Harriers Finish as Essex’s Top Club to Shine on the National Stage

Colchester Harriers followed up their success in the qualifying round with a fine performance in the final round of England Athletics Virtual Road Relay Competition.

The competition, organised by the sport’s governing body, involved thousands of athletes from nearly 150 of the country’s top clubs each running 5 mile legs against the clock. The top 50 clubs then progressed to the final round in which the best four men’s and women’s times from each club were combined, with the final placings being decided on the aggregate times of each club.

Harriers’ runners reaped the benefits of having continued with their training regimes during lockdown, posting a combined time of 3:52:08 to edge out Woodford Green and Essex Ladies and finish as Essex’s top club, placing a fine 22nd in the country overall.

Dean Williamson ran the fastest time for the club, clocking an incredible 24:11 to post the seventh fastest individual time nationally. The army athlete was well backed up by the evergreen pair of Adrian Mussett and Richard Heath who both recorded 26:41 to finish second and third in their age group nationally, with Tom Cresswell not far behind with 26:49 to finish fourth fastest Harrier and complete the scoring team. There were a number of other notable individual performances by Harrier’s male athletes – not least by Paul Mingay, who ran 29:37 to finish first in his V60 age group, Colin Ridley whose time of 29:10 was the second fastest M55 time and Jon Nears who ran 27:54 to make the top ten in his category.

The fine men’s team effort was backed up by another superb team performance by Harrier’s emerging women’s team. Heidi Steele again led the way, shrugging off injury concerns to clock 31:45 and she was closely backed up by the fast improving triumvirate of Victoria Primmer (31:59), Tracy English (32:00) and Ellie Cumner (32:03) with Jennifer Lovelock finishing just outside the scoring places with 32:33.

Results for Colchester Harriers’ runners in full:

Men – Dean Williamson 24:10, Adrian Mussett 26:41 (2rd M45), Richard Heath 26:41 (3rd M45), Tom Cresswell 26:49, Andrew Jobling 27:01, Chris Sellens 27:45, Jon Nears 27:54, Colin Ridley 29:10 (2nd M55), Paul Mingay 29:37 (1st M60), Jerry Walder 30:50, Charlie Walder 34:13, Steve Wilkins 34:13, Tim Holden 34:30.

Women – Heidi Steele 31:45, Victoria Primmer 31:59, Tracy English 32:00, Ellie Cumner 32:03, Jennifer Lovelock 32:33, Eleanor Mayne 34:52, Victoria Rae 36:55.