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15th Dec, 2021, Alastair Aitken

Highgate Harriers took no prisoners, as they went further ahead in the Start Fitness Metropolitan League Cross Country on Saturday 4 December. In the Senior Men and Woman’s races, in the third fixture, held on the tough Hillingdon House Farm course, the race contained a brook with muddy slopes to be negotiated twice in the race. Amazingly, in the men’s race out of the 376 finishers, Highgate had five runners in the first seven and their scoring 12-man team all finished within the first 55 home. Highgate amassed 1,542 points with Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets, 1,386, London Heathside, 1,148 and Ealing Southall & Middlesex, 1,134.  

After the initial start, the 27-year old PE teacher, Jacob Allen of Highgate set off in the lead, despite the fact he had referred a football match at his school in the morning. He maintained his lead right to the finish, winning in 25:21. It was his second Met League win this season. In second place was Alex Lepretre, despite his shoe lace coming undone twice. His time was 25:43; Robel Bahelbi was third in 25:45, Chris Rainsford was fourth in 25:51. The next four Highgate men were Charlie Haywood 7th in 26:27, 14th, Roger Poolman, 26:59; 29th, Sean Renfer, 27:54, 31st Lewis Greaves, 27:56 and James Barber, 34th in 28:04.  Henry Murdoch was 41st and Monte Watson 55th to bring the 'A' team home. A small comment from me: Alex Davidson, who will be 60 in May, came 111st in 31:01, James Rossiter, who is 50 and a field events thrower for the club came 301st, and, important club Official, Martin Black came in 348th of the 375 finishers – he was celebrating being 58 on the day.

The race for first place in the Women’s race was intense between Beth Hawling of London Heathside and Hannah Viner of Highgate and, eventually, due to her smart running down the hills, Hawling was first in 28:44 and Viner second in 29:05. On the day Highgate women were well represented and came second overall but London Heathside lead the League table. In third place in the race was a clear Tara Bage running for Highgate in 30:41. Ellen Donald was 15th and first Under 20 in 32:22. Karina Thornton was 24th in 33:42 and Mia Parry (Under 20) 26th in 33:51. Natasha Cendrowicz (W50) was 92nd of the 182 finishers.  Jack Bailey was fourth in the Under 17 race, only beaten by three very good juniors.