Highgate Harriers Night of the PBs - SAVE THE DATE - Saturday 16th May 2015
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Club history was made by the men of the Gate in September as two teams qualified for the iconic National 6 Stage Road Relay Championships for the first time.

A remarkable four teams of six men put their bodies on the line at the Southern 6 Stage Relays in Aldershot, with the "A" and "B" teams finishing inside the top-20 and realising team manager (and "A" team member) Ben Pochee's "outlandishly opulent goal" of seeing two teams toeing the line at Sutton Park on 4th October.

A fitting parting gift (that isn't really a parting at all) for one of the driving forces behind the club's remarkable renaissance over the last couple of years as Ben now sets up home with his expectant wife, Amanda, in Cornwall for the next year.

Success at the Southerns is testament to the momentum that Ben has helped foster and his physical (and vocal) presence on Tuesday nights at the track will be missed - but, he assures us, he'll be just as much a part of everything as ever so expect emails and phone calls (once the dodgy BT connection is live) soon.

Good luck and best wishes in your Cornish adventure Mr & Mrs Pochee! 

Feedback to this and last month's newsletter - as well as news and contributions, especially from the sprinters out there - are most-welcome so please send any through to me (Chris) at

Chris Rainsford

The Highgate Harriers & City of London Corp Open Meeting took place on a balmy Wednesday evening at Parliament Hill last month, writes Alastair Aitken.

There was an all-time UK age group record in the U13 Shot as Sebastian Dickens of Essex Schools launched the shot out to 14.64m. The Geoff Capes-coached youngster bettered the previous best mark by 16cm to top the rankings.

Four Highgate Harriers went well inside 16 minutes over twelve and half laps of the track, with "Rocket" Robel Bahelbi taking the victory in the 5,000m in a new personal best of 15:05.32.

St Paul’s schoolboy, Jesse Hopkins, won the U11 600m in 2:07.7 (Jack Bailey finished 2nd in 2:07.8) and also took the honours in race two of the U11 75m.

There were numerous other Highgate winners on home-turf, including Clara Falconer in the U15 Shot, Karolina Bastien, who ran 12.96 secs in the U13 75m, and Lucas Porter, who added to his earlier Long Jump success with 11.67 secs in the U11 75m.

Clara Mee took the U11 Long Jump and Theo Machin Palley won the U11 600m in 1:56.43. There were second-place finishes for Lulu Szego (23.55m in the Discus) and Gabriel Springer, who ran 11.89 secs in the second 100m race despite incurring injury.

A V40 field event exponent trying his hand on the track was James Rossiter, who won race four of the 100m in 13.53 secs, whilst U17 Edward Daly won race three of the 100m in 11.74. U13 Ellie Gilmore was the first girl in the 1500m, running 5:27.02 for the distance.

Ryan McKinlay, running in a Spiderman outfit, won the "A" 1500m in 4:06.59 with no one too close to his web. Perhaps the most rewarding was seeing Martin Bright, a V45 runner who only started running two seasons ago, winning race two of the 1500m in 5:12.19, just a few days on from his exploits over 25 laps of the track at Trafford.

Fancy a new Highgate Harriers-branded hoodie? How about a tracksuit and beanie just in time for the cross country campaign? Maybe you'd like a mug for your favourite brew whilst you watch the latest episode of Eastenders?!

Jackets and keyrings are just some of the other official Highgate Harriers merchandise available so whatever your club merch requirements, head to the website ( for a full list of items and prices and details on how to order.

On a late summer morning twelve hardy Highgate Harriers, more renowned for their sporting exploits on land, took to the chilly Lido for the annual Hampstead Heath Duathlon, writes Jon Deane, Duathlon Team Manager.

In recent years the competition level in this event has really ramped up, with Swiss Cottage Swimming Club usually being the team to beat. Last year the Harriers finished second to Swiss Cottage, and this year we were looking to go one better.

As team manager with many years of experience, I didn't think the team stood much chance of medalling this year. We were missing key athletes like Danny Russell and Michael Dan, who were integral cogs in the team that finished second last year.

However, I hadn't reckoned on the swimming talent of our thoroughbred Irishman Fergal Smithwick, and Rob ‘The Dolphin’ Walker, who cruised to fourth and eighth-place respectively. Backed up by myself in ninth, we secured second spot for the second year in a row. Next year, with Danny ‘Banger’ Russell and Michael back in the team, we will take gold!

It was not only the men’s team who had cause to celebrate. Hannah Viner put in an impressive performance on her Duathlon debut, winning the ladies race emphatically. She led the Highgate mixed team home and was followed by Joseph Lowe in 42nd, Alexia Trafford, who finished 4th lady, and Chris Beecham in 48th. The team finished in tenth position overall. 

Other Highgate stalwarts to bring it home for the Gate included Tom Christopher (18th), Greg Fuzesi (26th) and Alex Edwards (56th).

Well done to all involved. See you next year!

Just four days after our Late-Season Open brought an end to the track and field season, attentions switched to the road as a host of young Highgate Harriers competed at the Middlesex Young Athlete Road Relays in Hayes, writes Graham Norris.

A very successful day saw the club represented across every age category and there were numerous team and individual podium positions, as well as a fourth-place finish in the U15 girls race.

Both the U13 girls and U17 girls were crowned Middlesex Road Relay Champions - Georgia Fear also claimed the fastest-lap honours - whilst the U17 men, led off by fastest-leg runner Terry Fawden, put on a solid silver medal-winning performance. In the U11s age group, which was not a relay but a 1500m race, Lucas Porter also won the bronze medal.

Full article (with pictures) also in Camden New Journal

Full results from a momentous day for the senior men of the Gate at the Southern 6 Stage Road Relays in Aldershot HERE but for a quick-fire account, see ten of the top things to take away below:
  1. "Rocket" Robel Bahelbi's stirring third-place finish on first leg
  2. Sprint-ace Jon Oviasu smashing sixty times his usual distance for the Hoops
  3. Sammy pulling on the vest - even after a false start to the day...
  4. The fifth-place "A" team finish - matching the effort from 2013
  5. Jonny (above) getting 'in the zone' before thrashing his way round the final leg
  6. Fergal Smithwick building on his 5,000m PB at the Late-Season Open
  7. Club President Henry Dodwell breezing round to support on his ElliptiGO
  8. Queen of the sausages, Ashley Scott... on the BBQ
  9. Luke McMullan stepping in following a lengthy injury-induced hiatus
  10. 19th-place for the "B" & two - yes, TWO - teams in the final for the first time
& the National 6 & 4 Stage Road Relays take place this weekend (4th October) at the iconic Sutton Park, Birmingham. Keep up-to-date with how the teams are getting on via our Twitter account: @HighgateHarrier. UTG!

In August, my ice skating partner, Jacob, and I competed in the Sheffield IJS, where we won and achieved the qualifying scores for the Performance Squad for Great Britain, writes Lilah Fear.

This means we will get to represent Great Britain in international competitions and have been selected to travel to Estonia later this month to compete in our first Junior Grand Prix competition.

                       PHOTO OF THE MONTH

Saying bon voyage - if only for the time being - this month was Highgate Harriers' self-styled Official Loud Shouty Person, Ben Pochee. Many thanks to Graham Norris and all involved for the fitting send-off.

Send your best "Highgaters in action" shots to for the next issue.

Trafford AC, together with the British Milers Club, put on their very own 25-lap festival at the renowned Stretford track early last month to great success for those of a black and white hooped persuasion, writes Chris Rainsford.

Following in the footsteps of our Highgate Harriers Night of the PBs event, kudos to event organiser, Steve Green, and his band of volunteers for putting on another day of quality track 10,000m racing opportunity at the inaugural BMC Trafford Track Festival.

Six 10,000m races in total saw the Gate represented in half of them as Ben and Brahma Pochee, Rob Wilson, Darryl Davison and Martin Bright put on a real show of PB-breaking prowess.

Ben and Rob kicked off Highgate interest in the "B" race, which was also the second race on the timetable. Experience and teamwork over twenty-five laps paid-off as they worked together to whittle away the group from eight down to five down to three with a kilometre to run.

Rob went on to smash his 10k best and dipped inside 32 minutes for the first time with a time of 31:39.17 It mightn't have been a personal best for Ben but, after a year of injuries and disruption, he showed there's life in the old dog yet and his 31:34.75 effort represented a real return to form.

Following the same racing pattern, Brahma and Darryl played the patient game and stuck to the pre-race plan to smash their personal bests to dramatic effect.

After sharing the pace for nine kilometres of the way, Brahma took off and ran the finest last 800m of a 10k race you're ever likely to see. Sitting in third and still 100m off the lead with two laps to go, Brahma got up on his toes, dropped a 2:57 last kilometre and hit the front coming into the final straight to snatch an impressive victory in 32:49.13.

Darryl too sped up and closed his race impressively, chopping a huge two minutes(!) from his previous best to finish fourth in 33:02.04.

Completing the quintet's efforts, and shouted on by his son and young Highgater, Felix, from the sidelines, Martin Bright made his 25-lap debut. Martin's time of 39:47.92 - just thirty seconds shy of his best time on the road - was one of seventy-seven personal bests on the day across the six races. 10,000m racing is dead, long live 10,000m racing!
We're just one week away from the first Met XC League race of the season at Claybury & the rest of the fixtures for the season have been officially confirmed - see below:

             2014-15 Fixtures

11 October - Claybury
8   November - Stevenage
20 December - Uxbridge
10 January - Horsenden Hill
7   February - Wormwood Scrubs

Get in touch with the new Men's XC Captain Rob Wilson or Women's Captain Katie Meredith for more details. & for more information on the league, see the Met League website HERE.
The date for the 2015 Highgate Harriers Night of the PBs has been set. Save the date - Saturday 16th May. More details on plans and preparations to follow over the coming months.


The next issue of The Gate is due out next month. Feedback and contributions to the newsletter are gratefully received so please send any through to Chris at

For the latest news and updates in the meantime, don't forget to check the Facebook age and follow the club on Twitter: @HighgateHarrier

                      UPCOMING FIXTURES

Always check with your team manager/coach before travelling

4      National 6 & 4 Stage Road Relays - Sutton Park, Birmingham
11    Met League XC (Match 1) - Claybury
25    Liddiard Trophy, including North of the Thames XC Champs - Kingsbury


1      ECCA National XC Relays - Berry Hill, Mansfield
8      Met League XC (Match 2) - Stevenage

15    London Cross Country Champs - Parliament Hill Fields
16    Brooks Brighton 10k
22    North London Cross Country Champs (m/w) - Alexandra Palace
22    NW London Young Athletes League (Match 2) - Alexandra Palace
29    Fraternity / Sorority Cup Cross Country (m/w) - Trent Park
29    NW London Young Athletes League (Match 3) - Trent Park
29    British Athletics Cross Challenge & Euro XC Trials - Sefton Park, Liverpool
Copyright © 2015 Highgate Harriers, All rights reserved.

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