Mussett completes a treble in half marathon

Adrian Mussett completed a treble of City of Norwich half marathon titles at a sodden Royal Norfolk Showground yesterday

Adrian Mussett completed a treble of City of Norwich half marathon titles at a sodden Royal Norfolk Showground yesterday

This year's 13.1 mile race was moved from June to December for the first time in its history, and brought an altogether different kind of challenge for the field.

Rain, mud and freezing gales left runners facing conditions just as tough as the 30 degree heat, which prevented 100 runners completing last year's race and inspired the change of date.

This time, however, plenty crossed the finishing line, out of a record 2,294 entries.

The men's field was lead home by Mussett, 35, and the Colchester Harrier had no problem facing the course and the weather.

"I found it very hard out there, but I really enjoyed it," said the three-time winner.

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"It's probably the slowest I have done so far on the course, but considering the weather I'm very happy. It's always a good race here, and I'm pleased to be here. It was certainly worth it."

Mussett clocked a time of 1:09:09 to add this year's victory to his wins in 1998 and 1999.

He finished 42 seconds ahead of Wells City Harriers' Andrew Hennessy, with the City of Norwich Athletic Club's Wayne Lincoln coming in third with a time of 1:11:25.

Sarah Stradling of Colchester & Tendring Athletics Club made it a double celebration for runners from the Essex city, after she brought the women's field home in 1:21:22.

"It was really good actually, I really enjoyed it," the 32-year-old said. "In all fairness the rain held off at the end and it was good; it suited me obviously.

"I've only just come back into racing in the last few months.

"It's fantastic: finished the year off nicely."

Stradling added she was already making plans for next year's race.

"Obviously it would be lovely if it was warm, but in December it's not going to be is it? So next year I'll just have to wear more clothes."

The start of the race had to be delayed 10 minutes after an accident on the A47, but the runners were eventually sent on their way by British lightweight boxing champion Jon Thaxton.