Harriers wrap up the Ellison’s XC League in style
Colchester Harriers romped to victory in the Eillisons Cross Country League, wrapping up both the senior and junior titles with a barnstorming performance in the final fixture of the season in Hadleigh. Colchester have dominated the senior competition all season and it was business as usual at Hadleigh with Chris Sellens, Nate Filer, Dan Widdowson, Dan King, Paul Rodgers, Tom Cresswell, Jon Nears and Thomas Palmer finishing in the top 14 for the men and Aiko Hennington, Kat Rigby, Denise Morley and Ellie Mayne all featuring in the top 10 of the women’s race. Alexandra Hennessey backed up well finishing an excellent 12th The all-round team effort saw Harriers take maximum points from the fixture to finish the season comfortably clear of Ipswich Jaffa and retain their title.
The junior competition was much tighter but with Thomas Colsell (second), Harrison Leek (sixth) and Theo Gardiner (ninth) placing in the top 10 for the boys and Alexandra Bell-Cobbold (first), Emily Swan (fourth), Lizzie Wellsted (fifth), Isla Widdowson (sixth), Amelia Green (seventh) and Bernadette Ross (eighth) all starring for the girls, Harriers just pipped Colchester and Tendring to the title to complete a superb double for the club. There were several Harriers in the top three standings for the season with wins in the under 11 age group for James Clarke and Isla Widdowson, Alexander Bell-Cobbold in the under 15 age group and Milly Presland in the under 17 age group. There was a clean sweep in the under 15 girls age group with Lizzie Wellsted second and Emily Swan third. It was a 1-2 in the under 17 girls with Madeleine Claydon runner up to Milly. Thomas Colsell finished second in the under 17 boys age group.
The result at Hadleigh was even more impressive given several Harriers’ runners were competing for Essex at the UK Inter-counties championships at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough. Veteran Adrian Mussett finished 76th and Angus Holford 95th in a strong field of almost 300 in the senior men’s race, with Milly Presland 99th and Lyla Belshaw 161st in their respective junior age groups.
Elsewhere, in trail racing Rob Cronshaw ran 1:25:34 to finish fifth in the Thetford Forest Trail marathon whilst Kevin Stevens finished the Phoenix Trail Marathon, run along the Thames in South-West London, in 3:26:06.
Enjoying rather dryer conditions Paul Mingay and Colin Ridley put in strong performances at the British Masters indoor 3000M championships at Lee Valley Stadium, with Mingay running 10:01 to win M60 gold and Ridley 10:14 to secure bronze in his M55 category. Harriers also had two runners competing in the Cambridge Half-marathon, Alex Elliot clocking 1:25:02 and Ella Jeffries just outside her Personal Best in 1:36:23.
The weekend’s parkrun programme also saw a host of impressive performances from those wearing green. Ian Jeffries was first finisher at Colchester Castle, running 18:57 with Michael Smith third in 19:14, club stalwart Richard Boden sixth in 20:27 and Eleanor Mayne first female in 22:25. Heidi Steele posted 19:36 to assume her customary position of first female at Maldon whilst Simon Ford was first across the line at Highwoods in 19:56, with Dave Hilson (20:56), Jason Gunn (21:00), Cameron Humphries (21:24) and pacer Matt Davey (21:32) also making the top 10. Drew Olley ran 18:47 to finish seventh at Leicester, Chris Sellens (21:09) was third at Mersea Island and Martyn Clarke sixth at Skegness in 20:15. Richard Flutter, having run 21:07 to place 4th at Foots Cray Meadow, capped off a successful weekend by then finishing first the following day at the Alton Water local run in 20:31, with Debbie Cattermole first female in 22:40.