Harriers roll back the years

HIGHGATE Harriers’ men produced their best cross-country team result for 13 years at the South of England Cross-Country Championships on Saturday.

The Harriers took the strain of the nine-mile course across Parliament Hill and Hampstead Heath in their stride, finishing third from the 87 competing teams overall with three teams in the first 300 of the 850 runners and a total of 278 points.

The men’s A team achieved their best finish since 1997, led across the line by Murray Strain in 12th place in 50 minutes five seconds.

Following him were Henry Dodwell (25th in 51:59), Ben Pocahee (36th in 52:20), Glenn Saqui (49th in 52:59), Danny Russell (69th in 53:38) and Shaun Dixon (87th in 54:29).

The Harriers’ B team ended the race 16th overall with 862 points, which placed them ahead of the A teams from established clubs such as Bideford, Thames Valley Harriers and Hercules & Wimbledon AC.

The scoring six were Richard Scott (118th in 55:39), Chris Panayiotou (124th in 56:03), Peter Downie (135th in 56:30), Jon Deane (158th in 57:14) and Chris Beecham (178th in 57:56) and Alec Leslie (181st).

The men’s C team were 25th with 1403 points, led home by Maarten van der Hoeven in 58:15, and followed by Stephen Whiting (192nd in 58:25), Dan Higgins (220th in 59:21), Andrew Aitken (230th in 59:39), Richard Stewart (284th in 60:57) and Brahama Pochee (289th in 61:10).

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Harriers’ women were without their top two runners, with Becky Penty and Svenja Abel both absent, but still managed an impressive 11th-place finish from 62 teams.

Tessa Hill ran well to cross the line in 27th from the 381 finishers in 32:15, in a race won by Taunton AC’s Naomi Tashchminowitz in 29:47.

The women’s B team, with four to score, were 32nd. The scorers were Gaelle Lebray (157th in 37:57), Natasha Cendrowicz (162nd in 38:09), Alex Goodwin (202nd in 39:22) and Jenny Chewter (204th in 39:26).

Elsewhere, Chris Bailey won the old Deer Park Run on Sunday and Nick gold was third in the Finsbury Park five km race.