Bespak race organisers thank runners

Organisers of the Bespak Great East Anglia 10km race yesterday publicly thanked the hundreds of competitors who helped turn the inaugural fun run into a huge success.

Organisers of the Bespak Great East Anglia 10km race yesterday publicly thanked the hundreds of competitors who helped turn the inaugural fun run into a huge success.

More than 1,500 novices, wheelchair athletes and club runners pounded the route through the heart of King's Lynn.

Kenyan stars Patrick Musyoki and Catherine Mutwa romped to victories in the main race, but former Olympian Paul Evans paid tribute to the massed ranks of unsung heroes.

“When I got on the podium to start the race and looked back down the line I couldn't honestly see where it finished,” he said. “That gave me such a great buzz - it was an absolutely superb response for a first attempt.


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“In terms of entries there is no question it ranks in the top half dozen UK 10km races. You had 1,500 different stories - people running seriously, for charity or just to have a go and get fit.

“Nowadays you hear so much about how unfit we are and yet hundreds of people decided to get off their backsides and do something positive. Thankfully the sun shone for the first time in a week as well which was unbelievable.”

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The Norfolk athletics development officer believes Musyoki's quick winning time could also attract more elite runners if the race is held again next year.

“I always think it's nice to have someone in the field who can run that sort of time,” he said. “Other top class athletes will look at it and say, 'oh yeah, I'll go to King's Lynn and get a good 10km under my belt'. The course is very flat, we have no major traffic problems and the two-lap layout is good from a spectator point of view.

“It definitely has a future - as long as the Borough Council want to keep staging it then I only see it getting bigger and better.”

Race director Ian Vaughan Arbuckle insists the headline figures speak for themselves.

“It has all the ingredients to be a first class established event on the athletics calendar,” he said. “We had 20,000 hits on the web site since January which tells me we got the timing spot on. If the will is there locally it can certainly grow.

“To have the biggest race in the area bodes well - it certainly helps to dispel this traditional image of King's Lynn as country cousins to Norwich. So many people had a great time and I was one of them - it was a thoroughly satisfying day. When you stand up on the podium at the start and see the stream of people you think, 'my god, have we put this on', but they all turned up and full credit to them.”

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