The independent London newspaper

Harriers lift national crown in beacon run

04 February, 2016

Published: 4 February, 2016

THE mud was sent soaring head high on Saturday as racers representing the Highgate Harriers helped fulfil a prophecy at Parliament Hill Fields.

Team manager Ben Pochee and cross-country captain Robert Wilson both predicted that the club “could win a big beacon race” this season – and that’s exactly what happened as their senior men’s team (below) were crowned South of England champions.

Shaun Dixon led the charge for Highgate as he finished the 15,000m course in 50 mins, 25 secs to take fifth place overall in a field of more than 1,030 starters.

Andy Maud was just 22 seconds behind as he ran well to take eighth place. Chris Rainsford hit home in 51:55 to take 17th place, while Ben Noad (53:12) and Robel Bahelbi (53:46) finished 30th and 42nd respectively.

Harrier heroine: Svenja Able, nine seconds off first place
Harrier heroine: Svenja Able, nine seconds off first place

Rob Wilson wrapped up the scoring as he clocked a time of 54:38 to finish 60th.

Their combined efforts were enough to see Highgate capture the South of England Championships Team Award – the second time that Dixon and Noad have won the prestigious event following the club’s success back in 2012.

In the women’s senior race, Svenja Able was Highgate’s heroine of the day as she put in one of her best displays.

Down, but not out: Highgate’s Emma Burgess
Down, but not out: Highgate’s Emma Burgess

Out of a field of more than 500 runners, she raced around 8,000m course in 30:43 to take second place, finishing just nine seconds behind champion Naomi Taschimowitz of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers.

Overall the Highgate Harriers senior women finished fifth out of 53 clubs.

Among the Camden club’s other stand-out performers were Hannah Viner and Georgia Fear.

Hannah finished in fifth place out of 85 runners in the Under-20s Women’s race, while Georgia also ran well to take 16th place.


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