A small contingent of Jags hit the mean streets of Dereham on a dry Sunday morning, which was thankfully relatively cooler than the preceding days. Parking was easy to find and the race route was clearly sign-posted.
We arrived to hear the Announcer confirming that on the day entries had closed and that a record number of entrants (375) had registered this year. A group of Ipswich Jaffas spotted at the warm-up area nearly prompted a chant of “There’s only one team in orange!”, but good manners prevailed and it was on with the stretches and loosener.
The race was chip start and finish for the first time this year and this certainly helped at the start, where a couple of strategically placed keep-left signs caused a little bit of bottle-necking, but the race commenced on time, with an audible buzz in the air. The 5k course comprised 2 laps around the Town centre and was, as promised, flat and fast (barring a couple of tight turns). Definitely a course to consider for PB hunters!
The race was well marshalled and a good turn-out of spectators provided encouragement all around the course. The only slight negative was witnessing car drivers berating Marshalls for briefly holding-up traffic to allow runners past, which was also echoed by a number of Facebook posters after the race. It’s such a shame that a few people haven’t got the patience, or courtesy, to wait for 5 minutes and it’s not as if this event happens every week.
The Race was fittingly won by a Dereham Runners AC Junior, Logan Smith, in a brilliant time of 15:59, with Callum Stanforth of Ryston Runners and Jack Gillick of Wymondham AC filling the podium places. First lady home was Conac’s Dani Nimmock in a new course record time of 17:14. Emma Patel (now of Winchester AC) and Dereham representative, Carol Devlin, completed the ladies’ top three.
First Jag home on the day was Neil Button, with a chip time of 20:59 – first time out over 5k on the road. Barbara Button followed in 28:22, hampered by a calf injury picked-up half way round (she was flying over the first mile): Any mention of running/racing/half marathon entries/PBs in the Button household on Sunday afternoon was subject to a serious health warning (Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned with a calf strain!). Annette Yeomanson and Ruth Gainsford were both thankfully smiling and almost inseparable in a cluster finish, with respective chip times of 29:09946 and 29:10112 (I take it the records will show both as 29.10?).
However, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the 1k junior fun run that followed, with an exuberant array of under 12s concluding the day (some so young that they appeared to be trying to run before they could walk!).