Muir the merrier as he claims third spot

ILFORD AC athletes were out in force on a busy weekend of athletics action.

ILFORD AC athletes were out in force on a busy weekend of athletics action.

Malcolm Muir (pictured right) led the troops from the front with an excellent third place in the Essex 20-mile Road Championships at Great Bromley near Colchester on Sunday.

The Ilford man shrewdly bided his time to overhaul Billericay's Crispian Bloomfield with just two miles to go to romp home in an excellent time of one hour 53 minutes 58 seconds.

A fast time of 1:46.00 by the winner, James Connor of Kent AC, was followed by Springfield Striders' Paul Molyneux around one minute later.

As Connor is a non-Essex qualifier, it meant Molyneux retained the trophy he won last year with Muir scooping the county silver.

Ilford's Neil Crisp and Ben Jones, in his first outing over the distance, supported well and were unlucky to narrowly miss out on the team bronze with both of them completing the course in under 2:15.00.

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The injured Steve Parker finished in under 2:37.00, while Rohan Alexander, who found the going tough from mile 17 onwards, completed the Ilford finishers in under three hours.

In the women's race, Bree Nordin ran a fine race to finish in less than 2:26.00, which gave her a county silver medal in her veteran category.

Mel Jones was delighted to finish in less than 2:44.00 and, together with Sally Gillam, both remain on pace for good times in next month's London Marathon.

Ilford's Pam Jones was asked to present a new County Trophy, named in her honour, to Essex series winners Benfleet Ladies at the post-race presentation.

MEANWHILE, Gary and Meredith Floate were amongst the 151 runners in the London Heathside five miles held in Finsbury Park.

On his return from injury, Gary finished in 35th place in 33.41, only six seconds slower than last year. Meredith was also happy with her run, finishing 139th in 50.25.

FURTHER afield, Kevin Newell was one of the 11,000 runners to take part in the Bath Half-Marathon. Newell's time of 1.22.23 placed him in 169th place overall.

ILFORD'S golden oldie John Batchelor returned to competitive action, finishing 55th in a field of 206 in the Serpentine 5k.

In Batchelor's first race since he tore a hamstring in the World Masters 5,000m in August, he yielded a time of 20.12 which made him the top competitor in the M60/65 category.

He followed this with a trip to Edinburgh, where he competed in the Kings Buildings Five-Mile Road Race, an event he first organised by himself in 1970.

In perfect windless conditions, Batchelor completed the course in 32:31 to place as the first M65, and was 65th overall.

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