Essex Half Marathon – Pleshey
Gold for ladies
Colchester Ladies swept to team gold at the Essex half Marathon Championships led by up and coming star Briony Downes 4th, Ellie Mayne 7th and Annette Oakman 13th.
Allen Smalls (17th) V40 gold – 1:18:06
Mark Harrod (18th) V40 silver – 1:18:10
Colin Ridley (20th) V50 silver – 1:18:18
Kenny Walsh (298th) V70 bronze – 1:58:37
Rewind to the Pleshey half marathon 2014 and the results were a defining point for a number of Harriers athletes; Harrod (PB), Manby (PB), Rodgers (PB), Smith (PB), James (PB). Clearly a fast course, but what did 2015 hold in store. Arriving early in autumn sunshine, the weather got a big tick in the box; cool and fairly still with conditions dry underfoot. The green vests assembled, queued and discussed their hopes, playing down the demands and predictions of respective coaches. If you had remembered to enter, or been able to train, the day offered great potential.
Pleshey was probably the best Essex Road Race in 2014. A figure of 8 course snakes through High Easter and Bishops Cross, with gentle, long climbs and downhill. For Harriers, out of the main medals, Carwyn Jones was first home, nursing his achilles, in 10th followed by Allen Smalls, 17th and gold medallist in the V40. He brought home a cluster of Harriers; Mark Harrod (18th) with another terrific PB and V40 silver medallist, Colin Ridley, silver V50, (20th) and a post-honeymoon, tired, Chris Sellens in (25th).
In terms of an Essex Men’s team medal, the men were squeezed out into 4th spot by a solitary point. Best run of the day went to Paul Rodgers, hitting his target in a great time of 1.21:04 for 28th, knocking 3 minutes 20 seconds off of his PB, and justifying his recent promotion. Coach Pete West looked pleased at Rodgers’ performance.
A gap to 41st for Martyn Clarke in 1.26:14 (PB) and 4th V50, then Chris Manby (45th) and Dave Wright (47th) soon after and both sub-1.27. Simon Taylor ran a great race too for his PB to finish 56th in 1.28:44. In 76th Simon Smith is finding form again, and remained the fastest half marathon finisher in the car home.
Our first Harrier lady and 4th lady overall was Briony Downes, cruelly overtaken by Smith seconds earlier, in 78th. Nevertheless, she led team mates Ellie Mayne and Annette Oakman (104th and 141st respectively) to gain Harriers the Essex Ladies gold team medal. Jerry Walder was home in 98th and Holly Walker-McClimens ran a great race and PB to finish 152nd and then, rolling back the years; Ken Walsh went sub-2hours to finish 298th and bronze V70. Completing the Harriers turn out, Fay Smalls ran her fastest half marathon for some time and was 324th.
Bristol Half Marathon
Sarah Stradling was 10th in the Bristol Half Marathon in 1-21 an excellent run by the Harriers Veteran.