Essex Grand Prix Marathon

Shirley breaks Halstead marathon record as Harriers dominate Essex Marathon

Colchester Harriers distance squad rattled with medals after leaving the Essex marathon Championships over the very tough Halstead Course.

It was Essex Champions for Allen Smalls Senior and Veteran gold, Marie Shirley also senior and Veteran Gold, Steph Horner vet over 45 champion and Clive Thomas veteran over 50 gold medallist.

Smalls retained his title in style in 2:43 although finishing 3rd, the first two had no Essex Qualifications, so Smalls was crowned the king again. Smalls not only took the Senior and Veteran over 40 crowns he was part of the Harriers teams that took the silver medals thanks to great runs by Ged McMillan 7th in 2:47 and Sean Ketteridge 10th in 2:55 (although Ketteridge never trains on roads!). McMillan also took the individual bronze in the over 40 category.

Clive Thomas was the next Champion taking the over 50 crown in 2:59 in a top 15 placing, Thomas had trained to perfection for this race. The ladies saw a sensational run by the brave Marie Shirley who although struggling with severe back pain all week tore the field apart to break the course record and clock 3:08 to become the Essex Champion in the Senior and Veteran stakes. Only two weeks previous Shirley had clocked 3:06 at the London Marathon. It was actually a hat trick of gold medals for Shirley who was joined in the winning team by Becky Cooke running her first marathon in a superb 3:23, to finish runner up to Shirley and take the individual silver medal and the incredible Steph Horner who was third Essex to take the bronze in 3:25, with even better news for her with a first place and gold in the over 45 age group plus the team gold! Malcolm Statham ran his 198th marathon and his 10th Halstead in a fine 3:26. Second Claimers Tristan Steed was the overall winner of the race in 2:37 a day after winning a 20 mile event ! and James Wright ran a super 2:48 for 8th place.

Other results

Cameron Humphries ran a belter of a race at the Hardmoors 110 mile event in the Yorkshire Dales clocking 26 hours and 36 minutes over the gruelling course which boosted 6000m of ascent.

Colchester Castle park run fell just short of a record field clocking 430 the third weekend in a row the field has exceeded 400. Harriers Ramadam Osman won by the proverbial mile in 16:39, with Andy Raynor 4th in 18:31. Keith Marley 18:46 6th, just beat his son Aaron Marley 18:49 7th. Richard Boden just made the top 10 in 19:16, while Elspeth Bisson won the ladies race in 20:21.

The Great Cornard event saw Colin Ridley run his first park run in 17:44 3rd, followed by Wayne Cook 17:45 4th and Drew Olley 18:47 7th, Sarah Ivory won the ladies race in 20:23. Mark Harrod won Mersea in 17:39, with Paul Rodgers runner up in 17:55, Craig Mitchell was 4th And Dan Wilkinson 7th.