2020 Endurance Running Review by Richard Pickering

If we look at the end of 2019 as a starting point, we had some great success in Masters cross country.  In the South of England Masters in Oxford we were second M50 team and more locally in the Essex vets championships Allen Smalls won the V50 race with Colin Ridley finishing first V55 with Colchester Harriers winning overall team gold.  The women taking an excellent bronze medal.

In the Essex league we had the following individual results:

Milly Presland U17 3rd

Adrian Mussett V45 1st

Denise Morley V50 1st

Colin Ridley V55 1st

In the overall league we finished second women and equal third men.  And also second and third in the vets standings with the men taking it outright this time.

Ellisons Cross Country League:  Overall Winners in both junior and senior categories

Ramadan Osman won the Benfleet 15 in January and then our attention turned to the road both races and relays. 

Colchester hosted the Essex road relays in March which was not only Dave Wright’s last event to organise, done so with his usual tenacity and enthusiasm but also the last event before we were plunged into a year of lockdowns and cancelled events due to COVID 19. 

In the relays Colchester Harriers managed a haul of county medals which included:

Senior Men – Silver

Senior women – Silver

W40 – Gold

M40 – Gold

W50 – Gold

M50 – Gold

M60 – Gold

Meanwhile, on the track indoors Paul Mingay added a UK championship 3,000m title to his existing titles in the half and full marathon (the latter also being an ‘UK all time’ best) with Colin Ridley picking up bronze in the M55 event.

Then we went virtual and the British Masters relays ran over 5k virtually brought out a larger entry to the event than ever before. Making the Harriers results even more impressive:

V35 team finished 13th

V45 team 4th by a cruel single second with the B team in an impressive 26th.

V55 team 2nd in an awesome performance only to be pipped by Leicester Coritanians who have an ex-Olympian in their line up.

The women finished V35 31st, V45 19th and V55 15th.  More importantly we had more than 50 athletes take part in this event which shows the real depth of masters talent in the club.

In July we entered a virtual 12 and 6 stage competition organised for Essex clubs by Woodford Green’s Tom Beedell and Angus Holford.  We finished two men’s and women’s teams who were 5th and 10th out of 15 teams and 3rd and 6th out of 17 teams, once again showing the strength of depth we have at the club with the women doing particularly well.

Although track and road races were virtually non-existent during the year, a marathon did take place at Dorney Lake where Mark McKeown ran an impressive 2h 40m 51s PB.

And in an even longer event, Dean Williamson and Nate Filer produced excellent runs in the Medal chaser Essex 6 hour time trial where they finished first and second respectively with distances of 67k and 61k.

X country has not been able to take place in 2020 but Dave Wright has come good again and introduced (via Wales) the ‘in house’ virtual cross country competition which has kept people honest and interested. 

Finally the endurance committee undertook the job of re-organising the endurance groups to form four groups with coaches taking responsibility for their respective groups and this has worked really well with a more structured approach to training and greater communication across the groups.

Senior endurance is short of coaches and we are in the process of getting some new people trained when courses are back on line.  But considering how much of the race programme has been ravished by COVID, we have still had an excellent year with some great results.  And I’m very confident of much more to come in 2021.