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
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
The Mike Groves 10k, the second race in The 2018 Coltishall Jaguars 10K
series, took place around RAF Coltishall on Sunday 10th June when a flat
runway course attracted 10 North Norfolk Beach Runner potential pb
baggers, first home among whom, in the absence of Neil Adams, Chris
Merrylees and one or two others, was Darren Armstrong (M40-44) in 39.12
for 26th out of 488 finishers and 9th in category.
More particularly, 88th overall was Gary Linder (M60-64) in 43.12 for
1st in category. And not far behind him was Sam Weller (M65-69) in 44.41
for 113th overall but 3rd in category, which augers well for his
imminent qualification for the Super Seventies squad. First lady home,
paradoxically, was Vicky Last (F 18-34) in 51.29 for 221st overall and
Meanwhile, going back a week and three years after she started running,
Beach Runner Beck Maun (FV40), tackled the 28.5 mile Calderdale Way
Ultra (short), a Pennine course substantially off-road in West
Yorkshire. Finishing fast in 6.40.35 to grab 26th place out of 46
finishers, she would have done better, had not her navigation led her
adrift a couple of times, eventually to cover 31 miles. But fair enough,
this wasn’t Roman Camp and practice makes perfect.
Author: John Worrall
Nineteen North Norfolk Beach Runners were among the 484 who ran the Dereham 10 mile at the weekend, first home among them, as usual, being Neil Adam (M40-44) in 59.00 for 7th place overall but 2nd in category. He was followed, in 8th overall, by Chris Parker (MO) in 59.56 which was good enough for 1st in that younger category, the finishing order nevertheless demonstrating again the health benefits of sea air for the ageing male.
First lady Beach Runner was Chrissie Spooner (F45-49) in 1.17.03 for 180th overall and 6th in category.
Other Beach Runners ranged far and wide, with Colin Stark doing the Ultra Trail Snowdonia, a 53-mile jolly involving a 5.00 am start on the Saturday and 20,000 ft of climbing with two visits to the top of Snowdon. Running for 17 hours, he came 34th out of 206.
More particularly, in a private park in Hampshire, Maria Greaves did the Triple Enduroman Triathlon – a 7.2mile swim, 336 mile bike ride and a 78 mile run, finishing in 59 hours and first in category because she was the only UK female to finish at all. Now that’s what you call a park run.
Author: John Worrall
A sunny Sunday brought out 22 of the flowers that are North Norfolk Beach Runners in a field of 2495 at the Asda Foundation’s GEAR 10k at King’s Lynn in aid of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal http://www.janetomlinsonappeal.com/ .
With some NNBR regulars indisposed by the previous day’s celebrations of recent marathon endeavours, the NNBR field had a middle order look about it although Toby Morrell (M) headed the others by nearly two minutes with a time of 36.23 for 19th place overall. He was followed by Lynton Battrick (M40) in 38.10 for 29th overall and 9th in category.
First lady Beach Runner – though, according to the official results, competing in the male category, which she almost certainly wasn’t – was Zoe Parish (“M”) in 52.49 for 726th overall and 308th in category, though which category is clearly open to conjecture. She was part of a flurry of finishers that included Liz Harris, (F40) in 52.50 for 730th overall and 28th in category.
SuperSeventies – soon-to-be and actual – again made their presence felt, Sam Weller (M60) running 48.21 for 389th overall and 17th in category, while Mike Marshall (M70+ but rising 77) clocked 1.06.58 for 1792nd overall but 13th in category.
Seventeen North Norfolk Beach Runners, along with 427 others, were on the runway at the former RAF Coltishall for Coltishall Jaguars’ Mad March Hare 10k which this year, for added madness, was run in late April.
In a cold and blustery force six and rising, NNBR quickly adopted a strategy of all appendages akimbo on the downwind leg and tucked in on the upward (such variable geometry nevertheless being more Tornado than Jaguar) which resulted in some quick times for the conditions.
First Beach Runner home, merely because he was running, was Neil Adams (M40-44) in 36.40 for 3rd place overall and 2nd in category, followed by Adam Smart (M15-39) moving well, as ever, in 38.07 for 6th and 3rd. First lady Beach Runner was Helen Hagon (F 55-59) in 53.01 for 207th but a very creditable 2nd in category.
The club senior citizens again performed well, SuperSeventy Sam Weller (M68+) clocking 45.48 for 95th overall but 1st in category, to be only just headed by club chairman, Clive Hedges (M 55-59 and rising) wearing his office lightly to record 45.22 for 90th overall and 3rd in category.
All eyes now turn to the Dereham 10 mile in a fortnight.
In the hottest and most brutal London marathon on record, when even finishing amounted to heroism for the 40,000 plus who managed it, the dozen Beach Runners were led home by Charlotte Neale (F18-30) in a time of 3.03.41, for 1368th overall but an outstanding 40th out of 8962 in category. She was followed by Vinnie Purdy (M40-44), (who last year in cooler conditions ran two seconds over three hours), in 3.22.13 for 3220th place overall and 640th out of 4044 in category.
Following them came Fried Fish Sadler (M 50-54) in 3.29.34 for 346th out of 2491 in category; Lisa Oakley (F40-44) in 3.43.44 for 224/2892; Robert Wells (M18-39), 3.46.29 and 2651/11279; Nick Slade, 3.48.43, for 2772/11279, and Euan Prasser (M45-49), 4.01.28 and 1254/3552. Then came SuperSeventy apprentice Derek Sadler (M60-64) in 4.32.41 for 264/659; Hazel Wray (F40-49) in 4.22.58 and 549/2163; Heather Morton, 5.21.58 for 810/1388; Lesley Winston, 5.24.03 and 328/629, and Sara Holroyd, 7.05,51 for 1328/1388. All are still in the club rehydration facility.
Charlotte Neale looking cool.
Vinnie Purdy feeling the heat.
Photocredit: Clive Hedges