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13th Oct, 2021, Alastair Aitken

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.