Harriers Enjoy Success on Track and Trails

Colchester Harriers athletes enjoyed a remarkable weekend of success with some stunning performances both in county and national track championships as well as in one of the toughest trail races in the region.

Lyla Belshaw took centre stage, shining in the National U20 championships in Chelmsford, the 15 year old continuing her superb run of form to run a remarkable Personal Best (PB) of 4:17:34 to finish in a clear second place despite being up against national standard athletes up to 5 years older than her. 

Lyla Belshaw in full flow to finish second at National U20 1500M Final

Lyla’s success followed some superb performances in the Essex 5000M championships held at Cricklefields Athletics Stadium, Ilford earlier in the weekend with Lizzie Wellsted running a big PB of 16:59.7 to finish more than 20 seconds clear of a high-quality field and so be the first woman to lift the newly commissioned trophy.

Lizzie Wellsted and Dean Williamson – 2023 Essex 5000M Women’s and Men’s Champions

There was success in Ilford across the board for the men too with Dean Williamson clocking 15:08.4 to hold off Ben Davis of Havering and take the senior title.  Supervet Adrian Mussett took the V50 title in a remarkable time of 15:17.2 – more than a minute faster than anyone else in the age group in the UK has run for the distance this year.  There was also success for Jason Gunn who took the V40 title in a time of 16:35.7 (PB) and Colin Ridley who finished third V50 in 17:51:6, whilst Ryan Day finished third in the B final in 16:28.6.

All the Ilford medal winners

Harriers also had a strong entry into the Stour Valley Marathon and Half Marathon races, held on the Stour Valley Path on the Essex/Suffolk border.  Allen Smalls, veteran of the event, conquered the hilly marathon course running 3:34:37 crossing the line together with Aaron Graves of Tiptree to share overall victory.  Chris Manby ran strongly to finish fifth in 3:55:33 with Jerry Walder seventh in 4:00:54.  In the women’s marathon Nicola Hilson ran an excellent 5:04:44 in her debut in the event to come home fourth woman overall.

Tina Southgate and Nicola Hilson enjoy a rare flat section of the Stour Valley Marathon

In the half marathon on the first half of the course, Dan Widdowson ran 1:38:09 to finish third, closely followed by Cameron Humphries (1:38:34) in fourth and Tim Ballard (1:46:27) in seventh.  Other finishers were James Waterson (2:04:46), Chris Aylett (2:12:53), Arthur Whiston (2:54:35), Anita Mussett (3:14:37) and Lydia Cunningham (3:14:47).

John Scaife was the overall winner of the half marathon on the second part of the course, crossing the line in 1:33:21, Lily Gilby was first woman home in 2:25:32, Chris Stevenson ran 2:29:49, Doug O’Neill 2:29:50 and Tina Southgate 3:04:37.