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11th Aug, 2019, Alastair Aitken

Dominic Smith improved on his personal best of 15:59.71, that he achieved in the Southern League at Parliament Hill earlier in the summer, when, at Wimbledon in the Hercules 5000m Festival on Wednesday 7 August, he did a personal best of 15:32.00. That time placed Dominic 9th of 18 finishers. That was done in race 4 of the 7 races, organised by Highgate Harrier Ben Noad and Hercules Wimbledon AC.  

The impressive thing is that in 2016 and 2017 Dominic Smith was out of club athletics, helping his wife to raise a family. In the same race were two other Highgate runners: Jonathan Laybourn ran 15:45.86 and Henry Murdoch did 15:52.04.

Highgate’s fastest harrier on the night was Charlie Haywood, who was in the elite race 7. He ran 14:51.10, not far outside his personal best of 14:49.9. He was 14th of 18 finishers but, had he run in race 6 his time would have given him second place! Alex Crossland also ran in race 7 finishing in 5:14.52.

In race 3, Highgate Harrier Peter Hawkings ran 16:06.31. In race 2, Henry Porcas did a personal best of 16:59.56 and, veteran ‘Over 55’ Alex Davidson ran 17:17.14.

In race 1, Ashley Scott-Wilson ran 18:25.01 and Rebecca Johnson continued her good form in race 2 with a time of 17:10.30.

On 17 August at Parliament Hill the final Southern League Division 3 North match of the season takes place and it will be all hands to the pump to get a good score. Hopefully, James Rossiter will be over his injury and can run, jump and throw.


Russ Ashford goes on improving. In last month’s Last Friday in the Month 5k race in Hyde Park, organised by Serpentine RC (26 July) he ran his best 5k road time of 16:27 to place 7th out of 234 finishers.  He beat his position and time in the June event, when he finished 17th and ran 17:22. In the July race, Leon Cerrone finished 29th in 17:22, Justine Bere was 56th in 18:32 and Dave Gilbert finished 63rd in 18:50.  

Roger Poolman, Highgate’s ‘Star’ middle distance runner (considering his amazing improvement in one year) has been suffering with an injury. When it is dealt with he should not find too much difficulty in getting back to his best again.  For example, when I was in my early ‘50’s’ I had a hernia operation on the 26th of January and then ran the London Marathon on the 13th of April the same year, so that tells me he could be back in ‘Good Form’ for the first Metropolitan League in early October and maybe the Southern & National road relays. Good luck Roger!


At Eltham, on 20 July, Highgate Harrier, Charley Haywood, who studies at UCL, and has run under 15 minutes for the 5000m a few times, did 14:58.8 in the BMC Grand Prix race at Eltham.

Also at Eltham but, on 17 July, in the BMC Regional races and in the ‘A’ race Fergal Smithwick was 4th in te 500m A race in 15:17.6; and Dominic Smith ran a personal best time of 15:34.9 in 6th place. Jonathan Laybourn ran 15:46.4 for 9th and Darryl Davidson ran 16:28.2 to finish 14th. for 5000m in the same race. Ellen Donald, as an under 17, ran 5:08.3 in the women’s 1500m.

On 21 July Molly Renfer was back in action finishing as the 2nd woman home in 36:59 in the Elmbridge road 10k at Walton.