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Halstead duo tackle marathon challenge

GREAT ACHIEVEMENT: Halstead Road Runners pair Andy Wilmot and Dan Smith
GREAT ACHIEVEMENT: Halstead Road Runners pair Andy Wilmot and Dan Smith

Halstead Road Runners duo Dan Smith and Andy Wilmot both competed in the Great Barrow Challenge, an annual event featuring 10 marathons in 10 days.

The event, which took place just outside Bury St Edmunds, featured five different routes consisting of a minimum distance of 26.2 miles.

ANNUAL EVENT: Boxford Bowls Club members pictured enjoying their club tournament at the weekend
ANNUAL EVENT: Boxford Bowls Club members pictured enjoying their club tournament at the weekend

This was Smith’s first attempt at the 10 in 10, while his club mate Wilmot is one of four known runners in the UK to have completed the challenge four years in a row.

The challenge did not start well for Wilmot as he had not run in a few weeks due to a hamstring injury.

As a result, his first two days were slower than usual, but he soon made amends and beat club mate Smith over the remaining eight days.

Unfortunately for Smith, he picked up a hamstring niggle on day six and his time suffered as a result.

He was still happy though, as he remained within his pre-race target times on each day.

“It’s not about fast times, but the friendships made and the camaraderie between like minded people over the 10 days,” Smith said.

“It was a fantastic, yet brutal, 10 days of running. I’ve no aspirations to do it again, four, three and two in a row, but not 10!

“I’ve done it once and proved I can do it. Andy on the other hand, well I reckon he’ll be back next year.”

Completing the challenge took Smith up to 90 marathons completed, of which 40 have been in 2017 alone, including a personal best at his home marathon in Halstead.

Smith was raising money for Sam Elsbury, a nine-year-old boy who is non-verbal and suffers with autism. He raised well over his target of £500 for a sensory garden for Sam.

And, despite the heat, it was another weekend full of racing with several Road Runners setting new personal bests over a variety of distances.

The last of this summer’s Friday 5 series last week was hosted by Great Bentley Running Club, and it is always a popular event due to the flat course.

Caroliena Cameron has competed in every race and finished the series on great form, winning the FV45 age category in a time of 36 minutes and 52 seconds, while Nicole Smith knocked more than a minute off her PB to finish in 40.09.

Elsewhere, on Sunday the Road Runners team split themselves between the Felsted 10km and the Southend Half Marathon.

It would be fair to say the runners suffered in the heat, with Cameron finding the Felsted 10k tough but she was still first lady back for Halstead in 50.15.

Axel Voight was disappointed by his time of one hour and four minutes, however there were some happy runners, with Rob Frost racing in the yellow and black vest for the first time and getting a PB in 45.41.

Sheila Purkiss was the first female V65 but unfortunately missed being presented with her trophy.

On the coast at the Southend Half Marathon, Heidi Worf was thrilled to finally go under two hours over the distance to finish in a new PB of one hour and 57 minutes.

She was ably paced by club mate Sam Wolton, while Leigh-Anne Porter was one minute ahead of Worf in 1.56.

Treena Harrington finished in 2.07, while for the men, Simon Humphrey finished in 1.43.

Finally, Mel Candler did the Gosfield Sprint Triathlon and finished two minutes quicker than last year, her time of 1.27 helping her finish as the fifth fastest lady.

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