COLCHESTER Harriers' men secured team silver medals at the Essex Cross-Country Championship.

The event was held over a tough, muddy 7.5-mile course at Great Notley Country Park.

With nine of the team pulling out on the day due to flu and another four with injuries, medals looked unlikely in the county's best quality race of the season.

However, Harriers' big squad pulled out some great running form, with Ramadam Osman holding onto eighth place to lead the six-man team home to silver medals, behind defending champions Woodford Green.

Backing up Osman to take home the silvers were Ed Mitchell (15th), Allan Smalls (20th), Chris Sellens (21st), Nath Filer (27th) and Daniel King (38th).

For King, it was his first-ever county medal away from the world of international race-walking.

Harriers' B team were 13th, only one point off being first B team home, with Colin Ridley 41st, Gavin Scanlon 64th, Tim Ballard 95th, Alex Sales 108th, Adam Garrish 110th and Chris Manby 118th.

Other men in green vests to finish were James Waterson (129th), David Hilson (166th), Pat Marsh (170th) and Keiron Callaghan (194th).

Men's team result: 1 Woodford Green 73, 2 Colchester Harriers 129, 3 Southend AC 166, 4 Springfield Striders 204, 5 Eton Manor 254, 6 Havering Mayesbrook 258, also 13 Colchester Harriers B 536.

Harriers' under-17 men had a day to remember, picking up team bronzes.

They were Max Caulfield (ninth), Ermeas Aferwerki (11th), Danny Millward (16th) and Joe Boden (28th).

Sam Shorter, in 30th place, just missed out on a team medal.

Under-17 men's result: 1 Orion 30, 2 Thurrock 35, 3 Colchester Harriers 64.

Phillipa Baxter was eighth in the under-20 ladies' race, while Hannah Watson had a superb run to finish seventh in the under-17 ladies.

Lilly Waterson was 22nd and Daisy Hilton 25th.

The under-20 men saw Joe Patterson 11th and Oscar Dawson 17th.

The senior ladies were again hit by injuries but the team battled well for seventh place, only missing fourth place by three points.

Andrea James had an excellent race in 28th, with Denise Morley 29th, Rebecca Cooke 33rd, Ella Neale 34th, Jo Marks 47th and Jenny Richardson 75th.

Ladies' result: 1 Basildon AC 28, 2 Chelmsford AC 35, 3 Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets 70, 4 Thurrock 121, 5 Orion Harriers 123, 6 Springfield Striders 123, 7 Colchester Harriers 128.

Allen Smalls celebrated his Essex cross-country silver team medal by winning the East Hanningfield trail marathon the next day in three hours and 38 minutes.

It took place in very muddy conditions.

Chris Panton also had a good race and was well up in the field.

The Colchester Parkrun saw 463 runners take to the line.

For the Harriers, Fergus Crouch was fourth in 18m 12s, Ian Haw eighth in 19m, Richard Boden 12th and Andy Raynor 14th.

Rachel Dale was fourth lady, with Ray Rimbull running a personal best.

The Great Notley Parkrun saw Richard Flutter finish runner-up in 19m 28s and Debbie Cattermole first lady in 22m 12s.

Elsewhere, Harrier Maxine Simon was a South of England indoor under-15 pole vault gold medalist at the weekend.