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Norfolk Gazelles take part in many Park Runs across the county, being such a friendly club we also target Park Runs so that we can meet up and enjoy a post run coffee and cake. In some cases there is an option for a bike ride or an open water swim, all are welcome to join us. Whilst not an official race we do wear Norfolk Gazelle running tops.
In 2019 Norfolk is expecting a few new Park Runs to open, reserved dates are for these to be included in the tour once we know they are officially open. We've also added some Park Runs not previously included in the tour.
1st - 8.30am Brundall followed by Catton at 10.30am
19th - Handicap 10k or 5k with Tri Anglia details above
26th - Colney Lane Gazelles marshal take over
16th - Gorleston
23rd - Proposed Bushey Park Run (contribution to coach costs will be required)
9th - Sizewell (New in 2019 for the Gazelles On Tour)
23rd - Blickling (with possible bike ride following)
6th - Holkham
4th - Swaffham
25th - Watton
15th - Kings Lynn or Wimbledon Parkrun
22rd - Mulbarton (with possible bike ride following)
13th - Sheringham (with possible bike ride following)
27th - Bury St Edmunds (New in 2019 for the Gazelles On Tour)
3rd - Sloughbottom
17th - Thetford
7th - Lowestoft
21st - Lingwood
5th - Brandon (with possible bike ride following)
2nd - Reserved TBC
21st - Colney Mob Match revisted
25th - Eaton
Great results from Theresa Dooley, first lady (3:22:40), and Helen Mian, third lady (3:42:50), at the Snetterton Race Track Marathon. Note, these are not age category placings, these are overall race placings. Both are substantial PBs, on a windy day not suited to PBs. Great to see Ian Thomas back doing a marathon, as well (what he would think of as a 'fun run'). He was first Gazelle in, a few seconds ahead of Theresa, in 3:22:29. Ten Gazelles ran the half marathon, with first Gazelle in being John Moore in 1:23:05 (1st 50-59). Ceri Theobald set a new PB of 1:48:03.
The rescheduled race over the old undulating course was run on a pleasant mid-Autumn’s morning, with 14 Gazelles taking part. Gazelles were well represented at all age groups, but particularly to the fore were Theresa Dooley first W45, Helen Mian first W50 and Jason Brunt first M45. Also collecting an unprecedented (for him) memento from the prize-giving was Tom Townsend 3rd M55.
This was Peterborough's first foray into hosting a Marathon. The parent company (Sublime Racing) wanted to keep the number of entrants small (c.200) to ensure the support staffs were not overwhelmed. If Sublime racing wants to boost numbers for next year, try not to clash with Brighton or Paris Marathons!
The race HQ was situated at the Marriott Hotel. Free car parking was available at the adjacent Thomas Cook call centre. In the hotel you could register and collect your race number, use designated changing rooms and use the free baggage drop off. If supporters were interested in watching the athletes but did not want to leave their lattés and croissants, the hotel had live race streaming.
The race itself was run mostly on a flat traffic free course. The scenery was great and showed the city’s best features. There were lots of water points all offering gel as well if required. The race was well marshalled. I have since learnt a flat course usually implies wind (head wind, side wind, tail wind) will affect you at some point. There were some sections along the river where this was evident. However, it did not slow my progress much.
I was going well until the mile 23 and had to slow down as a race marshall helpfully said” just over a Parkrun left!” the thought of running a Parkrun did not encourage me! However, I picked up the pace again on mile 25 and managed a PB! After collecting my medal and tee-shirt, the Marriott offered free sports massage and discount meals.
The race was well organised and planned. I would do it again next year!
The Bungay Festival of Running took place on Sunday 14th April and consisted of 4 races ( full marathon, half marathon, 10K & 5K), all starting at different times allowing the possibility of doing more than one race.
I decided to run the 10K race starting at 9.30 followed by the half marathon starting at 11.00. What seemed like a good idea when I entered the races by race day I was starting to wish I was only doing the one race!
It was a cold morning but thankfully dry in Bungay and when I arrived was able to see the start of the marathon at 9.00. Well done to Phil Whiting, Jason Brunt and Hugh Woolfenden for completing a race which has a quite a few undulations!
When the 10K race started I found it difficult to decide what pace to ran at, I did not want to get too competitive as I had another race afterwards but luckily there were a number of other gazelles in the race, so it helped that I was able to run with Steph Evans in the early part of the race and Jonathan Brighton in the later part of the race. Thanks to them the race went by fairly quickly and I could then get ready for the next one. Other gazelles taking part in the 10K were Alun Hume (finished 9th), James Fowler (finished 11th), Mark Fowler, John Digby, Tim Woods and Nicky Galwey-Woolston.
I then had over 30 minutes to wait before the start of the half marathon, so after re-fuelling I went and stood inside a marquee to keep warm before going out to doing some stretching. I don’t think this was the best of preparations as when the half marathon started I felt really stiff. When I passed Mark and James who were watching the race in Bungay I felt like I had aged by about 20 years since running the 10K. The section of the race between Bungay and Beccles involves running through a series of hills but the further I went along this part of the race the better I was feeling so by the time I ran through Beccles I was thinking perhaps running 2 races in a day was not such a bad idea after all. After leaving Beccles the course the course is fairly flat as you run through countryside. However although the course was easier I was finding I was having to work harder to maintain the same pace but what helped me to keep going was I was now catching some of the runners from the marathon ( the marathon is 2 laps of the half marathon course), and the thought they were running much further than me helped push me on. At mile 11 of the half marathon you go off road and run along a trail through the woods, I had gone along this section in the 10K and what had seemed easy in the earlier race now appeared to never ending! When it did end the finish was in sight and after one final loop the race was over. Ian Edwards was also in the race and completed the latest in his series of half marathons.
Would I do it again? Perhaps not but I have got a year to change my mind!
Sunday 7th April - the day had finally arrived. The day we had been training for, the day Charlotte, Mark and myself were running a marathon for the first time, Emma for the second and Helen, her first marathon as a Gazelle!
The morning started off pretty cold, but the sun broke through the clouds later in the day. I managed to see Helen and Mark just before the start so that was fantastic. Good luck hugs and wishes and they went off to find their starting areas. A good luck hug from my boy Ryan and I got ready. I was buzzing to get going, and finally we were off and over the start line.
I took it steady, making sure I didn't get caught up in the excitement. Julie had messaged me and said she was watching ....... I didn't want to get told off on Monday! From mile 3 I settled into a nice even, comfortable pace. From then on I ran the race from water station to water station, I ran from cheery marshal to a little child wanting high 5's. I ran to points that I knew Ryan would be cheering from (thanks to the tram system he got to cheer me 6 times during the race) I kept checking my pace, making sure I was keeping it steady and that I felt comfortable. At one point on the course the runners pass each other, so at miles 11 and 13 I got to see Charlotte and Emma and we gave each other cheery shouts of encouragement and high 5's, Fabulous! The entertainment along the route was varied and plentiful and it really helps to keep you going, as does the incredible support from the crowd.
Before I knew it I was at Mile 23! I then tried to up the pace but my legs were having none of it! I felt that I was going faster, I thought I was going faster, but my watch told me I was at exactly the same pace! Oh well, I just kept on trying! Then I heard the marshals and supporters calling out "nearly there" and "last push" and I turned the corner to see the finish line about 500 metres ahead. I dug in and then broke into a huge smile - I had done it, I had run a marathon!
So proud of myself for acheiving this, and also extremely proud of all my Gazelle friends. Mark smashed his first marathon and the others had superb, battling runs where they dug in and completed them in style. The course is great, the organisation fab, the whole day was just a fantastic experience! I would definitely recommend Manchester Marathon, so much so that guess who has signed up for next year...... Shhhh, just don't tell the kids!
Results: Helen Terry - 3:37:11, Mark Drysdale - 3:41:18, Justine Davenport - 4:35:25, Charlotte MacDonald - 6:06:10, Emma Cluett - 6:06:11
CITY OF NORWICH HALF MARATHON – 7th April 2019
Jessica Parker, Andrea Flint, Vicky Rallison
It was quite foggy when we arrived at Norwich Showground – not the weather that was forecast at all. There was a great atmosphere and all the areas were clearly marked. We even bought some race shirts from previous years for bargain prices ….. Wearing them will make it seem we have run for years! As we stood in the pens, the heavens opened and it poured with rain, the sort of big drops that bounce off the ground and we soon got soaked through. The rain continued for most of the race. The first part of the course wended its way through the Showground, and it seemed never ending to get out on the open roads. Pace was good and steady and we managed not to shoot off. When we are running a long distance we ‘jeff’ it and our timings are 3minute run and 1 minute walk. The rain continued and we were soaked through to the bone but it wasn’t too cold and no wind, so it was just wet and not wet and cold. Eventually out on the roads and we were spurred on by the people outside their houses cheering us on, despite the foul weather. Coming up to about mile 4, we were greeted by Andrew Hammond who had run 7 miles from his house and was running the course to cheer people on, what a lovely guy. We had a little chat (still running) and then he ran off to find some more people. By this time Vicky was behind us, but it was fine as she had someone to talk to and at one point we could see her over the field.
The halfway cut off point was on our minds, we got there with 8 minutes to spare, which was a great relief. We knew then that we would soon be seeing Julie at the mile 7 water station, she greeted us with a massive hug and a Percy Pig sweet. We were over half way! The first part of the course was flat and some of it was downhill, but the second half was a lot more undulating and we had to dig in and just do it, luckily our timings helped, on more than one occasion the walk came at the bottom of a hill. Yet again, when we were flagging Andrew Hammond popped up again and cheered us up and gave us the impetus to carry on. It was so lovely to see him. Andrea and I were worried that Vicky hadn’t made the cut off point so Andrew ran off to try and find her. At this point we started to notice strange things like how big the worms were on the ground (no, we were not hallucinating, they really were) We had been warned about a big hill near the end which led back into the Showground. That hill seemed like Everest and went on and on, but at the top we knew we were nearly there. We entered back into the Showground and could hear the tannoy, this spurred us on but we had to run through the showground again, left turn, right turn, left turn ……would we ever get back? Suddenly we both heard ‘come on Jess ‘being shouted and that spurred both of us to do a sprint finish.
What a great race! Atmosphere, course, support were superb. All three of us completed it, and can not wait for the next half marathon, but maybe give ourselves a rest first….
Waking up at 6am on a weekend after losing an hour to British Summertime was a bit of a shock. I consumed my usual pre-race breakfast and whilst my breakfast was normal, the race I was undertaking today seemed everything but. I have completed a number of running races, however, the Diss Duathlon which comprises a 5k run, 30k cycle ride and a final 5k run, was unfamiliar. Everything seemed strangely alien including the fact I had two numbers to pin to my jersey which was swiftly resolved after a sneaky purchase of a race belt which could be spun round for each stage of the race.
Despite the glorious sunshine the day before, the weather was distinctly chilly today and reminded me, we are still in March. Fortunately, the race briefing was inside the school which kept us out of the wind. I was soon joined by fellow Gazelles Paul Cottrell, Hugh Woolfenden and Karen Rix who were also moonlighting away from the purist running into this new type of challenge. I was reassured that I wasn’t the only one a little uneasy after Paul coughed up that we had only ridden his road bike on four previous occasions.
The race started in three waves. Firstly, the men 45 and over departed closely followed by the women. By some miracle I ended up in the younger men wave (44 and under) which whilst flattering, meant I was the only Gazelle in that group. Looking around at all the young men in professional looking tri-suits and that fact that Joe Skipper (Ironman UK 2018 Champion) was also joining us, I felt pretty daunted. But after we were set off in a pretty small group, I settled into what I am most comfortable doing…running. Well at least that’s what I thought until my Garmin bleeped after the first kilometre that I completed in 4:20. (Way quicker than I wanted to be going). I slowed myself to a more comfortable pace and gradually started to catch a few of the group, including some of the ladies who had set off 5 minutes earlier. I started to feel more confident and enjoy the run.
The first 5k completed I headed into transition to pick up the bike. Making sure that my helmet was in place before I touched the bike (a DQ offence in this format) I slipped on my bike shoes and made my way out back onto the course. I settled into the ride pretty well and continued to overtake people on the course. Towards the end of lap one I heard a whirring noise that resembled a space ship. It was only Joe Skipper eating up the kilometres and pointing out that I am unlikely to be troubling him for the podium places.
The course had a good number of friendly marshals and supporters not to mention Sharon giving me encouragement (despite today being Mother’s Day). I managed to complete the 30km ride in just over an hour which I was pleased with. Back into transition again to leave the bike and get back into the trainers. I wasn’t looking forward to this bit and nearly went back into transition after the first few hundred meters as I had clearly left my running legs somewhere. Getting off a bike and running was a strange sensation, but I soon settled into a rhythm. The final leg of the race was pretty hard. By this time the sun was in the sky, but the wind had also increased making a lot of the course pretty hard work. I was very pleased to see the finish line and a few friendly Gazelles waiting with Sharon. All in all, it was a great event and I would definitely recommend it. So, if you fancy doing something a little different from just running why not give it a “tri” next year.
By Ceri Thoebald
On the morning of the 30th March 2019 Myself and Yvonne Plenderleith and our dog
Bailey headed over to compete in the first of the Nelson Knee Nobbler beach race series in Caister on sea on a beautifully sunny morning. I was doing the Long course 10Kish and Yvonne was doing the 5Kish Canicross. I knew from previous experience that this race was a tough one, especially the first half which is all on soft sand. We got there in enough time and got all registered then it was time for Yvonne to set off. I had to wait another 8 mins then it was time for the Human race to go. Basically you run onto the beach turn left, run 2.5k, turn and come back, short course complete. I however had another 5k out and back to Great Yarmouth as well which felt so much easier than the first as its on dunes and hard sand. I managed to get into 2nd place and held that for the entire race, passing a few Canicross on the way round to keep me going. Yvonne and Bailey completed their race too and had a really good time running through the sea and sand although Yvonne assured me it’s the toughest race she has ever done. Well done to Tim Woods as well who completed the long course human race. As it was such a nice day we managed to have a nice relaxing seat on the grass and wait for the prize giving, chance for a bacon roll and a cup of tea.
Once the prize giving was done and I received a nice bottle of IPA. We decided to have a nice walk to Great Yarmouth and back to loosen the legs off.
I would really recommend this race series, it is really hard work but is a pleasant change away from the normal road races and you receive a nice eco-friendly medal which doubles as a coaster. Roll on Winterton on Sunday 28th July for the next one.
By Alan Hume
While the majority of Gazelles were running the Wymondham 20 I fancied a change of Scenery. Picked up this flyer at the Bedford Half. Left the house at 7am to arrive eventually at 9.30 for 10am start at the school.
Sold out with 870 runners. I spotted one Conac from my age group.
Started in bright sunshine & a tad warm. My aim for this race was to keep it steady & consistent & enjoy it.The race consisted of 2 laps the first being 12 miles & the 2nd being shorter at 8. It was pretty tough running past the start of the race at the start of the second lap knowing that we were only just over half way. I felt some cramp in my right calf(twinge). So took it easy . When I reached mile 19 cramp set in Big time. Stopped at lamp post. Female Marshall came running to my aid. (Excellent marshalling throughout).
Gave me a rub down & offered me her home made flapjack & some water. Off I went again for the last big mile back home to the school. Finished in 672 position. 3.30:45. Marshall's checked I was alright at the finish with a high 5. Brilliant!!
Arrived in good time with near perfect weather. Nice to see a small group of fellow Gazelles getting ready talking about the usual things, like expectations of times, fueling and general chat.
My good form continued on Sunday at Wym 20 with a PB by 16 minutes and 18 seconds, following my quickest 10k the weekend before at Coltishall, for 6 years, and the half marathon at Ringland, quickest for 7 an 1/2 years! (only missing that PB by 5 seconds!)
I had intended to stick to a 7:50 mm pace, knowing the risks of going off too quickly, suffering badly at two previous Wym20, especially on that last HILL!! I felt good Sunday, and well up for it. Steve and Jason Brunt egged me on, to up my game!! I knew 7:50 would give me a good PB, so that was my initial plan. I didn't stick to the plan.......
The race started and I found myself going through the first mile in 7:19, still felt I was holding back and feeling comfortable.
Mile 2. 7:25
Mile 3. 7:30
Mile 4. 7:29
Mile 5. 7:16
I was into my stride and relaxed. There was good support from other GAZELLES out on the course cheering us on. By the time I got to Mile 16, my pace was still good at 7:21. I thought about the time I wanted which was a sub 2:40:00, and knew at this stage that if I kept going I would be a sub 2:30:00! I dug deep and ran...
Mile 19. 7:25
Mile 20. 7:23 with a last little 0.11 on my watch of 6:24.
I could see and hear Mimi at the end screaming me over the line for my 2:29:28 finish averaging 7:26mm. This year Wym20 will be remembered for the right reasons. It feels good when everything comes together. There were a lot of very good results, PB's and first 20's for a number of Gazelles.
Well done to everyone who raced. There is always a real feel good factor when you put on your Gazelles vest and interact with the herd. Once again, we ran with special thoughts of Sarah continuing with her recovery.
Hardmoors 50 is a 53 mile race from Guisborough to Helmsley over the North York Moors. It is run in March, which often leads to challenging weather conditions (last year the race was halted upon advice of mountain rescue). I’d decided to race a Hardmoors event after running with (Hardmoors RD) John Steele last summer during the Northern Traverse. This seemed a good one to start with and shared some of the same Cleveland Way trail with the Northern Traverse. In the days leading up to the race, the weather reports looked more and more grim, and at one point led to Amelia buying herself some snow goggles! As it turned out we ‘just ‘ had wind and rain to contend with. Amelia and I were running it together, our first ultra together, as a training run for Thames Path later in the spring. It would be a test of how well we worked together over a long day of running. The race started at the sea cadets hut in Guisborough and we soon found ourselves climbing up onto the moors, for the first stage an out and back over Roseberry Topping. It was raining quite hard, and the blustery conditions turned into gale force winds as we got above the tree line. Roseberry Topping is 320m high and is often compared to the Matterhorn and we had to go over it twice. I think Amelia lost her bearings at some point as we made descended for the first time, as she remarked to me that she couldn’t remember going up the steps: I had a chuckle to myself as she obviously didn’t realise when we got to the bottom we were going to be turned round and sent straight back up. And I didn’t have the heart to tell her. Once over Roseberry for the second time we then headed back up over the Moors. At this point we’d covered 6 miles in an hour and 40 minutes: it was going to be a long day! The wind on the moors was horrendous. By the time we reached Bloworth Crossing about 15 miles in, we’d hardly spoken to each other for hours, as the wind was too loud, and the violence it created in our flapping hoods made conversation impossible. At this point we were both soaked through and it was really important to keep moving to generate heat and ward off the threat of hyperthermia. There was no time to give any consideration to how far we’d been or how far to run, just needing to focus on moving forward and keeping warm. Not long after Bloworth came the Three Sisters, a series of hills with tough climbs up and technical steep descents. Just when we thought the wind couldn’t get any worse it did! Over the top of the second sister, we were just starting to descend when we were both blown over by a sudden gust in the already gale force winds. A fellow runner helped Amelia down the hill, whilst I had to descend largely on my backside, clinging to rocks for dear life. Eventually we made it to the 31 mile checkpoint, well and truly battered by the first half, but with high spirits and plenty of energy for the second half. Not long after leaving the checkpoint, a marshall told us we’d done 10 big climbs already and only had 3 more to go. That was a real boost, and we found some descent running (sub 9 min mile). Once on top of the next moor, the sun briefly appeared, the wind had calmed and I noticed it had actually stopping raining! This was about nine hours in. I felt a real need to get some good miles in, whilst the going was good and we still had some daylight. We also needed to generate some warmth to try to dry our clothes before the evening chill set in. For the first time in the race we could chat to other runners and I really enjoyed the miles through to the final checkpoint. My early fears that we may succumb to the elements seem to have been banished. However, the final checkpoint at 43 miles seemed to take an age to arrive. The trouble was, we thought were there: the usual signs of lots of people cheering us on, sarcastic signs (pain is a sensation, sensation is a thrill!) etc and I thought we’d covered the distance. However we were sent off on a loop down into some woods, and it seemed to take an age to arrive. We were also expecting a village hall, but got a camper van instead. I had some salt and vinegar crisps and Amelia got some help with her backpack as her fingers had stopped functioning! Then off we set for the last nine miles. Unfortunately, the long slow run down to the checkpoint meant we had to go back up. And it took us straight back up. Very steep (especially if you have little legs), but we soon ground it out and started to run again on the relatively flat. Unfortunately, even though it had stopped raining it had turned the path into a quagmire and we had a real battle to just keep upright but we soldiered on. At one point I was ahead of Amelia, and descending some steps into some woods, she hadn’t noticed the steps and I heard her screech behind me as she suddenly realised the ground fell away before her. It shook her up a bit and made us realise we weren’t quite done yet. The last climb up towards Helmsley wasn’t quite the ‘bastard’ another runner had told me it was, and it wasn’t long before the lights of the village came into view. We did have a mild panic that we’d missed the turning for the finish, but then came across a supporting family who directed us and then we were done. We staggered into the hall, to a round of applause and congratulations from everyone. A good days running, a great event and Amelia’s longest ever run.
We arrived at the Mad March Hare 10k on Sunday glad to find that storm Gareth had fortunately passed through overnight. However it then hit me when taking part in the junior race with my children that his smaller cousin Gavin had given us a strong headwind to contend with!. As usual there was lots of friendly Gazelles to say hi to before the race which seemed to be unusually unorganised. This led to a 30min delay and me nearly doing a 3 mile warm up either out of boredom, trying to keep warm as my hoodie was already in the baggage area or staying away from Stephen Terry who was wearing number 666!.
We finally set off at 10:30 and I had high hopes of a PB which were soon dashed after 2k as we went into a strong headwind for the next 2k before passing through the start finish area and into the second lap. By this time I was just thinking about a respectable time and finish position as I knew John Moore and Alan Hume were in front of me and hence if I could hold on to finish 3rdGazelle we had a chance of the team trophy (which duly happened). Thing's then moved on to encouraging the rest of Gazelles through the finish (one of my favourite parts of race day) and then having a chat about what everyone thought of the course and headwind before having to dash off with the family to fulfil the day out I’d promised them!.
So in summary 27 Gazelles took part and there were fantastic PB's for Ceri Theobald, Sharon Theobald and Elizabeth Barnard plus brilliant runs from Helen Lemmon, Jessica Parker and Vicky Rallison who all completed their first 10k's for the club
Mimi and Ady are also having a storming 2019 and completed their fastest 10k’s since 2015 & 2013
John Moore was first male 55-59 and John Moore again plus Alan Hume and myself were the first vets team.
It was a cold, blustery and VERY wet Sunday morning that greeted a small but hardy herd of Gazelles for this year’s ‘Break’ Hunny Bell XC. Unfortunately, due to the temperatures most runners kept their jackets on making it hard to pick out fellow members (of any running club) but particularly for a new Gazelle, however a couple of the runners picked out my top and despite not knowing me, shared a few friendly words of encouragement as they dashed past me. Particular thanks to Gail Barnard who was running in a Break top but gave me a well needed boost before the start of a gruelling uphill section.
The course is run around the Stody Estate in Hunworth, and encompasses some quite hilly terrain, and a LOT of muddy puddles. Due to the large number of runners and narrowing paths in parts, it soon became clear the only way was often going to be straight through the middle of these puddles, causing lots of friendly cheers from the amused marshalls. This was definitely not a course for PB’s or quick sprints! Despite finishing near the back of the pack and resembling more of a marsh monster by the end, it was a thoroughly enjoyable race.
Alan Hume was the first Gazelle home in a fantastic 5thplace overall with a time of 30m30s!!! Followed by Chris Haystead (36m53), Robert Pearson (37m40), Tim Woods (40m47), Graham Hardingham (44m11), Estelle Corner (45m13), Gail Barnard (50m12) & Claire Berridge (51m53)
On Sunday March 3rd a flock of over 30 Gazelles braved wet conditions to run the inaugural Ringland Half Marathon. A popular race despite the quite obvious ‘undulation’ of the course simply because (if everyone is as sad as me) there would be DINOSAURS! Norwich Road Runners did not disappoint with a well thought out race, plenty of parking and a great atmosphere. The cheer squad at the water station was particularly welcome, especially with the looming hill in sight! Not many PBs to be had, although Lou Isherwood and Amelia Whitling smashed theirs proving it to be possible - well done ladies! Special thanks to Lee Oxbury for hiding at the top of a hill to photograph every Gazelle in pain. I was contemplating a cheeky walk but seeing him prevented me. I always love it when a herd of us get together and this race felt special as we wore our pink ribbons to show our thoughts were with a fellow runner to make a speedy recovery. A lot of pride was felt as Andrea Flint completed her first half marathon. Hats off -it wasn’t an easy one to pick as your first! So in summary - weather 2/10, hills 0/10 (particularly the one right to the finish line, not needed), spirit 10/10, Gazelles - 10/10 as always, DINOSAURS and a dinosaur medal - 100/10! See you (or maybe Cambridge which is also a fine race) next year!
The Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon is only my second half marathon race which I have run, I only have Snetterton to compare it to.
The weather was drizzly rain and the only down side was that there wasn’t anywhere to shelter. That said, the bag drop area was so well organised you could leave it until much nearer the start time before dropping it off.
There were four separate waves, each pen was positioned so you could view the start of the race and supervised by half a dozen volunteers. Each pen had a large bag where you could throw in any clothing which would be donated to charity after the race, and had I not just given away a load of tops, I would have made use of this, what a great idea!
The pens were individually walked up to the start line, as one wave passed through the next walked up and the final pen left at 16 minutes from the start time.
Cambridge Half attracts those seeking a PB as they advertise it as flat. It is not flat! As you head out to the countryside through Trumpington and Grantmanchester, there are some gentle hills and a surprise incline on the final stretch feels worse than it actually is.
Pretty much the entire 13.1 miles of the route is lined with supporters. They thin out in some of the country roads but the villages are very welcoming with their jelly babies and biscuits! The City Centre is extremely well supported along with the various enthusiastic and talented bands (no headphones on this race).
There were three water stations, each very well manned with several volunteers handing out mini bottles of water and gels. You were encouraged to throw your bottle in one of the numerous recycling bins provided along the route, but they were certainly struggling to uphold this rule
A large mix of people run this race, the winner finishing in 1 hr 6 minutes and 40 seconds, the final person coming through at 3 hours 18 minutes 9 seconds. There are lots of charity runners and it was well supported by both Cancer Research and Alzheimers.
The final 500 metre stretch back into the race village is lined with lots of supporters and you’re carried along by their enthusiasm, and as your name is on the front of the bib, many will shout out your name as you run past. After the finish line you’re walked through to tents where you collect your medal and as you collect your well stocked goody bag, a pint of non-alcoholic lager is waiting for you as you leave.
All in all it was an exceptionally well organised event, I would compare it with RunNorwich for atmosphere and organisation. You should bear in mind this is the biggest attended race I have run, with 10,000 runners competing. I was so impressed I’ve pre-registered for next year’s race!
On a fine February Saturday morning we left Norwich at 05.30 in the minibus arranged and driven by our esteemed Chairman, who politely refused my offer of helping with the navigation.
We made our way safely to Bushy Park arriving in perfect time to park up and make our way to the start. We attended the pre run briefing for first timers and visitors, then walked to the start where I was horrified when realising we were at the front of over 1,000 runners.
I happened to remark that I thought there were deer in the park, one of our lady gazelles said they are over there Nigel, as I don’t run in my glasses I still didn’t know where they were, till she told me they were standing under two trees when she asked if I’d spotted them or did I think they were large rabbits with antlers?
The start was a little hairy as we were so spread out it was difficult picking out the least bumpy route-clumsy so and so’s like me can trip on a matchstick, I spotted a path over to the right so probably to the annoyance of runners near me went on a diagonal route to get on the firmer, flatter option.
I also noticed several runners with their dogs which made me smile considering the Eaton Park policy.
We all got round the course safely and experienced a very well worked funnel system to get our finish tokens, then to the scanners who didn’t have long queues.
After the parkrun a few of the ladies went on a retail therapy outing, leaving the rest of us to go on a longer run beside the Thames, we did get quite spread out and the young lady running with me didn’t seem to worry about my navigational skills. I just thought if we kept the Thames on our right on the out run, then left on the in run even I couldn’t lost. Although I got a bit worried as the fast runners didn’t pass us (they went back another way) and we didn’t meet the slower ones either so not sure where they went?
Once everyone was back we returned to Norwich, with a brief stop at a Welcome Break for a comfort break and light refreshments, which gave me more to moan about-having to pay £2 for a small bottle of Diet Coke.
Thanks to the others for keeping me updated on the match at Carrow Road which also had a successful outcome with Norwich winning 3-2.
Such a good time was had by all that it’s very likely another away day will be arranged very soon, not forgetting the local monthly outings organised by Karen
Horsford Cross Country is a series of three races, and you only get a rank if you run in each. Which was why the morning of the final race found me scraping ice off my car and hoping that at minus 3 the mud would be frozen over, It wasn’t!
On the plus side, it’s a lovely scenic woodland course. The fun parts include jumping over logs and wading through waste-deep mud up to 4 times: men do 4 laps, amounting to about 5 miles, women do 3, and younger runners do 1 or 2. At the end the organisers provided tea, coffee, soup, and even mince pies and mulled wine for the pre-Christmas race. A bargain for the £3.50 paid on arrival, no sign-up needed.
I would definitely do it again but I still haven’t figured out whether it’s better to wear warm clothes (that will be soaked in cold mud for most of the race) or just a vest and shorts however trail shoes a must.
Top tip: do your laces up properly!!
A sizeable herd of 26 Gazelles turned up for the traditional New Year's Day 10K at Wymondham, some no doubt nursing hangovers. Amazingly, 8 achieved a PB, led by James Fowler, first Gazelle home in 38:26.
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