COLCHESTER Harriers’ Ultra-marathon specialist Allen Smalls rose to the challenge once again at the UTS Snowdonia 100km.

The 53-year-old showed his remarkable staying power at one of the UK’s toughest trail events.

Featuring more than 23,000 feet of climbing, the 100km course along technical mountain trails offers plenty of challenges.

However, Smalls was equal to them all completing the race in a remarkable time of 21 hours and 41 minutes to finish 23rd overall out of 181 and first veteran 50 in a competitive field of more than 200 top trail runners.

He was awarded a unique red dragon trophy for being the first over 50-year-old.

The UTS is the only race in the UK which is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour circuit, which includes the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and the Western States 100, and so attracts many top ultra runners.

As well as covering 100km of technical mountain trails the race also has more than 6,700m of climb, which includes running up Mount Snowden itself twice.

All runners have to carry mandatory kit such as food, drink and emergency clothing, adding to their burden.

Whilst the 100km race was taking place, there was also a 50km race with more than 3,300m of climb.

Harriers' Chris Sellens had an outstanding run on this course finishing sixth out of 273 runners in a time of seven hours and 37 minutes.

Harriers' Paul Mingay continues to climb the heights of the British Masters rankings.

The 64-year-old Kelvedon-based runner clocked 35:13 at the Kew Gardens 10k to finish second in his age group but win the overall age-graded trophy.

Kevin Stevens made the journey up to Newcastle to compete in the Great North Run, one of the UK’s iconic road races, completing the course in a time of 1:34:57.

On the track Ben Felton took gold in a close race at Chelmsford Athletics Stadium, winning the Essex 10,000m championship in a time of 33:07.

Only 12 seconds split the top three, with Colin Ridley running 38:27 to take silver in the M50 category.

Back on the trails a trio of Harriers made the top ten in the Fyfield 10k Trail race, with Simon Smith placing fourth in 46:43, Justine Sheekey fifth (and first female) in 46:55 and Dan Wilkinson eighth in 48:53.

In parkrun action, Jon Nears was first home at Colchester Castle in 18:05 with Jason Gunn making it a Harriers double in the club’s home town by finishing first at Highwoods in 19:52.

Jack McGuire carried on the good work as he finished first at Mersea in 18:31 with club-mate Heidi Hogan-Steele (along with dog, Milo) finishing second female in 20:10.

Andrew Jobling completed the local sweep by taking the honours at Maldon with a time of 18:21.

Colin Ridley ran 17:43 at Great Cornard to finish second with Jerry Walder not far behind in fifth in 19:08 whilst Austen Mitchell clocked 19:59 at Lingwood near Norwich.