Harriers Ram home their Ellison’s advantage at Ardleigh
Report by Paul Dellar and Chris Akehurst
Whilst the wind still blew and the rain still fell the weather did finally loosen its grip sufficiently to allow a full weekend of running for the Harriers’ mighty green army.
Top of the bill at a muddy Ardleigh were the efforts of our men’s and women’s cross-country teams in the fourth Ellison’s League fixture of the season. The men had no less than eight runners feature in the top 14 – with Ramadan Osman storming to victory with Chris Sellens second, Daniel King fifth, Dan Widdowson sixth, Nate Filer an impressive seventh on his return to competition, Richard Heath ninth, Cameron Humphries 12th and Jon Nears 14th. The scoring octet also received fine support from no fewer than 18 other Harriers finishers as the men finished comfortably clear of Ipswich Jaffa in second. It was a similar story in the women’s event as Harriers swept to victory with Aiko Hennington a fine second, Kat Rigby continuing her string of good results with third, Debbie Cattermole ninth and Ella Jeffries in tenth place completing the scoring team. Harriers’ fine all round performance at Ardleigh saw them consolidate their overall lead in Pool A of the Ellisons League with just one fixture remaining at Hadleigh in two weeks’ time.
In the junior girls’ event Harriers took the top four places with Milly Presland first, Alexandra Bell-Cobbold second, Lizzie Wellsted third and Isla Widdowson fourth. With Amelia Green, Bernadette Ross and Emily Swan also featuring in the top ten, the girls maintained their lead at the top of the league. In the boys’ event top ten finishes for Luke Orrin, Theo Gardiner and Charlie Walder secured third team for the Harriers on the day and consolidated third position in the league overall. It’s all to play for at the Hadleigh fixture as the combined points for the girls and boys are now 16 for both Colchester clubs.
Meanwhile Angus Holford, competing at the national cross-country championships over a challenging 12K course at Wollaton Park, Nottingham finished a highly creditable 152nd out of more than 1,700 finishers.
Harriers also had three runners competing in the Tarpley 20 mile road race, just outside Bury St Edmunds with Dave Campbell battling the wind to come home 33rd in 2:21:24, Simon Miller running 2:39:47 and Dan Wilkinson crossing the line in 2:42:57.
Meanwhile in trail racing, ultra runners Gavin Laws and Pete Jones completed in the 43 mile off-road St Peters Way Ultra from Chipping Ongar in the west of the county to Bradwell-on-Sea on the east coast, Laws running 7:31:41 to finish 13th and Jones coming home in 8:06:53. Earlier in the week Allen and Faye Smalls finished the 5 mile Beat Around the Bush trail race from Purleigh in 1:11:27.
Three senior and four Junior athletes s travelled to Lee Valley on Wednesday night for the annual indoor track meet of 800m and 1500m graded races. Despite training currently being focused on cross country, some great results were achieved, setting the athletes up for a good season ahead. In the 800m Alexandra Bell-Cobbold finished in 2:29.20, whilst Paul Preston was 2:34.63, and Emily Swan 2:41.84. In the 1,500m events, Colin Ridley ran a great race in 4:48.68, Mark Wellsted was strong with a new PB of 5:17.42, Paul Preston clocked 5:26.06, followed closely by Lizzie Wellsted in a PB of 5:28.55 and Amelia Green also with a PB of 5:41.30. Great support (and shouting!) from parents/adults, Steve Swan, Kay Swan, Monica Bell, Jenny Ridley, Sarah Green and daughter, and great to see Rick Thompson officiating as ever at these events
In parkrun action 17 Harriers competed at Colchester Castle with Cameron Humphries first home in 18:01, Jon Nears second in 18:54, Ian Jeffries third (19:26), James Wright fifth (19:44) and Laura Hubbard first lady (20:36) – a feat Annette Oakman emulated at Mersea Island with her run of 22:55. Dave Hilson ran 21:02 for fifth at Great Cornard with the improving Amelia Green first female in 21:33 whilst Ned Messer also made the top five at Mersea Island with his run of 22:21. The Millwards went to Dudley (Danny 18:46, Richard 21:26), the Sandercocks to Halifax (Kate 22:33 – first lady, Gavin 23:53) and the Morgans to Burgess Park (Abigail 25:09, Simon 25:10) whilst Kieran Callaghan retains his tourist of the week award with his run of 24:07 at Deerpark Forest, Virginia Water, Ireland.