Fenland gives Norfolk the run around as they complete 197.5 miles relay style
- Credit: Archant
Fenland Running Club submitted two teams, countless volunteers and bikers to support its 29th appearance at the Norfolk relay.
The course, into its 32nd year, mirrors the county boundary over a distance of 198 miles, divided into 17 unequal stages.
Norfolk’s enormous skies, vast sandy beaches, open spaces and picturesque towns and villages, with their attractive cottages and medieval churches, all contribute to making the race a unique running experience.
But it is likely to be the spectacular skies at sunset and sunrise which will provide the most vivid memories.
The race starts at Lynnsport in Kings Lynn and then, from Hunstanton, follows the stunning coastline through five multi terrain stages taking the Norfolk Coastal path as far as Cromer.
The 40 miles (four stages) from Cromer through to Horsey Mill and on to Belton are on the road. By the time the teams reach Belton it is dark.
From Belton, the course turns south-west following main roads for 62 miles (four stages), all run in darkness.
- 1 Man taken to hospital with serious injuries after B1098 crash
- 2 Family escape 'devastating fire' that ripped through home
- 3 Leslie 'faster, fitter, happier' after losing 10 stone in four months
- 4 Family pleased with 'huge reaction' thanks to charity Christmas lights
- 5 House fire that killed two children will not have further electrical checks
- 6 Bus ‘wars', Aids, Ely parking and a ’vote for fen man – for fen people’
- 7 Tributes paid to 'beloved husband' killed crossing road
- 8 Rachael takes bronze at national hairdressing competition
- 9 Primary school plans for new town take step forward
- 10 Church gets set for annual Christmas tree festival
It is during these mostly flat stages through Breckland that the time stagger unwinds and the race is invariably won or lost.
From Feltwell (stage 14) the four remaining stages covering the last 33 miles are run across the flat Fens through the early morning mist. Finally, following the Great Ouse River into historic King’s Lynn runners pass by the old Custom House, through the famous Tuesday Market Place and then on to the finish at Lynnsport.
Unique in character and concept, the race presents not only a tough physical challenge, but also a test of the organisational prowess of a club. Run over 24 hours, without a break (and carrying a baton), the event is much more than just a normal relay for it requires special preparation, planning and support.
It is not an event for a club without a spirit of adventure. But the sense of satisfaction and achievement after completing the race is simply second to none.
A staggered start, based on anticipated finishing times, ensures that teams of similar ability start together, with faster teams chasing.
If the stagger works, all teams should finish the race by 9:15am to 10am on the Sunday.
With the first teams starting at 5.30 am on Saturday this allows for teams running an average of 8 mins 40 secs per mile throughout the course.
Fenland’s mixed team (in stage order 1 – 17) consisting of Andrew Plume [16.32 miles] 1:52:11, Sean Connolly [13.75 miles] 1:32:29 - 3rd overall for this stage, Carol Bowett [5.76 miles] 0:47:02, Rod Sinnott [11.14 miles] 1:25:04, Stuart Follen [10.81 miles] 1:20:19, Maire Kay [7.90 miles] 1:01:54, Claudia Milburn [9.24 miles] 1:11:51, Sarah Gauvin [7.52 miles] 0:58:59, Paul Girffin [16.60 miles] 2:12:48, Graham Milham [18.13 miles] 2:06:51, Nicky Jennings [12.45 miles] 1:38:34, Ryan Jones [19.67 miles] 2:06:51, Martin Jennings [13.25 miles] 1:22:24 - 3rd overall on this stage, Gemma Rose [7.27 miles] 0:53:17, Bethan Everson [10.59 miles] 1:09:21 - 2nd senior lady overall on age%, Ellen Connolly [5.49 miles] 0:39:48 and Shane Draper [11.73 miles] 1:19:11 ran a phenomenal time of 23hrs 38 mins and 52 secs over 197.5 miles making the average mile pace 7 mins and 11 seconds.
Our open team (in stage order 1 – 17) consisting of Andre Pittock [16.32 miles] 2:08:55, Jane Greenwood [13.75 miles] 2:06:58, Denise Griffin [5.76 miles] 0:56:44, Neil Bailey [11.14 miles] 1:56:54, Alan Bird [10.81 miles] 1:35:41, Jac Richards [7.90 miles] 1:10:31, Larissa Follen [9.24 miles] 1:25:47, Ian Milburn [7.52 miles] 0:59:20, David Brammer [16.60 miles] 2:12:32, Jay Gilbert [18.13 miles] 2:30:20, John Chapman [12.45 miles] 1:38:56, Richard Agger [19.67 miles] 2:38:19, Andy Wicklen [13.25 miles] 1:45:20, Lewis Saunders [7.27 miles] 0:45:58 – 3rd overall for this stage, Daniel Spiller [10.59 miles] 1:27:49, Carly Read [5.49 miles] 0:48:03 and Richard Hammond [11.73 miles] 1:17:07 ran a phenomenal time of 27hrs 25 mins and 13 secs over 197.5 miles making the average mile pace 8 mins and 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, lone gunman Steve Bennington took on the Leicester 10k starting and finishing in beautiful Abbey Park.
The route takes the runners across the Grand Union Canal and into the city centre, past the Richard III visitor centre, and the cathedral.
Runners twice cross the River Soar before ending with a final lap of the park.
Continuing the success Steve completed this course in a ground breaking 44:07 which was a [PB] by 3.5 minutes, 69th out of 1,174 runners and 9th in his age category.
This is something Steve has worked very hard to achieve this year and it’s paid off.
Over at King’s Lynn Park Run, Fenland Running Club were out in force on Saturday 22 to celebrate fellow runner Rachael Nicols birthday.
Racheal joined the beginners course in the summer and, along with her fellow runners is going from strength to strength - reflected in the amazing eleven personal bests achieved.
Also, celebrating was David Brammer who reached the 100th park run milestone in style and Valerie Shelley a first timer at the event.
Cake was well deserved at the end.
Full results: Stuart Follen 18:55(PB), Richard Hammond 19:13, David Brammer 20:40, Ellen Connolly 21:42, John Chapman 21:44, Carol Bowett 21:59, Tony Foice-Beard 23:31(PB), Sarah Gauvin 23:35, Gary Axten 23:46(PB), Mark Williams 23:47, Trevor Sutherill 24:59, Larissa Follen 25:10, Adrian Searle 26:18(PB), Rachael Nicols 27:49, Jane Greenwood 27:50, Ian Milburn 28:05, Cheryl Chapman 28:35, Henry Pittock 29:28(PB), Andre Pittock 29:29, Julie Peeling 29:49(PB), Rachel Williams 42:38(PB), Toni Coupland 32:49(PB), Rebecca Richardson 33:33, Valerie Shelley 35:14, Samantha Bell 38:09(PB), Corrine Egginton 38:44(PB), Grahame Peacock 50:23(PB).