Record breaking East Coast Run

A RECORD number of more than 500 runners snaked their way around Great Yarmouth in Sunday's East Coast Run.Bright sunshine helped attract a surge of last minute entries to the 10k race, the town's premier athletics event.

A RECORD number of more than 500 runners snaked their way around Great Yarmouth in Sunday's East Coast Run.

Bright sunshine helped attract a surge of last minute entries to the 10k race, the town's premier athletics event.

Competitors of all ages and abilities were cheered on by spectators along the route taking in the town centre and seafront.

In dramatic finish to the men's race, Steve Robinson crossed the finish line in first place just five tenths of a second ahead of runner up Steve Neill.

Bedford and County runner Robinson won in a time of 33.42 holding off a determined challenge from Neill and third placed Wayne Lincoln who clocked up 33.43.

RAF serviceman Robinson said: “Conditions were pretty good although it was quite windy on the seafront and hot for the end of October.

Most Read

“I took the lead after about 7k, but it was getting very close at the end - it was my first time taking part and I was delighted to win.”

Julie Heath, of St Edmunds Pacers, won in the women's race in a time of 42.12 ahead second placed Kathryn Galbraith in 42.27.

The bulk of entrants completed the course, which started and finished in St George's Park, inside the hour.

Saxons running club founder Gordon Merfield, who has terminal cancer, crossed the line hand in hand with wife Wendy.

He said: “I wanted to show other people there is hope and what you can still do even if terminally ill - it is so easy to give in. I just caught up with Wendy and the end so we decided to finish together. I used to be able to beat her, but that was a long time ago.”

Now in its third year, The East Coast Run is organised by Great Yarmouth Road Runners, with sponsorship from NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

Partners include the borough council, Active Norfolk, Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership and Greater Yarmouth Tourism Authority.

Prizes worth a total of �1,750 were awarded to the winners in five age categories and teams, with all finishers presented with specially made sticks of Docwra's rock.

Staging the East Coast Run was the culmination of months of preparation for race director Karen Manning.

She said: “I am delighted we had biggest ever turnout, it is a growing event and we will build on this success.

“We had lots of positive feedback from club runners saying how well organised and enjoyable it was and that was coming from people who know how to put races on themselves.

Marie Hartley, borough council culture sport and leisure manager: “I am delighted with the excellent response to the year's East Coast Run and the weather was in our favour.

“This is one of a growing number of sport related activities in the council's annual events calendar. We look forward to continuing to expand the East Coast Run in partnership with Great Yarmouth Road Runners.”