Newmarket Joggers’ Denys Olefir was first home after a successful 19th Halstead and Essex Marathon featuring more than 500 runners.
Ukranian Olefir stopped the clock in two hours 43 minutes and 24 seconds, while home club Halstead Road Runners’ was Neil Poulter in 3.58.38 (235th).
Amid a carnival atmosphere around the 26.2-mile undulating course — which takes in the villages of Colne Engaine, Twinstead and Pebmarsh before returning to Halstead — Leanne Harling, of Serpentine RC (3.03.55) was the first female back.
Five other Halstead Road Runners completed the marathon: Andrew Wilmot (4.08.08, 268th), Daniel Hollinshead (4.50.37, 425th) — who only decided to run the race the Friday before — Terry Rivers (4.56.59, 446th), Daniel Smith (4.58.18, 455th) and Matt Biggin (5.22.46, 488th).
Sudbury Jogger Jem Smith was the first member of his club home in a time of 3.24.47 for 63rd place, while Clive Davey recorded 3.28.53 for 78th, knocking more than 25 minutes off his time of last year.
The third Jogger in was Liz Sandford in 3.46.19 for 155th place, but Dom Turner had to pull out of the race after 16 miles with cramp.
Halstead Road Runners’ press officer Matthew Ranson said: “The post race comments from the runners were extremely positive.
“They praised the volume of the encouragement, the fact that many thought they were treated like VIPs and the event was likened to having the atmosphere of a sporting travelling carnival!”
He said the club wished to give a special thanks to race director Keith Thorogood, Halstead mayor David Hume, Halstead Leisure Centre and the Ramsey College Team Air Cadets, as well as everyone else connected with putting the marathon together.
One pair of runners to catch the eye were Pete Digby and Paul Milson, who pulled a 40-stone Aga cooker around the course in a remarkable 5.49.00 to raise money for the Afghanistan Trust and Parachute Regiment.
Halstead Road Runners will again be making significant donations to local charities from the marathon proceeds.