BRENDA – THE WIZARD OF OZ

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Brenda Kinch, 71, of North Norfolk Beach Runners has just returned from the World Masters Athletics Championship in Perth, Australia with a silver medal in the marathon, 70 to 74 age category.

The World Masters Athletics is equivalent to the Olympics for athletes from 35 to 100 competing in 5 year age categories. This year there were 4,034 competitors from 92 different countries. There were even some athletes competing in the 96 to 99 age group in stadium events.

The marathon, which was on the last day of the games, started at 6.00am, to avoid the over 30C heat of the day. The course was a picturesque double loop run along and over the Swan River and included a steep incline bridge which was particularly challenging on the 3rd and 4th laps.

Brenda finished in 4 hrs 46 minutes and 24 seconds to win silver, beaten to the gold by a Norwegian lady. She was delighted with the result, particularly as her training was interrupted by having a pacemaker fitted 10 weeks before the race. Brenda has now added a World Masters medal to her 1st place in the 65 to 69 age category in the London Marathon in 2010, and her Norfolk Female Road Runner of the year both in 2014 and 2015 awards.

BURE VALLEY TO GOWER

Twenty North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 246 finishers in the inaugural Bure Valley 10 Mile race on Sunday 6th November.

The race, run in two laps over a flat course, had personal best potential although torrential rain watered that down a bit. But it was the first race organised by Bure Valley Harriers and drew wide praise for the marshalling and general administration.

Stand-out Beach Runner performers included some usual suspects, Neil Adams finishing fourth in 59 minutes 11 second, a personal best; Colin Stark seventh overall – and first in the 40-45 age group – in 1hr, 1min 7secs and Chris Parker 12th overall in 1hr, 3min, 10 secs.

Meanwhile, on 12th November, a small posse of Beach Runners drove to the Gower peninsular in South Wales to take part in an Endurance Life Trail Series Race which had distance options of 10k, half marathon, marathon and 35-mile ultra. The hilly and muddy trail followed the coastal path before turning inland for the return.

In the 10k, Jenny be Grandis came 147th out of 205 finishers in 1hr, 42min, 14 secs while Chris Merrylees came third out of 466 finishers in the half marathon in 1hr, 46min, 36 sec. In the marathon, Ben Jones came 73rd out of 161 finishers in 5 hrs, 46 mins 50 secs, while two Beach Runners did the 35-mile ultra, Carmine de Grandis taking 31st place out of 132 finishers in 6 hrs, 50 mins 39 seconds, and Colin Stark taking 2nd place in 5hrs 38 mins 22 seconds.

NNBR Autumn Miscellany

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North Norfolk Beach Runners have been on the road in search of interesting races.

Emma Culley and Andy Toogood together ran the Robin Hood marathon at Nottingham where, in windy conditions on a hilly course, they registered a time of 5 hours 18 minutes.

And the Armstrong family were putting themselves about. On 29th October, Darren travelled to Eastbourne to do the Beachy Head Marathon which took in some of the South Downs Way along with the villages of Alfriston, Jevington and Lidlington, before climbing over the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head itself with climbs totalling 4,500 feet.

“We were in cloud at the highest points and it was cool” says Darren, “But at lower levels the weather was perfect, the views stunning and the support fantastic.”

He came 389th out of 1750 finishers in 4 hours 32 minutes.

On November 5th, his partner, Jen, not to be outdone, ran the King’s Forest 50km Ultra near Thetford where cold drizzle greeted the 85 starters, though they soon warmed up over the four undulating woodland laps. Despite being a little unsure how she would do, she grabbed a podium as third lady home, in 5hrs 29 minutes.

“The marshals were fantastic, the scenery breathtaking and it was a thoroughly enjoyable event recommended to any runner looking for a longer distance but friendly challenge!”

Bakers & Larners Holt 10km Race

01-startThis year’s race on Sunday 23rd October saw 421 runners – a record entry – from all over the country enjoy glorious autumn sunshine.

The race which is organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners, starts and finishes at Gresham’s School and takes in part of the Kelling Estate and much of Salthouse Heath. It was marshalled by around 60 Beach Runners but 35 club members were still able to compete and filled three of the top ten places. Neil Adams finished in 35.33 to take fourth place and first prize in the open age group while Chris Merrylees took sixth place in 36:07. Stephane Lustig was 10th in a time of 36:54. Together these three secured first place in the men’s team section.

The race was won by Wymondham AC’s Jack Gillick, in a time of 34:24, while the first lady was Rowena Leary in a time of 40:48.

Lisa Oakley was first Beach Runner lady home in a time of 43:24, winning the F40-44 class.

Special mention goes Beach Runner Brenda Kinch who at the age of 70 left 90 runners in her wake and 75 year old Mike Marshall who finished ahead of over 70 younger competitors.

Race Director Ross Haddow was delighted with both the high entry and with the chip timing provided by Reepham based Total Race Timing who made results available shortly after the race finished

Tracey Hagon from Bakers and Larners of Holt, who have kindly sponsored the event for several years, presented prizes in Gresham School’s main sports hall.

Beach Runners do 100

Three North Norfolk Beach Runners, Hazel Wray, Andy Kett and Chris Spooner, were among 300 starters who tackled the Centurion Autumn 100 over the weekend of 15-16th October. This 100-mile race in the Thames Valley was made up of four 25-mile out-and-back spurs centred on Goring-on-Thames; it started at 10am on the Saturday and had to be completed within 28 hours.

Hazel had bad luck, feeling unwell before she started and deciding to pull out after 58 miles, a huge achievement in the circumstances nevertheless. Andy for his part stormed round 16.50.28 to finish sixth overall, but then he does this sort of thing most days before breakfast.

Chris was running to raise money towards an electric wheelchair for her niece, Lily Rose, who has cerebral palsy; the chair will give her more independence when she starts high school.

“I really enjoyed the first 50 miles” says Chris. “I felt good and the scenery was beautiful. The biggest high came at about 38 miles, crossing a field with runners all the way across. Everything felt awesome! “But from 50 miles, it got dark and cold and I got very tired; this section was also hillier than I’d expected. My lowest point was approaching the 75-mile checkpoint; I’d forgotten to drink for about eight miles and I was shivering, walking and had no energy. But my crew and the Centurion support team soon sorted me out with loads of extra layers, chilli and cuppa soup. A cuppa soup has never tasted so good!

“At 6am it started to rain and continued for four hours. The organisers had put a load of steps into the last 25 miles and they seemed to take forever. I finally finished at 12pm on the Sunday.

“But the aid stations were great, like oases in the desert, full of hugely positive people and best of all, hot sweet tea. I struggled to eat ‘proper’ food from quite early on, everything seemed too dry and took a lot of chewing. But Watermelon and pineapple went down very well.

“The whole weekend was an amazing adventure and one that I’ll never forget.”

Neither will Lily Rose. Donations can be made at

http://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chrisruns100miles

North Norfolk Beach Runners do Peterborough

north-norfolk-beach-runners-prior-to-the-perkins-great-east-runNorth Norfolk Beach Runners had 53 starters of all ages among more than 4000 who ran the Perkins Great East Run half marathon at Peterborough at the weekend. Theirs was the second largest club attendance among the many clubs who took part.

In warm conditions, the runners followed a course around the streets of the city with applauding spectators lining the way. Several Beach Runners were running their first half marathon, having come to running fairly recently through the club’s introductory courses or through Park Runs, but the first Beach Runners home were Chris Merrylees (124th place in 1.21.44) and Chris Parker, (125th in 1.21.45), the latter running a personal best. Septuagenarian Mike Marshall who, himself, has been running for only a few years, finished fast to grab 3115th place – and 8th in the 70-79 category – in 2.25.45.

Closer to home, because of the club commitment at Peterborough, only three Beach Runners were among the 330 who ran the Marriott’s Way 10k, although Neil Adams flew the flag by taking first place in 35.55, seven seconds ahead of the second placed runner, and nearly a minute ahead of the third. Sam Weller was first in the Male 60+ group (and 39th overall) in 45.57, more than four minutes ahead of the next in the category. The Beach Runner trio was completed by Ivan Allen who came home in 51.20 for 84th place.

Beach Runners Go Long!

North Norfolk Beach Runner, Carmine De Grandis, took part in the inaugural 185 mile King Offa’ Dyke Race run along the Welsh border country between September 23rd -27th. He finished in 22nd place out 73 starters and 44 finishers in a time of 85 hours 37 minutes, with over 9000m of climbs, several refuelling stops and about seven hours sleep on the way.

“When the inaugural event was announced, I could not resist entering because it would be 80 miles longer than anything I have done before” he said. “Despite being injured since June and having completed very little training I decided to give it my best shot.”

The race, which started at night, had to be completed within four nights and four days and in good Welsh style, the weather “varied from drizzle to wet, to very wet with a little sunshine every now and then”. To ensure that he finished during the morning of the 4th day, he climbed and descended the Clwdian hills in the northern section at night, by that time with “blisters bigger than my feet”, to reaching the finish on Prestatyn seafront.

“The best part was that people kept laughing at the fact that there aren’t any hills in Norfolk to train for this! But Beeston Bump is almost a hill if you run up and down it three times.”

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Carmine is welcomed at the finish by Richard Weremiuk race director and founder, of Beyond Marathon. Picture credit: Clive Hevey.

Indeed. And that’s what you call a long weekend. But it seems to be contagious because fellow Beach Runners Andy Kett and Hazel Wray along with Chris Spooner are now attempting the Autumn 100, a Thames Valley 100 mile race on 15th/16th October. Chris is raising money towards an electric wheelchair for her niece, Lily Rose. You can donate at Chris’s crowdfunding page at http://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chrisruns100miles