Halstead Essex marathon Championships
Smalls defies all the odds
Colchester Harrier’s Allen Smalls has won many marathons in his time, has captained Great Britain in 100km racing, and last year was one of the pace makers who brought Paula Ratcliffe home in 2:36 at the London Marathon, but Smalls thought his chances of winning the County Championship again were over at 47 years old. With a good field of class runners on the line it looked, at the best, top 10 for Smalls. But the extreme hot weather brought huge twists and turns in the race with long time leader and second claim Harrier Angus Holford coming to a halt at 18 miles after losing a big lead. As the mid day heat took its toll athlete after athlete dropped out of the race, and at 22 miles Smalls finally took the lead and passed Pele Capdevila of Stubbington Green where he remained striding up the final hill to come home in 2:48:42 with Capdevila a distant second in 2:51:07. So Smalls took County golds as Senior Champion and also Veteran champion over 40 a superb performance by the popular runner.
Only two more runners bust the 3 hour mark, before Harriers Colin Ridley came home 5th in a brave time of 3:00:38 and the half centurian took the gold county medal for the over 50’s. Then came Jon Nears in 16th spot in a very tired 3:21:16, this gave the Harriers trio the silver team medals behind Springfield Striders.
Steph Horner ran a fine race coming home in 4:05:41 and won the bronze medal in the over 45 category, while Darren Horner clocked 4:13:56, and Malcolm Statham finished exhausted in 4:00:23.