Small but select Cromer fun run goes ahead despite fireworks postponement

Stacey-Ann Clarke-Jenner, four, and her grandma Shelley Burton. Both completed the mile-long fun run

Stacey-Ann Clarke-Jenner, four, and her grandma Shelley Burton. Both completed the mile-long fun run. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

Every cloud has a silver lining and the cancellation of this evening's Cromer fireworks meant the plucky few who turned up for the resort's pre-display fun run had a much higher chance of winning.

Michael McGillen crosses the fun run finish line in first place. Picture: ALEX HURRELL

Michael McGillen crosses the fun run finish line in first place. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

Thousands stayed away from Cromer having got the message that the fireworks will now go ahead on Sunday January 8 at 5pm instead.

Stacey-Ann Clarke-Jenner, four, and her grandma Shelley Burton about to run through the 'Finish' lin

Stacey-Ann Clarke-Jenner, four, and her grandma Shelley Burton about to run through the 'Finish' line in the Cromer Fun Run. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

So the usual field of about 50 fun runners dwindled to just nine who lined up to pound an exact mile along the prom under the watchful eye of marshals from the North Norfolk Beach Runners.

Stacey-Ann Clarke-Jenner, four, and her grandma Shelley Burton. Both completed the mile-long fun run

Stacey-Ann Clarke-Jenner, four, and her grandma Shelley Burton. Both completed the mile-long fun run. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

First home was Michael McGillen, 47, in a time of 6:51:57. He was delighted with his achievement which made up for the fact that he and his family had travelled from their home in north London for the fireworks, unaware that they had been cancelled.

The nine Cromer Fun Run competitors at the start of the mile-long race. Picture: ALEX HURRELL

The nine Cromer Fun Run competitors at the start of the mile-long race. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

'I took part in the fun run last year and the year before but I've never won before!' he said.


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'We love north Norfolk and it doesn't matter that we won't see the fireworks. We're staying in Mundesley this time.'

The youngest, and most determined competitor was four-year-old Stacey-Ann Clarke-Jenner who ran the whole distance with her grandmother, Shelley Burton, from Thorpe Market.

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Mrs Burton pushes Stacey-Ann in a buggy around the Sheringham Parkrun circuit and the little girl gets out to run sections, but the fun run was the first complete event she had managed.

Norwich pair Ros Miller and David Evans both took part in the fun run last year and came back for a second attempt.

'We almost didn't come when we heard the fireworks were cancelled,' said Ms Miller. 'But then we thought: 'It's New Year's Day. We need to get out and blow away the cobwebs - let's go.'

As mid-afternoon approached, accompanied by 25mph onshore winds, fireworks organisers felt vindicated in their decision to postpone the event.

Tony Shipp, a fireworks committee member, said those watching from the promenade would have been covered in smoke and ash - unable to see much of the display - and there was also a danger that a firework could have been carried in the stiff breeze, injuring someone.

Mr Shipp said he was sad and sorry for those whose plans and businesses had been affected.

'Nobody feels worse about having to cancel than we do but we're extremely lucky that it's the first time in the display's 16-year history that we've had to do this,' he added. 'Hopefully, this time next week the weather will be a lot better.'

The decision had been taken by the committee as a whole after listening to the recommendation of the display organisers, Titanium, who had successfully staged the displays in London and Edinburgh on New Year's Eve.

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