28.Jan.12 Highgate Men win the Southern for first time in 14 years
The 2012 Saucony SEAA cross country championships saw a strong turnout at the notably hilly and tough going course at Stanmer Park, Brighton. The conditions were what you would expect in January cold windy but fortunately dry. The 2012 meeting drew spectators and athletes from all over the south of England with London teams travelling in force to the South Coast.
With all the races of a decent standard to watch and this more so noticeable in the senior age groups where in the men’s race there was a fantastic battle between Belgrave Harriers Phil Wicks and Wells City Ben Tickner, both sprinting for the line. Wicks had to settle for Silver on this occasion but the finish capped an end to a great race with plenty of tempo on the hard course. Enfield & Haringey’s Jon Pepper took the bronze and even though it was the same placing as 2011, the Bud Baldaro coached athlete was satisfied with his result. He said “I know it’s the same as last year, but the standard is much higher this year and I knew it would be harder on this course with all the hills so I’m happy with that!”.
The senior women’s race saw Havering Mayebrook Lauren Deadman take a well earned silver medal, she was closely followed by Moiré fellow Londoners: Sylvie Lloyd (Serpentine) in 4th, Leigh Lattimore (Harrow AC) 6th and Ruth Clifton (Thames Hare & hounds) in 7th.
The first race of the day was in fact the under 15 boys who raced over a 4500 meter course. It was a strong start for London’s athletes with Silver and bronze medals being picked up by Tom Holden (South London Harriers) and Petros Asqodom (Enfield & Haringey) respectively. Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers Robbie Lightowler was 6th with a total of 7 athletes in the top 20 finishers all representing the capital.
The under 13 girl’s race saw 9 London athletes finish inside the top 20 placing with Saskia Millard of Herne Hill Harriers taking the bronze medal in a time of 10 minutes 58 seconds. Niamh Browb of Reigate Priory was in 4th place and Sabrina Sinha (Cambridge Harriers) a respectable 5th.
The under 13 boys saw more London success with the title going to Canaan Solomon of Woodford Green with Essex Ladies who finished the 300 meter course in a time of 10 minutes 10 seconds. In 4th position and the next London athlete was Paul Burgess (Herne Hill Harriers).
The under 15 girls, who had a course distance of 4000 meters between them, their finish line got underway around midday. The final results showed that London’s athletes had 7 inside the top 20 with Windsor’s Georgia Tuckfield of Orion Harriers in 9th place and Woodfords Amelia Barrett in 10th the top finishes.
Shaftesbury Barnet's Michael Callegari was another Londoner on the rostrum in the under 17 men’s race. He took a bronze medal in a time of 20 minutes and 28 seconds over the 6000 meter course.
The first Londoner home in the under 17 women race was Grace Mullins (Nene Valley Harriers) who placed 14th in a time of 18 minutes 34 seconds. Sophie Connor (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) just missed out on a medal with 4th place to City of Portsmouth’s Jess Chen by a few seconds.
As in previous years the team competitions provided entertainment for onlookers with the team titles fiercely fought for, especially as London had 2 teams on the rostrum in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Aldershot took the women’s team title followed by Serpentine and Belgrave Harriers who picked up the silver and bronze respectively. Further London strength was evident with London Heathside in 6th, Ranelagh Harriers in 8th and Herne Hill Harriers’ in 9th.
Teams: 1 Aldershot 159; 2 Serpentine 203; 3 Belgrave H 239; 4 St. Albans 241; 5 Southampton 248; 6 London Heathside 252; 7 Winchester 268; 8 Ranelagh 291; 9 Herne Hill 301; 10 Reading 307.
Highgate Harriers had a superb Senior Men's Team victory and a fantastic celebration to match the performance, and who can blame them as the last time they took the title was back in 1997. The Parliament Hill based club had to beat the 2011 South of England Champions to take the 2012 team title. All six scorers finished within the first 42 places in the large field of 'around' 1000 plus.
As in the women’s competition, London features heavily on the leader board with Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers collecting the bronze behind the 2011 team champions Bedford & County, Wood Green 4th, Kent AC 5th, Herne Hill 6th and Newham & Essex Beagles in 7th. This capped off a great day’s competition for both the south of England and London.
Teams: 1 Highgate H 157; 2 Bedford &C 174; 3 Shaftesbury B 259; 4 Woodford GwEL 295; 5 Kent AC 333; 6 Herne Hill H 414; 7 Newham & Essex Beagles
Team positions and results from the meeting can be found here: results.
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