Record run day for Highgate’s champs
16 February, 2017 — By Steve Barnett
FRESH from their victorious efforts in the Southern Championships, runners from the Highgate Harriers returned to the top of the winners’ podium on Saturday when they recorded their biggest ever success in the history of the Metropolitan Cross-Country League.
Despite the bitter cold, the senior men’s team (pictured below) made it five wins from five races to capture the Division One title for a record fifth consecutive year.
Highgate’s senior women’s team was just as dominant as they also won the fifth and final meet of the season, which was held at Alexandra Palace, to retain their championship title.
With the top 12 runners across the line scoring in the men’s race, Highgate put in a heroic showing with all scoring runners in the top 60 places out of a field of 359 finishers.
Chris Rainsford led the team home as he completed the 8,000-metre course in 27 minutes, 18 seconds to finish fourth.
Just four seconds separated club-mates Danny Russell (27:43) and Robel Bahelbi (27:47) as they finished seventh and eighth respectively, while Terry Fawden finished in 15th place in 28:09.
Team captain Robert Wilson (17th in 28:12), Sean Renfer (23rd in 28:38), Fergal Smithwick (24th in 28:39), Laurent Liote (36th in 29:22), Darryl Davison (38th in 29:43) and Danny Brewer (40th in 29:46) also all raced well to finish the race in under 30 minutes.
Completing the scorers was Edward Hickman-Casey (30:02) in 45th place and Nick Gold (30:42) in 60th place.
Highgate celebrated a top-three finish in the women’s race, with all six of their scorers finishing in the top 14 places out of a field of 170 finishers.
Run over 6,000-metres, Molly Renfer took first place in 20:16, closely followed by Hannah Fear who finished second in 20:41. Emma Dixon completed the magnificent Harriers hat-trick by taking third place in 20:54.
There were also strong runs from Ashley Scott-Wilson, who finished in seventh place with a time of 21:48, Alex Gounelas, who took ninth place in 22:05, and Emma Burgess, who crossed the finish line in 14th position with a time of 22:49.