Gallery: Colchester Half-Marathon victories for Sarah Stradling and Blair McWhirter

The eventual top three are already to the fore at the start of the Colchester Half-Marathon. From le

The eventual top three are already to the fore at the start of the Colchester Half-Marathon. From left: Chelmsford's David Fewell (No. 734) finished third, Colchester's Adrian Mussett (No. 1559) was second and Blair McWhirter (No. 1473) won the race - Credit: Archant

Blair McWhirter continued his winning streak by leading home a field of more than 1,600 runners at the annual Colchester Half-Marathon, held from Colchester United FC’s Weston Homes Community Stadium on a sunny Sunday morning.

In a line: Chris Chandler (No. 380), Kate Williamson (No. 2376) and fancy dress runner Dale Weaver (

In a line: Chris Chandler (No. 380), Kate Williamson (No. 2376) and fancy dress runner Dale Weaver (No. 2299) - Credit: Archant

And there was a victory in the ladies’ race for Sarah Stradling.

Runners soaking up the sun in the early stages include Frances Brook (No. 265) and Chris Rayner (No.

Runners soaking up the sun in the early stages include Frances Brook (No. 265) and Chris Rayner (No. 1807) - Credit: Archant

McWhirter, of Ilford AC, covered the 13.1–mile distance in 1hr 09mins 09secs to finish 61 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Adrian Mussett.

Great Bentley runners who completed the Colchester Half Marathon. Pictured left to right are Lesley

Great Bentley runners who completed the Colchester Half Marathon. Pictured left to right are Lesley Fuller, Martin Owen, Marion Simmons, Samantha Godden, Paul Blackwell and Frank Gardiner.Marion - Credit: Archant

New Zealander McWhirter had also triumphed at the previous weekend’s Essex 20-mile race, held at Langham, in a time of 1.48.27.

In fact, it has been a busy start to the year for McWhirter. The 31-year-old was second at the Great Bentley Half-Marathon, sixth at the Watford Half and also posted a personal best time of 1.08.32 at the Reading Half-Marathon, held at the start of this month.


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Flying veteran Mussett, from local club Colchester Harriers, was a fine second in 1.10.10.

Mussett has enjoyed an impressive record at his local event. He won in 2011 and again last year, and was second in 2012.

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David Fewell, of Chelmsford AC, finished third in 1.11.41, followed by Harwich Runners’ Robert Reason (1.14.53) and Springfield Striders’ Mark Newton (1.15.25).

The Harriers took the men’s team award, with Mussett backed up by sixth-placed Chris Sellens and seventh-placed Allen Smalls.

Meanwhile, Sarah Stradling, of the Harriers, celebrated a victory in the ladies’ race, stopping the clock at 1.20.32. Only 12 men registered quicker times.

Stradling also took the over-35 veteran prize, in addition to the senior title, and led the Harriers’ ladies’ team to victory in the process.

Also in the winning team were Marie Shirley, who celebrated a PB of 1.25.33 in fifth spot, and Laura Shewbridge (1.28.07).

Margaret Deasy, of Colchester & Tendring, was the leading veteran and second overall in 1.23.25, pipping Springfield’s Nikki Brockbank by 18 seconds. Deasy turned 50 last month, while Brockbank had been crowned Essex 20-mile champion just seven days earlier.

A total of 1,671 runners completed the distance in an event which was staged in association with Colchester Colne Round Table and St Helena Hospice.

Other Colchester Harriers in action included Mark Harrod, who ran a big PB of 1.22.06, Jon Nears (1.22.56), Darren McGill (PB of 1.23.59). James Waterson (1.27.07), Rachel Additon (1.31.05), Richard Millward (1.38.14) and Phil Wallis (1.44.00).

Arthur Whiston was first over-60 veteran in 1.32.40 and John Wheatley was the leading over-70 in 1.41.47.

Tiptree Road Runners posted some strong performances at the Colchester Half-Marathon, despite the warm conditions.

Kate Finch finished her first club half-marathon in 1.37.08, while Mark Shillaker improved his personal best to 1.40.41, and Lynne Baines set her second half-marathon best of the month in 2.00.16. Adam Richardson, recovering from a bad cold, finished in 1.44.10. Also for Tiptree, Tracy Russell made her club debut at the distance in 2.00.26, with Ian Linton finishing in 2.04.48, Paula Rothero 2.05.18, Jodie Reeder 2.11.54 and debutant Dameon Butcher 2.19.15.

A sea of blue vests lined up to run the fourth Colchester Half Marathon, with a huge party representing Great Bentley Running Club.

Fine half-marathon debuts were made by Amanda Prior 2.20.08, Marion Simmons 2.04.36, Belinda Palmer-Jones 2.23.57, Del Godden 1.56.47 and John Booty 1.36.06.

Simon Dale was the first Great Bentley RC runner home in 16th overall with 1.21.28, despite battling an achilles tendon injury.

He was followed by club-mates Kevin Stevens (PB of 1.18.30) and Chris Warren (1.28.30), and there were also PBs for Shawn Leek (1.39.11), Mark Crittenden (2.01.01), Anna Mlls (1.52.29) and Darren Horner (1.31.39).

Other Great Bentley finishers were Jamie Neill 1.37.43, Scott Crawley 1.39.11, Emma Filtness 1.40.50, Eileen Shadford 1.41.37, Charlie Keitch 1.41.37, Janine Simpson 1.44.19, Samantha Godden 1.46.41, Stephanie Horner 1.49.36, Michelle Parry 1.49.41, Martin Owen 1.49.52 and Karen Skene 1.50.42. Also in action were Andy Fuller 1.50.48, Michael James 1.51.15, Anna Mills 1.52.33, Miriam Mark 1.53.09, Lorna Sharp 1.54.15, Darren Willey 1.57.37, Natalie Stewart 1.57.47, Brian Telford 1.58.01, Paul Blackwell 1.58.59, Fiona Gosling 2.01.27, Emma Town 2.03.57, Stephanie Struth 2.04.38, Maison Urwin 2.04.38, Lesley Fuller 2.09.14, John McKay 2.10.27, Fiona Carter 2.09.48, Lindsay Horton 2.16.43, Sue McKay 2.42.14 and Ruth Metcalfe 2.53.57.

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