Harriers rise to the challenge of busy cross country weekend

A huge weekend of cross country running saw Colchester Harriers maintain their challenge on two different fronts.

The fourth fixture in the Essex Cross Country League calendar on Saturday saw teams from across the county descend on Colchester’s aptly named Hilly Fields Course.  A good turnout saw Harriers emerge victorious in the senior women’s event –  new girl Kat Rigby leading the way with an impressive eighth position, closely followed by Heidi Steele (9th) with veteran Denise Morley (13th) and Andrea James (15th) completing the scoring team.  The Harriers’ senior women’s team now lay in second place, tied with Southend with just one fixture remaining.

Kat Rigby finished a fine eighth on her Essex League debut. Image courtesy of Holly Mac.

The Senior Men also had a good day with Ram Osman second winning a close battle with Adrian Mussett third, and with the pair being offered good support by Chris Sellens (27th), Cameron Humphries (30th), Andrew Jobling (41st) and Jon Nears (42nd) Harriers finished second on the day, and now lie third overall in the table, only three points behind second placed Southend.

Adrian and Ram finished in the top three at Hilly Fields.

There were also some fine performance by junior Harriers with Milly Presland coming home second in a competitive U17/20 Women’s race and a fine run from the fast improving Lizzie Wellsted who finished eighth in the U15 girls race.

Lizzie Wellsted finished a fine eighth in the under 15 girls race
Image courtesy of John Hyland

Buoyed by their success at Hilly Fields the green vests made their way across the county to Writtle the following day for the third fixture in the Ellisons Solicitors League calendar.  This time the men showed the way with Richard Heath (4th), Dan Widdowson (6th), Cameron Humphries (11th), Paul Rodgers (12th), Thomas Palmer (13th), Tom Creswell (19th), Jon Nears (21st) and Dan Summersgill (28th) making up the scoring team as they finished first on the day.   Sarah Stradling led the women home, showing signs of a return to her best form with a strong run to take 4th place.  Stradling was provided excellent support by Alexandra Hennessey (9th), Jordi Moat (12th) and Kate Sandercock (32nd) as the women secured second place on the day.  Overall Harriers remain top of Pool A, three points clear of Ipswich Jaffa in second place and look well placed to retain their title with just 3 races to go.

Sarah Stradling (4th) leading the Harriers ladies home
Image courtesy of Paul Preston
Richard Heath leads the Harriers men’s team home to a great win at Writtle.
Image courtesy of Paul Preston

The Juniors were also in action at Writtle with the girls again topping the bill, taking 5 of the top 8 positions.  Milly Presland continued her fine run of form, following up on her excellent showing at Hilly Fields by winning the race with team-mate Lyla Belshaw taking second.  Alexandra Bell-Cobbold was fourth, Lizzie Wellsted fifth and Madeleine Clayden eight leaving the Harriers girls in first place overall with half the season completed. The Boys also competed strongly, with Thomas Colsell securing a fine fourth place, and with Theo Gardner (13th), Harrison Leek (16th) and Finley Greenleaf (17th) also running strongly the boys lie in third place overall in their league.

Elsewhere Jennifer Lovelock ran a fine 3:36 in the Walt Disney World Marathon in Florida, despite the near 100% humidity whilst husband Andrew ran 1:32 in the half-marathon.

Saturday’s parkrun program saw Ian Jeffries clock 19:23 at Colchester Castle to come home fifth whilst Paul Dobson was third at Maldon in 18:55.  Outside of Essex Ella Neale was first female at Melksham (Wiltshire), Adam Gerrish clocked 20:50 to finish third at Wetherby in Yorkshire and veteran Martyn Clarke posted 20:53 to finish third at Brixworth Country in Northamptonshire.  There was also a good Harriers showing at home from home Dolgellau in Wales, with Richard Flutter fourth in 20:51, veteran Dave Wright eighth in 22:02, Debbie Cattermole first female in 22:24 and Rachel Richardson-Wright posting 32:19.

Grear running from Milly with a win at Writtle and runner up at Hilly Fields. Image by Graham Harrod

Victory for our Ladies team at the Essex League fixture. Image courtesy of John Hyland

Second place for our Men's team at the Essex League fixture. Image by John Hyland