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The weather smiles on Valentine 10K as Dom Blake and Eleanor Grubb take top honours

PUBLISHED: 11:18 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:40 19 February 2018

Dominic Blake leads from the front at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Dominic Blake leads from the front at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

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A taste of spring greeted the runners at Norfolk Gazelles’ ninth annual Valentine 10km race on Sunday.

Dominic Blake ahead of the rest of the field at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Dominic Blake ahead of the rest of the field at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Crisp sunshine, emerging snowdrops and temperatures a welcome couple of degrees warmer than during the previous week greeted runners.

Held at Easton and Otley College and attracting a field of more than 500 runners, Norfolk Gazelles’ Valentine 10km is the second fixture in the 2018 SportLink Running & Fitness Grand Prix series of Norfolk road races.

Reepham Runners’ Dom Blake stormed home in a tremendous 33:22s (knocking 36 seconds off his third-place time in 2017), followed by Samuel Coyne of Bure Valley Harriers in 34:04 and CONAC’s Gary Crush in 34:06.

Eleanor Grubb (CONAC) took the overall ladies’ trophy in 38:11s, with Charlotte Neale of North Norfolk Beach Runners bagging second place in 38:58 and Bure Valley Harriers’ Faith Viney third in 39:07.

Eleanor Grubb (City of Norwich AC) led the female field home. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Eleanor Grubb (City of Norwich AC) led the female field home. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Male age category trophies were awarded to Christopher Mickleburgh (senior, CONAC), Matt Pyatt (40-44, Ryston Runners), Darren Honour (45-49, Bungay Black Dog RC), Mark Garrett (50-54, Norwich Road Runners), Yitzhak Ben-Aroya (55-59, Wymondham AC), Pete Johnson (60-64, Ryston Runners) and Stephen Dady (65+, Wymondham AC). Taking home the female age category prizes were Kate Murrell (senior, Tri-Anglia), Alexandra Smith (40-44, Wymondham AC), Sabina Spence (45-49, Bure Valley Harriers), Nicky Dowson (50-54, Norwich Road Runners), Alison Stewart (55-59, Norwich Road Runners), Elaine Hudson (60-64) and Jane Ashby (65+, Ryston Runners).

This year’s race also celebrated local runner and former paramedic Andy Kett, who suffered a stroke while competing in a 50-mile race in September 2017: £1 from every race entry fee was donated to support Andy and his family, and Andy also presented the prizes alongside sponsor and Sportlink boss Neil Featherby.

Race director Steve Sadd said: “It was really good to see Andy. He is such an inspiration for every runner.”

Sadd added: “I’m so proud to be race director for such a wonderful club. The Valentine 10km just seems to get better every year. The weather was perfect, the marshals were brilliant and I was really impressed with the Broadland first aiders. It was great seeing so many smiles on the runners’ faces.”

Eleanor Grubb on her way to victory at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Eleanor Grubb on her way to victory at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Dominic Blake on his way to victory at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Dominic Blake on his way to victory at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Runners come down the home straight at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Runners come down the home straight at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Nicky Dowson on the home straight at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Nicky Dowson on the home straight at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

A collection of runners approach the finish line at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography A collection of runners approach the finish line at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

From left India Storey, Sally Kelly, Gina Preston and Lynn Gray at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography From left India Storey, Sally Kelly, Gina Preston and Lynn Gray at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Stephen and Wendy Barker at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Stephen and Wendy Barker at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Wymondham Athletic Club's Hannah Purvis gives the camera a wave. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Wymondham Athletic Club's Hannah Purvis gives the camera a wave. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Sam Rogers, left, and Miranda Taylor, right at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Sam Rogers, left, and Miranda Taylor, right at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Lowestoft Road Runners' Jo Clark at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Lowestoft Road Runners' Jo Clark at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

A group of runners in action at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography A group of runners in action at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

A runner is all smiles at the Valentine 10K on Sunday. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography A runner is all smiles at the Valentine 10K on Sunday. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

From left Nouha Tate, Vicky Tovell and Lee Emmett of Coltishall Jaguars at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography From left Nouha Tate, Vicky Tovell and Lee Emmett of Coltishall Jaguars at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Kathryn Head of North Norfolk Beach Runners finished in 47:31. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Kathryn Head of North Norfolk Beach Runners finished in 47:31. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Matthew Reynolds of Lowestoft Road Runners in action at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography Matthew Reynolds of Lowestoft Road Runners in action at the Valentine 10K. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

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