Memorial race makes flying start at former RAF Coltishall site
A record number of people took part in a race at the weekend in memory of talented runner killed in a traffic collision.
Local running club Coltishall Jaguars hosted the Mike Groves 10k race at its new home at Scottow Enterprise Park at Badersfield on Sunday.
A total of 380 runners lined up for the inaugural race held at the redundant airbase, previously known as RAF Coltishall.
The first runner to cross the finish line was 25-year-old Callum Stanforth, from King's Lynn, in a time of 35 minutes. He was followed closely behind by 15-year-old City of Norwich runner Tom Greenacre, running his first race at the distance, and Michael Wegrzyb, from Poland, finished third.
Race director Paul Groves said: 'This is our first time at the airfield for this race, it went very well. We had 380 runners in total, which is our best ever.'
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Among those taking part were a group of runners - some of whom had never run a race before - who were coached by Olympic distance runner Paul Evans as part of Couch to 10k training programme in just six weeks.
And many other runners were attracted by the prospect of a personal best on the flat course, although they were hampered by a brisk breeze.
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Evans, now an athletics development officer for Norfolk, said: 'It's great to see so many of (the Couch to 10k runners) here today, it has been great fun. Some had done absolutely no running at all before so each week in training we did a little bit more. It's been a nice journey and it has been really enjoyable.
'It has given a lot of the athletes confidence because when they first come and you explain the session you see fear across their faces. When they realise that they actually can do it it has been a lovely experience for them and very satisfying for the coaches because we see them progress as well.'
The memorial race, organised by Mike's dad Alan, was first held in Coltishall around the area of his former training runs in 1999 - a year after his death. And, it proved to be such a success, it became an annual event and eventually gave the impetus and inspiration for Alan and his other son, Paul, to launch a running club in 2004.
The race was previously 10 miles in distance but the change in venue led to a change of distance this year. It is now part of a series of races, with the Jolly Jaguars 10K, also hosted by Coltishall Jaguars, following in September.
Stanforth said: 'I knew it would be relatively flat because it was an airfield but I wasn't as fast as I thought I'd be because of the wind. But it's always nice to win.'
For more results and details of all the club's races, log on to the following website: www.coltishalljaguars.co.uk