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24th Nov, 2021, dbrewer

London Cross Country Championships - 20th November 2021

On a cold yet eerily sweaty AM on Saturday 20th November, 41 noble ladies and gentleman plucked their way around Hampstead Heath over 10k. The same hills, the same route we all know and love but just quite never ceases to hurt (Jonny Cash style).

We came home with silver medals, 2nd overall which is fantastic feat and signals to the rest of the country, we’re hunting the Nationals down…

Leading the charge for the men, Taha Ghafari won the race by 6 seconds in a barnstorming performance home. Peter Chambers came a bingo winning 11th, with Charlie Haywood snapping at his heels with a massive 18th. Finishing off our top 4 scorers, was Roger Poolman, coolly coming in 24th.

Face-off of the race was between Sean Renfer & Henry Murdoch, both who glided in apiece 30th & 31st respectively, with identical race times, dictating it could have been any man’s race. James Ross in 36th, Lewis Greaves in 43rd and Chris Hicks in 44th, highlight the competitiveness amongst team-mates, jostling for every place.

David Shepherd rounded off the top 50 in 49th, with this author just behind in 52nd. George Scott, John ‘Irishman’ Golfedder & Chris Rainsford followed in 58th, 65th and 74th. 75th, 79h and 80th went to Monte Watson, Danny Issacs and Andres Chau.

Sion Perry followed in 85th, Jacob Billingham 91st, Alex Holley 128th, Alex Davidson 12th, Harry Osborn 154th, Adam Lennox 163rd, Gabriel Collins 166th, Jonathan Deane 170th, Daniel Tombor 233rd, Joesph Lowe 278th, Rob Saunders 286th, David Sutherland 330rd, John O’Shea 366th, James Rossitor 377rd & rounding it all off, Richard Steward in 393rd.

This just shows the depth and breadth on display, plenty of talent and heaps of commitment.

Over the same horrible yet tantalising conditions, the ladies came in at a cracking 5th, a great achievement over an undulating 6k course.

Eileen Donald came in 18th and leading Highgate home. Kate Russell followed in 30th, Karina Thornton in 40th and finally rounding off the top 4 scorers, Emily Young in 43rd.

Completing the team finish, Mia Perry in 75th, Vicky Few in 80th, Louise Faherty in 86th, Ellen Kerr in 119th and Natasha Cendrowicz in 154th.

21st Nov, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate continue to race ahead in the League

After the first two Start Fitness Metropolitan League races, the Highgate Harriers' Senior Men continue to lead in the League table. The first three are Highgate with 1,554 points;  2, Thames Valley Harriers and 3, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets.

On Saturday 13 November the race for the Senior Men was in mild conditions, over a very hilly Stanborough Park course at Welwyn Garden City. After a very fast start the 441 runners set off. Seyed Ghafari, and Jacob Allen of Highgate were joined by the last Met League winner, Tom Frith of Woodford Green. Those three disputed the lead till, well into the second of three laps, when, a strong looking Jacob Allen put the boot in and went for it, never being headed again. However, Ghafari lost his second place in the last mile when he got a bad stitch and was first of all overhauled by Tom Frith and then by Alex Lepetre of Highgate. The oldest Highgate runner was Alex Davidson, who will be 60 in May next year. He was 171 of the 441 finishers, which is some going! The Highgate Harriers Division One team all finished in the first 44 places; which was impressive to say the least. 1 Jacob Allen, 23:58; 3 Alex Lepetre, 24:18; 4 Seyed Taha Ghafari, 24:23; 6 Robel Bahelbi, 24:45; 8 Chris Rainsford 24:54; 9 Pete Chambers, 24:59; 16 Charlie Haywood 25:30; 23 Sean Renfer, 25:45; 25 Chris White, 25:58; 32 Alex Bampton, 26:14; 35 Roger Poolman. 26:20; and 44 Lewis Greaves, 26:44.  The next two Highgate Harriers after that were 48 James Barber 26:57 and then 51 Henry Murdoch 27:01.

In the Under 17's race Jack Bailey ran well. Son of Highgate Harriers President Chris Bailey, he came third of 94 in 14:44.  The winner for the second time this year was Ethan Primett of Herts Phoenix in14:02.

Five Highgate woman ran in the Senior Women's race which had 210 finishers. Kate Russell was 17th in 31:50 and Karina Thornton was 18th in 31:51. The next Highgate finishers were Emily Young in 45th in 33:14, Louise Faherty 50th in 33:39 and Natasha Cendrowicz in 109th in 37:37. London Heathside are top of the Women's League table. Highgate are 8th of the 12 clubs.

14th Nov, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Tim Johnston - a 'Class Act'

The Olympian and GB distance runner Timothy Frederick Kemball Johnston died in October 2021, aged 80. 

Tim went to Bedales public school, where he wrote some new records on the books, and then won two Southern Junior cross countries. As a student he felt that the most beneficial time was when he was studying at Trinity College, Cambridge, and he followed that up by being a linguist for a time with the ‘European Common Market’. 

Like Cambridge University, that had good international cross-country runners like Tim Briault and Mike Turner, his club, Portsmouth AC, was very strong and he told me that “when I made contact with Bruce Tulloh and Martin Hyman at my Portsmouth club, they were helpful and very encouraging.”

Tim met Martin Heath, who was amongst the best till he got glandular fever, and he wanted to be as good as Tim Briault and that ‘Guru’ of athletics knowledge Mike Turner, who was at Cambridge for very many years. For a short while, Herb Elliot, the 1960 Olympic 1500m Champion, was at the University, and he taught Tim to run up hills quickly to demoralize the opposition. 

At that time, the ‘press’ loved to coin a phrase about people and the athletics press in the 1950s and 60s were full of athletic reports that called Tim ‘The Abominable Snowman’.  He a won the British University cross country from John Farrington Mike Turner, Ron Hill and John Whitton in the snow. He won the Southern also in 1963 from Don Taylor of Herne Hill Harriers. He also won the Inter-Counties with Gerry North second in the snow again. He also won a race in the snow in Hannut in Belgium —all in 1963. In 1963 he was also the third ranked UK 3000m steeplechase man behind Maurice Herriot and Ernie Pomfret, the two British finalists in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics steeplechase.

It was 1967 that he came second in the ‘old style’ World Cross Country Championships in Barry, Wales, where England easily won the team contest from New Zealand and France. The first four over the senior 12k course were: 1 Gaston Roelants (Belgium) 36:03; 2 Tim Johnston (England) 36:20; 3 Barry Rose (NZ)a 36:27; and 4 Lachie Stewart (Scotland) 36:30. Prior to that in October 1965 he ran a World Best for 30000m on the track of 1:32:34.6,

In 1968 Tim was AAA’s 6 miles Champion in 27:22.2; and the AAA’s marathon Champion in 2:15.26. The next finishers in the marathon were Bill Adcocks, who went on to come fifth in the Mexico Olympics marathon, and Jim Alder, who also ran the race but do not finish.

Tim finished eighth in the Mexico Olympics marathon but after the race and about the altitude he told me. “It was a ’B’ waste of time racing the marathon at these Games. I think Ron Clarke would have won his race (the 10000m) had it been at sea level.” Clarke told me he was fitter than he had ever been before Mexico, which in a way backs up Tim’s theory. However, Tim did do some months running at altitude before coming back to qualify for the Games.

Typical of Tim Johnston was that he did not wait to prove himself again and in 1969 on 10th of May he beat many of the top Europeans to win the Karl Marx Stadt marathon in 2:15:3.2.

Tim had both his achilles operated on but never lost his enthusiasm for running and won World Veteran road races and other races, including two in one weekend that included a marathon, and the Bruges 25k a couple of times. Tim ran the Maidenhead 10 in 1975, which I also did it, and he won in a time of 49:51 with a tough hill in it. It was a course record. 

13th Nov, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Fred Baker R.I.P - by David Ainsworth

One of our all-time ultra-distance walking greats has passed-on, aged 88. Legendary Fred of Highgate Harriers completed 19 UK sub-24 hours' 100 miles races, commencing with a 22:30.13 timing in the testing 1956 Sheffield-to-Harrogate-and-back (staged over Yorkshire's hills and dales), which saw 38 start and 21 finish (8 becoming new Centurions). Fred earned Centurion number 266. Fred served as The Centurions' Honorary Secretary from 1986 to 1995. When stepping down he passed this position on to fellow Highgate Harrier Bill Sutherland BEM. In 1982 Fred was elected as a Centurions' Vice-President. He resided in Carlisle, in a care home during his last days. For decades life was split between the UK and Australia, where he owned property. Needless to say he was in Carlisle for our spring and summer and, when weather turned for the worse, he was off "down under" for 6 months. He was one never to be forgotten. Our condolences to his family members.

13th Nov, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate Harriers' best ever result in cross country relays

In the English Cross-Country Relay Championships on Saturday 6 November at Mansfield, Highgate recorded their best result ever by coming second in the Senior Men’s event. 147 teams completed. Shaftesbury Barnet were first in 1:02.58, with Highgate second in 1:03.13 and Aldershot & Farnham third in 1:03.35. Several more fancied teams were close behind including Leeds City, Tonbridge AC and Cambridge & Coleridge AC. Highgate's 'B' team were the second 'B' team in the race in 19th place. 

Highgate's fastest man was on leg one for the 'A' team, when Seyed Ghafari ran 15:26.10. Then Jacob Allen took Highgate up from ninth to second in 15:38.05. Alex Lepretre briefly put Highgate ahead with 15.44.90 on Leg 3 and then Robel Bahelbi brought the club in second in a time of 16:24.00. The 'B' team also comprised star studded clubmen:  Ash Harrell, Pete Chambers, Rob Wilson and Roger Poolman were in the team that came 19th out of the large club field and the 2nd 'B' team overall (after Tonbridge AC). It was all good news for Highgate who are going for another Metropolitan League cross-country win at Welwyn Garden City on Saturday 13 November.

Highgate Harriers did not have a complete Senior Women’s team at Mansfield but Hannah Viner ran well to be the ninth fastest woman on the day

12th Nov, 2021, dbrewer

National Cross-Country Relays

Jonny Laybourn (Words), and Lewis Greaves (Photography)

A mixture of seasoned Highgate men as well as some newer faces banded together as a 12-strong outfit for the National Cross Country Relays last Saturday 6th November. The scene was set at the event's usual venue of Berry Hill Park in Mansfield, its home of a rather impressive consecutive 31 years until 2020 before falling victim to you-know-what, and it was as if it had never been away for our boys.
Our A team got things into motion with an impressive run by Taha Ghafari, still cutting his teeth on the unique English cross country scene after joining us during lockdown. A fabulous run of 15:26 over the two-lap 5km course was enough for 9th and to put us very much in the hunt early on.  For the B team, Ash Harrell returned to racing ways after the Manchester Marathon with an effort of 16:15. Sean Renfer found himself not too far behind for the C team with 16:29, and was vocally satisfied with his performance afterwards, something we all like to see as runners.
Leg 2 was where the serious stuff began for the A team. Jacob Allen, despite a minor hiccup involving the need to jump a barrier, cemented chances of a win with a blistering 15:38 and establishing an imposing lead.  Peter Chambers then demonstrated his recent fine form and hard work in training for the B team with a run of 16:04, cutting through half the field ahead of him by going from 42nd to 21st. The C team were represented on this leg by photography supremo Lewis Greaves with an excellent run of 17:34, also reflective of some solid Tuesday night grind.
Onto the third it was, and in perhaps the most impressive Highgate performance of the day, Alex Leprêtre let the country know he was very much back to form with a 15:44, widening the gulf between our A team and the following pack.  To follow for the Bs was Captain Rob Wilson in 16:55, himself also enjoying the post-marathon aerobic afterglow, and Jonny Laybourn for the C team in 18:06.
Finally, Robel Bahelbi, now of a decade of service at Highgate Harriers and, along with Ben Noad, one of only two men to have featured in every single Met League title since 2013, took up the reins for the A team and produced a very solid 16:24. Alas, he was passed by Liam Dee of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers in the process, for whom there was absolutely no legislating. The lads were nonetheless rightly ecstatic with a silver medal, our first appearance on the men's national winter rostrum for three years and the fruits of some unwavering commitment. The supporting party closed with Roger Poolman, also back on the up following the pandemic, securing 19th in 16:55 for the B team, and Rob Saunders for the C team, relishing his first appearance at this event with 21:39 for 74th place.
Mr Saunders quite aptly described the day as a "sacred shared experience" which I think will hit home with everyone involved in the Club's recent successes. We keep going up and up and up!

6th Nov, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate's veteran runners do well

All over 50-year old runners from Highgate Harriers were well up the field in the North London Cross Country Championships at Uxbridge on Saturday 30 October. Alex Davidson an 'over 55' athlete was the first Highgate man home in 36th place; Davidson was previously an Over 40 and Over 50 Middlesex Cross Country Champion. He was followed in by Joseph Lowe (V50) in 58th with John O'Shea (V55) in 84th and Club President Chris Bailey (V55) in 85th.  The winner was non-vet and established County runner, Rob Thompson of Hillingdon AC.                                                                                                                        

In the Last Friday in the Month Serpentine 5k on 29th October, 5th of 147 runners was ex-Highgate runner and first vet over 40 Andrew Aitken in 16.52. Highgate's Jemima Storey was the 3rd woman home in 20:10 and 15th overall was Hanry Heatherwich-Lammers in 17.46.                                                                                                                               

Highgate Harriers will be out in force in the Start Fitness Metropolitan League cross country (Event 2) on the 13th of November at Welwyn Garden City’s Stanborough Park. 

31st Oct, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Amazing 12 of Highgate

On 16 October, Highgate Harriers finished their scoring first team of men in the first 35 of 372 finishers in the first Start Fitness Metropolitan League cross-country fixture at Claybury. The race for first place was intense and Woodfords' Thomas Frith just managed to get away from the Highgate 'Star' men on the third of the three-lap course. The Highgate team packed like sardines. It was 24:55 for Frith but behind him in order came the following Highgate runners: 2, Seyed Taha Ghafari, 25:11; 3, Jacob Allen, 25:27; 4, Robel Bahelbi, 25:42; 5, Alex Lepretre, 25:45; and 6, Pete Chambers 25:46. The others in the team were: 17, Charlie Haywood, 27:01; 19, Niki Faulkener, 27:04; 21, Rob Wilson, 27:20; 27, James Barber, 27:47; 28, Sean Renfer, 27:51; 34, Lewis Greaves 28.03; 35, Henry Murdoch 28:04. Also in the first 100 were: 37 Dave Shepherd 28:14; Andres Chau 40th in 28:20; 53, Jonathan Laybourn, 28:42; second over 45' was Ben Noad in 59th (28:59) and the first over 50 in the race Sion Perry (29.27) in 72nd; 74, Russell Ashford, 29.34 and 98th Alex Holly, 30.13. After one meet Highgate Harriers lead the men’s league with 1,545 points with Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets second on 1,266. Impressively, Highgate's 'B' team in the senior men's is in 6th place of the 12 clubs and first 'B' team. 

London Heathside lead the women’s league after the first fixture with 349 points with Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets second on 286 points and Highgate in third place with 280. Highgate's leading runners at Claybury were 8, Tara Page (31:32); 9, under 20 runner Ellen Donald (31:40); 31, Kate Russell (33:58); and 36, Emily Young (34:11) Beth Hawling of London Heathside was 1st in 29:05 out of 179 finishers. 

Jack Bailey ran well to finish 5th in the under 17 men’s race. 

21st Oct, 2021, Kani Hinshelwood

Disability athletics sessions with Highgate Harriers

Disability athletics sessions with HIghgate Harriers, all sessions run by a fully qualified and insured coach with an enhanced DBS check.

Monday night at Talacre Sports Centre, Grafton Road, NW5 3DU. These are indoor sessions that run 7-8.30pm and are based on fun athletics activities to improve fitness and movement. For wheelchair users we will have a racing wheelchair available that fits on a roller, for speed and fitness work.

Thursday night at Parliament Hill Athletics Track, Highgate Road, NW3 2LA. These are outdoor track-based sessions 5-6pm and are aimed at the more competitive athletes, sessions will be designed to improve athletics performance.


13th Oct, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate still amongst the best

Highgate Harriers senior men were 8th of 75 clubs that finished in the National Six Stage road relay on Saturday 9 October at Sutton Park near Birmingham. Yet, they had three of their top men missing, including Roger Poolman. Their fastest runners on the day were on the first two stages, which turned out to be a 'Baptism of Fire'' for Seyedtaha Ghafari on stage 1. However, Ghafari, who led the runners early on his stage, has set all his many personal best times with Highgate Harriers in 2021. On leg 2 was another talented fairly new comer, Jacob Allen, who when he was at San Francisco University was one of their best runners. On leg 3 was the big surprise for the club, when Robel Bahelbi briefly put Highgate into third place, but then some clubs had some 'Big Guns' still to come. Peter Chambers on leg 4 and Alex Lepretre on leg 5 looked good and they will be a strong force over the Winter months and, on Leg 6 the anchor man Sean Renfer came in well, a good 8th overall for the team. Team Manager Ben Pochee feels that in the 12-stage National Road relay, at the same venue in six months’ time Highgate will be a force to be reckoned with.

The Highgate A team comprised: Seyedtaha Ghafari, 17:10; Jacob Allen, 17:23; Robe Bahelbi, 17:43; Pete Chambers 17:47; Alex Lepretre 17:35; Sean Renfer 18:41.  Total time 1:46:19. Winning team Aldershot F&D, 1:42:44. Highgate's B team were 51st in the high quality event. The team comprised James Barber, 18:50; Lewis Greaves, 19.12; Russell Ashford, 19:40; Mikey Dan, 19:40; Andres Chau, 19:46 and Jon Laybourn 20:09

Considering some of Highgate’s top runners were also missing from the women’s race, the team did very well to come 28th of 63 complete teams that finished. Hannah Viner flew round to come in 8th on the first leg in the women's 4 stage relay in 14:25. The others runners were Emma Butcher, 16:53; Karina Thornton 16:26; and Kani Hinshelwood 16:52.  The team’s total time was 1:04:36. Aldershot F&D won in 59:03.

On Sunday 10th October, Ash Harrell was 12th in the Manchester Marathon in a personal best time of 2:29:29 beating his best of 2:31:42.  On the same Sunday, Andrew Aitken (43) ran his fastest 10k at Worthing of 34:34 since he ran for Highgate in 2008.

13th Oct, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Mel the Great

Mel Watman, the great athletics journalist, died on 17 September 2021 from cancer aged 83. To my mind, Mel was the best international athletics journalist of the last 65 years coupled with being a statistical wizard. His Editorial years at Athletics Weekly were, and are, unparalleled. 

13th Oct, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Roger bows out

For the first time in the London Marathon, since it started in 1981 Roger Low of Highgate Harriers, decided not to run this year. "Not bad!” said Press Secretary Alastair Aitken, who ran the first 19 London races. Now in his 70's, Roger can look back with pride after doing so many 'Londons' consecutively. He certainly deserves a rest from the event! Only six 'Ever Presents' completed the actual course on the day!

13th Oct, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Creagh leads the way in London

Highgate Harrier Gareth Creagh (M40) was the first Highgate Harrier in the 2021 London Marathon in 717th position in the mass men’s race.  His time was 2:46:35 improving his personal best of 2:53:12 that he achieved in 2011. Highgate's first woman was Joanna Gardner (692 in the mass women’s race) who finished in 3:23:53, which improved on her time in the Windsor marathon on 3 April this year of 3:27:26. Others to complete included Patrick Thomas 2:48.51; William Dawber (M40) 2:52.54; Tom Cowling 3:02:09; Brendan Donnelly 3:03:34; and Adam Lennox 3:10:56 

3rd Oct, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate Harriers compete well in SOAR MK Relays

Highgate Harriers’ men finished two teams in the top 10 in the most prestigious road relay in the South, when they came 4th and 9th out of 40 complete teams in the SOAR MK Road Relays on 26th September. In the six-stage relay at Milton Keynes, Cambridge & Coleridge AC was first home in a time of 1:30.56 and, not far behind, in 4th place was the Highgate 'A’ team in 1:31.51. There 'B' team was 9th in 1:34.41. Highgate's Taha Ghafari was the 3rd fastest of the 257 competitors on the day. The 'A' team consisted of: Taha Ghafari, 13:40; Rob Wilson, 15:35; Jacob Allen, 14.58; Harry Wakefield, 15:55; Alex Lepretre, 15:19; and Ash Harrell 15.25; (total 1:31.51). The 'B' team comprised: Chris Wright, 15:52; Roger Poolman, 15:44; Robel Bahelbi, 15:09; Pete Chambers, 15:13; Lewis Greaves, 16:40; Charlie Haywood, 16:03 (total 1:34.41). Highgate’s 'C’ Team were 27th and their fastest leg was by James Barber in 16:25. The 'D' team were 35th and their fastest was Mikey Dan in 15.44.

The women’s team finished 7th out of 17 complete team with Hannah Viner running the 8th fastest time out of 83 the competitors on the day. The Highgate team in the four-stage relay comprised: Yasmin Goater, 17:50; Hannah Viner, 17:26; Zoe Macdonald, 18:37; and Karina Thornton. 19:49. The team time was 73:42. The winning club was Aldershot, Farnham & District AC (71:30).

On the same day, ex-Highgate runner Andrew Aitken (43), came 4th of 527 in the undulating Barns Green Half Marathon in 1:18:43.

28th Sep, 2021, Kani Hinshelwood

Jemima basically sprints a whole marathon

Massive congrats to Jemima on a cracking time at the Berlin Marathon! 3:12 what a stonking time.

26th Sep, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate cross the river in force

At the ‘Friday Night under the Lights’ races over 5k on the road at Battersea, organised by Highgate’s Ben Noad and which actually took place on Thursday 16 September, Highgate's Taha Ghafari came in first overall of the 150 runners. His time was 14:18 with Jake Shelley, a well-known Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier, second in 14:20. The rest of the runners mentioned in this report are all Highgate Harriers: 19, Rob Wilson, 14:47; 27, Alex Bampton, 15.00; 42, Chris Wright, 15.16; 52, Sean Renfer, 15:27; 74 Darryl Davison, 15:55; 89 Russ Ashford, 16:15. Two Highgate women also ran with Jemima Storey finishing in 19:16 and Ashley Scott-Wilson running 20:11.

25th Sep, 2021, Kani Hinshelwood

Paid Running Marshalling roles or a race!

5k, 10k and half marathon in Victoria Park on Sunday 10 October

They also have some paid marshalling opportunties if you get in contact with the race director! :)

19th Sep, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate Harriers fourth at Parliament Hill

In the final Southern Athletics League track and field match of the season on 11 September the scores were Thames Valley Harriers 325.4; Harrow 183.5; Ealing, Southall & Middlesex, 166.8; Highgate Harriers & Mornington Chasers (combined) 134.8; Serpentine RC ,114.1; Hillingdon, 110.5.

Alima Diabate works hard to get a Highgate team together for the league but the interest in the club in the event is not quite strong enough, except for those who are prepared to get points for the club in the friendly competition. An outstanding double victory came in the women’s 800m where Emma Macalister Hall won the ‘A’ race in 2:15.12 and Somerby Hamdorff won the ‘B’ race in 2:23.84. Finlay Sleeman in the men’s 800m ‘A’ race ran a modest 2:08.24 time for him for second place, after his personal best of 2:00.25 in the middle of the week at Watford. Someone who gained useful points was Antonia Loizou who was second in the 100m hurdles with 20.87; fourth in the shot (5.54) and the triple jump (8.25) and third in the hammer (17.49). Running two men and two women in the mixed 4x400m relay, Highgate produced a good time (4:33.33) to finish second behind TVH.

Charlie Fraser was third in the 1500m in 4:26.53 and third in the 3000m steeplechase in 12:30.93. Mariam Elgabry was second in the 'A' 100m in 13.16 and third in the ‘A' 200m in 29.04. Alima Diabate was second in the 'B' 100m in 14.01 and second in the 200m 'B' in 30.24. Second in the 'A' long jump was Ashia Logie (U17) in a personal best 4.78 and Jade Sillere was second in the ‘B’ with 3.96. Someone in a non-scoring event who won his race was in a 1500m. It was won by James Porcas in 4:36.59. In the women's 1500m Highgate/Mornington Chasers were third in the 'A' and 'B' race with two athletes from Mornington Chasers running new PB times: Caroline Wolfe ran 5:29.33 in the ‘A’ and Collette Farnol ran 6:21.96 in the ‘B’. Lauren Longhurst, another Mornington Chaser, was third in the 'A' 5000m in a PB of 19.26.77 and Vicky Frew (W40) did 20:08.56 to finish second in the ‘B’. Stephen West from Mornington Chasers gained good points in four throw events, finishing fourth in the hammer and fifth in the shot, discus and javelin.

19th Sep, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate's young road 'stars' of the future

At Minet Park, on 12 September, the Middlesex road relays were held with a focus on young athletes. Highgate Harriers were third in the under 13 girls relay and Izzy Ions ran the third fastest individual time in that (11:52). Ajuna Pflug ran the fastest individual time in the under 13 boys (11:06), but with only two runners, Highgate could not contest the team event. Highgate had a winning combination with the three fastest individual times in the under 15 boys, with Alex Mulvhill 10.04, Thomas Chadwick 10.12, and Liam Bailey 10.32. In the Under 17 women’s relay Highgate won in 34:30, well clear of the second team St Marys who did 36.02. Lauren Russell (11:12) was the third fastest of the under 17 women overall in that race.

19th Sep, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Finlay Sleeman improves his time

On Wednesday 8 September, Finlay Sleeman (U20), son of Highgate Harrier Jon Sleeman, ran 2:00.25 for 800m at the Watford open meeting, on the Woodside track. His previous best time was 2:02.3 at Hillingdon on the 11th of July. Emma Macalister Hall ran a new PB of 2:11.67 at the same meeting. 

12th Sep, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Old memories

David Bruce, now a Doctor running for Bristol West, who was a popular middle distance and long distance runner for Highgate Harriers fifteen or so years ago, won the Bushy Parkrun on the 4th of September out of a field 1,277. His time was 17:09. Andrew Aitken, ex-Highgate, was 8th in 18:04.  Highgate Press Secretary, Alastair Aitken, despite having a CVD implanted in 2018 and in his first race since a Parkrun 11 years ago was 1,266 in 55 minutes, but had taken it easy. Being over 80 (81), he was awarded, with others, a medal for all the over 80s who completed the course. Olympic medalist Alex Yee's Grandfather Albert Yee, who was 1,273 in 1hr 7minutes. The medal was designed and donated by Yee Associates!

12th Sep, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Martin Hyman: Olympian and running inspiration

MARTIN HYMAN (born 3rd July 1933 in Southampton, died 3rd April 2021 in West Lothian, Scotland). In addition to his achievements as an international athlete, Martin was a successful and inspiring athletics coach and a pioneer of orienteering in the UK.

As a runner, he was 4th in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games 6 miles in Cardiff in 1958 in 28:58.6 and in 1962 in Perth, Australia he was 5th in the 6 miles in 28:42.2. In 1962 in the European Championships in Belgrade Martin was 4th in the 10,000m in 29:02.0, exactly the same time as Roy Fowler of GB, who was 3rd. Before that in the 1960 Olympics in the heat of Rome he was 9th in the 10,000m in 29:04.8, just ahead of Gordon Pirie (29:15.2) who was 10th.

He was 3rd in the International (Old World Cross Country Championships) in 1961. At the end of 1961 he won one of the World’s most famous road races – the ‘New Year’s Eve race in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He finished ahead of the 1960 Olympic marathon champion, Abebe Bikila, who later went on to win the Olympic marathon in 1964 also. The race was over 7.3k.

Martin Hyman’s best time for six miles on the track was 27:36.09. I can remember seeing him several times winning races in two per country ‘duel’ matches, with the USA and Poland. He was easily recognisable at the White City Stadium.

In the Poland v GB two per side at the White City Stadium, he dead heated with Mike Bullivant, the Derby & County AC runner. Both were spattered with mud from the wet track with so many puddles. They were soaked from head to foot from the White City rain splashing on the cinder track but finished well clear of their Polish rivals. His time was 29:31.6. His club Portsmouth had a very impressive team at road relays and Martin Hyman ran the fastest lap in the winning team in the TVH relay, that had very good competitors. On the team in the Southern & National relays were excellent runners like Bruce Tulloh, Tim Johnston, and the Cooke brothers.

In the 1960’s who could forget the high-stepping, bespectacled Martin Hyman, cheered on by the White City crowds. He will be greatly missed by the running community.

5th Sep, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Good performances at Highgate Open

On the evening of the 1st of September at the Highgate Harriers Open meeting at Parliament Hill Fields over 70 athlete Tom Richards was in good form, winning the shot with 12.29m and showing his many strengths with a 16.98 100m.

Neil Middleton (M55) ran a time of 12.78 for 100m and Francis Forsyth (W45) did a personal best time of 14.92. A future 'Star', under 13 Arthur Shaw, ran a 13.99 100m and did a 4.39 long jump.

The 5000m attracted several Highgate Harriers, in an event that showed the strength in depth and three Highgate runners ran inside the 16-minute mark: Chris Wright, 15:45.99; Daniel Brewer, 15:56.39 and James Barber, 15:57.10. 

Personal bests were done by several Highgate Harriers in the 1500m including by five in Race 1: David Musgrove 5:09.07; Arjuna Pflug (under 13), 5:12.61; David Sutherland, 5:14.04; Lily Spaccatrosi (under 15), 5:31.45; and Mia Cobbold (under 13), 5:40.37. Two who did good times were Finlay Sleeman (U20), 4:18.66 and Josh Groves (U17), 4:39.94.