Many Harriers in action over the Christmas period.
The Witham Boxing Day 5 saw 19 Colchester Harriers lining up on the start line and they showed few signs of over-indulgence over the Christmas period, recording a string of impressive performances.
Mark McKeown led the way clocking 27:56 to finish twelfth overall and first home for the club and he was closely followed across the finish line by Tom Creswell, continuing his comeback with an impressive 29:28. Keith Marley also went under 30 minutes to finish first V50 in 29:34, an on-form Dan Summersgill posted a Personal Best (PB) 30:10 with Simon Ford also running his fastest ever 5 miler in 30:28. Heidi Steele shrugged off injury concerns to finish second female in 31:20, and with strong runs also coming from Jennifer Lovelock (32:34), Becky Cooke (34:51) and Nicola Martell-Smith (36:52) Harriers swept to the female team prize.
Robert Smith ran 31:33, Chris Manby 32:09, Paul Preston marked his return from a shoulder injury to record 35:18 whilst evergreen Arthur Whiston was second V60 in 35:54. Other finishers in green were: Adam Smith (35:58), Simon Morgan (36:07), Simon Miller (36:28), Louise Yates (39:45), Abigail Morgan (40:44) and Stefan Hogan (42:34).
Elsewhere in road-racing Jerry Walder was competing in the Ribble Valley 10K, a race which doubles as the North of England 10K championships, rising to the occasion to post a PB of 37:38 and Malcolm Statham completed the Great Barrow Marathon near Bury St Edmunds, completing his 223rd 26.2 miler in a time of 3:35:51, his fastest of the year.
Meanwhile in trail racing Melissa Dowell kept up her run of good form to finish 1st female in the aptly named 5 Gold Rings 12 mile race in Chipping Ongar, stopping the clock at 2:01:52. Allen and Fay Smalls completed the shorter 4.5 mile course in 51:17.
Harriers runners have also busy running in a host of parkruns up and down the country and indeed overseas over the festive period. Danny Millward ran a very rapid 16:51 to finish second on the challenging Colchester Castle course with Cameron Humphries (17:23), Jason Gunn (17:25) and Jon Nears (17:43) also posting fast times to come home in the first five. Richard Heath was first finisher across town at Colchester Highwoods, crossing the line in 19:12, a feat Paul Dobson emulated at Maldon Prom with his run of 18:50. Course records were also tumbling – Fran Norris knocking three minutes off the previous F60 record at Pont y Bala with her run of 23:54 whilst, closer to home, Debbie Cattermole took the F55 record at Mersea Island, after finishing second female in 21:41. Other Harriers ladies showing a fast pair of heels included Aiko Hennington (19:54 – second female at Maldon), Ella Neale (21:38, first female at Melksham) and Alexandra Hennessey who also takes the Tourist of the Week award with her run of 23:01 as she finished second female on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily.