Highgate Harriers Mens Team
Published: 2 February, 2017
by STEVE BARNETT
THE cheers rang out aloud and far as Highgate Harriers recorded their best-ever showing at the Southern Cross-Country Championships on Saturday at a muddy Parliament Hill fields.
The historic feat, or in this case feet, saw Andy Maud (above) guide the Harriers to victory as they retained their prestigious senior men’s title, while Hannah Viner was in inspirational form as the senior women’s team were rewarded for their sterling efforts with a silver medal.
Competing over a gruelling 15,000-metre course, all eyes in the men’s event were on favourite Richard Goodman.
And after the first of three laps around Hampstead Heath, the Shaftesbury Barnet star was indeed in the lead – opening up a 50m advantage over the chasing pack.
Going into the final lap, however, Maud was hot on Goodman’s heels.
In a frantic and fantastic finish, Maud had reserved enough fuel in his tank for one final burst as he pulled away from Goodman and raced to victory.
In the end, he raced across the finish line in 48 minutes, 27 seconds to finish a full 15 seconds ahead of gallant runner-up Goodman.
Overall 1,068 athletes took part in the race, with the top six from each club scoring vital points.
Among Highgate’s heroes were Murray Strain, who finished seventh with a time of 49:58, Chris Rainsford, who took 10th spot in 50:08, Pete Chambers, who was 30th in 51:47, Robel Bahelbi, who was 34th in 52:15, and Danny Russell, who came home in 39th place in 52:44.
Their combined efforts, which saw all six finish inside the top 39 places, helped the Highgate men’s team see off competition from no fewer than 68 other clubs to strike gold with 121 points.
Smile! Hampstead Heath leisure and events manager Paul Maskell, Ashley Scott-Wilson, Molly Renfer, Hannah Viner, Emma Dixon and Bob Warnock, Heath superintendent
In the women’s event, which was run over 8,000 metres, much-fancied favourites Aldershot Farnham and District Athletics Club lived up to their pre-race expectations as they took first place out of 63 clubs.
But the Highgate women’s team proved yet again that they are a club that’s on the up as they finished second with 98 points.
In her first year as a senior, Hannah Viner was the club’s most improved runner as she whizzed around the course in 30 minutes, 33 seconds to take 12th place.
The other scorers were Emma Dixon, who finished 15th with a time of 30:40 – finishing just seven seconds ahead of club-mate Molly Renfer, who was 16th.
Ashley Scott was 55th in 33:20, Emma Burgess was 74th in 34:02, and Morven Lean took 168th place after completing the race in 37 minutes flat. Overall, there were 574 finishers on the day.