HARWICH Runners have secured promotion back to Pool A of the 53-12 Cross-Country League.

They did it at the first attempt and in the most commanding way possible, with five wins from five races leaving the rest of Pool B trailing.

With one race remaining, no-one can stop them finishing top.

Harwich took a slightly depleted team of 27 runners across to Hadleigh but still won Pool B comfortably.

Although the weather was kind, there was plenty of mud underfoot and the slightly long course also contained extra hills to challenge the runners.

In the ladies' race, Kate Hodgkiss finished a good fifth overall, with Madeline Lewis also securing a place inside the top 20.

Elspeth Knott completed the scoring trio for Harwich with the combined score safely ahead of nearest challengers Halstead.

There were strong supporting runs from Nicola Flatt and Helen Benham, which helped the team too.

In the men’s race, the first black and white vest across the finish line was Rob Reason, in sixth place, while Graeme Knott also managed a top-ten placing.

There was an impressive debut run for recent recruit Tim Brand, who finished ahead of young Archie Barrington.

Both will be pleased with a place inside the first 30 finishers.

With six men to score, Stuart Weaver and Charlie McCarthy completed the line-up with all home within the first 64 places.

Mark Rutter backed up the scoring team well and there was a good debut for Craig Robinson.

Other notable performances saw a welcome return to race action for Richard Newman and a strong run from Mike Ball, in his first race this season.

In the accompanying junior race, Michael Knowles was the highest-placed finisher for Harwich, taking 13th place overall and eighth in the MU15 category.

Alexander McCreadie had a good run in the same category.

The promising Eddison Barker had a terrific run to take 21st overall, with a good run also from Eddie Cannons in the same MU13 group.

Young Jamie Carter was again the highest-placed representative of year four, taking an impressive 43rd overall.

Charlie Richardson, Charlie Newman and Samuel Barstow also did well for Harwich in the MU11 age range.

Of the 54 girls that ran, six were from Harwich, with Daisy Ward placed highest.

There were also strong runs from Jemima Garner, Eleanor Newman, Isabella Ward, Molly Richardson and Eryn Lewis, all in the FU11 category.

Away from the Hadleigh mud, Valentina Burley travelled to Berkshire for the Wokingham half-marathon.

Hindered by a cold, she did really well to post one hour, 59 minutes and 30 seconds - just 20 seconds outside of her personal best.

David and Katherine Pleace took part in a charity ten-mile event at Dunton, near Basildon.

David completed the distance in 1h 47m, with Katherine posting two hours exactly.