HARWICH Runners returned to 53-12 cross-country action on Sunday.

The season got underway with the first five-mile race organised by Springfield Striders.

Following the disappointment of relegation last season, Harwich took their place in Pool B and will be looking for an instant return to the higher league.

It started well, with 33 runners turning out to support their cause at the first race. Rob Reason was fourth overall, with Steve Cooper hot on his heels in fifth.

Mark Lloyd had a strong run to finish 21st and Simon Day continued his good form in 38th.

Completing the scoring six for Harwich were Gary Parker and, going well in his first senior race, Archie Barrington.

The men were clear winners in Pool B, with almost half the number of points of second-placed Halstead.

Chris Elliott was the only male debutant, while others who ran well were Mark Higgs, recording his best placing, Chris Payne and Will Roxby-Clarke.

The ladies' race was a lot closer, with Harwich and Tiptree ending level on points.

The black and white vests won on countback, with the three scoring ladies all finishing in the top 30.

Kate Hodgkiss finished seventh, with Claudine Benstead and Madeline Lewis completing a strong trio.

Nicola Flatt continued her recent good form in her first cross-country race while there was also a strong performance from Ellie Haynes.

The combined scores give Harwich an early lead in Pool B.

The next race in the series is this Sunday, hosted by Harwich at Ramsey.

In the junior race, run over a one-mile distance, Harwich were well represented. In the MU15 category, Michael Knowles was eighth and Harwich’s highest-placed finisher overall in 19th.

Eddison Barker was in the top ten in the MU13 group.

Jamie Carter had an impressive run, sixth in the MU11 category and 40th overall, and he was the quickest runner of all those in school year four.

Samuel Barstow, Gabe Hammond and Branden Howle also ran well.

Daisy Ward was seventh in the FU13 group, with Isabella McCreadie also going well, while there was an impressive debut for Jemima Gardner in the FU11 category.

She was ranked seventh but was the quickest school year four girl running.

There was also a debut for Eryn Lewis in the same age group.

Elsewhere, Stuart Weaver took eighth place in the Bury St Edmonds marathon in an impressive three hours and 15 minutes.

Kieran Callaghan returned home to Southern Ireland to compete in the Dublin Marathon, recording a time of 5h 14m 26s.