European 1,500m indoor silver medallist Holly Archer is among the top athletes lining up on Sunday for Norfolk Gazelles’ Valentine’s 10k, which looks certain to be a thrilling – and quick – race.

The Valentine’s 10k is the second event in the Sportlink Grand Prix 2024, a county-wide series of road races that attracts a huge following among the East Anglian running community.

Holly Archer set a new course record at Norwich parkrun on Saturday, February 3, and will be looking to replicate that success at the Valentine’s 10k. However, Archer, racing for Cambridge & Coleridge AC, will be up against Mabel Beckett and Eleanor Grubb – both representing City of Norwich AC – and Emily Ruane, who smashed the course record at the Reedham Ten on January 21 (the opening event in the Grand Prix).

The men’s field is also tightly contested. City of Norwich AC runner Logan Smith will have his eyes on the prize, but he’ll face stiff competition from fellow CoNAC athletes Luke Alden, Ryan Davidson and Martyn Bath.

The fast, undulating course begins and ends at Easton College and follows local roads through Easton, Colton and Marlingford. The current weather forecast suggests winds will be lighter than we have experienced this week, so the elites will be thinking about course records. The times to beat are 34:29 for women and 30:58 for men.

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In a race that’s always equally popular with new runners and elite athletes, Norfolk Gazelles are expecting more than 1,000 people to cross the start line on Sunday. East Anglian running clubs will be out in force, with more than 30 Norfolk and Suffolk clubs represented. The largest number of runners comes from Norwich Road Runners, with an incredible 102 athletes, while Wymondham AC have 85, and Dereham Runners AC 41.

Race director Ceri Theobald said: “The Valentine’s 10k always attracts a brilliant mix of elites, first-timers and club runners. We’re stoked that Holly Archer is joining us this year, and the men’s field is also primed for a really close finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw at least one new course record.”