Claybury (2022 season) – Race report by Alastair Aitken

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The 1st Met League of the 2022 season
15th of October 2022

WILLIAM BROOM (21) led Highgate Harriers to individual and team victory (12 in 42). Earlier this year Broom had been at Loughborough and coached by Sonia & Chris McGeorge but recently has been studying at Kings College in London.

The races at Claybury were in mild conditions except, for a few short showers on the undulating course. In the Men’s race early on the leaders together were Robel Bahelbi, Seyfu Jamaal, and Broom; Pete Chambers and Charlie Stockings were behind that. Going into the last lap and, down the hill Broom, who has run a 3:45.7 for 1500, was going was starting to go clear with Bahelbi running in a good second position, 30m ahead of Jamaal but later in the final lap Jamaal, caught him and relegated Bahelbi to third. Ethan Primett was the first Under 20 in sixth place, following his many wins in the younger age group Met League races. The oldest in the field was an M75 Roger Green, 345 of the 359 finishers in 34:36.

The Women’s race created a great battle. The Metropolitan League Champion of last season Beth Hawling and Liz Janes, the previous year’s overall Met League winner, who back in 2006 won the National cross country. After two of the 3 laps they were running side by side, till Hawling, who was 9th in the National and 3rd in the Southern, put the pressure on but Janes was only eight seconds adrift at the finish. Kelly Clarke was the first W40 in 8th place (32:06). The oldest was a W80 Angela Duncan who brought in the field of 153, over the tough course in 60.51. The League team race is wide open as Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets lead from London Heathside, who may be stronger next time and Serpentine RC.

The Under 17-15 men’s race was won by sixteen-year-old George Ward, who went into the lead on the second lap. He has run a 1: 55.68 for 800 and made the English Schools Final. An unusual talent, fairly fresh to the sport, was `12 year old. James Branch, who won the Under 13’s race. He went into the lead on the 2nd lap. He is a keen footballer having had trials with Arsenal & Tottenham and plays for Cheshunt Football club and is at Heathmore School.

Another unusual fact was that the Under 17&15 women’s race combined was won by a 14-year-old girl, Lyra Macdonald who went into the lead on the final lap with Abigail Reid the runner-up. The latter is coached by John Stowe who said “Abigail has many other things she has to do at Forest School that take much of her time up but she will improve. He also pointed out “Woodford Green & Essex Ladies will win the Howard Williams Junior Cup again I am sure”.

Best Regards Alastair