A record number of Highgate Harriers took part in the penultimate Start Fitness Metropolitan League fixture on Saturday 11 January. There is a massive muddy hill in Alexandra Palace Park which the 43 senior men had to negotiate three times, up and down like mountain goats and, the women had the same hill to take account of.
Despite being beaten on the day by Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets AC (1,419 to 1,405) the Highgate senior men had enough of a cushion to be the overall Premier League leaders with 5,510 to Victoria Park’s 5,255 with London Heathside on third on 4,344. Therefore, if Highgate don’t drop their guard for the final meeting at Trent Park on the 8th of February they could definitely win the League with the team trophy again.
Alex Lepretre was in good form, as he has been all season so far. He was third of the 497 finishers in 27:16. The rest of the scoring team were 6 Robel Bahelbi 27:23; 9 Murray Strain 27:45, 10 Sean Renfer 27:53; 11 Charlie Haywood 27:53; 13 Robert Wilson 28:16; 33 Dominic Smith 29:18; 39 Pete Chambers 29:37; 49 Jon Laybourn 29:59; 58 Daniel Brewer 30:14; 64 Ash Chambers 30:28 and 68 David Shepherd 30:38.
Highgate women are still in the chase but will have to be extra strong to overturn the leading two clubs in the last meeting at Trent Park. After Alexandra Park the scores were London Heathside 1,434, Victoria Park & TH 1,311 and Highgate 1,259.
The first scoring six for Highgate were led by a brilliant and improved performer Nina Griffith who finished in second place out of the 236 field in 31:55. International, Lizzy Janes of Herts Phoenix (30:14) was first. The other Highgate runner were Vicky Walker in sixth (33:39); 29 Rachelle Baker 35:14; 45 Lisa Wenninger 35:55; 73 Louise Faherty and 110 Natasha Cendrowicz.
A total of 88 finished the junior men’s race and Finlay Sleeman was the first Highgate runner in 16th (14:23). Monte Watson was 57th and Josh Groves 58th. Highgate Harriers’ Junior women are in 6th place of 24 club teams, and their best performance was by Ellen Donald who was 6th of 66 in 16:26. Also running were 9 Lauren Russell (3rd under 15 in the race) in 16:35; 25 Jess Parry; Lal Ergun; 52 Gabrielle Kennedy and Serlin Ergun 58th.
HIGHGATE HARRIERS CLOSE 'THE GATE' EARLY
In the Middlesex County Championships on Saturday 4 January at the Wormwood Scrubs course, Highgate Harriers won the team event by a wide margin in the Senior Men’s race shutting the gate with their six scorers all finishing in the first 14 of the 166 finishers. The first three teams were: 1 Highgate, 53 points; 2 London Heathside, 131 and 3 Thames Valley Harriers, 167.
Highgate's Alex Lepretre was 2nd in the race in 42:04 beating the last Metropolitan League winner, Shafesbury's Dylan Evans, who was 3rd in 42:10. The winner was international, Nick Goolab of Belgrave Harriers in 41:14. The other Highgate runners in the scoring team were 6 Sean Renfer (43:07); 9 Charlie Haywood (43:35); 10 Robert Wilson (43:39); 12 Terry Fawden (44:39); and 14 Dominic Smith (45:25) The next three home were; 28 John Laybourn (47:26); 29 Andres Chau (47:35) and 35 Tom Crowley (48:40).
Highgate's leading woman were: 4th Jessica Anderson (34:18); 17 Lisa Wenninger (35:57); 31 Sarah Dewhirst (38:47) and 38 Sabina Russsell (39:41). The winner was Lithuanian Gintare Juknyte of Aldershot Farnham & District in 33:45. The Highgate Harriers’ women’s team were 4th of the 12 teams that closed in with their four to count scoring 4, 17, 31 and 38 for 90 points. Thames Valley Harriers won with 27 points.
In the Under 17 women’s race Highgate's Ellen Donald finished 8thth in 26:35. In the Under 20 men’s race Tal Pelmont came 8th in 25:36. In the Under 17 men Finlay Sleeman finished 19thth in 24:53 and 24th was Charlie Gundy in 26:02.
15-Jan-2020 Alastair Aitken