Cyclists see off runners at Boxing Day event in Colchester


cyclists - Credit: Archant

Determination and desire were in evidence when a record number of competitors tackled the tough four-mile mud-covered course in Colchester’s Friday Woods in the 68th annual Boxing Day Runners v Cyclists event for the Markham Cup.

For the 12th successive occasion the cyclists triumphed retaining the trophy winning 34 points to the Runners 44 (the lowest score wins), the closest that it has been for many years.

The individual winner was Billy Joe Whenman who made it a double having previously won last year.

The 24-year-old former Under-23 National Cycle Cross bronze medal winner manoeuvred his bike through the mud with amazing ease over the three laps of the 1.3 mile course to power home in 20.49mins, a new course record.

He had over a minute to spare on his team colleagues with superb packing from former winners Dominic Schils, 2nd, 22.49, Ben Paton, 3rd, 23.57. Completing the team were Tom Parker 8th, 24.25; Ivan Burch 9th, 24.30; Greg Andrews 11th, 25.14.

For the Runners, who put up a great show, John Fryer produced a great run to come 4th, 24.04; Alan Smalls 5th, 24.05; Joe Alexander 6th, 24.06; Robert Malseed 7th, 24.18; William Deasy 10th, 24.45; Paul Spowage 12th, 25.29.

Neil Pears competed his 57th consecutive Boxing Day race, quite an achievement.

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In the two-lap Ladies race, top vet Margaret Deasy, 19.10mins, showed mental toughness to win the Arthur Withers Shield for the second successive occasion.

She was closely followed by a very fit Lynn Higgs in 19.32 with Emma Burgess 3rd, 20.23; 4th was Sam Westlake, 21.20; 5th Andrea James, 21.17; 6th Julia Gardiner, 22.00.

First cyclist lady home was Lisa Osborne, 27.10. In the one-lap Junior Under-15 race, James Jackson showed what a fine prospect he is winning in 7.49mins followed by fine efforts by Bob Longstaff, 2nd, 10.17; Max Williams 3rd, 10.20; Jess Riches, 4th, 10.22; Mary-Ann Deasy, 5th, 10.25; Aidan Cahill, 6th, 10.41. History was made when a 1 mile event for Under-13’s was staged for the first time and it turned out to be an enjoyable occasion for those that took part.

The top six finishers were Oliver Partner, 1st, 7.30mins; Oliver Gardiner, 2nd, 8.33; Milly Presland, 3rd, 8.35; Aidan Seaward, 4th, 8.56; Albert McKay, 5th, 9.07; Louie Sweetson, 6th, 9.29.