Robert Wilson, the Highgate Harriers men’s cross country Captain, was the only Highgate runner to compete in the 'Comeback 5000’ m races at Battersea on 31 March. He clocked a time of 15:27.69 in race 6. Robert is coached by ex-international Ben Noad and has a 5000m PB of 14:51.3 and a 5k road best of 14:38.
The Night of 10,000m PB's scheduled to be held at Parliament Hill Fields athletics track on June 5th 2021 has been cancelled, and the British Olympic 10,000m Trials and European Cup will now be held elsewhere. This most brilliant and friendly meeting (no one pays to watch it live), has now been thwarted by the terrible disease Covid-19. However, the wonderful motivator Ben Pochee, the Highgate Harriers organiser of the event since the very start, fully intends running the meeting again in 2022. Since the first event in 2013 all the races have been of a good standard and have improved in general terms over the years. Each year it gathered momentum, and it has attracted some of the best 5 and 10k athletes in Europe. As Paul Maskell, the North London Events Manager and Communicator for Hampstead Heath at the City of London Corporation said to me after the 2019 event: "I have worked for the City of London for 23 years. It is a different event at Parliament Hill. It has got it. It has got the razzmatazz, the style, the booze”.
Olympic walker Vincent Paul Nihill died aged 81 on the 15 December 2020 in a care home, but as a competitive athlete he was among the very best race walkers in the world. For much of his life he lived in Addiscombe, Croydon and in 2016 a road was named after him – Nihill Place – by Croydon Council in recognition of all his achievements. Paul was involved with helping with boxing and other sports, at sports clubs in the region and was even a presenter on a local radio station at one time.
Going back to when he was young, Paul had some very tough times, and even spent time in an orphanage. However, when he was eight years old, he did his first race on grass and won over 60m. Paul, who left school at 15 to join a grocers, was a senior in a bank when I first talked to him in 1969 in Athens and then at his home in the Croydon/Thornton Heath area.
He made some interesting observations telling me: “The greatest lesson I have learnt really is the fact that you never get anywhere unless you put your mind to it, one hundred percent, to that one thing. I feel now that, when, years ago I was doing mainly boxing plus a little running, a little walking and several other things, had I gone about my training in the same way that I do now, dedicating myself to walking and to making a success of it, I would have been a top junior. So many people just play around with a sport when, as runners they could probably become ‘Derek Ibbotson’ if only that they put their minds to it, trained more conscientiously, and realised their potential. To me it is strange that when I was doing walking just to fill a gap, nobody gave me any encouragement. Nobody came up to me and said ‘you could be a world beater if you put your mind to it’, or offered to take me in hand. Nobody cared, and I just drifted out as it were, finishing usually in the middle of the field doing nothing outstanding.”
GB won the individual gold medal in the 50km race walk in the 1932 Olympics with Tommy Green and in 1936 with Harold Whitlock and then with Don Thompson in 1960. The next athlete to obtain an Olympic medal for GB over the 50km distance was Paul Nihill, winning silver in the 1964 Tokyo games; since then no one else for GB has obtained an Olympic medal in that event. The first three in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 were: 1 Abdon Pamich Italy 4:11.12.4; 2 Paul Nihill (GB—who moved up to be with Pamich at the 30k distance till 40k}, 4:11.31.2; 3 Ingvar Pettersson (Sweden 4:14.17.4).
In 1965 after the ‘anti-climax’ of the of the Tokyo Olympic Games Paul had a series of tremendous setbacks. He told me: “Tokyo for me was certainly an anti-climax; I had trouble with my job, problems at home – nothing seemed to go right at all. I could not, of course, concentrate on training and in fact lost all enjoyment in the sport. I found it a strain and was really just going through the motions, because I had to. I was the Olympic silver medalist and therefore it was the thing to continue racing even though I was most unhappy; and, as a result of all the pressures building-up, I had a breakdown and had to withdraw altogether. Later I came back again, but I still did not seem to be fully recovered. I trained for a few months again, and then dropped out once more. It was rather like going back to a bad job that you have got to do; trying harder each day, getting nowhere, and cursing your luck for trying. Now, however, I am happy. My frame of mind has changed completely, and I see it all in quite a different light.”
When I talked to Paul after his fantastic Athens 1969 European gold medal he told me: “This year has been very similar to last in that I have been fed much better competition. In 1968, before the Olympic Games, I did not have many international races, and therefore, the actual class of my opponents was not too impressive, but this year I was sent to France in May to the six-Nations meeting and met the fifth and sixth finishers in Mexico 20 km, Gerhard Sperling of East Germany and Otto Barch of the Soviet Union, most formidable opponents. I beat them easily (when it was 80 degrees F) which I regarded as a great victory, not least because many people say that I am ‘suspect’ in hot weather since passing-out in Mexico. Here, though, I had taken on the cream of six countries in very hot conditions, including the West German Bernar Nermerich, the fastest 50 km walker in 1968, and beaten them all in this 20 km event. Then I went to Czechoslovakia and won again.”
“After this I had the big meeting in Los Angeles and raced for the Commonwealth against U.S.A and the U.S.S.R. Here I had to race against the Mexico Olympic 20 km Champion Vladimir Golubnichy and the bronze medalist Nikolay Smaga, plus Ron Laird (U.S.A.) one of the World’s top 5; I beat all three, whom I knew very well, to win. After I had beaten an Olympic Champion and these other top liners, I thought ‘you have beaten the best in the world, so why not do it again in two months’ time?’”
About his win in Athens, Paul told me: “The walk in Athens went perfectly to plan. I talked over the possibilities with all my friends beforehand, and it was generally agreed that it would be a highly tactical race. Whatever pace was set by any leaders, whether very fast or very slow, I would go with them, and would not attempt to drop anybody at least till the three quarters mark at 15km. At that stage I would have two or three walkers with me, and drop them one by one. It is very, very rare that you can plan before a race just what you are going to do, and for it all to fit into place with the pre-race plan. This time, however, everything went as according to plan.”
1969 Athens European Championships 20 km race first 3: 1 Paul Nihill (GB) 1:30:48.0; 2 L. Caraiosifoglu (Romania) 1:31:06.4; 3 N. Smaga (USSR) 1:31.20.2.
Paul Nihill also gained a bronze medal in the 20km in the European Championships in Helsinki in 1971 behind Smaga and Sperling. In the 1972 Munich Olympics Paul was 6th in the 20 km race and 9th in the 50 km race and then 30th in the 1976 Olympics over 20k in Montreal - still competitive but, not the fantastic winner of the 1960’s.
I will remember Paul Nihill as a nice fellow with a strong will as an athlete and someone to be admired.
Dominic Ogbechie still, a junior Under 20 athlete on the track & field, is among the best 10 high jumpers, including seniors, in the UK, according to Athletics Weekly’s 2020 rankings. His best competition height of 2.17 was the 7th best by a British athlete this year. Dominic jumped this height when he won an indoor international event back on February 2nd in Reykjavik. Marius Guei, his coach, has hopes for his future success too.
Even though classified as 'unofficial racing', Fireworks night drew out a bunch of Highgate Harriers to the evening meeting in the Finsbury Park series, on the 5th of November. In the 3000m Ross Doran, an Under 17, was 2nd in 9:46.8 in a personal best time. Ed Brown an under 17 was 3rd in the same race in 9:49.8, and 4th was Luca Spaccatrosi, an Under 15, in 10:03.2. Other Highgate runners were Roger Wilcox (U17) 10:32.7, Thomas Chadwick (U15), 10:41.6 and Josh Groves (U17) 10:53.5.
That was Ben Pochee's description of the Highgate Harriers running in the muddy cross country race at the Merchant Taylors’ School course at Northwood on Saturday 31 October. A total of 238 finished the Senior & Under 20 race, which was won by Luke Prior of Aldershot in 25:28. Two Highgate runners stood out: Alex Lepretre who was second overall in 25:31 and Hannah Viner who won the women’s race in 28:59 (and placed 26th overall).
The other Highgate Harrier men, who did not want to be starved of competition for the second lockdown, were: 18th overall, Ash Chambers 28:09; 21, Toby Austin 28:35; 23, Dave Shepherd 28:51; 31, Lewis Greaves 29:18; 41, Monte Watson 30:01; 46 Peter Hawkings 30:18; 49 Danny Issacs 30:29; 62, Adam Lennox 31:41; 81, Joseph Lowe 32:44; 125, Phillip Hyatt 35:44; 135, David Sutherland 36:15; 170, Mark Watson 39:28 and 183, Martin Bright 40:54. For the women, Emily Young had a strong race to finished 12th in 33:35, just ahead of Emma Burgess (13th, 33:40). Kani Hinshelwood finished 16th in 34:01 and Natasha Cendrowicz, completed the quintet in 45th (40:10).
The thoughts of everyone at Highgate Harriers are with the family, friends and club mates of Chris Smith of Thames Valley Harriers who has tragically died aged 43 whilst out running in the Perthshire hills.
Alastair Aitken pays tribute -
Scotsman, Chris Smith (43), a long time member of local club Thames Valley Harriers, who represented GB in international mountain running, was tragically found dead on Thursday 29 October, having gone out for a run in the Perthshire hills on Tuesday 27th. A multiple London Cross Country Champion at Parliament Hill, and Middlesex Cross Country Champion in 2013, Chris was a really kind and charming man who was very popular in the North West London area. I remember how he told me at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships course at Loughborough in 2018 how pleased and amazed he was to be in the winning senior team for Middlesex.
Chris (born 3/3/77) was originally from Aberdeen, before moving down to London and working in the Civil service. A very likeable, cheerful character, with a good sense of humour and a charming disposition, Chris joined Thames Valley Harriers and ran for them consistently from 2011. He was also a member of the BMC from 2003 to 2008 and often trained with Frank Horwill’s group, as well as receiving good advice from Phil O'Dell. Eventually using his own experience he blossomed as a cross-country and mountain runner.
In the early days whilst working in the city he ran 1:57.00/3:54.9 800/1500 and went on to compete in the British League for TVH. His best times 5000/10,000/3000 steeplechase-14:45.90/30:47.21/9:25.37 and he ran a marathon in 2010 in 2:29.56 After winning a Metropolitan League race out of 277 seniors, at Perivale, on the 12th of February 2011 he said to me “This year after the threat of redundancy in the Civil Service passed, the training I have done at lunch times with the Frank Horwill group has been beneficial”
He loved his cross-country races and won the London Championships 4 times over Hampstead Heath and was placed several times and, even last year was 2nd, and he also won the Middlesex senior in 2013. He led all the way in that, until the final sprint, while in the Middlesex of 2018 where he finished 2nd he said afterwards “ I am looking forward to the National at Parliament Hill and running the Ben Nevis and Snowden Mountain races” So you can see where his biggest interests were from that comment alone.
He has finished 2nd in the British Mountain Running Championships and was a European team medalist in that discipline when running for GB. He was very pleased and counted one of his best achievements ever as when he was in the winning Middlesex team in the muddy, CAU Inter-Counties cross country at Loughborough in 2018 “ I had to wait till I was 40 for that” he said ruefully.
He will be sadly missed by his family and everyone who knew him.
We are suspending club training sessions from this Thursday until such a time as Government and England Athletics guidance allows us to return, good news is that the hard work the club did in getting the necessary procedures in place will allow us to return to training immediately we are given the go ahead. City of London will be closing the track after the final public session on Wednesday, reopening when guidance allows.
England Athletics issued the follow statement today:
We have today joined together with British Cycling and British Triathlon to ask Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to permit certain sports activities to continue during the new lockdown period starting on Thursday [5 November]. Specific to athletics and running, this is namely small outdoor groups and club-led activity, which have been taking place successfully since June, and coaching sessions for young and disabled people.
Your Committee will continue to work in the best interests of the membership and will keep you informed of any updates through the weekly club email (including a potential exciting alternative to the annual Boxing Day Run, watch this space!).
Highgate Harriers Committee.
On October 8th, George Gandy, the international coach, died in hospital aged 80. Anyone who is or was involved with high-level athletics will remember him as, countless Loughborough University students would testify, like Jack Buckner, Seb Coe, Tim Hutchings and Dave Moorcroft. I can remember in the 1970's and 1980's the Hyde Park Road Relays, the un-official European Colleges Championships, when George Gandy, the Manager of the Loughborough team, came down to encourage Loughborough to several victories. We talked over a few drinks each time and I found him a modest, amusing and friendly character, who will be missed by so many including quite a few Highgate Harriers who have studied at and competed for Loughborough.
LOW HITS A HIGH NOTE
Roger Low of Highgate Harriers at 76 ran through the wind and rain in quite cold conditions at times on the London streets and pathways and through the parks to record a time of 5:06:00 in the virtual London Marathon (4 October). That may not sound remarkable except that he has run every single London Marathon which now counts as 40 consecutive London's.
Roger was the fourth fastest 'Ever Present' runner this year. He has run well over a 100 marathons but it is the London record that gives him a unique distinction. Living in the Camden area it was Highgate Harriers that he joined. Roger's fastest London marathon time as young man was 2:33.47 in 1983 but to do all 40 races is really good. I did the first 19 before a motor accident ruled me out, but I more than doubt I could have ever achieved such a feat as Roger's.
The fastest runner of the 'Ever Presents' once again was young 61-year old, Chris Finill of Harrow A.C. who did 3:13.0. Chris is the Middlesex over-60 Cross Country Champion and has also run right across America 'coast to coast.' On Sunday there were other Highgate runners running their separate London marathons. They were Ross Cattell (M 60-64) 3:56.00; Pat Davis (45-49) 3:05.2; Alan Gold (70-74) 5:16.47; Damian Lane (50-54) 3:28.47; George Leontiev (UKR) 4:9.38; and James Thompson (55-59) 3:49.33
Roger Low adds:
“I completed my 40th London Marathon, accompanied by my son, Niels Bryan-Low. Time 5:06. At the halfway point, Niels stopped to help a girl who had fallen off her horse. He's not certain whether the girl or the horse was more frightened.
The 9 other "Everpresents" also completed their races.
Another Harrier who ran the race is Alan Gold, after a nearly 20-year hiatus.
I'm not certain if Ross Cattell is a member, or not, but he also completed the race, losing his phone, in the process. Best regards and stay well.”
In the first team competition since the National Cross Country back in February at The Hercules Wimbledon Invitational 5km Mob Match (Saturday 17th Oct), Highgate Harriers Senior Men picked up from exactly where they left off - as undisputed top dogs in London distance running. The ten men of Highgate proving far faster than the competition from south of the river.
The fixture pitted the majority of the teams that make up Surrey XC League Division 1 against Highgate, Serpentine and Victoria Park Harriers in an 11 team mob match. This novel format, designed by Highgate stalwart Ben Noad, saw athletes running in waved starts. Each club had one runner per wave and each wave started exactly 60 seconds after the wave which preceded it. Clubs were requested to seed their runners; with their fastest in wave one, second fastest in wave two, and so on, so as reduce the potential for overtaking on the course. The team competition was calculated on the basis of cumulative time across each club's ten athletes.
Over the challenging course, which saw runners skirt the famous All England Lawn Tennis club before taking on a sizeable hill, Highgate's men showed their class, running out clear victors.
Finishing with three men inside the fastest five times of the day (Roger Poolman, 2nd in 14:50, Alex Leprêtre 3rd in 14:54 and debutant Ash Harrell 5th in 14:57), recording a cumulative time for the 50km of 2:34:48 (averaging 15:28 per man) Highgate put over 4 minutes into second placed Herne Hill Harriers. Highgate men won 7 of the 10 waves outright.
Former British 5km record holder Nick Goolab of Belgrave Harriers ran the fastest wave of the day, winning wave 1 in 14:34.
Full results can be found here
Whilst the Highgate results were:
2. Roger Poolman 14:50
3. Alex Leprêtre 14:54
5. Ash Harrell 14:57 (team debut)
11. Alex Crossland 15:11
14. Harry Wakefield 15:16 (team debut)
23. Robert Wilson 15:36
23. Robel Bahelbi 15:36
29. Sean Renfer 15:47
48. Danny Brewer 16:10
58. Lewis Greaves 16:31 (team debut)
We charged down to Wimbledon with bananas and energy and smashed the Wimbledon 5k road race. First 'official' race back since Covid and it was a beauty!
We went in waves, and each member of the team went off seperately one minute apart, round the track, out the gates and straight up a big hill which none of us were really expecting (always check the course!). It was also nice to be able to cheer everyone else on as they were coming down the home straight ready to do the final lap of honor before finishing (as we were a minute apart).
Overall, I think we came fifth (?) with some great times: Emma Burgess (19:14), Lisa Wenninger (19:17), Me (Kani Hinshelwood) 19:32, Catherine Airey (20:05), Sarah Dewhirst (20:59), Jo Gardner (21:47)
Very much looking forward to the Chelmsford XC next week!
If you are missing the mud and glory of the met league, take a look at ATW cross country events which are scheduled to run:
Round 1 is on the 31st of October, and location is: Merchant Taylors’ School, Sandy Lodge, Northwood, HA6 2HT
Individual prizes for the first three male and female in each age category.
Team prize for the winning club of each category, and a mob score across all categories.
Teams to consist of first three in U11, U13, U15, U17 & U20 Age groups.
Teams to consist of first five in Senior Age group Individuals can still count for the overall series if they only complete one or two races, but will receive a default score equal to last place in the race they do not complete.
There are no finishers medals.
There are no individual prizes for each round.
All prizes will be distributed after the final event, there will be no prize-givings at any of the events.
There will be full results on the chip timing website both overall and by category.
We are now full swing back into our sessions on Tuesday and Thursdays, and it has been wonderful to be back.
For participation in our Tuesday and Thursday sessions, don’t forget that you must book onto your session through webcollect (and make sure you log in to YOUR account rather than booking a new member slot – we only have 3 per week, so you will be taking other people’s spots if you do this!)
I have developed a training plan up until March which I will be publishing onto this website. Sessions for the B group are intervals which around 5k TOTAL in length. Intervals vary between 200m and 1200m.
We usually meet at 7pm at the track and start running at 7:15 (so make sure you are warmed up by 7:15).
Thursday sessions begin this week (15th of October -> meet at track at 7pm)
Races are far and few between at the moment, but if you would like to get speedy updates on those, please use the contact us to join the whatsapp groups.
We have a weekly newsletter which is open to everyone, send us an email and we can add you to the mailchimp.
For any queries, feel free to email: email@example.com
Finlay Sleeman, an under 17 runner, ran a personal best 800m time on the Harrow track on 24 September in an evening that saw 12 800m and 12 1500 m races. His time was 2:03.13 in 4th place in his 800 race, which took 3 seconds off his previous PB set at Harrow a month ago.
There were other good times by the Highgate young men. Roger Wilcox did a 4:59.88 1500m. Personal best times by other under 17 runners over 1500m included: Eddie Brown 4:31.23, Ross Doran 4:32.11 and Joe Collinge 4:23.26. Under 15 runner Luca Spaccatrosi also ran a PB with a time of 4:31.67.
HIGHGATE KEEPING SHARP WITHOUT STRICT COMPETITION
Besides the Highgate Strava racing leader board showing Alex Holley ahead again, with 162k for the week, with Sean Renfer next, with 145.5k, there has been some strong individual running in the 'Strava run segment' round the lower parts of Parliament Hill Fields. The course is a short Lido Lap of 1.43k.
The fastest runners so far over this course are: the good 3k/5k runner Roger Poolman at the front of the overall leader board with 3:06k/m pace in a time of 4min 27seconds; 2nd Alex Lepretre 3:11/km pace for a time of 4.34; and 3rd Mark Innocenti, 3:12/km pace in a time of 4:34; 4th, and the leading women, is Rebecca Johnson 3:14/km 4:38; 5th Rich Bayliss 3:15/km 4:39 and 6th Ben Wood 3:15/km 4.39. The next fastest were Russ Ashford, 4:42; Morgan Mitchell 4:42; Danny Russell 4:45 and Brahma Pochee 4:45.
It is noted that the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th fastest women are all 'class' runners in the Met League races, namely: Molly Renfer 5:02; Naomi Taschimowitz, 5:07; Ashley Scott Wilson, 5.26; and Emma Burgess 5:57. So far 258 people have attempted to run this special lap.
MET LEAGUE OUT OF THE WINDOW FOR 20/21 SEASON
Highgate Harriers’ most successful winter cross country fixture, over quite a few years now, is and was, the Metropolitan Cross Country League. However, the League Administrator Janice Bowman has sadly indicated that the format of the races and set up cannot meet the latest Covid guidelines, so the events for the League are cancelled for the 2020/21 season.
Niki Faulkner came 4th of nine in Race 5 of the 1500m at the Hercules Wimbledon Meeting on the evening of Wednesday 23 September. His time was 3:56.33.
Russell Ashford, another Highgate Harrier, was also in action, running a personal best time of 9:42:83 for 3000m in Race 2 of this event. His previous best from 2018 was 9:46.58.
Micheal Dan, showed he is coming back to form, finishing in 9th in Race 3 with a time of 9:29.97. Alex Crossland, coached by Highgate’s 'star' veteran runner Ben Noad, ran a swift 8:38:40 for 3000m in race 7.
HOLLEY GREETS THE START OF AUTUMN
Out of the 227 active Strava Highgate Harriers running round London, Alex Holley, who has been at the top of the leader board before, was at the top again for the penultimate week of September. He clocked up 162.5k in a total time of 13:02.13.
Second was the expert Strava runner Sean Renfer with 148.5 km and third was Alex Lepretre, currently the best Highgate cross country runner, with 122km. Last year in San Sebastian, Holley ran his fastest marathon of 2:41.06 in November.
27-Sep-2020 Alastair Aitken
With so many events being called off, it was good to see there was a track event at Parliament Hill on the evening of Wednesday 9 September. It was the first “Highgate Harriers Middle Distance Open Meet”.
Highgate Harriers were prominent in the races. Highgate's fastest 3000m was by Roger Poolman in the final race of the night, which he won in 8:18.9. Sean Renfer, another good senior, was 2nd in 8:56.1 in the fourth 3000m race.
Edmund Brown won of the third 1500m race in a PB of 4:34.4, 2nd was Ross Doran 4:35.3 and 3rd Jack Bailey 4:36.5. That trio were all from Highgate Harriers. The fastest 1500m of the day was by Luca Minale of Victoria Park Harriers who ran a PB of 4:03.1 to win race 4.
Highgate winners included Nick Hind in the first the 3000m race in 10:40.9, and Daniel Brewer in the third 3000m race in 9:11.8. Race 2 of the 1500m was won in a PB by Highgate’s Patrick Jarvis in 4:46.9. It was worth noting that 57 year-old Alex Davidson ran the 3000m in 10:03.5.
NIKI FAULKNER FLYING AGAIN
On Saturday 6 September, Niki Faulkner of Highgate Harriers, a student at Imperial College London, was out running a fast 800m at Lee Valley in the LICC meeting. He finished 5th in his race in 1:57:25. His fastest ever was last year when he did 1:54:25. It is always a good club standard to break the 2-minute barrier!
At the same meeting, that celebrated over 70 field event exponent, Anthony Richards was the 2nd over 70 in the discus with 36.69.
13-Sep-2020 Alastair Aitken
Under 23 runner and student, Terry Fawden of Highgate Harriers, has started his steeplechase season in good form. He ran his second fastest time of 9:28.81 when he finished 3rd of eight runners in the BMC Gold Standard meet at Lee Valley on Saturday 29 August.
REBECCA A GOLD STANDARD HIGHGATE RUNNER
On Tuesday 25 August, Rebecca Johnson, running in inclement weather at Stretford, came 2nd in the BMC Gold Standard 3000m in 9:39.65. The winner was international track and cross country runner Jessica Judd in 8:57.60.
At the same meeting, Highgate's Loughborough student, Terry Fawden, came 5th in one of the 3000m races in 8:37.81, just off his personal best time of 8:37.58.
SHARP RUNNING BY HIGHGATE HARRIERS
Despite most athletics events being cancelled on the road and country for the rest of this year, one hopes cross country and road racing will be looked on more favourably by the ‘Powers that Be’.
The enthusiasm of runners on the track was evident at Wimbledon on Wednesday 26 August with eight successful 3000m races.
Highgate seniors were well represented. In the toughest and highest standard race (Race 8), Alex Lepretre ran the 3000m in 8:18.9 for 3rd place, not far behind the winner Kieran Reilly of Tonbridge, who did 8:17.3. Highgate's Alex Crossland was 5th in 8:21.2.
In Race 7, Charlie Haywood ran 8:31.8. In Race 6, Robert Wilson came 2nd in 8:38.5 behind TVH runner Michael Cameron, who won in 8:35.4. Ten ran in that race.
02-Sep-2020 Alastair Aitken
Ben Pochee, the great Highgate Harriers motivator for the last 25 years or more, enthuses everyone he comes into contact with an air of genuine confidence that is hard to match these days at club or national level. He will be 50 on Wednesday 2 September 2020.
In his time so far with the club, he was a junior international runner and later, as an over 40, Southern Veterans Cross Country Champion, before a set of horrendous athletic injuries stopped any future athletic aspirations.
Nonetheless, he has been instrumental in advising firms with coaching advice and, of course, he founded the first Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PBs that has become an important event. He is a coach, organiser of athletic programmes for large firms and next year on 5 June will be the Olympic 10,000m trials and European Cup, held at the home of Ben's club at the Parliament Hill track.
Ben's father, Ahmed, was a member of Highgate Harriers and his half-brother, Brahma, is a coach and runner for the club now. Ben was particularly pleased when the Highgate Harriers 12-man senior team, that he managed, won the National 12-Stage Road Relay at Sutton Coldfield in 2016, the first time Highgate have done that for over 100 years!
Charles Allen, a charming man, who was a longstanding official for Highgate Harriers for many years, sadly died at the age of 80 in England on 16 August. He was born in India, where his parents lived for a long time, in 1940. What some people would not realise was that Charles became a celebrated and popular author, freelance writer and a noted historian.
The England Athletics deadline for nominations for the 2020 Regional Volunteer Awards closes on 31 August. Last year, Marius Guei, who came from a good line of Highgate sprinters dating back to Simeon Williamson, the AAA's 100m champion, was honoured with the award of 2019 London Coach of the Year.
Marius has infectious enthusiasm, which his athletes at Highgate Harriers have witnessed, including Dominic Ogbechie, a British record holder with Highgate.
23-Aug-2020 Alastair Aitken
We are very pleased to announce that Highgate Harriers has been granted full charitable status. Particular thanks go to Sean Renfer for his time and expertise on achieving this and also to Ollie Kean and Joseph Lowe, our Treasurer, as they have been consistently helping to move the project along.
There is one final step in the process. At the last AGM, members approved amendments to the Club Constitution to support the application to the Charities Commission. During the application process, the Charities Commission required some further changes. These need to be formally ratified by the club.
We are proposing to hold an online EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) with the constitution amendments being the single agenda item. If any club member would like to be part of this process, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate will be able to provide you with the meeting invite and more details. Being recognised as a charity brings many benefits to the club - mainly financial but also our status will widen the opportunities the club can pursue, particularly when applying for grants. Good to feel that something has come out of lockdown!
Secretary, Highgate Harriers
Following guidance from the UK Government and England Athletics, there are no Highgate Harrier sessions for young athletes and no coach-led session for seniors until further notice.
Please see the latest England Athletics update.
Our constitution requires that we hold an AGM by the end of April, but due to the current exceptional circumstances, your club committee has taken the decision to postpone the AGM until the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
Once a new date for the AGM has been set, we will make our members aware. In the meantime, the committee will make club decisions by Zoom meetings and email.
Club members will be informed of any updates via the weekly newsletter. We will also use the newsletter to communicate any cancellation of events, as and when new decisions are made.
Please email us to be added to the club's weekly newlsetter.
HOLLEY STILL PROLIFIC STRAVA RACER
Last week's Strava Leader Board (week commencing Monday 18 May) was headed by Alex Holley with 155.4km (12:47.40 of running time/2,951m elevation). Alex ran in the Crouch End, Highgate and Tufnell Park areas, as well as in the City and Kensington.
One of Highgate's A' road team racers, Sean Renfer, did 148km for second place and Luke McManus, who did 138.5km, was third. Highgate's Strava virtual ‘racing’ group now has 213 members.
TERRY COMES UP TRUMPS
Terry Fawden, 21 years old, of Highgate Harriers was the fastest in the Virtual 5k Strava Race with a time of 15:31 in the weekend (25/26 April). The ‘Mob Match’ was against Thames Hare and Hounds club, who won the match but Fawden was fastest overall.
With much sadness, we hear that John Bryant, a former second claim member of Highgate Harriers, died recently. A very kindly and friendly man, John had been editor of national papers, author of athletics books, and had won the London 5,000m Championships at one time. He also ran a quick marathon (of 2:21) in the London before he had a serous leg injury.
AN INTERESTING CHALLENGE
Highgate Harrier, Ben Noad, who ran for Great Britain in the World Cross Country Championships in 2007 and who has been a force in all Highgate's winning Metropolitan League teams, has had a challenge thrown down to him by his great friend, Ben Pochee. That is, in 2021, to try and break Ben’s Highgate Harriers club 10,000m over 45 record of 31:55.
Pochee thinks he can do it. It is interesting to note that on the Strava Virtual running site, Ben Noad has been running a lot recently. By 18 May, he had already run 119.9 miles for the month in a total moving time of 14:48:57. Ben has routes he does as the morning, afternoon and evening runs.
Ben who coaches three athletes, two being Highgate Harriers, has sometimes been seen running his Strava runs around Ladywell, Crofton Park and Brockley.
26-May-2020 Alastair Aitken
Highgate’s Gareth Creagh was the fastest runner of 96 that entered the Second Sunday in the Month Virtual 5-mile Road Race, organised by Thames Hare and Hounds and held between 10 and 13 April.
Athletes individually chose their 5-mile running routes. Gareth, a V40 athlete, ran 27:45 for his course with no other Highgate runners competing. Ex-Highgate Harrier, Andrew Aitken (42), ran 30:46 and was the 8th fastest finisher.
Gareth Creagh ran in the Highgate team that came 12th in the Virtual National road relay with a time of 16:13 for his 5k stretch. The fastest Highgate runner in this event was Alex Lepretre who ran a swift 14:34 and was the 34th fastest out of the 2,457 that ran in the men’s 12-stage event.
16-Apr-2020 Alastair Aitken
Highgate Harriers' men were 12th in the 12-Stage and the women 8th in the 6-Stage in the Virtual National Road Relay Championships, held around the time the actual National Road Relays would have happened had they not been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The hope was to raise £5,000 for the National Health Service and by 11 April, £8,210 had been raised.
The main objective of the virtual competition was to give the distance runners of the UK something to aim for despite the lockdown. Each runner would run alone over a local 5km course while adhering to social distancing guidelines with a target of doing the fastest time they could muster. Individual efforts were then fed into a computer to give a full club team result.
The overall response was fantastic all round. For the women's 6-stage relay, Highgate placed 8th in 1:49.56, and the winners Herne Hill Harriers did 1:43.20. Regarding the men, they were 13th of 130 teams that completed. Highgate's time was 3:06.37 and the winning team was from Leeds City AC finished in 2:57.08.
Highgate's women’s team, in order of the fastest, comprised: Rebecca Johnson; Hannah Viner; Yasmin Goater; Emma MacAlister Hall; Emma Butcher; and Kari Hinshelwood. The men’s team, in order of fastest times, comprised: Alex Lepretre; Alex Crossland; Roger Poolman; Charlie Haywood; Shaun Dixon; Rob Wilson; Niki Faulkner; Alex Brampton; James Ross; Ash Chambers; Gareth Creagh; and Andre Chau.
13-Apr-2020 Alastair Aitken
Roger Low, Highgate's amazing marathon man, will have to wait until 4 October to run the famous event again.
The date of the marathon has changed from the 26 April to 4 October due to the virus rampaging around the world. That fact is not relished by Roger, who now has to go on running regularly at 77, all through the summer.
He still intends being on the start line in October. Roger ran 2:47:53 when he was 37 in the first London in 1981 and has run the race every year since. Only one of ten runners who has done every single London ran faster than Roger in 2019. Roger ran 4:53.58. The runner to beat him was the exceptional 61-year old, Chris Finill, the Middlesex V60 cross country champion from Harrow AC, with a time of 2:59.4. Finill is quite famous for running right across America from coast to coast.
05-Apr-2020 Alastair Aitken