It’s taken a while for me to feel over the injury I had last Autumn and there were days when I wondered if I would be able to run again. Fortunately I know a good physio and 3 months of regular physiotherapy meant I could start some gentle running again just before Christmas. After any period of injury running again always feels harder than it used to and many of my 10k runs in the first few weeks of the new year were a mix of running and walking. Things definitely changed for the better in the week before this race with a good run at Holkham parkrun in windy conditions and a sub 50 minute mid week 10k. I therefore lined up at the start optimistic of a good run and an opportunity to earn a club standard in my new age category. The race started and finished at Great Yarmouth Town football and athletics stadium and after running half a lap of the athletics track we exited the stadium and headed towards the North Denes along the front. There was a cold wind blowing off the North Sea and after about 1k we made a tight u-turn and headed all the way down the front past the Britannia and Wellington piers and The Pleasure Beach. I quickly settled into an even pace and my 1k splits were almost identical for the next 6k at 4:42, meaning I was on for a time around 48 minutes. The wind was to the side and slightly behind on the way down, which meant the way back would be tough. We ran a loop aound the industrial estate near the harbour and around Nelson’s other column, which always looks like it was built in the wrong place to me. The roller coaster at the Pleasure Beach provided a good wind break, but once I had cleared that the course was exposed to the elements and the Oasis Tower still looked a long way away. I wasn’t about to let a good time slip through my fingers though, so I gritted my teeth and dug in. As I reached Britannia Pier with 1k to go my legs were starting to complain, but I kept telling myself it was now less than 5 minutes running and then I could then relax. We made a left turn off the front towards the stadium and then ran the other half of the athletics track to the finish. As I hit the finishing straight my watch was reading 47:30, so I had a sub 48 minute run in the bag, something which was unthinkable a few short weeks ago. My chip time was 47:48, I was second in age category M60-64 and achieved a Gold Club Standard all of which was extremely pleasing. Ex-Jag Jason Corner had a great run and achieved a new PB of 42:28. After waiting for my friend Nicky to finish I headed out to the course again to watch and take pictures of the Half Marathon. It felt absolutely freezing on the front!
I travelled down to Thurston in Suffolk to take part in the Tarpley 20 mile race for the first time. There was also a 10 mile event and a total of 299 runners completed the 20 mile race with a further 316 completing the 10 miler. It was a bright sunny morning but the fresh breeze made it feel very cold as we lined up on the start line. The course consisted of a single lap route which went out into the villages of Felsham, Thorpe Morieux and Brettenham before heading back to the finish in Beyton, just outside Thurston. The route can definitely be described as undulating (!) and a reasonably strong headwind on the way out meant that the first 10 miles were tough going. However there was good support out on the course with a well marshalled route and supportive marshalls. As we looped back and reached the 14 mile mark, the 20 mile route rejoined the 10 mile course and after running on my own from around the 6 mile mark it was good to have the target of some of the runners in the 10 mile race to catch and go past! As we neared the finish, mile 19 included quite a steep incline which was a hard struggle at that stage of the race, although the steady downhill section in the last mile was much appreciated before another small incline to finish on the field of Thurston Sixth Form College. I managed to hold on to a top 10 finish in 8th place overall, 3rd place in my age category and knocked 50 seconds off my PB which was very pleasing! However, I was way behind the winner from Spa Striders who was almost 16 minutes ahead of 2nd place, finishing in an incredible time of 1:45:30!! The event was very well organised by Saint Edmund Pacers and was well worth the journey. Definitely a race I will look to do again.
The Lingwood Leg-its held our first ever organised race on Remembrance Sunday and it was great to see the Coltishall Jags well represented with 16 club members completing the mixed terrain route. The trails through Buckenham Woods and down towards Buckenham Village are particulary good to run on and we were granted permission to use a trail through the grounds of Strumpshaw Hall. The second half of the route was tough with a climb up Barn Hill and then up and over Mill Hill, which is the highest point in Broadland with views towards the East Coast and south over the Yare Valley. There was a club bonus of a Jag leading the race with Franklyn Plume setting the pace as the runners ran through Lingwood Village Hall sports field. The feedback from the race was extremely positive and we will be considering whether to make this a regular event on the Norfolk Race calendar