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


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


Fourteen North Norfolk Beach Runners ran the Mike Groves 10k, organised by Coltishall Jaguars on the runway of the former RAF base on a day when heat seeking missiles didn’t have far to look. In 28C, the field of 577 were more concerned with getting round, rather than with pbs on what in cooler conditions is a fast course.

There were nevertheless a few NNBR top 10 category finishes, first among whom was Adam Smart (MO) who ran 41.47 for 11th overall and 4th in category. Next came Jonathon Phillips (M50-54 46.30 for 52nd and 6th.

Natalie Drake (FO) was first female Beach Runner in 50.27 for 105th/9th, while Tracey Showers (F40-44) ran 56.12 for 204th and 8th.

Two of the NNBR SuperSeventies squad were there, continuing their preparation for the Ekiden marathon relay at Woodbridge on 14th July, although as Liz Letzer (F70+) said, after clocking 1.17.59 for 526th and 2nd, and opting not to run a third pb in 10 days, “It was just survival in the heat”.  Robin Rush (M70+) 1.26.10 for 561st and 8th, for his part remained in the zone and declined to add further.

Photocredit: Darren Armstrong.

Author: John Worrall


North Norfolk Beach Runners have been running in all directions over the past week, five of them along on the prom in Race 3 of the Yarmouth 5-mile midweek series. In a field of 635, two Beach Runners nailed top-10 category places, Darren Armstrong (M 45-49) in 32.46 for 52nd  overall and 8th out of 54 in category, and Liz Letzer (F 70+) running a pb of 48.26 for 497th and 3rd.

And then on Sunday, at the Holt 10k which the club organises and thus had several dozen members marshalling, 16 Beach Runners were among 430 finishers and between them nabbed five top-three category places.

Neil Adams (M 40-44) was 4th overall and 1st in category with a time of 36.08; Finlay Swanson (MJ) ran 39.08 for 23rd and 2nd; Derek Sadler (M 65-69) in 48.29 was 136th  and 3rd, while Rachel Robson (F 55–59), like old wine, ran a pb of 51.04 for 185th and 3rd. And then for the second time that week, Liz Letzer, (F 70+) ran a pb, knocking a minute and a half off her previous best with 1.05.32 for 373rd and 2nd , and peaking nicely for this year’s  SuperSeventies’ tilt at the Ekiden marathon relay in Woodbridge in July.

Going longer than that were a handful of Beach Runners who ran the Angles Way 50k down the Waveney valley, from Beccles to Yarmouth with a 6.00am start. The results hadn’t been posted at the time of going to press, but the stand-out performer was Gemma Woolrych who was first female home.

But then going considerably longer again was Carmine de Grandis who ran the 200 mile, five-day Dragon’s Back Race, spanning Wales north to south, peaking Snowdon, Cader Idris and a few other would-be Beeston Bumps, each with precipitate drops for the inattentive. Out of 402 starters, there were 251 finishers, among whom he was 148th with a cumulative time of 63hours, 3min and 4 seconds, and crossing the line playing an accordion. He would have probably gone quicker without it but he said he couldn’t resist Snowdonia’s acoustics.

Author: John Worrall


Half a dozen North Norfolk Beach Runners had a mid-week run-out at the first of this year’s three Yarmouth 5K races and, in a field of 619, four of them had top 10 category finishes.

Darren Armstrong (M 45 – 49) was quickest, in 32-58 for 40th overall and 7th  in category,  while John Stares (M 50 – 54) clocked 35.21 for 102nd and 9th . Sam Weller (M 70+), back in action after a lay-off, ran 47.25 for 448th and 5th. Liz Letzer (F 70+) was the other top-tenner, running 51.12 for 519th and 3rd, though some way astern of faster, but younger, Natalie Drake (F 18-35) in 38.39 for 189th and 14th. Jon Folkard (M 55-59) ran sweeper for the day with 1.02.04 for 603rd and 34th, and then found that the doughnut shop had closed.

Meanwhile, in the Norfolk heartlands, the Dereham 10-mile attracted 10 Beach Runners, among 516 starters, who between them  gained five category top-tenners, including a couple of firsts.

First among firsts was usual suspect Neil Adams (M 40-44) in 58.17 for 6th overall and a category 1stout of 39, who only the previous day had run a 4.48 mile to take first in the veteran category over the distance at the Norfolk Track & Field Championship. So there’s a cool dude, if you like. Emma Blake, (F 40-44), confining her efforts to Dereham, settled for 1.05.26 for 93rd and 1st out of 44. Two of the more seasoned performers, Derek Sadler (M 65+) and Jim Hayes (M 65+ a few more than Derek) respectively ran 1.17.51 and 1.20.63 for 202nd and 243rd overall and 5th and 7th out of 16., while Darren Armstrong (M 45 – 49), clearly benefiting from his Yarmouth 5k training session, clocked 1.05.26 for 45 overall and 10th out of 48.

And then down on the south coast, a couple of 40-something Beach Runners and ultra men, Vinnie Purdy and Colin Stark, sauntered round the South Downs Marathon which, as it happened, was the 142nd marathon for each of them. They are still getting the hang of it and the times weren’t exceptional – both have run faster – but really, at a certain time of life and after a certain mileage, all these old boys get to be more interested in going for a run to have a natter.

Author: John Worrall