Essex 5 Miles Championships
Colchester Harriers always target the Essex Road Championship races, and they went to the 5 mile event held at Wix with strength in depth in both the men’s and women’s categories, with strong hopes of individual and team medals.
The conditions were very good for running along the quiet, slightly undulating course, and some excellent performances were achieved.
Adrian Mussett continues to defy the aging process, and even though he is categorised as a Veteran, he broke the course record with a time of 25.26, and puts him top of the V40 rankings for this year. He was well clear, running on his own for most of the race, and had a lead of 45 seconds at the finish.
Sarah Stradling meanwhile was having a much tougher time of it in the women’s race. She was suffering with some tightness in her leg for the first two miles and found herself in second behind Jo Coates, who is a Suffolk athlete. Sarah knew she was safe for winning the Essex Championships, but she was still determined to win overall. Picking up the pace at 3 miles she reeled in, and then passed her opponent in the last half mile, eventually having a 100m lead at the line. She was an impressive 23rd in the overall race.
Backing up Adrian for the Harriers team were number one and two in the current Grand Prix standings, Carwyn Jones and Chris Sellens, increasing their chances of taking the annual competition honours, with only one more race to go.
Chris finished in 4th with a time of 27.03, closely followed in 27.11 by Carwyn in 5th. This gave the men’s A team a score of 10, and took the gold medal easily.
The women’s A team also took gold, Sarah being joined by Eleanor Mayne in 7th with 32.52, and Andrea James with a PB 33.20 in 9th.
The gold medals kept on coming in the age-group categories too. Mussett and Stradling picked up the M40 and W35 honours to go with their overall golds. Debbie Cattermole took the W45 category finishing 12th woman overall in a time of 34.03. Colin Ridley had a tough battle to maintain his dominance of the Essex M50 category, but prevailed to take gold in a new PB of 27.44, which ranks him 5th in the country for his age-group.
More individual medals were won by Arthur Whiston taking silver in the M60 category with 32.36, with Jon Nears winning bronze in M40 in a time of 27.53, and Ken Walsh took bronze in the M70 age group, running 43.49.
Illustrating the complete dominance that Harriers had in the race, the women’s B team were good enough for silver, and the men’s B team missed silver by one point, having to settle for bronze. Unfortunately due to the results software not recognising B teams, these two sets of medals were presented to other teams after the race. The B team members were Rebecca Cooke 10th 33.44, Debbie Cattermole, and Amanda Henry 13th 34.11 for the women, and the men were Colin Ridley, Jon Nears, and Allen Smalls 15th 28.12.
Running their first 5 mile race, Ged McMillan 28.50, and Paul Rogers 29.11 went well under the bench mark time of 30 minutes, and were joined by Peter West 29.52 just managing to dip under again.
The Harriers continued to stream through the finish – Andy Raynor 31.11, Chris Manby 31.22, Simon Smith 33.21, Simon Morgan 34.30, Daniel Wilkinson 34.49, Barry Shaw 35.42, Anita Mussett 38.07, John Cooke 38.31, Fay Smalls 45.07 all enjoying a good local event.
Update 28th November
The Men’s B team were finally awarded Silver after further problems with the results software were sorted out. This is the first time Harriers have won gold and silver team medals with men and ladies in the same race a great achievement.
Running in the Army Marathon Championships incorporated in the Abingdon race, Daz Farrugia posted an impressive time of 2:47.06 to take 9 minutes from his PB, finishing 2nd in the championship and 11th overall.
European Cross Duathlon Championships
Paul Spowage made the long journey to Bilbao in Spain to represent GB in the off-road version of the European Duathlon Championships. In an event dominated by the Spanish, Spowage suffered with the heat, and mountainous course, to finish lower than he is used to, in 11th in his age group.