……..to be jolly and North Norfolk Beach Runners have been finding jolly things to do, starting with the three who battled a howling icy wind to take on the Festive Forest Challenge organised by Positive Steps at West Stow Country Park in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury St Edmunds.

Three options were available – 10k, half marathon and 20 miles – and two Beach Runners were among 132 who went for the sprint, Sal Ryder (F50-54) covering the 10k in a very creditable 53.40 for an even more creditable 13th overall and 1st in category. Libby Ashton (F35-39) was mid-table at 64th and 5thwith a time of 1.07.27. The 10k winner was Simon Wright (M35-39) of Norwich Road Runners in 39.43.

Jim Hayes (M70+(4)), never one to do things by halves, opted for the 20-miler and claimed a very impressive 15th out of 37 overall and, naturally enough, 1st in category, with a time of 3.14.11. Race winner, paradoxically, was Jim Last of Framlingham Flyers in 2.12.50.

Meanwhile, on a jollier, not to say sillier, note, a dozen Beach Runners were among 215 who tackled the even more challenging – because it was in seasonal dress – 5k Buxton Santa Run sponsored by Sportlink in aid of Autism Anglia and organised by Norfolk Gazelles in and around the eponymous village.

First Beach Runner home, but only because his Santa hat fell off, was SuperSeventy Sam Weller (M65+(5)) in 23.32 and 1st in category, followed by Garry Hobart (M55-59) and his dog (M-4 legs) for joint 25th (with dog) and 4th (and 1st) in categories. Category podium finishes were also achieved by Natalie Drake (FO) in 24.16 for 29th and 1st; Helen Hagon (F55-59) in 25.28 for 33rd and 1st; Fiona Morrison (65+) in 33.11 for 105th and 2nd , Carl Neale (M50-54) in 24.16 for 29th and 3rd, and Rachel Welch (F40-44) in 28.05 for 52nd and 3rd.

Meanwhile, in sunnier climes, Beach Runner Robbie Britton ran 2.29.31 for the Valencia Marathon, his first sub-2.30 and the fastest by some way that an NNBR vest has covered the distance, the superior aerodynamics of the svelte new design achieved by club kit manager, Peter Eaton, having, he said, played a significant part.

Author: John Worrall