CLASSY cyclists took advantage of the good ground conditions at Friday Woods to emphatically retain the Markam Cup for the 16th consecutive time, on Boxing Day.

Teenager Cameron Hurst made it a hat-trick of wins with another skilful display of pedal power.

Leading from start to finish over the three-lap course and covering the ground with ease, he claimed a dominant victory to equal the course record he set last year of 16 minutes 39 seconds.

Andy Hurst (17m 56s) was a superb second whilst the young talented Daniel Hall (18m 13s) came an impressive third.

Completing the cyclists' team of six was Ollie Parker (18m 36s), Keith Randall (18m 39s) and Connor Price (18m 47s).

For the runners, excellent performances came from 17-year-old Ermeas Afewerki (22m 25s), Danny Millward (23m 14s), Steve Mason (24m 36s), Thomas Palmer (24m 38s), Paul Spowage (24m 41s) and Ollie Gifford (24m 41s).

The first woman home in the Ladies two-lap race was cyclist Sarah Thomas, who won the event last year.

She showed true grit and determination to finish in a time of 16m 58s.

There were excellent performances from runner Aiko Henington (18m 18s) with consistent runner Denise Morley third (18m 29s) followed by Debbie Cattermole (19m 04s), Lynn Higgs (19m 50s) and Laura Hillyard (20m 02s).

In the under-15 one-lap race for the Neal Pear’s Trophy, Oliver Wellsted stormed to victory in the excellent time of 7m 17s closely followed by Jack Letch (7m 26s), with two young women - Zoe Swainston (9m 15s) and Lizzie Wellsted (9m 17s) producing a closely-fought finish.

The under-13 short two-lap race was once again a triumph for the cyclists with George Collins first in a time of 5m 59s followed by Isaac Starmer (6m 26s) and Jamie Derrick (6m 39s).

First runner and girl to finish was Ellie Thompson in 8m 07s, supported by sister Lucy Thompson (8m 08s) and Elsa Styles (8m 49s).

Prizes were presented by Mayor Peter Chillingworth, who won this race three times in the 1960s.

He said he was impressed with the turnout and happy that this traditional event was continuing.

Race organiser John Hyland thanked all the officials and helpers from Colchester Rovers, Colchester Harriers and Great Bentley who helped make the event a success.

A special mention was given to Major Gurung whose support in enabling this traditional Boxing Day meeting to occur in Friday Woods was greatly appreciated by all concerned.