HARWICH Runners were out in force for the first running of the Great East Run, in Ipswich.

A total revamp of the previous Ipswich half-marathon saw the course start and finish at the football ground, taking in a loop of the town centre and waterfront before heading out to the village of Freston and back.

Stephen Peck was running just his third half-marathon and, in the midst of marathon training, he produced an incredible performance.

His time of one hour, 18 minutes and 15 seconds placed him ninth overall and third in his age group (MV40).

As well as it being a big new personal best by over three minutes, it also sees Peck closing in on the MV40 club record held by Brian Herrington.

On a tough day for running, Simon Day did well to post 1h 26m 6s - only a couple of weeks after his latest ironman effort.

There were new personal bests for Anne Herbert, who improved by over four minutes to 2h 1m 14s, and Helen Benham, who crossed the finish line in 2h 4m 23s.

Making their debuts over this distance in a Harwich vest were Sarah Mortimer, who was just 21 seconds over the two-hour mark, and Ruth Benham, who completed the race in 2h 4m 42s.

Others who ran well were Nicola Flatt, who just ducked under two hours in 1h 58m, Ian Cannons (1h 46m) and Karen Martin, who ran her quickest time since Southend in 2015 (2h 4m).

With 2,416 finishers this year, there is ambition to grow this race to rival some of the other Great Runs thriving elsewhere in the country.

Two members of Harwich Runners also tackled the Pleshey half-marathon, with Kieran Callaghan and Tracey George both performing well in the hot conditions.

At the local Parkrun, the first lady finisher was once again Harwich Runner Claudine Benstead.

It was her 24th appearance and her 17th win.

Her time of 21m 4s placed her 12th fastest overall.

The fastest club member was once again 16-year-old Archie Barrington, in a new personal best time of 19m 32s.

It was his second PB in two weeks.

Mike Ball set his second PB in two weeks, managing 23m 37s.

For Christina Pretty, it was her second PB in three weeks (28m 30s), while husband Kim Pretty went one better and achieved a third PB in three weeks (24m 28s).

It was also three in three for Russell Mowle (27m 8s).

Tahnee Gueizer knocked 14 seconds off her best to record 25m 18s.

It was her third PB in four appearances.

The club member with currently the best run of PBs is Kelly Peck.

It was her fifth PB in five runs - an improvement of 2m 29s over those five runs - and saw her finish in a new best of 29m 17s.

There was also a PB for Antony Westgate (23m 33s), his quickest since May 2016.

A total of 34 club members ran out of the 93 who finished.

The fastest finisher was Sam Gardiner, of Colchester and Tendring, in 18m 30s.