The Essex 20 is excellent preparation for runners training for London or another spring marathon. The race is a challenging 3 lap course with a mile long testing hill half way through each lap. The weather was more suited for cross country rather than road running with torrential rain and strong headwinds.
The race is also part of the Essex Road Running Championships with county medals awarded to the first 3 affiliated runners in male and female individual age categories as well as teams. Bob Langley took top honours bringing home the gold medal in the M60 category in 2.33.09 with club mate Andy Wilmot claiming silver in the M70 in 3.12.13 (photo of Bob Langley by Nicole Smith).
Despite the horrendous conditions there were a number of personal bests for the Road Runners with some racing over the distance for the first time. Richard Candler managed to knock 3 minutes off his personal best completing his second 20 mile race in consecutive weeks finishing in 2.18.33. The men then followed in relatively close succession with Andy Owen 2.26.13 (pb), Tom Porter 2.29.04 (pb), Jon Buist 2.35.20, Dan Hollinshead 2.36.19 (pb) and Steve May 2.40.16 (pb). Mike Grealy made his return to the roads finishing in 3.02.39.
Laura Marfleet was in sync with training partner Andy Wilmot finishing in 3.12.13 (pb) which bodes well for her debut at London next month.
Sarah Frost and Sara Burnham provided each other with perfect company and motivation, with Frost finishing mere seconds ahead in 3.28.05 and Burnham in 3.28.20 both also achieving personal bests.
Elsewhere, Dan Smith continued his pursuit of 100 Marathon Club membership, completing the Mill Hill Marathon in 5 hours and 41 minutes.
Maurice Young also continued his duathlon season competing in the Oulton Park Sprint held on the motor racing circuit in Cheshire. Young finished the 4.13k run, 21.5k bike and 4.13k run in 2.07.59, faster than last year.