An oustanding run by Adam Bowden was the highlight for Harrow Athletic Club in the English National cross-country relays at Mansfield on Saturday, writes Tony Bush.
The 26-year-old British steeplechase champion, who is now training for triathlon, placed a superb second out of 188 teams on the opening 5km leg of undulating parkland and woodland, clocking 14.55, just four seconds behind stage winner Steve Vernon.
His time held up as the third best of the day and was the first time Bowden has medalled in senior national cross-country or road relay events.
Richard Franzese took Harrow into the lead early on the second leg, going past Stockport and building a useful lead.
The Oxford University number one eventually dropped to third, but his reward was a fast time of 15.33, a massive 32 seconds quicker than last year.
Peter Norris found it tough going on leg three and dropped to ninth spot, with 16.25, just five seconds down on his best time set last year.
In the absence of British 1,500m number one Andy Baddeley, who has only just resumed training after the Beijing Olympics, veteran Julian Critchlow took the final stage, clocking 16.56 to bring Harrow home in 15th spot, the club's second best result in this prestigious national event.
Meanwhile, Sky Draper continued her good run of form, finishing sixth on the opening 2,000m stage in the U13 category, recording 7.32 - the seventh best time of the day. Good support from her sister Aisling, and Sophie Edwardson, helped Harrow to 29th spot.
The boys U13 team matched the girls, also placing 29th. Oliver Hurcom was 28th on the first leg with 7.30, Kai Hammond dropped to 43rd with 8.10 before Lewis Hawkins stormed through to 29th with a brisk 7.29.
Harrow continues its defence of the Chiltern League title at RAF Halton on Saturday.
Results (position, name, time): Senior Men A: 2 Adam Bowden (14.55), 3 Richard Franzese (15.33), 9 Peter Norris (16.25), 15 Julian Critchlow (16.56). Men B: 48 Damian Nevins (16.22), 44 Matt Carey (16.45), 88 Chad McLeod (20.48) 137 Tony Bush (29.58). Men C: 104 Mohammed Rahim (17.29).
Fastest laps: U17 Men: 65 Adam Gribben (12.48); U15 Boys: 35 Janakan Rajkumar (6.57) 60 Nick Davis (7.39); U13 Boys: 28 Oliver Hurcom (7.30), 43 Kai Hammond (8.10), 29 Lewis Hawkins (7.27); U13 Girls: 6 Sky Draper (7.32), 27 Aisling Draper (9.09), 29 Sophie Edwardson (8.41).