NINETY-FIVE people completed the Harwich Parkrun on Saturday - the highest number since mid-November.

Event organisers decided to use a different route this week, utilising the two-lap course that involves climbing from the seafront into the park twice.

Early 2016 was the last time this route was used and it proved a much tougher option than the regular one-lap course, which goes right to the west end of the seafront.

Again, it was visitors to the area who were the first two finishers.

It was Doug McGillivray’s third visit - he last ran at Harwich in October 2016, when he was first finisher in 18 minutes and 51 seconds.

This time, he was again first in a personal best (PB) time of 17m 55s.

He was one of only five to achieve a PB.

In second was Alex Hosking, of Ipswich JAFFA, in 18m 45s.

It was his second time at Harwich.

The last time he won the event in 17m 45s, so the tougher course would appear to have taken its toll.

Harwich Runners took third and fourth places, with Tim Brand clocking 19m 32s and Archie Barrington 19m 35s.

Club members filled ten of the first 11 female finish positions, with the top three ladies being Claudine Benstead (21m 17s, first lady and eighth finisher overall), Nicola Flatt (23m 58s) and Alison Evans (24m 24s).

Other members of Harwich Runners travelled out of town to take part in a Parkrun.

Amos Seddon visited the Clacton run for the sixth time, recording 25m 33s. Hannah Jarvis (26m 44s), Victoria McCrea (26m 38s) and Anna Anderson (31m 30s) chose the Colchester event.

Two other members joined 325 runners at the Wolverhampton Parkrun.

Graeme Knott managed 20m 40s and Kate Hodgkiss 24m 12s.

Sixty-two people started their Christmas Day with a Parkrun at Harwich.

This was the highest Christmas Day attendance since the event started in the town.

Competitors were greeted with a strong headwind on the way out which offered a helping hand on the way back.

First back was former Harwich Runner Ian Duggan, now a member of the Felixstowe club and race organiser of the Kesgrave Parkrun.

His time of 20m 9s was a Harwich Parkrun PB.

The only other person to achieve a PB was his wife, Helen, who recorded 24m 44s and finished third lady.

Second finisher and first lady was Claudine Benstead, in 21m 37s - her fourth consecutive time of being female first finisher.

Third place went to Benjamin Ficken, of Bentley RC, in 21m 46s.

The second lady, in her first run at Harwich, was Clare Barstow, of Framlingham Flyers, in 23m 59s.

In total, four people were running for the first time at Harwich and of those two were taking part in their first-ever Parkrun.

Many of those in attendance on Christmas Day were in fancy dress, adding to the festive spirit.

This weekend there is the usual Saturday Parkrun at 9am, plus an extra one on New Year’s Day, starting earlier at 8.30am to enable people to go on and take part in the many others events taking place during the day.