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Running club set for flying start at RAF Coltishall site

PUBLISHED: 09:58 19 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 19 March 2016

Coltishall Jaguars Running Club are moving onto the former RAF Coltishall airbase on the Scottow Business park. Pictured are Vicky Tovell and Melvyn Porter.

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Coltishall Jaguars Running Club are moving onto the former RAF Coltishall airbase on the Scottow Business park. Pictured are Vicky Tovell and Melvyn Porter. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2016

Jaguars are once more set to race around the old airbase at RAF Coltishall.

Coltishall Jaguars Running Club are moving onto the former RAF Coltishall airbase on the Scottow Business park. Pictured from left some of the current members of the running club Jon Howe, Vicky Tovell, Ken Bowman, Rod Bye, Jackie Bye, Melvyn Porter in front of the hanger doors.

Picture: MARK BULLIMOREColtishall Jaguars Running Club are moving onto the former RAF Coltishall airbase on the Scottow Business park. Pictured from left some of the current members of the running club Jon Howe, Vicky Tovell, Ken Bowman, Rod Bye, Jackie Bye, Melvyn Porter in front of the hanger doors. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

This time, however, the runways will pound with the sound of runners’ feet and not jet engines!

Coltishall Jaguars Running Club, nicknamed ‘The Orange Army’ due to the bright orange colour of their running gear, are moving their headquarters to the old military airfield at Coltishall.

And, to celebrate, it has announced entries are open to the inaugural race at the airbase, now known as Scottow Enterprise Park.

The club, which currently trains at a variety of locations across the county including Coltishall, North Walsham, Sprowston, Spixworth, Hoveton and Thorpe St Andrew, will host the annual Mike Groves Run on June 5. It raises money for East Anglian Air Ambulance and, appropriately, was the inspiration behind the club.

The original Mike Groves race in 2000 was named by the club’s founder Alan Groves in memory of his son Michael, a keen athlete who died in a traffic accident. The race became an annual event and it was then Alan realised there was potential for a local club. He founded the Coltishall Jaguars Running Club in 2004.

The Mike Groves Memorial Run is the second of three annual club races organised by the Jaguars which form part of a new 10k series. It gets underway with the Mad March Hare 10k near Frettenham on Sunday, March 20, and finishes with the Jolly Jaguars Race at the airbase on September 25. Alan, 83, said: “We have gone from strength to strength. The club currently has almost 100 members who come from many different locations in Norfolk. They are a great bunch and I’m proud to be involved and support them.”

The old airbase, which was purchased by Norfolk County Council in 2013, is seen as an ideal venue for the club’s annual licensed races, with the mix of concrete and tarmac roads and runways providing runners with the opportunity for super-fast race-times.

From beginners hoping to complete their first 10k to seasoned runners and elite athletes looking to smash personal best times, the three mile perimeter runway, which is free of traffic, provides the perfect place.

The course also provides a fantastic opportunity for wheelchair athletes to compete safely and achieve record times.

“Runners really can take-off here,” said Mel Porter, lead coach for the Jags. “We anticipate they will be able to take off seconds or maybe even minutes from their previous best times!

“Even though we’re already based in Norfolk – courses really don’t come much flatter than this. We also foresee the potential to expand our race calendar next year to include different types of races.”

The Jags, who are open to runners of all ages and abilities, meet three times a week in all weathers; Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on a Sunday morning – with no obligation to attend all sessions. Six qualified volunteer coaches provide a variety of training approaches and advice.

For further information about joining the club or for an online entry form for any of the Coltishall Jaguars 10k series visit the club website at www.coltishalljaguars.co.uk.

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