Running Norwich’s Race for Life this weekend? Read our guide to taking part

The 2013 Race for Life event at the Royal Norfolk Showground. The warm up. Picture: Denise Bradley

The 2013 Race for Life event at the Royal Norfolk Showground. The warm up. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2013

There's just one day to go until Norwich's Race for Life events get underway at the Norfolk Showground.

Sarah Gray, Blickling Parkrun event director. Photo: Steve Adams

Sarah Gray, Blickling Parkrun event director. Photo: Steve Adams

Over Saturday and Sunday, thousands of women will be running, jogging or walking their way round the 5k or 10k courses to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Sportlink director Neil Featherby.

Sportlink director Neil Featherby. - Credit: Copyright Archant Norfolk.

While there will no doubt be some seasoned runners taking part, for many the idea of running 5k or 10k is a daunting propsect, so reporter Kim Briscoe has put together this guide with some top tips for first-timers and jittery joggers.


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It's well publicised that marathon runners need to stock up on carbs before doing a long run, but for 5k or 10k it isn't really necessary to pile the pasta on the plate.

Former international marathon runner and fitness consultant Neil Featherby, who owns Taverham's Sportlink business, says it is more important for first-time or novice runners to avoid eating anything they are not used to and to avoid eating anything too rich or that could upset their stomach - so an Indian takeaway the night before is a no-no.

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Neil says: 'Have a light meal about three to four hours before the run, something easily digestible.

'I always like to have light carbs such as porridge with sliced apple or banana or you could have wholemeal toast with scrambled egg or with honey or jam.'

The 10k runners who might take longer than an hour to finish could consider taking an energy gel, and Neil advises an isotonic gel as others are more concentrated and need to be taken with water.

Staying hydrated is also crucial. And save the glass of wine for after the race.


A good pair of trainers that provide plenty of cushioning

A good sports bra

Sun cream and/or a hat


Safety pins for attaching your race number & of course the race number itself

A bag to carry your items in (but it's preferable to have a supporter you can hand them to instead)

A camera or camera phone to capture some memories of the day

Pink paraphenalia - you'll feel left out if you don't have something pink


Race for Life run a mass warm up, which is really important to take part in, to avoid any nasty strains or injuries.

After finishing the race, continue to walk at an easy pace for a few minutes to cool down.

After warming up and cooling down, it is a good idea to perform some simple stretches.


The classic mistake to make when running is to go off too fast, particularly when you see other more experienced runners heading off with a spring in their step.

Neil says: 'Take your time start slowly and easily and keep it easy up to half way. Then if you're feeling good pick the pace up.

'Never be scared to mix walking and jogging - sometimes that's the best and safest way.'


Blickling Parkrun event director Sarah Gray says she always enjoys the atmosphere at Race for Life. She says: 'I'd say to new runners, get your kit and your run number set out the night before, eat well the night before something with plenty of carbs, and try to get at least eight hours sleep.

'Make sure you have a good breakfast whatever works for you but is not too heavy. Get to the showground in plenty of time, it gets really busy and you will need to queue for the toilet.

'Hydrate yourself but try to limit your fluids 30 minutes pre race. Many people make the mistake of over hydrating and make themselves feel sick.

'Enjoy the warm up and get into the spirit of Race for Life. Oh and lastly don't set off too quickly, best to pace yourself slowly for the first mile and then you can pick up towards the end if you have it in you.'


Race for Life veteran Elspeth Evans advises: 'I don't run so no tips from me for that, but I always make sure I've got a sun hat or visor as it's been quite hot some years and as a walker it takes longer.

'Take as little as possible but if you need to carry anything put it in a backpack to keep your arms free to make the walking easier.'


Race for Life is a celebration so don't forget to enjoy the experience and the camaraderie. You never know, you might enjoy running more than you think you will.

Neil says: 'Without a doubt, since Race for Life has started it has brought more ladies in to the sport of running.

'Some ladies find that after they have done it they feel really good about it and perhaps they reach a level of fitness they didn't think was possible.

'We see ladies come in when they start to plan to do the Race for Life then they go on to think they could maybe achieve a 10k and some even decide to go on to do the Norwich half-marathon at the end of the year.'

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