Photo galleries and video: Two dominant victories in the City of Norwich Half Marathon
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
The City of Norwich Half Marathon produced two dominant victories at the Norfolk Showground today.
Ben Russell put a worrying health scare firmly behind him yesterday as he produced a dominant performance to win the City of Norwich Half Marathon with something to spare.
The 24-year-old dental student made up for the disappointment of having to pull out of last year's race while leading the way by leaving the rest of a 2,100-plus field trailing in his wake this time around.
The Liverpool Harrier, who hails from Blofield and also competes for Norwich Road Runners, romped home in an impressive time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 18 seconds, almost three minutes ahead of his nearest challenger, Matthew Bidwell of hosts City of Norwich AC.
It was all a far cry from this time last year when Russell made a flying start in difficult, windy conditions only to be forced out after two miles when an increased heart rate made it impossible for him to carry on.
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This time he quickly pulled away from his closest rivals and stayed well clear to banish the unhappy memories of his previous visit to the Royal Norfolk Showground.
'It's great to finally put that one to bed,' said the winner. 'Last year I was going well but then my heart rate went up to 300 beats a minute or something like that and I just blacked out.
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'It's not a big problem, just something I have to be wary about, but it was a really disappointing way to miss out on a chance of winning.
'The organisers were good enough to give me a free entry this time around, which I really appreciated, and I am obviously delighted with the way it went.
'I set off at a steady pace, expecting someone to follow me, but after a while I realised I couldn't hear anyone behind me. Then it was just a case of running my own race, putting in miles of about 5.18.
'This is a superbly organised event, one of the best around, and it's one I used to watch when I was a young lad so it means a lot to me to have won it.'
In a pleasant morning for running, with cool temperatures and only a brisk breeze, Bidwell came home in 1:13.11 for second position while Dominic Blake of Reepham Runners was third six seconds back.
The times were considerably faster than last year, when CONAC's Nick Earl - away in Australia this year - came home in 1:13.34 on a difficult day.
The battle for the top women's prize was also a one-sided affair as Ely Runners' Daisy Glover - who was competing for the first time since March - won for the second year running. She quickly put distance between herself and the top female runners, with her winning time of 1:17.25 leaving her nearest challenger over six minutes adrift. Chiltern Harriers' SIan Thomas was runner-up in 1:24.05.