COLCHESTER Harriers stalwart Allen Smalls became the last-ever winner of the gruelling Picnic marathon - and then admitted it was the toughest event he has ever experienced.

The international marathon runner claimed a superb victory at the final running of the event in Box Hill, Surrey, clocking a time of four hours 37 minutes in blistering heat.

Smalls seized the gauntlet at 25 miles when the leader was forced to stop with cramp, striding on to take six minutes off him in the last miles and claim victory.

The 50-year-old, who has a world bronze medal for the 100 kilometre distance, was in fine form in what is recognised as the ultimate marathon challenge.

The four-lap off road event includes more than 7,000 feet of climb.

Smalls' Harriers team-mate Sean Ketteridge also performed extremely well, finishing sixth in 5h 00m 01s.

The Stowmarket Friday 5 saw Harriers' Ermeas Aferwerki finish a good fifth overall and first under-20 runner, in 29m 17s.

Paul Preston continued his fine form after coming home 17th in 29m 41s and was also first veteran over 45.

Just behind Preston in 18th was Gavin Scanlon in 29m 44s while Robbie Smith was pleased with his 30m 43s.

Aiko Hennington was third last and first veteran 40 in 31m 15s while Ellie Cumner was second lady over-35, in 35m 34s.

Harriers duo Melissa Dowell and Cheryl Appleby took on the severe challenge of the Outlaw half Iron man in Holkham, Norfolk.

Dowell was eighth lady in an amazing 5h 14m, while distance expert Appleby passed the tape in 6h 55m.

Harriers' Dave Allworthy (17m 45s) and Ziggy Lampon (18m 26s) were the first two men home, at the Mersea park run.

Smalls was third in 18m 53s while Chris Manby did well in 20m 15s, for sixth spot.

Rebecca Cooke (20m 57s) was first lady followed by second-placed Cheryl Appleby (23m 25s).

Jackie McLlannon, who ran an extra lap accidentally, was still fifth lady in 25m 20s.

The Colchester Castle park run was on the slow course but Helen Taczynski ran a very swift 20m 20s to become the ladies' winner.

Max Caulfield was runner-up in the men's category in 18m 12s, with Richard Flutter sixth in 19m 38s.

Wayne Cook won the Clare Castle park run in 18m 33s and was also joint first in the Great Barrow multi terrain half marathon.