Nordin is veteran champion

OVER 700 runners toed the line at the Essex Half Marathon Championships at Great Bentley near Clacton-on-Sea on Sunday, where Ilford AC s Robin McNelis impressed. He made the most of a flat and scenic course to lead the club home in a time of one hour 20

OVER 700 runners toed the line at the Essex Half Marathon Championships at Great Bentley near Clacton-on-Sea on Sunday, where Ilford AC's Robin McNelis impressed.

He made the most of a flat and scenic course to lead the club home in a time of one hour 20 minutes and four seconds for 25th place.

The Ilford man was more than happy with his performance, which was his second fastest ever over the distance, and reckons he is on course for a 2:50 marathon clocking later this year.

The dependable Neil Crisp followed him home in 1:24.45 (51st), with Abdi Berleen 1:28.18 (89th) completing the men's scoring squad while Chris Togwell (1:31.17, 147th) and Iain Burdin (1:31.49, 149th) also had excellent runs in a race dominated by Billericay's Crispian Bloomfield, who stormed home in a fast 1:08.53 from Paul Molyneux of Springfield (1:09.46).


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In the women's race, Bree Nordin was the first over-50 home overall in a time of 1:31.31 which also earned her the Essex over-45 silver while Dianne Crisp broke her PB with an excellent 1:40.11 and Nicola Hopkinson was not far behind in 1:43.13.

Many of the Cricklefield's club used the race as marathon preparation and others who performed well were Steve Parker (1:34.29, 183rd), Terry Knightley (1:38.01, 241st), Tony Partridge (1:37.52), Sally Gillam (1:50.33), Vanessa Burns (1:53.09), Carol Muir (2:07.19) and Steve Port (2:40.21).

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At the Essex Cross Country Relay Championships, meanwhile, Malcolm Muir led the Ilford A team off, coming home in a brilliant fourth place (16.40), but Peter Clinch (18.47), still struggling for form, was unable to maintain this position and dropped two places to hand over to Iain Macdonald on leg three.

The under-20 runner, still gaining experience in this type of event, ran well to come home in seventh in 19.05 before handing over to Neil Crisp (19.45), who maintained his position before handing over to anchor man Matt Maple for leg five.

Maple, however, was unhappy with his run, bringing Ilford home 10th out of 24 competing teams.

The men's B squad enjoyed an eventful race, with Ben Jones, Chris Togwell, Ray Rawlinson, Andy Catton and Peter Whiting making up a scratch team.

The women's squad were led off by Bree Nordin (22.52), followed by a strong run from Mel Jones (23.11) while Dianne Crisp (23.42) took over on the third leg before handing over to Nicola Hopkinson (24.02) to bring the team home in 10th position.

For the B squad, Vanessa Burns (28.59) handed over to Karen Sindall (25.16), who picked up a few places before tagging Pam Jones (28.44) on the third leg.

Mel Jones (23.54) doubled up to run again on leg four, clocking a time only 30 seconds down on her first effort.

Muir also posted a fine run in the Serpentine 5K, finishing third in 15.55, 22 seconds faster than his best last year.

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