Her­bert’s Hole ends in a thrilling dead heat

CROSS COUN­TRY

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tony Molesworth tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

IT hardly have been a more fit­ting re­sult when the 22nd Her­bert’s Hole ended in a dead heat in­volv­ing High­gate Har­rier Ryan McKin­lay.

In an in­cred­i­ble co­in­ci­dence, it was a High­gate Har­rier who 100 years ago won the Na­tional Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onship held over a sim­i­lar course, which this year’s Her­bert’s Hole, or­gan­ised by Chiltern Har­ri­ers AC, was held in com­mem­o­ra­tion of.

The 1914 event, held just months be­fore the out­break of the First World War, was won by 25-year-old steeplechaser Charlie Ruf­fell, and the Olympian went on to serve as a Sap­per in the Royal En­gi­neers.

This time, it was another steeplechaser from the same club who tri­umphed in Sun­day’s race in Che­sham, although he had to share his vic­tory.

In the most ex­cit­ing cli­max to the race in years, McKin­ley fought to the line with good friend Tom Beedell, a for­mer Chiltern Har­rier who now com­petes for Wood­ford Green & Es­sex. The pair fin­ished the ap­prox­i­mately 10.5km mul­titer­rain course in joint first in an im­pres­sive 36mins 24secs, but the his­toric re­sult almost did not hap­pen.

McKin­ley, a two-time Scot­tish steeple­chase cham­pion, only en­tered at the last minute, email­ing race di­rec­tor Tony Molesworth on the eve of the race to ask to take part, even though the en­try dead­line had passed.

McKin­ley wrote to Molesworth: “As you are aware, 100 years ago a High­gate Har­rier won here be­fore the out­break of the war, and as a mark of re­spect I would like to be given the op­por­tu­nity to run in this his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant race.”

McKin­ley was among 250 run­ners who set out from Lown­des Park in mild but over­cast con­di­tions, and McKin­ley and Beedell were fol­lowed home by Chiltern Har­ri­ers’ Ed­die O’Gor­man (Vet 40) in 38:15.

Philippa Keast took vic­tory in the ladies race in 45:04. She was fol­lowed by Ali Young (45:39) and San­dra Reynolds (46:43), both Vet 45s run­ning for the Chiltern club.

The home club took both the men’s and ladies team prizes, with the scor­ing mem­bers be­ing O’Gor­man, Alis­tair MelvilleSmith, Richard Quantrill, An­drew Wiseall, Young, Reynolds, El­lie Bates and Lean Ni Chiob­hain.

Photo by Mar­tyn Loach

IN­SEP­A­RA­BLE: Friends Tom Beedell and Ryan McKin­lay cross the line to­gether

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