East Coast 10k record broken

THE streets of Great Yarmouth resounded to the feet of hundreds of competitors in Sunday's East Coast Run.Elite athletes lined up with fun runners for the start of the 10k race taking in the town centre and seafront.

THE streets of Great Yarmouth resounded to the feet of hundreds of competitors in Sunday's East Coast Run.

Elite athletes lined up with fun runners for the start of the 10k race taking in the town centre and seafront.

Heavy rain failed to dampen the spirit of those taking part in the race, among the calendar of events marking the 800th anniversary of the granting of the town's charter.

Organised by Great Yarmouth Road Runners, the event attracted members of athletics clubs from East Anglia, London and the Midlands.

For some experienced competitors it was a chance to achieve a personal best and for the novice runners the sense of achievement of crossing the finishing line.

Pre-race favourite, Kenyan runner Ilihara-Zachary Mjoroge, lived up to his billing, winning the men's race in a new course record ahead of Yarmouth runner Craig Hopkins.

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The Birchfield Harriers member declared himself satisfied with his performance given the conditions. “The course was fine and my time was not bad and I may return next year and try to improve it,” he said.

“I was leading from the front but I was being pushed by the guy in second place in the early stages of the race until I put a burst in and dropped him.”

Runner-up Hopkins, who returned for the race from Swansea University, also broke the previous course record, finishing less than 30 seconds behind the winner.

Leading lady Jennie Roberts, of Ipswich Jaffa, had things her own way with nearly three minutes to spare over Nicky Alford of City of Norwich, with Ann Flanagan of Norwich Road Runners a comfortable third.

Roberts said: “I am pleased with my performance because it was a personal best. I am more of a half-marathon runner, but doing a 10k puts a bit of speed in your legs. The course was very good and the rain kept the runners cool, but it was so wet it made it slippery around the corners.”

The East Coast Run was the latest race for disabled competitor Peter Downing who has been taking part in marathons and half marathons for 20 years.

He said: “I am reasonably pleased with my time. Your hands get wet in this weather and it is difficult to keep very good grip.

“The course was a bit twisty and a bit of an obstacle course in places. I had to be lifted up, a couple of kerbs, but mainly it was quite good.”

In the team event City of Norwich took the honours ahead of Norwich Road Runners in the Senior Male category; Norwich Road Runners, City of Norwich and Waveney Health Trust in the Senior Female; Norwich Road Runners, City of Norwich and Norfolk Gazelles in the Veteran Male; and Norwich Road Runners and Great Yarmouth and District in the Veteran Female.

Race director Karen Manning had to make a couple of last-minute changes to the route as a result of the South Quay roadworks.

“It went really well, there were no major problems despite minor alterations to the route. There was a record number of finishers and a new men's course record.

“A lot of the marshals had really positive comments from the runners about how the race was organised. The rain dampened the atmosphere a bit - it would have been more of an occasion if the weather had been fine.”

Mayor Terry Easter presented special commemorative charter seal medals made by Ernie Childs of Great Yarmouth Potteries to everyone completing the course.

The race was sponsored by NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney with support from Active Norfolk, GY Sports Cultural and Town Centre Partnerships and Yarmouth Sport and Leisure Trust.

Borough Council sport and leisure manager Marie Hartley hailed the event a great success.

“I was delighted with the response from the runners in wet conditions,” she said.

“Pre-race entertainment was provided by the Winterton Marine Cadet Band followed by live music from The Collective which all added to the enjoyment on the day. My thanks to all those involved. I anticipate that we will continue to develop the East Coast Run year on year as a major annual event for Great Yarmouth.”