THE Harwich 5k handicap series got under way with 140 runners tackling the promenade-based course.

A slight headwind on the way out meant a fast finish.

The overall winner is the runner who beats their predicted time by the biggest margin and, on this occasion, that accolade went to Harwich’s Dale Bridges, followed by club-mates Sarah Roxby-Clarke and Myles Doran.

The fastest runner on the night was Sudbury’s Kieran Hayles, who clocked an impressive 17 minutes and six seconds.

The fastest lady was Laura Shewbridge, of Colchester, in 18m 51s.

Fifty-seven runners were from host club Harwich, with several personal best times being set.

Archie Barrington improved by six seconds to 19m 15s, while Francis Mills chipped two seconds off his best to post 20m 59s.

There were bigger improvements for Helen Benham, who lowered her time to 25m 36s, Michael Turner (22m 20), Valentina Burley (26m 26s) and Paul Brown (22m 49s).

There were also a few runners tackling the handicap series for the first time, although many had already tested themselves on the similar Parkrun course.

Of those, Stephen Peck (18m 4s) was the quickest Harwich runner overall and was faster than his Parkrun best.

Other Parkrun regulars going well were Ellie Haynes, who cracked 23 minutes for the first time (22m 45s), Nicola Flatt (23m 41s) and Ken Dalby (27m 41s). Also making their series debuts were Chris Elliott, Simon Garner, James Taylor and there was a promising opener from Mark Higgs (20m 54s).

In the accompanying junior run, 18 youngsters took on the one-mile course. There was cause for celebration in the Newman household as Charlie won the race, followed by sister Eleanor in second.

Both clocked exactly the same time of 8m 18s and Eleanor was also the fastest girl on the night.

The fastest boy was Eddison Barker, in a rapid 7m 38s, and there were also good runs from Maisy and Annabel Brookes, Alexandria Burls and Eddie Cannons.

At the second race of the Maldon 5k series, Graeme Knott showed he is in good form with a time of 17m 20s to take fourth while Will Roxby-Clarke managed 20m 44s, just two seconds short of his personal best (PB).

Saturday’s Harwich Parkrun results were almost a repeat of the previous week. Once again, Graeme Knott was first back to the bandstand, pushing son Leo, in 18m 24s.

Leo’s mum, Kate Hodgkiss, was again first lady finisher in a new Parkrun PB of 20m 16s.

Simon Harrison had his fastest run since May last year to place second in 18m 45s.

Harwich Runners had eight members in the fastest finishing 11 and filled all of the first eight female positions.

Following Hodgkiss for second and third places were Ellie Haynes in a new PB time of 22m 41s and Nicola Flatt once again filled a top-three place in 23m 32s. Of the 94 people taking part, 33 were club members, but it was the junior members who set the new personal bests.

Thirteen-year-olds Michael Knowles and Alexandra McCreadie both set new bests of 22m 54s and 23m 16s respectively.

Parkrun regular Archie Barrington finished fifth overall, close to his best in 20m 4s.

A name to watch out for in the future must be eight-year-old Jamie Carter, running in his twelfth Harwich Parkrun.

He reduced his best by a massive 30 seconds to record 23m 10s - a time many of the 80-odd runners finishing behind him would love to achieve.

Meanwhile, there were a handful of Harwich Runners among the 800 finishers at the Colchester 10km.

There were new personal bests for Kieran Callaghan, who posted 48m 33s, and Jez Downs (54m 12s).

Newcomer James Taylor made a promising 10km debut in a Harwich shirt with 49m 51s and there was an age category win (FV55) for Claudine Benstead, who crossed the finish line in 44m 2s.