NEARLY 600 runners turned out for good running conditions on a cold but beautifully sunny morning for this year’s ever-popular Billericay Striders 10k road race.

Many of the county’s elite athletes took part, and were joined by fun runners alike.

With defending men’s champion and course record holder Paul Whittaker unable to compete due to injury, first place was wide open.

But it was confidently taken by Ryan Prout of Chelmsford AC, with an impressive 32.42.

Prout was also the lucky recipient of a £150 cash prize and a bottle of champagne.

In second place - for the second year running - was Owen Cima of Thrift Green Trotters (33.45) and just behind in third place was Greg Falconer (33.58).

It was all change for the women’s top three this year in a closely fought contest, with Lindsey Colman of Southend on Sea AC (40.04) storming home to take both first prize overall and first female vet 35.

Southend Standard:

Female stars - Winner Lindsey Colman (centre) with second placed Kate Mills (left) and third placed Hayley Pegg (right)

In second place was Kate Mills of Springfield Striders RC (40.29), also winning the female vet 45 category, and in third was Hayley Pegg of Chelmsford AC (41:17).

The male Waitrose youth award for young runners under 21 years old was won by Christian Gray of Basildon AC (39.05) and the female award was won by Hannah Kane of East Essex Triathlon (52.19) for the second year in a row.

Veterans continued to defy their age with outstanding performances by Matibini Matibini (M+40) for the second year in a row, Andy Bourne (M+50), Martin Atkinson (M+60) and John McAvoy (M+70) also for the second year in a row.

Other veteran females putting in excellent performances were Cheryl McDonald (F+55) and Val Taylor (F+65).

And a club spokesman was delighted by the smooth running of the event.

“The club has already been overwhelmed with messages of thanks and compliments on social media about the excellent organisation of the race and the support given throughout by the marshals,” said the spokesman.

“Race Director Dave Sweet was full of praise for the Billericay Striders Running Club members who made the event possible.”

>The full results from the Billericay 10k, can be found at the race website - striders10k.billericaystriders.com. The event also raised money for Aspire who help people with spinal injuries.