“Happy (running) anniversary”, she said. “As a gift, I’ll let you do the race report.” Doesn’t miss a trick, does Clare.
So, indeed one year on from my first venture out with the “NHS Couch to 5k” podcast (it clearly works), I lined up in the wet and cold (“Met office for Aylsham: 8C feels like 4C, gusting 26mph”) wondering if this really could be the best use of the small amount of free time I get, with a young family and demanding work life.
Absolutely yes! Well 29 of us Jags thought so. Despite the conditions we had a ball. We laughed nervously on arrival when shown the muddy field to park in (but BVH had it under control with straw, strong people to push and a tow on standby). We giggled at BVH grappling with putting up their flag. We chattered and grinned for the club photo. And when the race started we just got on with it. Some running hard, some having a training run and a fair few assisting others in the usual Jags tradition. And at the finish the earlier finishers hung around cheering on those behind with several joining in again those last few yards to push others over the line. The camaraderie seems greatest when conditions are hardest.
BVH did a great job – the marshals being particularly sunny-natured given the conditions they had to put up with, including happily unlacing our shoes to get to the chips with their frozen fingers. It was all well organised and seemed to go to plan, and you had to remind yourself that this was the first race they’d organised. Many fed back that they enjoyed the course – it will be particularly good one to do on a brighter but still Autumnal day.
For me, “Man of the Match” goes to Emma Blake, who’s had a great purple patch in recent weeks. She worked (I quote) “fecking hard” to get not only a Jags gold standard time and age category record, but a race win: the 1st 40-45 year old – having entered the age category a few days previously – happy birthday Emma!
For all our happiness at a great day we also remember that for some it was the saddest day. Mark Ring of the Norwich Road Runners became ill after the race and died later in the evening. I did not know Mark but many of you did and it is clear from the tributes coming in he was highly thought of. It is a reminder to us all to enjoy the here and now. Our thoughts I’m sure are with his family and friends.
Some experiences from the field:
Andy Mulligan: First jag home, 13th place overall, and a gold standard. Bizarrely no incidents to report.
Melvyn Porter: Achieved a personal cramp record – nothing until after mile 9. Happy with a gold standard sub 7 minute miles but frustrated with what could have been given where another runner he was with pre cramp had finished.
James Lambert: PB and silver and delighted other Jags with letting go of his unflappable demeanour and joining the collection of the “in agony at the finish line” photos
Nick Hudson: Brought his family along to see his first attempt at 10 miles (and silver standard) who did a marvellous job of cheering all Jags home with the Jags banner.
Tom Johnson: Yet again finishing in the top few Jags and with a silver standard.
Neil Button: Also his first running anniversary. Took part in a local derby rematch with Bungay Black Dog Phil Henry who he got the better off by incessant chitchat. Phil dropped back for some peace and quiet, whilst Neil went on to finish just 26s outside gold.
Graham Johnson: Storming run with Gold standard and 9 and a half minute PB.
Paul Taylor: Got his mojo back with only 26s off gold at his first attempt at 10 miles. Brought a tear to the eye of the Buttons and myself with a hug and a comment of, “I can’t believe I’ve only known you guys for a year”. We love you too, Paul!
Stewart Marden: Silver standard and subject of the post race picture caption competition.
Nicola Lambert-John: If she was on X-factor she’d be told “you just don’t know how good you are”. Ran with me despite wanting an easy-ish one and my upping the ambition from previously agreed pace, and (bizarrely) believing it was faster than she could manage. Smashed it! 1 min ahead of target. 4 and half minute PB. Told you so!
Paul Emery: Determined not to be beaten by the girls went past Lucy, then Emma but couldn’t catch Nicola. Fabulous 8 minute PB.
Emma Blake: amazing. ‘Nuff said.
Dean Blake: support runner for Team Blake. Gave blood (two plasters needed) and sweat, and let Emma have the tears (of joy).
Jeremy Lawrence: Unconcerned about his race, joined me for last 3 miles or so, to help me in my attempt for gold. Great windbreak, and diamond geezer in more ways than one.
Lucy Anderson: Attempt at gold standard, as icing on cake for celebration of past year. 22s off target. Enjoyed the cake anyway. Icing is over-rated.
Nicola Holden: A strong run for Nicola getting silver at her first time at this distance.
Scott Shrubsall: Going well until ankle problems resurfaced at half way. Still had smile on his face asking others about their race at the finish line.
Sonya Wragg: A cracking silver time and made Emma’s day by finding the watch she’d left at the village hall (all that effort and lost the evidence!)
Sonja White: Another impressive first time silver standard for Sonja.
Emma Jordan: A silver standard for our Emma J, coming in with Sonya and Sonja.
Peter Kean Cockburn: Looked to be enjoying his day running with Sonya, Sonja and Emma, arriving at the finish a couple of minutes behind with a fab silver standard.
Running/drinking buddies Owie Barber and Paul Gerber raced together with Owie picking up a Bronze.
Adele Bushell: Adele chased the boys down and also grabbed a bronze standard.
Rosemary Jackson: A first time 10 miler for Rosemary, landing a diamond standard and second in age category, less than a minute behind the winner. Looked so elegant doing it too.
Clare Hicks: “Had a great day. Loved the weather.” I don’t know if this was sarcastic or not, but the PB suggests she meant it.
Jackie Gooch: A “determined” final mile – kept pushing harder as pace number appeared to be increasing the more effort put in. Then realised watch was set to distance not pace. I was going to blame it on the usual “race ending brain mush” that we all can suffer from due to oxygen going to our legs, but she later on tried to go home with the wrong people. So I suspect it was more to do with the vino for breakfast. Thanks for the entertainment!
Josh Neale: Having somewhat lost his racing mojo, Josh chose a cracking day to venture back. Well done mate!
Barbara Button: Our lovely Barbs, enable to train due to injury and barely done this distance before, wins the prize for being determined to do the full 10 miles anyway. Could be heard yelling at her watch, daring the pace to move out, when realising she was coming in below 10min miles. Joins Jackie in the “barmy brigade”.