City of Norwich Half Marathon: can you see yourself on our video?
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
City of Norwich runners took the big prizes in the rain-soaked 34th running of the City of Norwich Half Marathon.
Piers Arnold won the men's race in a personal best time of 1:07:41, almost five minutes clear of Reepham Road Runners' Dominic Blake (1:12:53) with Bungay Black Dog Running Club's Matt Spencer in third (1:14:30).
Mabel Beckett retained the women's crown, finishing in 1:20:11, ahead of Waveney Valley's Sam Lines (1:21:30) and Taunton visitor Kate Drew.
Runners preparing for a dry race were disappointed – as 1,727 of them lined up at the start at the Norfolk Showground, the misty conditions gave way to rain which worsened as the race went on – but began to clear just as the first runners headed for home.
It mattered little to Arnold, who won the race two years ago but missed out last year because it was so close to the London Marathon.
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This time, with the capital event three weeks away, it proved a perfect warm-up as Arnold led the entire way and won by a country mile.
'It was easier than I thought it would be,' said Arnold, whose time beat his previous best of 1:10:14 set at the same event three years ago.
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'I have got London in three weeks so I was planning on going off a bit slower. After the first mile it felt really smooth so I just kind of kept going with it.
'I know a lot of the other guys and they are all going through their own things – a lot of people were focusing on getting a good last session before London.
'I am really pleased with my time, I didn't expect it. I probably went out a bit faster than I maybe should have because it felt good. I haven't PB-ed in so long it felt it would maybe be a bit of a waste not to go for it.'
Beckett's time was also a personal best – although she was outside of her target.
'The target in my head was to get under 80 minutes and it was 80;11, but it is a massive, massive PB, by about a minute and a half so I am really, really happy. It was chucking it down all the way until the last mile when the sun came out.'
'It has been a good day,' said race director Hugh McGill.
'The race went smoothly, no problems and we are very pleased.
The number of starters was around 100 down on usual, with a total entry list of around 2,500.