Arnold leads a City of Norwich one-two as heat takes its toll on the field
- Credit: Archant
Thousands of spectators lapped up the glorious sunshine at the Norfolk Showground – but for almost 2,000 runners it simply made a tough job much, much more difficult.
The wintry conditions of the last Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half-Marathon, in November 2015, were a far cry from soaring temperatures yesterday.
A few runners succumbed – heat exhaustion and the usual bumps and knocks meant a few spent the afternoon requiring treatment, but emerging through the blood, sweat and tears of the region's foremost event of its kind were some of Norfolk's leading runners.
There was a one-two for organising club, City of Norwich AC, in the men's with maths teacher Piers Arnold getting his timetable right and leading virtually all the way, finishing in one hour 12 minutes and 32 seconds – more than a minute and a half ahead of Ash Harrell.
First women's runner home was Emma Risbey, who lives and works in Cromer, although she wears the colours of Winchester & District AC – she finished in 1:27:06, 35th overall.
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Arnold echoed the views of many when he said the conditions took chunks off of PBs – the difference between his 2015 time and yesterday's was more than two minutes.
'It was really hard going,' said the 27-year-old. 'I was hoping to go a bit faster - but my mouth was dry before we had even started. It was tough. There are a few hills in there so you are up and down on pace and it doesn't make it easier when you are on your own.
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'But this was a race I really wanted to win at some point in my life so it was nice to get it ticked off nice and early and a bonus to get a club one-two – Ash Harrell is an awesome runner.
Risbey finished more than five minutes ahead of the next woman home, Amelia Lambert (U/A),
'It was hard going,' she said. 'I was going to try and run a good time because I had run an 80 minutes at Cambridge a few weeks ago but today I just got slower and slower and was just desperate to hold on and try and win.
'I probably went out quite fast and with the nature of this course the second half is really tough. But it was great with loads of people cheering – that was the only thing that kept me going in the last mile.'
1 Piers Arnold (City of Norwich AC) 1:12:32, 2 Ash Harrell (City of Norwich AC) 1:14:13, 3 Paul Halford (Werrington Joggers) 1:14:56, 4 Matt Pyatt (Ryston Runners) 1:15:26, 5 Dominic Blake (Reepham Runners) 1:16:27, 6 Jack Keywood (Tonbridge AC) 1:17:45, 7 Tim Tickner (Birstall RC) 1:17:46, 8 Wayne Lincoln (City of Norwich AC) 1:19:57, 9 Jack Gillick (Wymondham AC) 1:20:17, 10 Chris Mickleburgh (Norwich Road Runners) 1:21:07.
Women: 1 (35 overall): Emma Risbey (Winchester & District AC) 1:27:06, 2 (78) Amelia Lambert (U/A) 1:32:22, 3 (99) Polly Adams (Royal Manor Of Portland AC) 1:34:12, 4 (104) Alexandra Smith (Wymondham AC) 1:34:41, 5 (123) Sarah Peachey (Norwich Road Runners) 1:36:15, 6 (130) Lacey Bareham (Dereham Runners AC) 1:37:07, 7 (137) Racheal Leathwood (U/A) 1:37:24, 8 (172) Sheila Oxtoby (U/A) 1:39:24, 9 (191) Louisa-Kate Keylock (U/A) 1:40:41, 10 (200) Victoria Price (U/A) 1:41:13.
Full results: http://cityofnorwichhalfmarathon.com.