Ilford AC athletes finish second in historic Essex Way race

Ilford AC runners at the finish line, Harwich lighthouse.

Ilford AC runners at the finish line, Harwich Lighthouse. - Credit: Ilford AC

After a year's break for Covid, Ilford Athletics Club had 10 runners flying its flag in the iconic 32nd running of The Essex Way.  

This is one of the county’s truly inspirational events, with 52 teams from clubs all over the county and beyond racing a 10-leg relay on the ancient trails and footpaths which make up the 82 miles of the historic Essex Way running from Epping Station to Harwich Old Lighthouse.

The route takes runners across ploughed fields, through large crops, over many a stile and past plenty of overgrown bushes and nettles.  

Gary Coombes and Sharon Honey duly set off from Epping Station at 8am on Sunday morning to represent Ilford on leg one, finishing 7.5 miles later at Chipping Ongar. 

Leg two saw Stevie Philcox run the 9.5 miles to Good Easter, before Danny Holeyman and Julian Fabian ran 9.5 miles to Little Leighs in leg three. 

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Dennis Briggs took over for leg four where he ran 10.1 miles to Cressing Church as leg five saw Alison Sale run the 9.4 miles to Great Tey - despite getting caught in traffic and having to set 10 minutes late.

Leg six had both Peter Clinch and Mandy Reid set off to West Bergholt before Malcolm Muir completed 11.2 miles to Dedham for leg seven and Billy Gren then ran eight miles to Bradfield for leg eight. 

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Leg nine saw Hannah Sheikh, appearing for the first time in the event, take on the six miles to Ramsey. 

The final leg had Primila Monroe, another debutant of the event, take on the 5.5 miles to Harwich Lighthouse. 

Ilford AC runners and volunteers enjoying fish and chips

Ilford AC runners and volunteers enjoying fish and chips - Credit: Ilford AC

Of the 52 teams entered, Ilford AC were very proud to finish in second place in the vets category. 

The Orion Harriers Forest 5 was held on Saturday over a five-mile challenging lap on the trails around Epping Forest at Chingford.  

Leading the way for the Ilford trio taking part was Stephen Philcox, who finished in fifth place and - for the third time in the three match series - claimed the top V50 prize in a time of 30:52. 

Stephen Philcox finished fifth in the Orion Harriers Forest 5 race

Stephen Philcox finished fifth in the Orion Harriers Forest 5 race - Credit: Ilford AC

Breege Nordin once again captured W60 top spot, finishing in 30th place with a time of 38:43, and Julia Galea had a great run finishing in 73rd place in a time of 48:52. 

In preparation for this year's London Marathon, Ilford AC athlete Amin Koikai travelled down to Southampton to race a 10k. 

In a field of over 1100 runners, Amin finished in fifth place and won the M50 title in an incredible time of 35:44.

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