Harriers’ winning run in cross-country continues

Thursday, 24th February — By Steve Barnett

Highgate Harriers

Highgate Harriers’ senior men’s team have made it nine league titles in a row

IT’S nine titles in a row for long-distance runners representing Highgate Harriers’ senior men’s team as they once again dominated the Metropolitan Cross-Country League.

The fifth and final race of the season at Trent Park on Saturday was cancelled as storms swept across the UK. But Highgate had already done more than enough to defend their crown having won all four of the previous Division One meets.

And with such a run it’s highly probable that the senior men would in fact be celebrating 10 successive victories had the 2020/21 season not been cancelled due to the pandemic.

A combination of “new athletes and a strong rotation of scorers” was key to Highgate’s success as they went up against rival clubs from across Essex, Hertfordshire and Middlesex.

New recruit and experienced England international Jacob Allen celebrated individual wins in race two at Welwyn and race three at Uxbridge, while another new face, Seyd Taha Ghafari, along with teammates Robel Bahelbi and Alex Lepretre, all placed in the top three this season.

“This will go down as arguably our finest Met League season ever,” said Highgate senior men’s team captain Rob Wilson.

“At the very first race in Claybury, back in October, a mix of old hands and new recruits helped us seize top spot in Division One – and we haven’t looked back since.

“Most pleasing from a club perspective is the fact that we’ve won it with a host of new athletes and a strong rotation of scorers across the fixtures. It’s a combination that stands us in good stead to keep building year-on-year as a highly competitive unit.”

The success didn’t stop at the senior men’s Division One title, with Highgate also capturing the prestigious Howard Williams Trophy, which is presented to the club that accumulates the most combined points from their men’s and women’s senior races over the five Met League meets – or this season, four.

It was, however, neighbours London Heathside who were actually confirmed as the senior women’s champions. The Finsbury Park-based club were led to glory by Beth Hawling, who won all four races with a series of scintillating runs.

But Highgate will be more than happy with their haul, which also recently saw the senior men earn a silver medal at the South of England Cross-Country Championships.

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