Colchester: Olympic brothers break historic Mersea record

Walkers try to keep up with Olympic hopefuls Daniel and Dominic King

Walkers try to keep up with Olympic hopefuls Daniel and Dominic King

A 100-year-old record for walking around the perimeter of an Essex island has been broken by two brothers hoping to make it to the Rio Olympics.

Youngsters set the pace

Youngsters set the pace

Colchester twins and race walkers, Daniel and Dominic King, took less than two hours to cover the 15-mile route around Mersea Island, which they completed at the weekend to commemorate a challenge that took place a century before.

The pair, who train with the Colchester Harriers, want to compete in the 50km walking event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Both brothers have already competed in the Commonwealth Games and Dominic took part in the event at the 2012 London Olympics.

The walkers were in Mersea on Saturday at the request of local author, Veronique Eckstein, who organised the race to commemorate a little-known event in the island’s history.

While researching for a book earlier this year, she discovered details of a competition that was held on December 13, 1913 to find the person who could make their way around the perimeter of the island in the shortest time possible.

A total of 23 Mersea men entered the challenge back then and the race was eventually won by one Chas Prigg, who completed the circumnavigation in two hours 39 minutes. A century on, and despite the drizzly conditions, the King brothers made it round in an impressive one hour 59 minutes.

They also gave some of the other 66 walkers, who took part in the race, an impromptu lesson in race walking techniques prior to the off.

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“They inspired everyone and some of the younger competitors really set off at a pace when it was time to go,” said Mrs Eckstein, who presented the winners with walking sticks.

Teenagers Hamish Eckstein and Tom Crossley also impressed with their time of three hours and seven minutes.

Eight-year-old Alex Thomson completed the course in three hours 59 minutes.