North Norfolk Beach Runners have been busy over the past week in which, out of four races, they had two overall winners and, in one event, no less than five category winners.

The big clutch of gongs came at Coltishall Jaguars’ Sundowner 5k on Wednesday where, in a field of 511 including 26 Beach Runners, the first among the firsts and overall race winner, despite his advancing years, was usual suspect Neil Adams (M  40-44) in 16.50. Not far behind, in 14th place but 1st in category, was Tony Witmond (M 50-54) in 18.32.

Next among the category firsts and fresh from setting a record at Run Norwich last week, was new-kid-on-the-seniority-block, Sam Weller (M 70-74) in 22.08, followed in the NNBR scheme of things by Karen Balcombe (F55-59) in 22.15 for 123rd and again 1st in category.

The last of the firsts was Liz Letzer (F 70+) in 33.58, but there were category podiums also for Louise Pegg (F50-54) in 22.42 for 2nd; Caroline Dickens, (F35-39) in 21.30 for 3rd and Rachel Robson (F 55-59) 25.26 also for 3rd.

Meanwhile at the Reepham 10k on Friday, where NNBR fielded 18 runners among 349 starters, the overall winner was again a Beach Runner, Finlay, Swanson (MO), who only recently joined NNBR senior ranks from North Norfolk Harriers, and ran 35.20. Other notable performances came in the M70+ category where Sam Weller, seemingly getting the hang of this ageing business, ran 46.45 for 75th overall but 1st again in category, followed by Jim Hayes (M70+a few) in 50.24 for 126th and 2nd in category.  Adrian Dyde (M60-69) in 45.16 completed the category gong count with 3rd, which, for those two races, gave NNBR a dozen podiums in total, second only to Russia.

At the Great Yarmouth half marathon by contrast, NNBR had nine runners among 380 finishers, but no-one did much to report about. Do try to keep up, folks.

NNBR did nevertheless have one notable outlier in Beck Maun (F40-49) who opted for the Stour Valley Path 50K and, in a field of 126 finishers, clocked 5.37.16 for a very creditable 23rd overall.


Author: John Worrall


Two score North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 5509 finishers in the Run Norwich 10k, run around the streets of the eponymous city on a hot Sunday morning. In a race won by Nick Earl (M16-39) of City of Norwich Athletic Club in 30.49, the first Beach Runner home was Neil Adams (M40-44) in 36.40 for 24th overall and 4th in category, followed in the NNBR scheme of things by Dean Howard (M45-49) in 42.41 for 205th overall and 18th in category.

First lady Beach Runner was Lisa Oakley (F40-44) in 49.39 for 717th overall and 18th in category.

Other stand-out performances came, as is increasingly usual of late, from the mature end of the membership, with Adrian Dyde (M60-64) in 47.14, for 567th overall but 6th in category; Gary Linder (M60-64) in 47.32 for 526th overall and 5th; Mike Marshall (M70 plus seven) in 1.09.05 for 4145th and 16th; and the recently qualified SuperSeventy, Sam Weller (M70 but only just) in 47.05 but 1st out of 26 in category. It’s all downhill from here, Sam.

Photo caption: (photo credit – Tony Gentry)

Stairway to heaven – a NNBR covey in the pre-race zone, self-effacing  Sam Weller 7th from left at the back.


Author: John Worrall


photocredit Ross Haddow

Eight North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 450 who ran the Worstead 5-mile on Friday 27th July. It would have been more but NNBR were marshalling the event and most of the membership were tabard-clad and scattered around the lanes of the hinterland.

In a temperature close to 30C, the race, which forms part of the Worstead Festival, was won by Dominic Blake of Reepham Runners in 27.06, with the first Beach Runner home, Chris Parker (SM), claiming 10th place in 29.46. The other Beach Runners were: Adam Smart (SM), 24th in 31.25; Dean Howard (MV45) 63rd, 33.52; Kathryn Head (FV35) 156th, 39,52; Phil King (MV60) 193rd, 41.18; Jen Armstrong, (FV40) 188th, 41.46; Kat Sanders, (FS) 230th, 44.26; and Club President, SuperSeventy and all round good egg, Noel Spruce (MV70+) 303rd , 50.42.

Author: John Worrall

John Barrow Relay Results

Team 1

Karen Emery: 20.47

Jim Balcombe: 10.30

Zoe Parish: 12.02

Steve Brown: 11.43= 55.02   (9th)               


Team 2 

Janice Hall: 14.38

Eddie Carmen: 11.02

Andy Parish: 12:21

Fish: 10.41 = 48.42   (2nd)


Team 3

Rob Emery: 13.09

Gemma Woolrych: 12.35\

Gary Hobart: 13.01

Karen Balcombe: 12.19 = 51.04   (5th)


Team 4

Molly Hobart: 15.26

Andy Blake: 12.54

Nicky Rands: 14.24

Chris Gibbons: 12.09 = 54.53   (8th)


Team 5

Sally Ryder: 14.13

Ruth Brandon (Guest): 11.29

Vikki Last: 14.00

Jim Hayes: 13.29 = 53.11   (6th)


Reephams Team 1 were the winners in 45.36, Team 2 were 4th in 49.52, Team 3 were 7th in 54.11, Team 4 were 3rd in 48.49 & Team 5 were 10th in 57.35.


On one of the hottest Sundays of an already hot summer, North Norfolk Beach Runners sent three teams to the Ekiden marathon relay organised by Ipswich Jaffa Running Club at Woodbridge.

Ekiden, an idea which began in Japan, is a marathon length race run in six stages of ranging from 5k to 10k. The Woodbridge event, which snakes around the grounds of Woodbridge school and is the only one in the UK, was established over 20 years ago. This year’s involved 200 senior teams which, together with juniors, added up to more than 1600 runners.

NNBR’s squad comprised firstly five female runners and a male competing as Pearls and Dean (he’s a diamond) who lost a lot of moisture in accumulating a time which had still to be confirmed at the time of going to press.

And then,  in keeping with the club’s previous two years of participation, the mature end of the membership was represented by the SuperSeventies and SuperSeventies Too squads, which respectively gained second and first places in the over-70s category, not bad for a cumulative age of 891, which is slightly more than Norwich cathedral and yet more mobile.

A significant contributor to that statistic was the legendary and inspirational Malcolm Ball, 84, back on track after a health blip, who knocked off a 5k leg in 30C and hardly raised a sweat. Therein should lie the aspiration of all runners.


Photocaptions  (credit: John Worrall – IMYTM  (Infinitely More Youthful Team Manager))

The NNBR squad at Woodbridge Ekiden


The legendary Malcolm Ball at Ekiden – and that’s sun cream, not sweat.



North Norfolk Beach Runner and tri-athlete, Tony Witmond, is on the Danish island of Fyn this week competing in the International Triathlon Union’s world championships.

Tony, who coaches the North Norfolk Harriers (athletes in 8-18 age group) and at NNDC’s Sporting Centre of Excellence which is run in conjunction with Gresham’s school, is competing in the Aquathlon involving a 1km swim and 5k run.

Tony does have previous at this sort of thing. He was part of the GB 50-54 age group squad at the European Championships in Slovakia last year when he finished 6th, and of the GB 45-49 squad in France in 2016 when he finished 9th. Last year he was 2nd in age group at the GB national championships. By way of a warm-up for the Denmark gig, he gained age group gold in two of the three races in the recent Wroxham 5k series.

And while he’s in the groove, he’ll be at Peterborough later this month for the GB National Aquathlon championships and then at the European Triathlon Union’s championships in Ibiza in October.

None of this running around comes cheap of course, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of his sponsors, Saxon Air.


Author: John Worrall


Forty-three Beach Runners were among 590 sweating it out on Wednesday evening at the third race in the Wroxham 5k series, organised by Norwich Road Runners.

First home among them, Finlay Swanson, was also the youngest, having only recently entered the 17-39 category, his time of 16.52 getting 12th place overall, a performance not entirely down to the coolness of youth because one of his coaches at North Norfolk Harriers, Tony Witmond, clocked 18.38 to take gold in the M 50 to 54 category for the second time in this year’s series. Tony was looking good for the European Championships in Denmark where he will compete this week in the Aquathlon.

Other notable performances at Wroxham came from Adam Smart (M 17 to 39) in 17.51 for 33rd overall, and Charlotte Neale (F 17 to 39) in 18.02 for 39th overall and 2nd in category. Gary Linder (M 60 to 64) ran 20.59 for 4th out of 21 in category. Lady Beach Runners were first and third in the F 55 to 59 category, Karen Balcombe in 22.56 and Rachel Robson in 25.47. NNBR SuperSeventies squad member, Mike Marshall, (M 65 and over – but over a decade into that anachronistic categorisation) ran 29.03 for 17th out of 21 in category.

Spare a thought also for Shay Boyfield (lady veteran 40) who chose this summer for her first ultra, the Ultimate Trails 55k at Ambleside in the Lake District mountains. In temperatures “somewhere between 24 degrees and inferno”, she finished 338th out of 375 in a time which was academic but was certainly hours rather than days.  “It was epic” she said. Short sentences are always best when you’re out of breath.

Author: John Worrall


Seven North Norfolk Beach Runners and 332 others braved the heat in the Breckland Badlands to run the Harling 10k on Sunday 1st July.

First Beach Runner home was Neil Adams (M40-44) in 36.29 for 3rd overall and 2nd in category, followed at some distance by Phil King, (M60-64) in 47.51 for 101st  overall but 3rd in category. The others in the chase were Kathryn Head (Senior F) in 49.43 –  116th and 9th; Dave Spooner (M 45-49) 51.53 – 135th and 21st; Chris Spooner (Female 45-49) –  51-54, 136th and 9th  ; Jen Armstrong  – 52.00, 138th and 10th ; and Liz Ashton 1.08.47, 284th and 43rd.

Meanwhile, the day before and closer to Beach Runner home, seven were among the 828 who ran the Holkham 10k with the slight comfort of a sea breeze, if a somewhat disconcerting categorisation system.  Alex Curtis (M 30-34) was the first Beach Runner in 49.25 for 11th overall and 3rd in category, followed by Sophie Saunders (F 25-29) in 56.11 for  309th and 13th with  Ivan Allen (M 50-54) in close attendance in 56.10 for 308th (on the gun but it’s the chip that counts) and 31st . Others from NNBR were Matt Harmer (M 30-34) in 1.00.34 for 442nd and 35th ; Helen Lewis (F 45-49) in 1.02.14 for 482nd  and 25th;  Vicky Hampson (F 25-29) in 1.03.45 for 502nd and 20th; and Mrs L M Bygrave  (F50-54) in 1.09.00 for 620th and 21st.

At the other end of the spectrum, both meteorologically and geographically, was the marathon in Wellington, New Zealand, where in driving, torrential rain, not unusual in “Windy Wellington” as they call it, the first Beach Runner home, indeed the only Beach Runner home, was Nathan Bayle in 3.37.28.


Author: John Worrall

NNBR on the Broads

Forty Seven North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 630 entrants in the 2nd race of the 3-race Wroxham 5k series organised by Norwich Road Runners on Wednesday evenings, counterintuitively in Hoveton but that’s close enough.

First Beach Runner home was Neil Adams (so what’s new?) (M40-44)  in a time of 16.26 for 11th place overall and 3rd in category, followed closely in the NNBR order of things by Chris Merrylees (M40-44) in 16.52 for 17thoverall and 4th in category. Two other relatively senior NNBR citizens – Tony Whitmond (M50-54) in 17.48 for 39th overall but FIRST  in category, and Euan Prasser, in 18.34 for 85th overall and 11th in category – completed the foursome which carried off the Masters Gold. Somewhere in among them was Chris Parker (M17-39), 17.32 for 29th overall and 17th in category, who’s not yet a master but he isn’t getting any younger.

First lady Beach Runner was Charlotte Neale (again so what’s new?) (F18-39)  in 18.06 for 59th overall  and 5th in category.

Two NNBR SuperSeventies were there,  Mike Marshall clocking 29.17 for 549th, and Liz Letzer, in 33.12 for 599th, but since this was yet another event still not categorizing beyond “65 and over”, category positions are irrelevant because they wouldn’t be comparing like with like.



Author: John Worrall