Traditional race gets Worstead Festival up and running

Winner Michael Eccles, centre, is pictured with second and third placed, Richard Bateson, left, and

Winner Michael Eccles, centre, is pictured with second and third placed, Richard Bateson, left, and Callum Stanforth. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

More than 400 runners took part in a traditional race to get a Norfolk village's annual festivities under way.

More than 400 runners took part in the Worstead 5. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

More than 400 runners took part in the Worstead 5. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

Michael Eccles, from Norwich, of Norfolk Gazelles, won the 28th Worstead 5, which set off from the village square last night, in a time of 26 minutes and 55 seconds – retaining his crown from last year.

He was closely followed home by second placed Richard Bateson, running for the RAF, in a time of 27 minutes 18 seconds and third placed Callum Stanforth, of Ryston Runners, in a time of 27 minutes 30 seconds.

The five-mile race was organised by the North Norfolk Beach Runners and marks the start of the 51st Worstead Festival, near North Walsham.

Club chairman Clive Hedges said: 'It was a tremendous start to the weekend. Last year was a little bit down on numbers because of the weather – it was horrendous – so having a nice clear day made for a good race.'

Winner Michael Eccles crosses the finish line in a time of 26 minutes, 55 seconds. Picture: ALLY McG

Winner Michael Eccles crosses the finish line in a time of 26 minutes, 55 seconds. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

More than 5,000 visitors are expected to attend this year's Festival today and tomorrow, from 10am to 6pm. Among the attractions are a mini music festival, a dog show, medieval re-enactments, live Goldilocks-themed theatre and face painting. Brand new this year will be live pig racing and a BMX track.