No grunting, no groaning - it’s that time of year for the Grunty Fen Half Marathon which could break a record

A RECORD and capacity turn out of 800 runners is expected to pound the Fens around Witcham next month as the Grunty Fen (Ely Standard) Half Marathon takes place.

The Ely Standard is once again delighted to be the main event sponsor and, as always, will publish the name and time of every entrant.

“This is truly amazing endeavour and in truth I’ve got it easy by starting the race,” said Editor John Elworthy. “The real work has been done behind the scenes in preparing the herculean task of road closures, stewarding, marshalling and squeezing so many into the confines of Witchford Village College where the race begins and ends”.

John Turner, race director of the half marathon 14 times, and a leading light in Ely Runners has a simple philosophy about the event.

“If the race is full up so be it,” he says, trying not to hide a delighted smile as once more the annual Grunty Fen half marathon turns the regional spotlight to east Cambs.

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“Since we started in 1991 we have been closing to filling up – this year could easily be the first” he said, attributing the Olympics to a fresh awareness of running and athletics in general.

“Its quite a big thing to organise, looking after the competitors form the moment they arrive and having to cope with so many in such a short space of time. There’s no dress rehearsal for this event- the race starts at 10.30am and by late lunch all this is effectively back in the toy box until next year.”

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There’s also the matter of getting ready for wheelchair entrants, too, who start at 10.15 and then at 10.45 at least 100 – and many more welcome- are expected for a fun run.

“All told they will be around 1,000 people taking part,” said Mr Turner who hopes many will turn up on the day for the mile fun run. Kids can run with their parents; it’s a case of turning up and running.

“The fun run is basically two laps round the sports field. Simple but fun.”

There’s website for those still keen to take part in the half marathon. The events all take place on Sunday September 9.

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