Weather gods smile on Round Norfolk Relay competitors
- Credit: Ian Burt
A fantastic autumnal day was in store for the daytime runners as the Birkett's Round Norfolk Relay relay took place at the weekend.
And although Saturday's temperatures dipped for the night time competitors – and those who competed into Sunday morning – it was still comfortable to run in.
The first wave of runners however were sporting head torches for the 5.30am start at King's Lynn's Lynnsport. The start area was a mixture of smiles and apprehensive faces but a great atmosphere prevailed. The teams had 17 legs to negotiate of varying distances and toughness and for much of it they would be accompanied by a cyclist or a vehicle.
The logistics are problematic for the team captains. Many of the clubs also marshal spots on the route and were glad of the good weather.
The clear conditions provided lovely views of the coastline from the coast path but some testing conditions under foot at times.
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Marginally short of 197 miles later the 54 teams were enthusiastically welcomed back to a sunny and warm Lynn by a growing smiling crowd of runners, support crew and supporters that were exchanging stories of the previous 20-and-three-quarter hours or more.
In fact, the slowest team took 28 hours and 40 minutes (Dereham B) and the quickest 20:46:11 (Ely) but with the staggered starts the teams – containing 17 members – finished within three hours of each other.
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Norfolk (Ryston Runners A, best club) provided the larger number of clubs but there were several from Cambridgeshire, (Best non-Norfolk Club, Ely A) Lincolnshire, Suffolk and elsewhere.
The five team classes were won by Ely A (open), Cambridge & Coleridge (21.31.46, club), City of Norwich B (CONAC) (24.56.46) (masters), CONAC A (22.26.31) (ladies) and Fenland RC (22.51.43) (mixed).
A special memento was provided to Neville Baker, who over the years has now completed all 17 legs. Keith Pritchard has competed in 20 events while 13 runners marked their 10th year taking on the unique relay.
All runners will have remembered the death of Darryl Davis on stage four of the 2014 event as he collapsed towards the end of the leg at Cley.
He was a keen sportsman and ran for the City of Norwich AC masters team. They have presented a trophy in memory of Darryl which was won by Kevin Murphy of St Edmund Pacers.
Other trophies: Callum Stanforth (best individual), Paul Muffitt (best masters), Elspeth Knott (best senior lady), Jake Stearman (best junior male), Maisie Pritchard (best junior female) and Dereham A (best small club).
Results: 1 Ely A 20:46:11; 2 Ryston Runners A 21:12:23; 3 North Norfolk Beach Runners 21:27:42; 4 Cambridge & Coleridge A 21:31:46; 5 City of Norwich A 22:26:31; 6 Fenland Running Club 48 22:51:43; 7 Paddock Wood 23:01:42; 8 Riverside Runners A 23:03:17; 9 Norfolk Gazelles 23:04:37; 10 Norwich Road Runners D 23:06:50; 11 March 23:26:09; 12 NRR B 23:28:57; 13 Dereham Runners A 23:32:21; 14 CONAC B 24:56:24; 15 St Edmund Pacers 25:12:16; 16 West Norfolk 25:17:53; 17 C&C B 25:32:18; 18 Great Yarmouth Road Runners 25:34:36; 19 Ryston 25:34:49; 20 NNBR vets 25:42:01; 21 Tri-Anglia 25:47:23, 22 Ramsey Road Runners 25:55:38, 23 Garden City Runners 25:58:52. Other finishers: Serpentine, Headington Road Runners, Pink & Blacks, Framlingham Flyers, Stamford Striders, Bishop's Stortford, FRC 2, Reepham Runners Club, Ryston B, Old Greshamians, Wymondham, Reepham Runners Team, Team Thorney, NRR C, DR B, Harwich Runners, Bungay Black Dog, Ely B, Stowmarket Striders, RR B, RAF Marham, Haverhill, Thetford, Biggleswade, NRR A, Milton Keynes, Fetcheveryone, Bedford Harriers, Felixstowe Road Runners, Coltishall Jaguars, NNBR (Ladies)