It was very unusual in the history of Highgate Harriers for both the women and the men to get major team medals in a National Championship on the same day but that happened at the National Road Relays on Saturday 9th of April at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield.
In the Men's race over 12 stages, six long and six short, Highgate were only beaten by the Southern Champions, Tonbridge AC, in the last half mile, when Tonbridge put a fast 800m man on the last leg.
The race had promise from the word go when Jacob Allen ran a controlled race, going into first place with less than 600m to do. His time for that long stage was 25:42. James Ross took over and came in second in 15:32 on a short stage. Robel Bahelbi ran a good leg in 26:46; then came Sean Renfer in 15:51, still holding the second position. On Leg 5 Alex Lapretre ran a blinder, doing the second fastest long stage of the day for all the clubs competing. His time 25:25 for a long stage gave Highgate the lead. Then came Rob Wilson, who held first place in 15:37 for a short leg, probably his most impressive run ever at the park. A reliable road relay man Alex Bampton then took over to run a 26:40 for a long stage with Highgate still in the lead. Flurry Grierson, an orienteer specialist, who is 19 and at UCL, ran a 15:49 short stage with Highgate still in the lead. Charlie Haywood ran a long one on stage 9 in 27:11; Pete Chambers ran 15:31 for a short one and Roger Poolman. fought well (26:35) to still maintain Highgate's position at the front of the field but, unfortunately Jens Sudmeier (16:45), although he fought hard, could not hold off a very fast Tonbridge runner, who took his club to the front, so late on. A terrific display of courage by Highgate who did well out of the 53 complete teams that finished, of that there is no doubt.
See separate report on the women's result.