Harriers in County Gold Rush
Colchester Harriers’ athletes lit up a grey, blustery day at the Essex Cross-Country Championships at Basildon’s Gloucester Park, with their female athletes in particular shining.
The senior women’s team led the way, retaining their County Champions title to take the Ron Merrie Cup back to Colchester for the second successive year. In what was an outstanding all-round team effort for the green vests, debutant Roanna Vickers was first home for the club in fourth place, closely followed by Lydia Callan in sixth – both girls earning call ups to represent Essex at the national inter-counties championships in the process. Colchester’s leading two were backed up by further excellent runs from Victoria Primmer (9th), Jennifer Lovelock (16th), Emma Burgess (17th), Ellie Cumner (35th) and Lily Gilby (58th) as the club’s strength in depth ensured they were too strong for Basildon AC and Springfield Striders in second and third places respectively.
The Senior Men also put up a strong showing with Ram Osman (16th) and Tom Rehal (17th) inside the top twenty and with Max Caulfield (43rd), Cameron Humphries (47th), Chris Sellens (53rd) and Colin Ridley (64th) making up the scoring team the club finished just outside the medals. Andrew Lovelock (68th), James Wright (77th), Tim Ballard (80th), Simon Colclough (100th), Jake Darkins (102nd), Stuart Harris (139th) and Kev McAlinden (146th) also enjoyed their outings over the tough 12K course.
The club’s rising stars also shone, with a string of outstanding performances in what were challenging conditions. Lizzie Wellsted continued her excellent run of form, running a brilliantly judged race to come home over thirty seconds clear to take the U17 Women’s gold.
Lyla Belshaw took the U15 girls’ title and was backed up by Isla Widdowson (5th), Lily Taylor (7th), Jemima Gardner (26th) and Beatrice Sivyer (29th) as the green vests also took the team gold medal in the category. Rohan Dasoar also ran brilliantly in the U13 boys to just miss out on the podium in fourth place but, along with Lizzie Wellsted. Lyla Belshaw and Isla Widdowson, made the Essex team for the national inter-counties championships. Other junior finishers for the club were Finley Greenleaf (13th) and Hugo Smith (43rd) in the U15 boys, and Ella-Grace Simpson (28th) and Sophie Lee (36th) in the U13 Girls.
It was county championships day in Suffolk too with several of Harriers’ younger runners taking part on a flat, fast course at Royal Hospital School, Holbrook. Hayden Preston finished seventh U13 boy, Theo Gardiner secured the same position in the U17 man category – both runners just missing out on county selection, whilst Caleb Preston was twentieth U15 boy.