Harriers On Song at Essex Cross-Country Champs

Colchester Harriers travelled in force to a muddy Gloucester Park in Basildon for the annual Essex Cross Country Championships and came away with an impressive haul of medals.

The Senior Women made it three successive team titles as they beat rivals Havering into second place to once again take home the Ron Merrie Cup.  Roanna Vickers was the first home for the green vests, finishing strongly to take the third place and the individual bronze and was followed home by Lydia Callan in fifth spot, with both girls selected to run for Essex at the CAU Intercounties in March as a result of their excellent runs.   Kate Creak ran a superb race to finish eighth and with Heidi Hogan-Steele, continuing her comeback after the birth of her daughter, finishing seventeenth Harriers ran out convincing team winners.  Jacquie King was the other Harrier to complete the gruelling, hilly course.

Roanna, Lydia and Kate – who together with Heidi won our third successive team trophy

The men also had a superb day.  Dean Williamson was first home for the club, taking third place, individual bronze, and thus also making the Essex team for the Intercounties.  Dean was well backed up by Kim Bowling (9th), Adrian Mussett (16th), James Morley (24th), Ben Whyte (29th) and Chris Sellens (45th) as Colchester finished just behind Southend AC in second place, equalling their best ever performance at the event.  Cam Humphries finished just outside the scoring team in 47th, Max Caulfield was 53rd, Dan Widdowson 77tt, with Tim Ballard (86th), Andrew Jobling (89th), Allen Smalls (91st), Kev Higgins (96th) and Dan King (97th) also making the top 100 in what was an extremely competitive race.  Other senior men’s finishers were Barry Frost (111th), Ollie Gifford (112th), Stuart Harris (121st), Cris Stevenson (136th), Paul Dellar (138th), Dan Summersgill (149th), Dan Meecham (150th), Nigel Eden (184th), Kev McAlinden (187th), Lee Goodyear (198th) and James Peters (208th).

Adrian, Chris, Ben, Dean, Kim and James – collecting their medals from Chris Akehurst

The green vests also tasted success in other categories.  England’s loss was Harriers’ gain as Lizzie Wellsted, unable to be in Spain for the Elgoibar International Cross-Country due to a cancelled flight, romped home to take the U20 Women’s title by more than two minutes.  Lizzie’s feat was matched by clubmate Lyla Belshaw, as she took the U17 Women’s title in similarly emphatic fashion. 

Isla Widdowson also had a strong run in the U15 Girls, crossing the line in seventh place, with Jemima Gardner coming home twenty-third, Ella Licence thirty-sixth and Sophie Rogers thirty-eight whilst in the U13 Girls event Ella Grace Simpson was thirteenth and Tilly Clark forty-fifth.

For the boys, in the U17 event Finley Greenleaf was sixteenth with Alfie Cockx twenty-first whilst Paolo Valente was fifteenth U13 boy, Harry Jeffrey twenty-ninth and Alex Widdowson forty-fifth.

Separately a group of Suffolk dwelling junior Harriers competed in their county championships at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook.  Theo Gardiner enjoyed the muddy conditions, coming home fourth in the U20 boys race and so securing a spot on the Suffolk team for the CAU Intercounties race in March.  In the U17 Men’s race Sean Eales was eleventh and Caleb Lee twelfth, whilst in the U13 Boys Hayden Preston finished third, securing a fine bronze medal.

The Ron Merrie Cup – about to spend it’s third successive year in our trophy cabinet