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.

Winter Cross-Country to Spring-to-Autumn Road Racing

With the lighter evenings and allegedly warmer days, North Norfolk Beach Runners have been making the transition from winter cross-country to spring-to-autumn road racing with effortless aplomb.

Over the winter, those regularly getting muddy in the 10-race East Anglia Cross Country League included a ladies squad among whom Karen Balcombe finished 7th overall in the series and Louise Pegg eighth. With races taking place on Wednesday afternoons and many runners unable to run them all, the Ladies team prizes eluded the Beach Runners, but those who ran some or nearly all of them included Gemma Woolrych, Rachel Robson, Sue Ilsley Sarah Mapes Shay Boyfield and Ali Lowe.

1. Louise Pegg, left, and Karen Balcombe. 

2. Left to right: Rachel Robson, Sarah Mapes, Karen Balcombe, Louise Pegg and Gemma Woolrych


Meanwhile, the marathon season is now under way and at Manchester on April 8th, among more than 9000 finishers, it was again NNBR ladies to the fore, with Emily Haughan (V35) clocking 3.45.12 for 3050th place overall but 73rd in category, and Rebecca Maun (V45) clocking 3.47.56 for 3274th overall but 45th in category.  

Brighton (15th April) and London (22nd April) marathons now follow and NNBR will be well represented at both.