Halstead Road Runner Andy Wilmot was given the honour of starting the Halstead and Essex Marathon on Sunday to celebrate his 600th race.
The 69-year-old, who celebrates his 70th birthday in two months’ time, was joined by 25 members of his running club on the start line.
After starting the race wearing the number 600, he stormed around the North Essex course, whipping up a frenzy on his journey and clocked a fantastic time of four hours, 13 minutes and 55 seconds.
Wilmot, who attracted national media interest for the milestone, celebrated at the end with a specially brewed beer, a hand-made 600 shaped cake and a band.
It was also a milestone for the course itself, being its 20th anniversary.
The course is held on public roads and flows through the North Essex villages of Colne Engaine, Twinstead and Pebmarsh before returning to the headquarters at Halstead Leisure Centre.
The conditions were cool and blustery with a touch of rain.
The top three men were. Mark Newton of Springfield Striders (2.43.13); Allen Smalls of Colchester Harriers AC (2.47.01) and Peter Davy of Sudbury Joggers (2.47.08).
The top three women were. Leanne Harling of Serpentine RC (3.01.22); Alice Addison of Colchester Harriers AC (3.11.21) and Nicky Tyrrell of Royston Runners (3.13.02).
Many of the Halstead entrants were completing their debut marathon, with the club’s runners led home by Stuart Prestney in a cracking time of 3.18.08, with Kathryn Bronson the first of the club’s women with a wonderful time of 3.50.39.
The first Mens team trophy went to Springfield Striders trio, Mark Newton, Tom Cammack and James Wright.
The first womens’ team trophy was presented to Gt Bentley RC, Vicky Presland, Elieen Shadford and Anna Migliorini Lyon.
Other than Davy, 13 other members of Sudbury Joggers were competing, with four in their debut marathons.
Ben Cuthbert was 99th in 3.29.43; Dave Chapman 372nd in 4.25.10, Lisa Dalton 506th in 5.23.09 and Kat Ross 528th in 5.57.26.
Other Joggers: Thomas Challener 27th 3.07.28, Alan Anstead 36th 3.10.45, Jem Smith 96th 3.29.27, Sharon White 188th 3.48.07, Clive Davey 300th 4.05.31, Dee St Ledger 301st 405.40, Dean Breward 325th 4.11.24, Sarah Pennock 477th 5.00.10, and Gin Craig 507th 5.23.09.
The organising club wished to thank everyone involved in putting the race on and especially the people of north Essex for their incredible support.