Gary strikes county gold at Halstead

GARY Chandler scooped the Essex County marathon title on his way to second spot overall at the 13th annual Halstead Marathon staged on a wet Sunday morning.

By Carl Marston

GARY Chandler scooped the Essex County marathon title on his way to second spot overall at the 13th annual Halstead Marathon staged on a wet Sunday morning.

Chandler was just one of a number of Springfield Striders who lifted county medals over the rural 26.2-mile course, which looped around Pebmarsh and Twinstead.

There was no stopping Nick Hodges of the Dorking & Mole Valley club. He clinched victory by more than three minutes in a swift time of 2hrs 38mins 49secs.

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But Chandler continued his fine form of recent weeks to take second in 2.42.05 and also take the Essex county gold medal. Just three weeks ago, he had clocked 2.40.46 at the London Marathon.

Paul Preston from Sudbury Joggers was the first finisher from an affiliated Suffolk club with a good 2.55.47 in eighth slot. His club-mate Andrew Buck was 24th with 3.07.26.

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Springfield bossed the Essex county awards. Gary Rayner triumphed in the over-50 category in 3.09.23, while his Striders club-mate Julian Catmull won county silver in the over-40 age bracket.

Although Springfield's men finished second behind Benfleet in the men's team stakes, their ladies went one better by winning the ladies' team crown.

June Cordwell secured a place in next year's elite ladies' field for the London Marathon by clocking 3.14.18 at Halstead.

This was an improvement of almost 45 minutes on her previous best, and was enough to earn her third place overall and second in the Essex Championships.

Striders club-mate Tracey Ranson took the county bronze medal with an evenly-paced run of 3.22.42, and Zoe Dovaston completed the successful team with 3.51.41.

Shelia Macaulay, also of Springfield, banished the disappointment of her London performance from last month with a PB by over 12 minutes.

Fiona Oakes, from Vegan Runners, was a comfortable winner of the ladies' race. She was more than 10 minutes clear of runner-up Kim Masson in 2.58.22.

Witham Running Club had three members in action. Despite only arriving at the start as the gun sounded, and having to spend the first mile pinning on his race number, Kevin Harper still managed a PB of 3.05.25.

Debs Cutler, also of Witham RC, was timed at 4.46.10, while club-mate Penny Clarke sliced 18 minutes off her London landmark with 5.07.34.

Halstead Marathon results

Top 10 men: 1 N Hodges (Dorking & Mole Valley) 2.38.49; 2 G Chandler (Springfield Striders) 2.42.05; 3 N Montague (Unattached) 2.48.26; 4 D Maisey (Vale of Aylesbury) 2.49.31; 5 P Cooper (Thrift Green Trotters) 2.52.46; 6 R Taylor (Un) 2.52.47; 7 P Lewis (Long Eaton RC) 2.54.41; 8 P Preston (Sudbury Joggers) 2.55.47; 9 C Dixon (Un) 2.56.37; 10 J Manlow (Un) 2.56.49.

Other leading local affiliated club runners: 21 K Harper (Witham) 3.05.25; 24 A Buck (Sudbury) 3.07.26; 31 G Rayner (Srpingfield) 3.09.23; 36 B Langley (Halstead RR) 3.11.24; 54 J Catmull (Springfield) 3.20.31; 63 C Gillibrand (Sudbury) 3.24.37; 88 M Biggin (Halstead RR) 3.30.44; 93 M Causey (Haverhill RC) 3.32.37; 98 D Moxon (Springfield) 3.34.06; 102 I Longland (Haverhill) 3.35.16; 105 T Rivers (Halstead RR) 3.36.19; 106 A Wilmot (Halstead RR) 3.36.20; 116 D Dockerill (Haverhill) 3.39.11; 129 D Wilson (Halstead RR) 3.42.41; 143 R Keevil (Brandon Fern Hoppers) 3.46.41.

Top five ladies: 1 F Oakes (Vegan Runners) 2.58.22; 2 K Masson (Cambridge & Coleridge) 3.08.47; 3 J Cordwell (Springfield) 3.14.18; 4 C Kerr (Ware Joggers) 3.18.18; 5 E Phipps (Un) 3.19.08. Also: 6 T Ranson (Springfield) 3.22.42; 15 M Dowell (Colchester Harriers RC) 3.33.31; 30 J Dockerill (Haverhill) 3.50.18; 33 Z Dovaston (Springfield) 3.51.41; 48 S Macaulay (Springfield) 4.14.29.

Male veterans, over-40: N Clark (Larkfield AC) 2.59.47. Over-45: Dixon. Over-50: G Sheppard (North Norfolk Beach Runners) 3.00.41. Over-55: C Skerratt (Biggleswade AC) 3.03.22. Over-60: Rivers. Over-65: D Kay (100 Marathon Club) 4.00.00.

Female veterans, over-35: L-J Barry (Royston) 3.25.21. Over-40: Kerr. Over-45: R Baker (Stadium Runners) 3.31.35. Over-50: P White (Un) 3.40.52.

Teams, men: Benfleet, ladies: Springfield (Cordwell, Ranson, Dovaston).

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