Cromer’s annual Boxing Day Dip, the fundraising event organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners, saw several hundred people, watched by a couple of thousand or more, dip in the cold North Sea.

This year’s cause, chosen by club members, was Cromer Children’s Charity, a small local charity which provides medical treatment and equipment for children in the Cromer area.

The event began with a crowd countdown. It used to be started by a rocket but a few years ago, the rocket nearly brought down a perambulating micro-light. There was a suggestion for a while that a surface-to-air missile might be considered, just as a profile-raising measure, but the idea drifted and eventually faded.

And so again, the dipping crowd were self-starting, orchestrated by club chairman, Clive Hedges, in roaring the countdown, and then, watched by spectators crowding the Promenade, the cliff top, the pier and every vantage point, while bucket collectors mingled, they headed seawards.

With the tide on the ebb, they first had to cross an expanse of sand before hitting the water, and then an expanse of shallow water before hitting enough in which to dip, which, as seasoned dippers will tell you, gets to the feet and ankles fairly quickly. If those are the only bits getting cold, they tend to complain more.

There are two rules: 1. Total immersion, and 2. Total immersion twice, to be separated by a withdrawal from said water. The latter point was refined at the 1997 North Norfolk Dipping Conference by the introduction of Rule 2b which provides that Second Dip cannot begin until all have withdrawn from First. So you always get some clowns wallowing around like they’re in Torremolinos while for those waiting on the beach, well, blast, that lazy wind do blow.

Fancy dresses abounded, from Baywatch, to Jingle Gals and various Christmassy bits, including Christmas presents – ladies with parcels on their heads. Was the parcels’ wrapping paper waterproof?

“No. That’s why they’re on our heads.” Sound.

The trick afterwards is to robe up quickly, but with Coastguard volunteers on the beach, the inshore lifeboat bobbing about and St John’s Ambulance on the Prom, not many casualties occurred.

Which is good, because this year’s Dip has so far raised £3122.10 and counting.

Author, John Worrall


North Norfolk Beach Runners who headed west to Peterborough for the Perkins Great Eastern half marathon on Sunday had a wasted trip because the event start was firstly delayed and then cancelled because of a report of a man acting suspiciously near the course. It turned out to be a false alarm (a Beach Runner suspiciously taking a selfie on the finish line and posting it on Facebook was questioned but inexplicably released without charge) but not soon enough for more than 3000 runners to be sent home.

But NNBR competitive involvement maintained the Eastern theme with four of them running the East Coast 10k at Yarmouth, along with 892 others, and gaining two top-10 category finishes and two PBs.

In a race won by Matthew Jeffries (MO) of Waveney AC in 32.22, first Beach Runner home was, not unusually, Neil Adams (M40-44) in 36.13 for 6th overall and 3rd out of 64 in category, while Euan Prosser (M45-49) ran a PB 41.17 for 57th overall and 7/65. The other PB, of 48.12, belonged to Aaron Stearman (MO) who finished 218th. Sarah Grand (FO) ran sweeper in 1.02.06 for 649th overall.

Meanwhile to the south, a sole NNBR, Rachel Welch, went long in the woods on the King’s Forest 50k Ultra near Bury St Edmunds, clocking 6,41.49 for 98th place out of 120 finishers.

And then down on Hanworth Common, a covey of Beach Runners took one of the three distance options – 7, 14 or 20km – of the Hanworth Fun Run around the lanes of adjacent parishes, the Fun Run returning after an eight year break as a fund raiser for the Memorial Hall fund. Nobody posted any times but they had a lot of fun.

Author: John Worrall


In rain of biblical proportions, seven North Norfolk Beach Runners got very wet, along with 362 others, in the Marriot’s Way 10k where runners were sent off in waves, in every sense.

The race was won by Angus Clark (MO) of Harling AC in 37:42 but John Stares (M55-59) led the Beach Runners home with 49th overall and third out of 21 in category in a time of 46:47, followed by Elizabeth Goodliffe (F40-44) in 59th and 2/38 with a pb 47:18. Even higher on the category podium was Beck Maun (F50-54) in 49.09 for 82nd and 1/18.

There were two other top-10 category Beach Runners: Natasha McGlinchey (FO) with 51.29, also a pb, for 106th overall and 8/75, and David Dawber (M55-59) in 137th and 10/21 with 54:02.

Three other Beach Runners were among 260 who got equally wet in the Thetford 10k in Thetford Forest. The race was won by Tom Kingsworth (Senior Male) of St Edmunds Pacers in 36:09 but Beach Runner Karl Harper (Male Vet 45) ran 47.49 for 51st overall and 10th in category, while Leslie Winston (Female Vet 55) was 251st overall and 4th with 1.11.12. In between them was Anita Bullen (F Vet 45-49) in 157th and 7thwith 58.34.

Otherwise Beach Runners ran a scattering of marathons near and far, the nearest being the equally wet Flower of Suffolk from Walberswick which was Vinnie Purdy’s 144th. He didn’t mention a time and no results were posted by press deadline, but at that stage of the game, the number is more interesting than the clock. Chris Gibbons was also there but some way short of his 144th.

Meanwhile, north of the border, Sal Ryder (F50) ran the Baxters Soup Loch Ness marathon along with 3580 others, clocking 4.25.08 for 1680th and 432nd female, not bad considering it was compulsory tinned soup at each water stop.

And then out east, in the Berlin marathon, Gav Dent (M40) pushed Keninisa Bekele (winner in 2:01:41) hard but eventually had to settle for 9186th with a nevertheless more than decent 3.35.26.

Finally, and even more exotic, was SuperSeventy Jim Hayes, the only Brit among 15 nationalities who ran the NOVO21 ( half marathon) at Novo Mesto in south-eastern Slovenia, which is somewhere south-east of Ipswich. On a course described as “largely flat with 3 significant hills”, he reports that the “flat” needed to be considered in a mountainous Slovenia context and undulated endlessly, including an off road section. Again, no overall results were available but his very creditable 1:52:10 gained 2nd place in the 70+ category while conceding several years to the category winner who had only just graduated.

Author: John Worrall


Coltishall Jaguars’ Jolly Jaguars 10k took place on the former airbase for, on the face of it, the last time, with the club faced with eviction by landlords Norfolk County Council’s Hethel Innovation Ltd. Notice to quit was received reportedly following complaints after the Scottow Sundowner 5k in August, although discussions on a new lease are said to be continuing, albeit with a rent increase of 400%. Reports of complaints and the rent hike may or may not be connected.

In hot conditions, the race was won by Michael Eccles (MO) of Bure Valley Harriers in 33.43, but 19 North Norfolk Beach Runners were among the 716 finishers, four of them gaining top-10 category places: Neil Adams, (M40-44) in 35.54 for 6th overall and 2nd out of 60 in category; John Fagan (M45-49) in 38.44 for 18th and 3/52; Phil King (M60-64) in 48:58 for 184th and 4/10; and Tracey Showers (F40-44) in 53:39 for 292nd and 9/65.

Also there were Beach Runners John Stares, Natalie Drake and Darren Armstrong who would have run faster, had they not stopped to help others who had become unwell during the race.

Meanwhile along the coast, the Norfolk Coastal Trail Marathon saw 145 finishers run from Holme-next-the-Sea to Morston, the winner being Stephen Bacon (M35-39 and unattached) in 3.20.53. But a handful of Beach Runners posted stately times, Elizabeth Goodliffe (F40-44) in her first full marathon leading them home and taking 44th overall with 4.45.29. She was followed in the Beach Runner order of things by Rhianwen Smee (F35-39) in 6.42.34 and then a phalanx of Gemma Barnes and Stacey Coleman (both F40-44), and the Venerable Jeremy Bolam (M60-64) in slightly less than eight hours, with sweeper Sandra Wilkinson (F60-64) in slightly more.

The half-marathon, won by Mark Dawes (M45-49 and unattached) in 1.33.11, featured three Beach Runners among 167 finishers: Anita Bullen (F45-49) returning from injury to grab 83rd with 2:27:19, closely pursued by Nicola Rands (F50-54) in 2:28:48 for 85th, with Nancy Crow (F50-54) flying a straight line for 3:07:19 and 144th..

Back closer to home, a covey of Beach Runners were among 78 who ran the Erpingham 5k, with first among them – and among everybody – noted ultra-man and mountain goat, Carmine De Grandis, (Adult Male – no age categories on this one) clearly thriving on denser oxygen near sea-level with 19:44. John Gay (AM) posted 20.37 for 4th place while first lady Beach Runner and second lady finisher was Rachel Robson (AF) in 25:44 for 23rd overall.

A second mention goes to Elizabeth Goodliffe, clearly fired up by the Coastal Trail Marathon the day before, who ran with her three girls – Mille, Lottie and Pippa – who swept to 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Junior Female section.

A solitary Beach Runner, Adam Griggs (M40-44), took the regal option of the Sandringham 10k where 150 runners were treated to the novel experience of a Zumba warm-up – like Line Dancing without the spittoons. His time of 46.24 took 16th place overall and 5th in category.

Author: John Worrall


North Norfolk Beach Runners’ sprinters were out and about at the weekend, getting up early to run the Dereham 5k.

Standout performer with a podium (as ever) was Neil Adams (M40-44) who ran 16.30 for 6th overall and first out of 30 in category, with Darren Neale (M40-44) also getting a top-10 category place and 54th overall with 18.38.

The mature end of the NNBR men’s membership showed well yet again, Phil King (M60-65) clocking a PB 22.12 for 193rd and 7/14 in category, Derek Sadler (M65+) in 22.44 for 212th and 7/15, and Mike Marshall (M65+ nearly a decade and a half) in 31.03 for 426th and 13th.

PBs were also posted by first NNBR female home, Sal Ryder (F50-54) with 24.13, for 260th and 8/23 in category, and Kerry Smith (F 40-49), 26.28, for 337th. A special mention goes to new member, Sarah Grand, (FO) easing back to running with 31.14. Welcome, Sarah, the NNBR Force is with you.

Meanwhile, up in the Peak District, from Buxton, they run the PeaksSkyline half, a 14.5 mile course with nearly 3000 feet of climbing and vertiginous place names like as Ramshaw Rocks, Hen Cloud Cliff and The Roaches Ridge. Beck Maun (F40-49) and David Dawber (50-59) were among 57 finishers, Beck in 3.09.54 for 27th overall and 7thin category, and David in 3.55.11 for 49th and 4th.

The Cromer Ridge will never be the same.

Author: John Worrall


Forty seven North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 819 who ran the third and final race in the Wednesday evening Wroxham 5k series, organised by Norwich Road Runners.

The winner was CONAC’s Piers Arnold (M Senior) in 15.39 but in the balmy Broadland air, Beach Runners claimed a number of category podiums, several top-10s and a deluge of pbs.

First home among them was Neil Adams (M40-44) in 16.16 (pb) for 11th overall and 2nd out of 54 in category, while Charlotte Neale (FO) clocked 17.48 (pb) for 55th and 2nd/119. Neil thereby claimed a series 3rd and Charlotte 2nd over the three races.

Other podiums included Tony Witmond (M50-54) in 18.08 for 69th and 3rd// 55; Helen Hagon (F55-59) in 24:27 (pb) for 496th and 3rd/20; sprightly Sam Weller (M70+) in 25.21 for 556th and 3rd /12, and Liz Letzer, (F70+) with 28.07 (pb for the umpteenth time this year) for 682nd and 1st/4

Other pb-ers were Finlay Swanson 16:46, James Warner-Smith 17:14, Daryl London 17:57, Dean Howard 19:00, Gav Dent 20:58, Natalie Drake 21:45, Gary Hobart 22:06, Zoe Parish 22:36, Sophie Saunders 24:26, Katherine Wright (post natal pb) 25:59, Catherine Howard 26:11 and Sara Holroyd 32:13.

Up on the coast, meanwhile, nine Beach Runners, along with 755 others, opted for grand designs at the Holkham 10k. In a race where Framlingham Flyers’ Jim Last (M40-44) paradoxically came first, in 36.06, first Beach Runner home was Alex Curtis (M 30-34) in 34th place with 42.35, while Natalie Drake (F 35-39) was first female Beach Runner in 156th with 48.46.

And then up in Yorkshire, Beck Maun went for Saturday morning High Life in the Punk Panther 50k, taking 7.17.00 for the moorland course which took in Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at, not even a sun ‘at. Now that’s cool.

Author: John Worrall


Fourteen North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 345 finishers at the North Walsham EPIC – Exercising People in Communities – 5k race on Friday evening before the heat arrived, and seven of them, clearly not particularly in need of more exercise, gained top 10 category places.

In a race won by Michael Eccles (M)) of Bure Valley Harriers in 16.26, first Beach Runner home was James Warner-Smith (MO) in 17.53 for 4th, both overall and in category out of 83. In the same category, Daryl London was 9th and 7th, in 18.26. But in between them, though two categories older, was John Fagan (M45-49) in 18:12 for 6th overall and a notable 1st out of 23 in category, while same category, Dean Howard clocked 19.34 for 26th and 4th. Eddie Carman (M 50 to 54) was 35th overall and 2nd with a time of 20.12.

Two lady Beach Runners got podiums, Natalie Drake (FO) finishing 3rd out of 65 in category and 68th overall in 22.00, while Rachel Robson (F 55 to 59) got yet another gong with 2nd in category and 124th overall in 24.38. Don’t stand too close to that mantelpiece, Rachel.

Meanwhile on Sunday, out above the marshes at Freethorpe south of Acle, 10 Beach Runners sweltered along with 467 others at the Humpty Dumpty 10k in conditions not quite as hot as Saturday’s but hot enough for running.

It was won by Matthew Jeffries (M Senior) of Waveney Valley AC in 33.11 but first Beach Runner (as usual when he’s there) was Neil Adams (M 40 to 44) in 36.30 for 5th overall and 2nd out of 53 in category. Chris Parker (M Senior) clocked 38.44 for 19th overall and 7th out of 118 in category. But the more mature Beach Runners could also take the heat, notably Derek Sadler (M 65 to 69) who 48.39 for 137th and 4th, and Phil King (M 60 to 64) who was 172nd and 2nd in 50.30. And then father of the pack, Mike Marshall, (M 70+ a few more) barely raised a sweat in grabbing 6th out of 14 in category and 412th overall with a time of 1.06.52. But then he is pretty cool, that Mike.

Author: John Worrall

5 Mile Club Handicap Results 24’06’19

        Run   Handicap    
        Time   Time   Performance
1 Liz Letzer   0:48:51   0:55:00   0:06:09
2 Caroline Stacey   0:45:41   00:51:00   0:05:19
3 Zoe Parish   0:37:23   00:42:00   0:04:37
4 Kevin Parfitt   0:41:13   00:46:00   0:04:47
5 Andy Toogood   0:44:54   00:49:00   0:04:06
6 Lucy Stevens   0:49:05   00:52:00   0:02:55
7 Karen Balcombe   0:37:49   00:41:00   0:03:11
8 Garry Hobart   0:37:24   00:40:30   0:03:06
9 Darryl London   0:31:32   00:34:30   0:02:58
10 Ness Dent   0:54:37   00:57:30   0:02:53
11 Matt Harmer   0:38:43   00:41:30   0:02:47
12 Andy Parish   0:39:43   00:42:30   0:02:47
13 Lesley Winston   0:47:18   00:50:00   0:02:42
14 Emma Culley   0:47:51   00:50:30   0:02:39
15 Gav Dent   0:35:52   00:38:30   0:02:38
16 Phil King   0:38:45   00:41:00   0:02:15
17 David Dawber   0:39:54   00:42:00   0:02:06
18 Chris Merrylees   0:30:00   00:32:00   0:02:00
19 Natalie Drake   0:37:37   0:39:30   0:01:53
20 Vicky Last   0:41:48   00:43:30   0:01:42
21 Libby Ashton   0:46:28   00:48:00   0:01:32
22 Jonathan Philips *   0:34:00   00:35:30   0:01:30
23 Ady Woods   0:37:11   00:38:30   0:01:19
24 Tony Witmond   0:30:58   00:32:00   0:01:02
25 Kirsty Hobart   0:46:00   00:47:00   0:01:00
26 Kat Sanders   0:42:03   00:43:00   0:00:57
27 Chris Tindall   0:36:04   00:37:00   0:00:56
28 Becky Maun   0:36:35   00:37:30   0:00:55
29 John Stares   0:35:37   00:36:30   0:00:53
30 Liz Harris   0:40:12   00:41:00   0:00:48
31 Finlay Swanson   0:29:20   00:30:00   0:00:40
32 Dean Howard   0:32:01   00:32:30   0:00:29
33 Richard Price Thomas   0:31:34   00:32:00   0:00:26
34 Rachel Robson   0:41:07   00:41:30   0:00:23
35 Neil Adams   0:27:41   00:28:00   0:00:19
36 Ian Wade   0:40:04   00:40:00   0:00:04
37 Alex Ewbank   0:38:31   00:38:00   0:00:31
38 James Warner Smith   0:30:41   00:30:00   0:00:41
39 Stuart Murtha   0:33:43   00:33:00   0:00:43
40 Sue Ilsley   0:44:16   00:43:30   0:00:46
41 Darren Armstrong   0:32:55   00:32:00   0:00:55
42 Chris Parker   0:30:01   00:29:00   0:01:01
43 Jim Hayes   0:40:04   00:39:00   0:01:04
44 Dave Spooner   0:37:41   00:36:00   0:01:41
45 Chris Spooner   0:38:21   00:36:30   0:01:51
46 Vernon Hoare   0:39:05   00:36:30   0:02:35
47 John Folkard   1:03:22   01:00:30   0:02:52
    * recalculated for unfortunate wrong turn!          


On a very wet Wednesday evening last week, the roads of the Wroxham/Hoveton conurbation were flooded with blue vests because no less than 38 North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 796 who contested Race 2 of the Wroxham 5k series organised by Norwich Road Runners.

On this short dash, none of them got very close to the winning time, 14.44, by CONAC’s Piers Arnold but they did grab several top-10 category finishes.

First among them was Neil Adams (M40-44) in 16.24 for 16th  overall and 4th out of 53 in category, while Chris Merrylees (M40-44), now back to running, ran 17.38 for 58th and 6th.  A couple of age-groups higher, Tony Whitmond (M50-54), also with legs back in order, clocked 18.04 for 88th and 2ndout of 54.

Leading lady Beach Runner, as usual, was Charlotte Neale (FO) who ran 18.08 for 93rd overall and 4thout of 101 in category. But there were two top-10s in the F 55-59s – Karen Balcombe in 22.49 for 435th and 2nd out of 23, followed by Rachel Robson in 24.37 for 530th and 4th.  Jane Steed (F50-54) came 9thout of 38 in category and 461st overall with 23:30, while Liz Letzer (F70+) who has been posting pbs all year, came 695th and 2nd  with 28:31.

Meanwhile going long and out west in the Thames Valley near Reading, a handful Beach Runners, former and current, went in for the Mizuno Endure 24 (tag line, Epic, Brutal, Relentless) which involves individuals or relay teams doing as many laps of a five mile circuit as possible in 24 hours.

Running as individuals, their top performer was Beach Runner Anita Bullen (F, rising 50) who covered 13 laps –  65 miles – in her 24  hours, with an hour’s kip around midnight, which put her 30th out of 86 individual performances. The scenery was nice apparently and, well, it beats going to Morrisons of a Saturday.


Author: John Worrall


Back in 2004, Aylsham was the second small town in the UK to embrace the Italian Cittaslow philosophy which rebuts the concept of cloned communities and fast food. And it works. No-one rushes in Aylsham these days, except now those running the Aylsham EPIC 5km which is like Park Run but more worthy.

Thus it was that on Friday night, 14 worthy Beach Runners, along with 407 others, upped the pace a bit by dashing out of Market Place around the streets and back again and, in a race won by Callum Bowen-Jones (MO) of Dereham Runners in 16,06, claimed several top-10 category finishes.

First among them was James Warner-Smith (MO) in 17.40 for 9th overall and 8th out of 89 in category, while Natalie Drake (FO) ran 22.15 for 91st and 6th out of 109. Somewhere in between them came Matt Andrews (M45-49) in 19.52 for 40th and 3rd out of 28.

Natasha Sumner (F 40-44) ran 26.51 for 213th and 8th while Angela Smith (F60-64) clocked 38.15 for 402nd and 8th , those ladies not quite catching Garry Hobart (M55-59) who steamed in on 22.35 for 96th and 7th.

But the big NNBR one-two came in the F55-59 category where Karen Balcombe grabbed 1st – and 99thoverall – with 22.46, hotly pursued by Rachel Robson in 2nd – and 130th overall – with 24.01.

And then, in F40-44, Elizabeth Goodliffe was not only 1st out of 26 (and 78th overall) but ran a pb of 21.29.

Meanwhile out west, Michael Fish Sadler (M50-59 top end) ran the Yeovil marathon over Somerset undulations in 3.16.01 for 30th out of 194 and 5th in category.

Author: John Worrall