Perfect conditions at the 23rd staging of the Halstead and Essex Marathon on Sunday saw both the male and female course records tumble.
Also serving once again as the Essex County Marathon Championships, the Halstead Road Runners’-hosted event saw a big field pound the pavements of the town and idyllic surrounding countryside in their quest for personal best times.
The strength of the event and its picturesque and challenging course sees runners returning time and again, including an ever present contingent from the 100 Marathon Club.
Bob Parmenter, a member of the 100 Marathon Club and a former Halstead Road Runner, was running his 200th marathon.
The weather has a reputation for being unseasonably hot on race day but this year conditions were absolutely perfect.
This saw both the male and female course records re-set, with Tristan Steed finishing first overall in a fantastic time of two hours and 34 minutes.
Second place went to Harry Smith in 2.42 closely followed by Allen Smalls from Colchester Harriers AC in 2.43. Smalls was also overall Male Gold County Champion and V40 Gold County Champion.
Pete Robinson, from Springfield Striders, was the first runner resident in the Braintree District Council area in fourth place overall in a time of 2hrs 43mins 22secs. Robinson also came away with a male silver county medal and was part of the winning men’s team and the county championships men’s team with club-mates James Smith and James Wright.
First lady was Marie Shirley from Colchester Harriers AC in 3.12 who had an incredible 14-minute lead over the second lady, Vicky Bird, who finished in 3.26. Third lady was Julie Balaam in 3.31.
The Colchester Harriers’ Ladies totally dominated on the day, also coming away with the winning Ladies’ Team and the County Championships Ladies’ Team made up of Marie Shirley, Rebecca Cooke and Steph Horner.
For members of the host club, it was an opportunity to race on home turf with friendly faces at every turn of the course.
Richard Candler was the first runner back for Halstead Road Runners in a time of 3.01. Wesley Atkins, running his first road marathon, finished in 3.08 with Andy Owen, in a new personal best of 3.17, the third Halstead man. The trio are also now Men’s Essex County Bronze Team medallists. Nathan Roulson achieved an impressive PB by 11 minutes, finishing in 3.24, while Ashley Hood ran well in a pb time of 3.42.
Michael Longman, running the race for the first time in the Halstead vest finished in 3.46 while Steve May finished in 3.57. Rosie Atkins pushed to a PB of 4.02 with Sam Wolton not far behind in 4.05. Dan Smith also got a pb of 4.10.
Halstead’s marathon legend, Andy Wilmot, who has now run more than 700 marathons, finished in 4.14 to claim V70 age group honours for both the race and the County Championships.
Mike Grealy was disappointed with his time of 4.17 but more than happy to come away with an Essex County bronze medal in the V60 age category.
Heidi Worf was thrilled to finish her first marathon in 4.28, sprinting across the line in her usual style.
Adam Buckle was also running his first marathon as a last minute decision, and finished in 4.48.
n A full list of results visit: https://www.halsteadroadrunners.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Halstead-Marathon-2017-Results.pdf