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9th Apr, 2024, Alastair Aitken

The strong winds blew tents and flags down at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield but it did not put out the fire of Highgate's enthusiasm, in the National 12 stage Men's road relay Championships,as the 'The 'A' team finished  3rd. Their 'B' team was a very creditable 24th out of the 65 starting clubs and ahead of the 'A' teams of  Notts AC ,T.V.H  and Blackheath & Bromley. Last year Highgate were 2nd to the Scottish club Central for the British title (who were behind them this year) and Highgate were  outright winners in 2016 but, that was after a gap of more than 100 years since they had last  won that title before! That  proves how strong they are these days. This year their last leg-12 runner of the 'A' team, Charles Cooper of Highgate, was 'neck & neck' with the Cambridge & Coleridge runner, as they rounded the final bend and, as they came out of the woods, he then outkicked the Cambridge man in that last 150m straight.. One must admit Leeds City AC, who were very strong on the day, winning in 4hrs 11.28, from Bristol & West (4:15.00) 3rd Highgate Harriers 4:15.34, 4th Cambridge & Coleridge (4:15.35)  Two very 'Big'  clubs with Internationals, Aldershot  Farnham& District and Belgrave Harriers were 5th & 6th. If Roger Poolman had run for Highgate but, off with a back injury, Highgate may very well have got second on the day.

Always it is important, on the first leg, for the  runner to get amongst the first 12 home, if possible, and Highgate's Terry Fawden, had never run that  'Pressure' leg One before. He ended up coming 9th which was a good start for the team. Jacob Allen took Highgate into the lead on leg 3 in the 2nd fastest time by any club runner on the day. Considering he was newly promoted for the 'B' Monte Watson, on leg 4, held that lead position ,which was very good and, interestingly enough, the runner who was in the winning team of 2016  Robert Wilson, ran well for 2nd place on leg 5.

Alex Lepretre & Jacob Allen, Highgate's two of the top 3 distance men for the club, are running in the London Marathon on the 21st of April.. ,

National Relay 'A' team Long Stages - Terry Fawden 26:32; Jacob Allen 25:45; Robert Wilson 27:31; Alex Lepretre 26:04; Flurry Grierson 27:51; Pete Chambers 27:22;

 Short Stages  :- Joseph Young15:41; Monte Watson 15:47; Charlie Haywood 15:48; Sam Jinks 15:45; James Ross 15:39; Charles Cooper 15:51

In the 'B' team the fastest long leg was by John Gilfedder 28:53 and the fastest short leg Daniel Lewis 16:09.