The City of Norwich Half Marathon is a race I hold with fond memories. It was the first long distance race I completed long before I joined the club and still recall passing the finish line feeling rather emotional as if I had travelled the earths circumference twice and endured demons and dragons on the way. Sorry fellow Jags, I didn’t know you then. It was a cold November day, wet and windy.
This year I was really looking forward to the new route and not running twice round the route which makes me dizzy just thinking about having to slog it out along the same path again. Those who remembered the snow last time couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised by the sunshine. Ideal running conditions I thought.
Like a coiled spring we all stand waiting for the start bugle and then……. we shuffle.
Probably no more than 6 paces and stop. Off again, this time maybe eight steps. Slowly but surely we make our way past the start line in the knowledge that each step costs us another second of our run time.
As a sun lover I remarked how I love to run in the heat and am rarely affected by it, boasting how I had run in Athens a couple of years previously. A remark I regretted at mile 4 as the pace was increasing and shade nowhere to be found. Mad dogs and Englishmen came to mind!
The best had certainly been kept till last with this race. The hills, yes hills in Norfolk were noticeable and the last part of the route before turning into the showground was certainly one to be conquered. I was determined to run this but two thirds of the way up I decided there was a reason everyone else was walking and did the same.
Finally, back in the grounds we were welcomed by the Jaguars Banner with Peter Kean-Cockburn and Dee Neal (I think?) cheering us on. Having passed the horses grazing in the fields, all I could see was a sea of runners battling it out behind the post and rail fence which seemed to wind its way into the distance and ironically I thought this must look to the horses like a human form of flat racing. One last corner to turn and finally the finish line, the medal and all important goodie bag.
The first Jaguar to finish was Paul Rogers, achieving 1:38:34, followed by Nick Eley 1:47:06. Roland Talbot who came 3rd in age group completed in 1:53:21 and myself, David Platten, just scraping a sub 2 hour at 1:59:07. Ruth Pilch achieved a bronze standard with 2:03:24, Ivan Westley 2:05:07, Paul Gerber who put his own race on hold to assist a fellow runner who collapsed in front of him, but still achieving 2:09:31. Claire Owen 2:11:48 and John Windham who was injured at 6 miles but determined to complete came in at 2:21:05.
A huge thank you to all who turned out to support us. I personally saw Neil Button, but sure there were others. Also to three spectators who held hoses for us to run through providing a split second of pure refreshment.
To sum up the day, there is only one word which describes the 32nd Norwich Half and that is HOT!