Hectic time for runners

PUBLISHED: 09:05 11 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:15 03 July 2010

THE Great Yarmouth Road Runners were out and about in the final week of the old and the opening week of the new year. There were festive events to begin with to mark the end of a year when 67 different runners represented the club in a whopping 114 races.

THE Great Yarmouth Road Runners were out and about in the final week of the old and the opening week of the new year. There were festive events to begin with to mark the end of a year when 67 different runners represented the club in a whopping 114 races.

With new targets to be reached, the new year has already seen a highly competitive road race and a challenging cross country event.

The first of the December festive events was the Boxing Day cross-country race at Outney Common outside Bungay. This year's staging attracted so many runners that the start was postponed in order to allow everybody to register.

Although perhaps not quite of the order of a Boxing Day dip in the sea, the event had more than its share of mud and water and was greatly enjoyed by all those taking part. An unusual feature of the race is that runners are encouraged to run with their dogs if they wish - all of which was grist to the mill as far as Jeff Helmore, Mike Spragg, Paul Brookshaw, John Hills and Sally Plumley were concerned.

An “in-house” event a couple of days later was the club's own Yuletide Doubles event at Fritton Woods. Here teams of two are selected on the day and each team has to run five laps of a prescribed route through the forest. They can decide themselves on who runs what and in what order.

Runners then adjourn to the Fritton Decoy pub for darts and food. Winners of the race were the still-very-fit Mike Collins and guest runner Mark Pacey.

Many of those taking part were again in action some days later on New Year's Day at the Wymondham 10k race which attracted an amazing 349 runners in a very high quality field - among them eight of the Seasiders.

Well to the fore were Phil Quantrill and Richard Blake, a mere second separating them. They were followed by John Bone and then Stephen Etherington, (another personal best), first club lady Nicole Anderson, (a massive personal best), and Antony Croucher, making a welcome return to road racing. Making up this strong squad were Carole Spong, first in her age division, and husband Jim.

One of the attractions of this particular race is that it stages the awards ceremonies for the Runners Centre Grand Prix Series and for the Norfolk Postal Marathon of the previous year. Results are below.

Cross-country remains the dominant discipline at this time of the year, however, and January is a particularly busy month.

Last weekend a small number of Road Runners was at Horsford for the second race in the Norwich Road Runners series - with the Manning family dominating proceedings in each of their particular events; and Neil Sibley, Paul Brookshaw and Mike Spragg all enjoying the exceedingly muddy and true cross-country course that has been set out.

On Wednesday there was the fourth race in the East Anglian Cross-Country League, this time at Thetford; on Sunday there is the fourth race in the Ryston Runners' series at Shouldham Warren - which also doubles as the county championships for juniors; and next Wednesday sees the fifth race in the EACCL at Fritton. Start time is 2.30pm and all are welcome.

Results Wymondham 10k, Tuesday January 1

Great Yarmouth Road Runners finishing positions and times: 27 Phil Quantrill 38 minutes 14 seconds, 28 Richard Blake 38:15, 78 John Bone 42:30, 89 Stephen Etherington 43:26 pb, 101 Nicole Anderson 44:09 pb, 150 Antony Croucher 47:30, 170 Carole Spong 48:32 (first over 60), 338 Jim Spong 66:31.

Runners Centre Grand Prix Awards 2007: Age group winner Carole Spong, age group second Richard Blake, series award Stephen Etherington, Paul Brookshaw, Neil Sibley.

Norfolk Postal Marathon: Gold award Richard Blake, Carole Spong, Mike Spragg; silver Award John Bone; bronze award Phil Quantrill.

Norwich Cross Country race two, Sunday, January 6

Great Yarmouth Road Runners finishing order in each race: Men, 1 Andrew Manning, 2 Neil Sibley, 3 Paul Brookshaw, 4 Mike Spragg; women, 1 Karen Manning; juniors, 1 Patrick Manning.

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