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

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.  

Ekiden Relay

WHAT HAS 24 legs…… and a combined age north of 840?

Why, two squads of NNBR Ekiden SuperSeventies of course – that’s EKIDEN, the marathon-length relay run in six uneven legs, which happens to match SuperSeventies legs, although that wasn’t the original notion.

The original notion is actually Japanese, and of ancient origin, ancient enough indeed to have spawned the nomenclature Nippon – as in “Get a nippon and get a pb”.

Interestingly, in the oriental vein, NNBR SuperSeventy Mike Marshall reports receiving unsolicited team entries to a supposed warm-up event, the Youth-in-Asia meeting. But SuperSeventies’ Infinitely More Youthful Sporting Director suspects Cambridge Analytica and, uneasy at the subliminal, has opted instead for Youth-in-Asda because it’s closer and the trolleys will come in handy when they’re tired.

Preparations are going well, with wrinkles getting ironed out or botoxed, and both squads are approaching peak condition, with at least one member already in pique condition because his Harriers membership renewal has been rejected yet again.

And IMYSDire can announce that NNBR SuperSeventies are this year going fully modern, with the final phasing out of long baggy shorts and hobnails, along with most of those early model Garmin Grandfathers, on which the pendulums were always troublesome and, anyway, there’s enough stuff flapping about already.

So come and support, or even run in one of the apprentice teams – charabanc laid on – and view the sunlit uplands to which you are heading.

Get the date: SUNDAY 15TH JULY

And the place: WOODBRIDGE SCHOOL, Woodbridge IP12 4JH

And be ready to remind any SuperSeventy you see wandering around looking vacant, because they’ve got so much to remember these days and some things get… um….. get……

NNBR at the Wymondham 20 miler

A dozen North Norfolk Beach Runners turned out, with 359 others, on a spring day at the Wymondham 20 miler, organised by Wymondham AC. Several were tuning up for a marathon – either Brighton on April 15th or London a week later – and a 20 miler fitted in with those schedules.

The first two Beach Runners home – in tight formation for 14th and 15th place respectively but with the same time, of 2.12.44 – were Chris Merrylees and Neil Adams (both M40-44), while similar togetherness was demonstrated by husband and wife Chris and Dave Spooner (F and M 45-59) just two seconds apart on 2.43.12 and 2.43.14 respectively for 119th and 120th, demonstrating either that chivalry is not dead or Dave’s conditioning let him down on the run-in.

NNBR’s other husband and wife combination, Darren and Jen Armstrong, (M & F 40-44) were a bit more spaced out, in 2.33.19 and 3.11.20 for 79th and 238th respectively, but Jen favours ultras of 50+ miles and is barely warmed up after 20.

Heavy Going

Two North Norfolk Beach Runners donned a different vest on Saturday as Charlotte Neale and Chris Merrylees represented Norfolk at this year’s Inter-Counties Cross Country event held at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough on Saturday 10th March.
Both of them, in training for marathons next month, are more used to pounding the roads rather than trails and fields, but racing against some of the best athletes in the country, they excelled. Charlotte, running in the third event of the day over an 8k course in what were described as the muddiest conditions ever for an inter-counties event, finished in 39:16 for 124th place out of 271.
Chris was originally there in a managerial capacity; he and Dom Blake of Reepham Runners now manage the Norfolk senior men’s and women’s squads which turned out full teams for the first time for many years. But that did mean Chris getting his shoes dirty and in the final race of the day putting in a solid performance over the 12k course which, having been churned by nine previous races, was by then anything but solid. He clocked 53:01 for 222nd place in what he described as “the toughest conditions I’ve ever raced in”.


With the conditions last week looking more favourable for cross-country skiing, many races across the country were cancelled, including the Broadland Half Marathon which many North Norfolk Beach Runners had entered. But two Beach Runners, Chris Merrylees and Nicholas Dash, headed out of the snow country to the Cambridge Half Marathon where conditions were near perfect.

The race starts and finishes in Cambridge City centre but takes in some rural hinterland with good crowds all the way. Chris Merryless, now building up to the Brighton marathon, is coached by Kevin Parfitt who told him to “give it a go and see what happens”, and what happened was a time of 1.16.27 and 35th place out of 7026 starters. He was “pleased with that” and so he should be. Nicholas Dash ran an excellent 1:41:28 to finish 1383th, showing real potential to be much quicker in the future.


This year’s Hunny Bell Cross Country has raised over £8000 for Break Charity,
The annual event, in three categories – Seniors, Juniors and (more leisurely) dog walkers – is sponsored by the eponymous pub, together with C T Baker Group and William H Brown, and run on the Stody Estate at Hunworth as an annual fund raiser the Norfolk charity’s work with vulnerable young people. It is organised by the charity in association with North Norfolk Beach Runners, the Race Director for the last decade having been NNBR club member and Stody Estate manager Ross Haddow, although this was his last year because he is moving away from the area in the autumn. He will be a hard act to follow. Forty NNBR club members provided marshalling around the course.
This year’s race attracted a record entry of 500 who had a cold but sunny day and paid handsomely towards charity funds for the privilege. Winner of the 2.4 mile Junior race was Danny Adams (MU18) in 13.03 while the first girl home, and fourth overall, was Esme Abbott in14.47.
The 5-mile Senior race was won by James O’Neill (M Senior) of Ryston Runners in 26.40 while first female home and 14th overall was NNBR’s own Flic Quinn (F Senior) in 31.46.
In addition to providing marshals, NNBR did have 21runners in the Senior race, first home among whom, and 10th overall, was Nick Slade (M Senior) in 31.17. And more than that, Flic Quinn, Nick Slade and Dean Howard won the Team Trophy for NNBR.

NNBR at Valentine 10k

Twenty North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 521 finishers of the Valentine 10k organised by Norfolk Gazelles from Easton & Otley College, Norwich. This was the second race of 11 making up the 2018 Leathes Prior Grand Prix series and was sponsored by SportLink Running and Fitness.

The first three Beach Runners home were usual suspects, Neil Adams (M40-44) finishing 9th overall and 3rd in category with a time of 35.48, followed by Adam Smart (M senior) moving even better than he apparently does on the dance floor in 37.37 for 30th place overall and 12th in category. They were followed by Charlotte Neale (F senior) in 38.58 for 38th overall and a very impressive 2nd in category.

NNBR’s SuperSeventies were in action, though again categorised as M 65+ and F 65+, club president Noel Spruce clocking 58.59 for 388th overall and 12th in category, while Mike Marshall, 1.03.09, was 434th overall and 13th in category. Brenda Kinch in 1.01.49 was 418th overall and 10th in category. But Sam Weller, shortly to be a SuperSeventy, was quicker in 46.13 for 148th overall and 3rd in category, and will strengthen the squad considerably when he graduates later this year.

Valentine’s 10km – 18.02.2018

9 Neil Adams 35:48
20 Adam Smart 37:37
37 Charlotte Neale 38:58
39 Tony Witmond 39:13
125 Rebecca Maun 44:56
145 Dave Spooner 45:49
148 Sam Weller 46:13
167 Christina Spooner 46:41
173 Kathryn Head 47:31
212 Jen Armstrong 49:25
251 Katherine Wright 51:55
280 Garry Hobart 53:37
307 Nicola Rands 54:39
339 Sophie Saunders 56:01
384 Deborah Gillespie 58:45
388 Noel Spruce 58:59
418 Brenda Kinch 1:01:49
421 Libby Ashton 1:01:41
434 Mike Marshall 1:03:09
460 Phil Hurr 1:05:40


Stamford 30k – 11.02.2018

161 Euan Prasser 2:25:20.2
167 Josh Dyde 2:25:52.3
169 Lisa Oakley 2:26:27.9
230 Rebecca Maun 2:33:48.4
380 Derek Sadler 2:52:25.4
423 Karl Harper 2:59:44.9
480 Chris Gibbons 3:08:45.3
537 Sue Britten 3:19:29.6
604 Ross Haddow 4:14:44.4