednesday 9 September. It was the first “Highgate Harriers Middle Distance Open Meet”.

Highgate Harriers were prominent in the races. Highgate's fastest 3000m was by Roger Poolman in the final race of the night, which he won in 8:18.9. Sean Renfer, another good senior, was 2nd in 8:56.1 in the fourth 3000m race. 

Edmund Brown won of the third 1500m race in a PB of 4:34.4, 2nd was Ross Doran 4:35.3 and 3rd Jack Bailey 4:36.5. That trio were all from Highgate Harriers. The fastest 1500m of the day was by Luca Minale of Victoria Park Harriers who ran a PB of 4:03.1 to win race 4.

Highgate winners included Nick Hind in the first the 3000m race in 10:40.9, and Daniel Brewer in the third 3000m race in 9:11.8.  Race 2 of the 1500m was won in a PB by Highgate’s Patrick Jarvis in 4:46.9. It was worth noting that 57 year-old Alex Davidson ran the 3000m in 10:03.5.

Full Results


On Saturday 6 September, Niki Faulkner of Highgate Harriers, a student at Imperial College London, was out running a fast 800m at Lee Valley in the LICC meeting. He finished 5th in his race in 1:57:25. His fastest ever was last year when he did 1:54:25. It is always a good club standard to break the 2-minute barrier! 

At the same meeting, that celebrated over 70 field event exponent, Anthony Richards was the 2nd over 70 in the discus with 36.69.

13-Sep-2020     Alastair Aitken

27th Sep, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Under 23 runner and student, Terry Fawden of Highgate Harriers, has started his steeplechase season in good form. He ran his second fastest time of 9:28.81 when he finished 3rd of eight runners in the BMC Gold Standard meet at Lee Valley on Saturday 29 August.


On Tuesday 25 August, Rebecca Johnson, running in inclement weather at Stretford, came 2nd in the BMC Gold Standard 3000m in 9:39.65. The winner was international track and cross country runner Jessica Judd in 8:57.60.

At the same meeting, Highgate's Loughborough student, Terry Fawden, came 5th in one of the 3000m races in 8:37.81, just off his personal best time of 8:37.58.


Despite most athletics events being cancelled on the road and country for the rest of this year, one hopes cross country and road racing will be looked on more favourably by the ‘Powers that Be’. 

The enthusiasm of runners on the track was evident at Wimbledon on Wednesday 26 August with eight successful 3000m races.

Highgate seniors were well represented. In the toughest and highest standard race (Race 8), Alex Lepretre ran the 3000m in 8:18.9 for 3rd place, not far behind the winner Kieran Reilly of Tonbridge, who did 8:17.3. Highgate's Alex Crossland was 5th in 8:21.2. 

In Race 7, Charlie Haywood ran 8:31.8. In Race 6, Robert Wilson came 2nd in 8:38.5 behind TVH runner Michael Cameron, who won in 8:35.4. Ten ran in that race.

02-Sep-2020     Alastair Aitken

27th Sep, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Ben Pochee, the great Highgate Harriers motivator for the last 25 years or more, enthuses everyone he comes into contact with an air of genuine confidence that is hard to match these days at club or national level. He will be 50 on Wednesday 2 September 2020.  

In his time so far with the club, he was a junior international runner and later, as an over 40, Southern Veterans Cross Country Champion, before a set of horrendous athletic injuries stopped any future athletic aspirations. 

Nonetheless, he has been instrumental in advising firms with coaching advice and, of course, he founded the first Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PBs that has become an important event. He is a coach, organiser of athletic programmes for large firms and next year on 5 June will be the Olympic 10,000m trials and European Cup, held at the home of Ben's club at the Parliament Hill track.         
Ben's father, Ahmed, was a member of Highgate Harriers and his half-brother, Brahma, is a coach and runner for the club now. Ben was particularly pleased when the Highgate Harriers 12-man senior team, that he managed, won the National 12-Stage Road Relay at Sutton Coldfield in 2016, the first time Highgate have done that for over 100 years!


Charles Allen, a charming man, who was a longstanding official for Highgate Harriers for many years, sadly died at the age of 80 in England on  16 August. He was born in India, where his parents lived for a long time, in 1940. What some people would not realise was that Charles became a celebrated and popular author, freelance writer and a noted historian. 


The England Athletics deadline for nominations for the 2020 Regional Volunteer Awards closes on 31 August. Last year, Marius Guei, who came from a good line of Highgate sprinters dating back to Simeon Williamson, the AAA's 100m champion, was honoured with the award of 2019 London Coach of the Year. 

Marius has infectious enthusiasm, which his athletes at Highgate Harriers have witnessed, including Dominic Ogbechie, a British record holder with Highgate.

23-Aug-2020     Alastair Aitken

27th Sep, 2020, Highgate Harriers


We are very pleased to announce that Highgate Harriers has been granted full charitable status. Particular thanks go to Sean Renfer for his time and expertise on achieving this and also to Ollie Kean and Joseph Lowe, our Treasurer, as they have been consistently helping to move the project along.

There is one final step in the process. At the last AGM, members approved amendments to the Club Constitution to support the application to the Charities Commission. During the application process, the Charities Commission required some further changes. These need to be formally ratified by the club.

We are proposing to hold an online EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) with the constitution amendments being the single agenda item. If any club member would like to be part of this process, please email:

Kate will be able to provide you with the meeting invite and more details. Being recognised as a charity brings many benefits to the club - mainly financial but also our status will widen the opportunities the club can pursue, particularly when applying for grants. Good to feel that something has come out of lockdown!

Kate Jenrick

Secretary, Highgate Harriers

21st Jun, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Following guidance from the UK Government and England Athletics, there are no Highgate Harrier sessions for young athletes and no coach-led session for seniors until further notice.

Please see the latest England Athletics update.


Our constitution requires that we hold an AGM by the end of April, but due to the current exceptional circumstances, your club committee has taken the decision to postpone the AGM until the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Once a new date for the AGM has been set, we will make our members aware. In the meantime, the committee will make club decisions by Zoom meetings and email.

Club members will be informed of any updates via the weekly newsletter. We will also use the newsletter to communicate any cancellation of events, as and when new decisions are made.

Please email us to be added to the club's weekly newlsetter.

21st Jun, 2020, Highgate Harriers



Last week's Strava Leader Board (week commencing Monday 18 May) was headed by Alex Holley with 155.4km (12:47.40 of running time/2,951m elevation). Alex ran in the Crouch End, Highgate and Tufnell Park areas, as well as in the City and Kensington.

One of Highgate's A' road team racers, Sean Renfer, did 148km for second place and Luke McManus, who did 138.5km, was third. Highgate's Strava virtual ‘racing’ group now has 213 members.


Terry Fawden, 21 years old, of Highgate Harriers was the fastest in the Virtual 5k Strava Race with a time of 15:31 in the weekend (25/26 April). The ‘Mob Match’ was against Thames Hare and Hounds club, who won the match but Fawden was fastest overall.


With much sadness, we hear that John Bryant, a former second claim member of Highgate Harriers, died recently. A very kindly and friendly man, John had been editor of national papers, author of athletics books, and had won the London 5,000m Championships at one time. He also ran a quick marathon (of 2:21) in the London before he had a serous leg injury.


Highgate Harrier, Ben Noad, who ran for Great Britain in the World Cross Country Championships in 2007 and who has been a force in all Highgate's winning Metropolitan League teams, has had a challenge thrown down to him by his great friend, Ben Pochee. That is, in 2021, to try and break Ben’s Highgate Harriers club 10,000m over 45 record of 31:55.

Pochee thinks he can do it. It is interesting to note that on the Strava Virtual running site, Ben Noad has been running a lot recently. By 18 May, he had already run 119.9 miles for the month in a total moving time of 14:48:57. Ben has routes he does as the morning, afternoon and evening runs.

Ben who coaches three athletes, two being Highgate Harriers, has sometimes been seen running his Strava runs around Ladywell, Crofton Park and Brockley.

26-May-2020     Alastair Aitken

21st Jun, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Highgate’s Gareth Creagh was the fastest runner of 96 that entered the Second Sunday in the Month Virtual 5-mile Road Race, organised by Thames Hare and Hounds and held between 10 and 13 April.

Athletes individually chose their 5-mile running routes. Gareth, a V40 athlete, ran 27:45 for his course with no other Highgate runners competing. Ex-Highgate Harrier, Andrew Aitken (42), ran 30:46 and was the 8th fastest finisher.

Gareth Creagh ran in the Highgate team that came 12th in the Virtual National road relay with a time of 16:13 for his 5k stretch. The fastest Highgate runner in this event was Alex Lepretre who ran a swift 14:34 and was the 34th fastest out of the 2,457 that ran in the men’s 12-stage event.

16-Apr-2020     Alastair Aitken

21st Jun, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Highgate Harriers' men were 12th in the 12-Stage and the women 8th in the 6-Stage in the Virtual National Road Relay Championships, held around the time the actual National Road Relays would have happened had they not been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The hope was to raise £5,000 for the National Health Service and by 11 April, £8,210 had been raised.

The main objective of the virtual competition was to give the distance runners of the UK something to aim for despite the lockdown. Each runner would run alone over a local 5km course while adhering to social distancing guidelines with a target of doing the fastest time they could muster. Individual efforts were then fed into a computer to give a full club team result.

The overall response was fantastic all round. For the women's 6-stage relay, Highgate placed 8th in 1:49.56, and the winners Herne Hill Harriers did 1:43.20. Regarding the men, they were 13th of 130 teams that completed. Highgate's time was 3:06.37 and the winning team was from Leeds City AC finished in 2:57.08.

Highgate's women’s team, in order of the fastest, comprised: Rebecca Johnson; Hannah Viner; Yasmin Goater; Emma MacAlister Hall; Emma Butcher; and Kari Hinshelwood. The men’s team, in order of fastest times, comprised: Alex Lepretre; Alex Crossland; Roger Poolman; Charlie Haywood; Shaun Dixon; Rob Wilson; Niki Faulkner; Alex Brampton; James Ross; Ash Chambers; Gareth Creagh; and Andre Chau.

13-Apr-2020     Alastair Aitken

21st Jun, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Roger Low, Highgate's amazing marathon man, will have to wait until 4 October to run the famous event again. 
The date of the marathon has changed from the 26 April to 4 October due to the virus rampaging around the world. That fact is not relished by Roger, who now has to go on running regularly at 77, all through the summer. 

He still intends being on the start line in October. Roger ran 2:47:53 when he was 37 in the first London in 1981 and has run the race every year since. Only one of ten runners who has done every single London ran faster than Roger in 2019. Roger ran 4:53.58. The runner to beat him was the exceptional 61-year old, Chris Finill, the Middlesex V60 cross country champion from Harrow AC, with a time of 2:59.4. Finill is quite famous for running right across America from coast to coast.

05-Apr-2020     Alastair Aitken

21st Jun, 2020, Highgate Harriers


In the huge field in the Vitality Big Half Marathon in London on Sunday 1 March, the first Highgate Harrier was Matt Mintrom, who finished 117th in 1:12.28. The 2nd home for the club was William De Cothi in 155th (73:49) with Barnaby Walker next home in 182nd place in 1:14.43. Then came Luke McManus (244) in 1:16.36 and Tim Verheyden (261) in 1:16:53. Oliver Kean finished 277th in 1:17.26. Nick Gold, a V45 runner, was 369th in 1:19.07 and Jess Anderson finished 1,282nd in 1:29:37.


Ross Dunsmore, was 9th of 235 finishers in 16:46 in the Last Friday in the Month Serpentine 5k on 28 February. Dunsmore of Highgate Harriers won the Alexandra Park Run on 18 January. In the Serpentine 5k, other Highgate runners were David Shepherd, who finished 14th in 17:03, David Gilbert who finished 27th in 17:42 and Emily Young who finished 101st in 20:31.

08-Mar-2020     Alastair Aitken

14th Mar, 2020, Highgate Harriers


As Press Secretary for Highgate Harriers, I consider the performance of Highgate’s Senior Men’s and Women’s teams - which both finished third in the English National Cross Country Championships on 22 February - to be the best joint (Women’s & Men's) club team result on a 'National' platform for at least the last 50 years. 

The men’s team were third (9 to score) from 59 clubs that completed a team in a race in which 1,715 runners finished. The event was run on a muddy Wollaton Park course near Nottingham. The first three clubs were Tonbridge (536), Bristol and West AC (640) and Highgate Harriers (650).

Alex Lepretre, whose best previous run in the ' National' was 39th, came in 12th in 45:02. Highgate’s other scorers were: 45, Roger Poolman (46:42); 48, Alex Bampton (46:45); 60, Sean Renfer (47:04); 65, Chris Rainsford (47:13); 84, Robel Bahelbi (47:34); 88, Charlie Haywood 47:37; Captain of the team, Rob Wilson, in 117th place in 48:12; and Terry Fawden in 131st (48:36).  The individual winner was from Brendan Foster's old club, Calum Johnson of Gateshead in 43:36.            

Now for the bronze medal-winning women’s team. The first three teams were Aldershot Farnham & District (48), Leeds City AC (58) and Highgate Harriers (159). 

Highgate’s four to score were led home by Hannah Viner who finished in an excellent 12th position in 34:47. She was followed in by Nina Griffith in 31st (36:29), Yasmin Goater in 34th (36:42) and Vicky Walker in 82nd (38:20).  919 runners finished the race, which was won by Anna Moller, the European Cross Country Champion, in 32:59.

Full Results


Alex Bampton was 22nd in the prestigious British Universities and Colleges Championships in Edinburgh on 1st February. His time for the 10k cross-country course was 33:53. The winner was Mahamed Mahamed, an international from Southampton Solent University, with a time of 32:06.  339 athletes completed the race.  

24-Feb-2020     Alastair Aitken

14th Mar, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Nina Griffith ran superbly to come 2nd out of 218 finishers in the fifth and final Start Fitness Metropolitan League cross country of the season at Trent Park, Cockfosters (8 February). 

In brilliant sunshine but over a quite muddy cross country course, the winner was 2006 National Cross Country Champion Liz Janes (Hall) of Herts Phoenix in 28:34 with Nina Griffith 2nd in 29:59.  As Southern Champions Highgate had a modest turn out of their ‘stars' - being without Hannah Viner and Molly Renfer - but still finished third on the day in Division One behind London Heathside and Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets and third overall in the League behind the same two clubs. Some other high places for Highgate were: 7, Vicky Walker 31:28; 13, Jess Anderson 31:55; 33, Rachel Baker 33:57; 45, Sabina Russell (V50) who did 34:57; and 47 Louise Faherty (V40) 35:04. 

So now in the next couple of months are the National Cross Country, Southern Road Relay and the National Road Relay, where the club’s hopes are high with both the men and the women.


Highgate Harriers men had their eighth consecutive season of winning the Start Fitness Metropolitan League.                                                    

Out of the 32 clubs that took part Highgate Harriers 'A' team made no mistakes on Saturday (8 February) as they had all their 12 men to score team in the first 51 of the 457 finishers. Their 'B’ team topped Division 2 and will now join Highgate's ‘A’ team in the Premier Division next season. 

The overall Men's League in Division One finished with Highgate Harriers 6,993; Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets 6,606; London Heathside 5,513; Woodford Green 5,306; Ealing, Southhall and Middlesex 4,156; Serpentine RC 4,019; Hillingdon 3,719; TVH 3,466; Shaftesbury Barnet 3,407; Trent Park RC 3,084; London City 2,866 and Barnet & District 1,646. 

There was a gold lining for Shaftesbury, as they had the individual winner of the final three league races out of five and that was Dylan Evans - who won at Trent Park in 25:28; but in second place and leading the Highgate charge at Trent Park was Alex Lepretre. The Highgate team were: 2 Alex Lepretre 25:33; 5, Roger Poolman, 26:05; 8 Robel Bahelbi 26:23; 10, Chris Rainsford 26:30; 13, Rob Wilson 26:46; 16, Charlie Haywood 26:55; 18 Sean Renfer 27:05; 24, Pete Chambers 27:21; 39, Jon Laybourn 28:10; 42, Dominic Smith 28:13; 48, Ash Chambers 28:24; and 51 Alex Crossland 28:31.

16-Feb-2020     Alastair Aitken

14th Mar, 2020, Highgate Harriers


Highgate Harriers women won the South of England Senior Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill Fields on Saturday 25 January. They came home clear of 69 other club teams from the South of England.  All four scorers for the team finished in the top 25 to give a total points tally of 66. 
Hannah Viner was 8th of the 694 finishers in 30:20 and she was followed home by Nina Griffith (30:51) in 12th, Emma Butcher (31:30) in 21st and Zoe MacDonald (31:50) in 25th. Highgate finished ahead of Aldershot Farnham & District (108 points) and Tonbridge (114).


In the Senior Men’s race Alex Lepretre, who was fourth last year in the Southern Senior Championships, was a clear 2nd place in this year's event, out of 1,172 finishers. Lepretre, who works for a legal team, was only headed by previous National Cross Country winner Adam Hickey of Southend (47:28). Alex beat two stars of the Metropolitan League - Dylan Evans of Shaftesbury Barnet AC (48:35) who finished third and Austin Roth of Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets who finished fourth (48:41).

The Highgate Harriers team came 3rd out of 81 clubs. The team’s scoring six comprised: 2nd Alex Lepretre (48:19); 23rd Chris Rainsford (50:18); 24th Robel Bahelbi (50:23); 33rd Rob Wilson (50:46); 35th Sean Renfer (50:51); and 41st Murray Strain (51:10). Three others who finished well up in the huge field were 44th Charles Haywood (51:17); 86th Pete Chamber (53:30) and 103rd Jon Laybourn (54:18). The first three teams were: 1 Aldershot Farnham & District 97 point; 2 Tonbridge AC 150; 3 Highgate Harriers 158.  


Yasmin Goater came 46th in the British Athletics Cross Country Challenge in Stirling on 11th January out of 113 finishers. Yasmin showed promise when coming second in the London Cross Country Championships senior race back on the 16th of November 2019 and also last year she ran a personal best for 3000m of 9:47.01.

01-Feb-2020     Alastair Aitken

14th Mar, 2020, Highgate Harriers


A record number of Highgate Harriers took part in the penultimate Start Fitness Metropolitan League fixture on Saturday 11 January. There is a massive muddy hill in Alexandra Palace Park which the 43 senior men had to negotiate three times, up and down like mountain goats and, the women had the same hill to take account of. 

Despite being beaten on the day by Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets  AC (1,419 to 1,405) the Highgate senior men had enough of a cushion to be the overall Premier League leaders with 5,510 to Victoria Park’s 5,255 with London Heathside on third on 4,344. Therefore, if Highgate don’t drop their guard for the final meeting at Trent Park on the 8th of February they could definitely win the League with the team trophy again. 

Alex Lepretre was in good form, as he has been all season so far. He was third of the 497 finishers in 27:16. The rest of the scoring team were 6 Robel Bahelbi 27:23; 9 Murray Strain 27:45, 10 Sean Renfer 27:53; 11 Charlie Haywood 27:53; 13 Robert Wilson 28:16; 33 Dominic Smith 29:18; 39 Pete Chambers 29:37; 49 Jon Laybourn 29:59; 58 Daniel Brewer 30:14; 64 Ash Chambers 30:28 and 68 David Shepherd 30:38.

Highgate women are still in the chase but will have to be extra strong to overturn the leading two clubs in the last meeting at Trent Park. After Alexandra Park the scores were London Heathside 1,434, Victoria Park & TH 1,311 and Highgate 1,259. 

The first scoring six for Highgate were led by a brilliant and improved performer Nina Griffith who finished in second place out of the 236 field in 31:55. International, Lizzy Janes of Herts Phoenix (30:14) was first.  The other Highgate runner were Vicky Walker in sixth (33:39); 29 Rachelle Baker 35:14; 45 Lisa Wenninger 35:55; 73 Louise Faherty and 110 Natasha Cendrowicz.

A total of 88 finished the junior men’s race and Finlay Sleeman was the first Highgate runner in 16th (14:23). Monte Watson was 57th and Josh Groves 58th.   Highgate Harriers’ Junior women are in 6th place of 24 club teams, and their best performance was by Ellen Donald who was 6th of 66 in 16:26. Also running were 9 Lauren Russell (3rd under 15 in the race) in 16:35; 25 Jess Parry; Lal Ergun; 52 Gabrielle Kennedy and Serlin Ergun 58th.


In the Middlesex County Championships on Saturday 4 January at the Wormwood Scrubs course, Highgate Harriers won the team event by a wide margin in the Senior Men’s race shutting the gate with their six scorers all finishing in the first 14 of the 166 finishers.  The first three teams were: 1 Highgate, 53 points; 2 London Heathside, 131 and 3 Thames Valley Harriers, 167.

Highgate's Alex Lepretre was 2nd in the race in 42:04 beating the last Metropolitan League winner, Shafesbury's Dylan Evans, who was 3rd in 42:10. The winner was international, Nick Goolab of Belgrave Harriers in 41:14. The other Highgate runners in the scoring team were 6 Sean Renfer (43:07); 9 Charlie Haywood (43:35); 10 Robert Wilson (43:39); 12 Terry Fawden (44:39); and 14 Dominic Smith (45:25) The next three home were; 28 John Laybourn (47:26); 29 Andres Chau (47:35) and 35 Tom Crowley (48:40).

Highgate's leading woman were: 4th Jessica Anderson (34:18); 17 Lisa Wenninger (35:57); 31 Sarah Dewhirst (38:47) and 38 Sabina Russsell (39:41). The winner was Lithuanian Gintare Juknyte of Aldershot Farnham & District in 33:45. The Highgate Harriers’ women’s team were 4th of the 12 teams that closed in with their four to count scoring 4, 17, 31 and 38 for 90 points. Thames Valley Harriers won with 27 points. 

In the Under 17 women’s race Highgate's Ellen Donald finished 8thth in 26:35. In the Under 20 men’s race Tal Pelmont came 8th in 25:36.  In the Under 17 men Finlay Sleeman finished 19thth in 24:53 and 24th was Charlie Gundy in 26:02.

15-Jan-2020     Alastair Aitken

7th Sep, 2019, admin


Highgate Harriers offer athletics coaching for all disabilities, for athletes aged 11 and over. Training takes place on the following days:

Tuesday - wheelchair specific, 5-6pm
Thursday - general session, 5-6pm

Sessions are run by a fully qualified and DBS checked coach with experience in disabled athletics.

Competition pathway is available through Para and Special Olympics and the club can offer advice and support on these type of events as well as offer information on other competitions that may be available.

For further information or to register interest email:

6th Sep, 2019, admin


I remember being at the White City Stadium and, seeing the cinders being torn up by Vladimir Kuts of USSR in the 10,000m. After four laps, he had an 80-yard lead in the race. It was a duel match between GB v USSR (two from each country).

It was when I did my first ever report. It was on 23/24 August 1957. I suppose there was some consolation as Gordon Pirie won from Derek Ibbotson of GB in the 5000m, but no Kuts present in that!
For me it was a bit special, as my very great, late friend Peter Hildreth won the 110m hurdles for GB.


Volodymyr Petrovych Kuts was born on 7 February 1927 at Oleksyne, Ukrain SSR, Soviet Union and, died 16 August 1975 at the age of 48 in an apparent suicide and weighing 50kg more than his usual weight, according to Wikipedia. His father died of alcoholism when Vladimir was five years old.

Vladimir was married twice and divorced both times. He had one son by his first marriage. After the end of his second marriage in 1973, he lived alone.

That is all regarding the sadder part of his life begins and ends; so the accolades he got as a runner were his successful strong points over the years.

I asked the late Dick Quax, who gained silver in the 1976 Montreal Olympic 5000, a relevant question and that was: Do you think an Olympic final shows who is the best in the world?

His answer to that:

“It shows the best man at that event on that particular day against that particular opposition. That’s all. It is unfortunate that is what, at the end of the day, you hang your spikes up, this is what they say –  that’s how good he was. Very few individuals get judged on anything else.”

Four brilliant athletes, who broke world records but never got any medals in the Olympic 5/10ks, were Hungarian, Sandor Iharos and Chris Chataway, Dave Moorcroft and Dave Bedford from the UK. Ron Clarke was a multi-distance record holder and, Gordon Pirie, who smashed all the best Hungarians in a world record 3000 and, beat Kuts in a World record 5000, outside of the Olympics but never achieved gold in the Olympics of 1952, 1956 or 1960.

Vladimir Kuts, who started athletics seriously at 22, was coached by Grigory Nikiforov and won National Championships before he became the surprising big championship race winner. That was at Bern in the European Championships in 1954. It was over 5000m.

Emil Zatopek, three times gold medallist of the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, was still running well and the clear favourite. Chris Chataway of GB was coming into reasonable shape and reflected on the race in London when we talked about Vladimir bursting clear early on.

“Emil and I were looking at each other at the start. I remember then going into the race and I did not think there was anybody to beat but Emil. I made up my mind I would follow him. We had never heard of the Russian so, it was an awful shock when he did not come back." (Results: 1 Vladimir Kuts (SU) 13:56.6; 2 Christopher Chataway (GB) 14:08.8; 3 Emil Zatopek (CSR) 14:10.2).

However, Chataway got his own back temporally, in a world record at the White City Stadium, when he beat Kuts in the final few strides of the 5000m. It was in the Moscow v London match on 13 October 1954 in front of a capacity crowd. They had to close the gates to not let anyone more in, having to turn people away. Kuts Improved on Chataway’s world record with 13:51.2 just 10 days later.

Kuts, the blond-haired, red-vested Russian, went on to achieve a couple of outstanding victories in 1956 in Melbourne His weight then was 159lbs and he was 5ft 71/2 in height. As opposed to Gordon Pirie, who was 6’26ft 2in & 144lbs in weight. Those were the two favourites for the Melbourne Olympic 10,000 final on 23 November 1956.

Despite Kuts punishing surges. Pirie manfully stuck to him, lap after lap. It took 20 laps to burn off Pirie and then, Kuts pushed on at his relentless pace. (Results: 1 Kuts 28:45.8 (OR); 2 Jozsef Kovacs (Hungary) 28:52.43 Allen Lawrence (Australia) 28:53.6); 4th was the ‘great’ steeplechaser Kzyszyszkowiak from Poland (29:00) and fifth out of the 25 man field was popular Thames Valley Harrier and GB man Ken Norris 29:05).

In the fifth day of the Melbourne Games was the 5,000m final. Vladimir, then known as ‘the marine iron man’ was out in front after 150m and followed by Pirie. Ibbotson, timed his run on Pirie, who he thought would give Kuts a hard fight. However Pirie, for the first time, uncharacteristically, in major championships, played a safer game to get a medal. At 4000m, Chataway was falling back from the leaders with excruciating stomach cramps. At the finish the first six of 14 starters were: 1 Vladimir Kuts (U.S.S.R) in an Olympic record of 13:39.6; 2 Gordon Pirie (GB) 13:50.6; 3 Derek Ibbotson (GB) 13:54.4; Miklos Szabo (Hungary) 14:03.4; 5 Albert Thomas (Australia) 14:4.8; 6 Laszlo Tabori (Hungary) 14:09.8.

In conclusion, one would have to say, there goes a hell of a runner. Vladimir Pyotrovich Kuts, who in life had to contend with some unpleasant set backs with health problems but got his page well established in athletics history books.

Alastair Aitken

6th Sep, 2019, Alastair Aitken


University College student, Henry Murdoch of Highgate Harriers, ran his fastest 3000m to date with a time of 9:01.99 in the Watford Graded meeting on Wednesday 4 September. His previous best was 9:15 in 2017. Nikki Faulkner, the Imperial College student, continued his good running with a time of 1:57.75 in the 800m. Under 17 runner Finlay Sleeman ran 2:08.36 in an 800m race, not terribly far off his best of 2:07.56.

On the evening of Wednesday 11 September, Highgate Harriers hold their final Open Meeting at Parliament Hill and, are expecting a good turn-out. 

Also at the Southern Counties Road Relay Championships at Crystal Palace on 22 September, Highgate have a good record and should do well again. They run round a lot of the old Crystal Palace motor racing circuit and it does not cost anything to see the event.


Highgate Harrier Mark Innocenti, running in the Last Friday in the Month 5k round the Serpentine on 30 August came 3rd out of 276 finishers in 16:02, only 4 seconds behind the winner. 


Alex Davidson, at 57, has been mixing the season with track and road racing and before that, earlier in the year, won the Middlesex ‘Over 50’ cross country Championships. Alex was 90th in 1hr 19.26 out of 1569 that were counted in the Maidenhead half marathon on Sunday 1 September.

Also in the race was on Highgate’s best marathon runners Dan Higgins, an over 40 runner, who came 45th in1:15.49. Earlier this year he ran two good marathons; they were. 2:33.43 at Boston and 2:36.55 in the London.

1st Sep, 2019, Alastair Aitken


Amy Rutherford ran into second place in the race 14 of the 200m at The Lee Valley Sprint Open on the 28th of August with a time of 28.63. She has been consistent around that mark for the last two seasons. Sam Amdor, an Under 15 boy, did two personal best times:12.75 for the 100m in race 13 and in the 200m, in race 11, he was the winner in 25.16.


Chris Rainsford of Highgate Harriers beat other 396 runners to win the Formula One Castle Rock 10k road race in Nottingham on the 2nd of August. His time was 32:30, as he sped away from the second home Bruce Raeside of Nottingham who did a time of 35:00. Easily the first woman in the race was Highgate’s Hannah Viner in 36:36. Hannah was 7th overall in the large field.