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Neil Featherby: Cherish that finisher's medal at Run Norwich 2018 - you deserve it

PUBLISHED: 13:44 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:44 03 August 2018

The Norse running group. Picture: Neil Featherby

The Norse running group. Picture: Neil Featherby

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Eighteen weeks ago I was asked to take on a group of people who had been selected to represent Norse, the main sponsor for this Sunday's big city centre Run Norwich 10k race.

Putting the final finishing touches to 18 weeks of training during the final session. Picture: Neil FeatherbyPutting the final finishing touches to 18 weeks of training during the final session. Picture: Neil Featherby

Initially there were 14 candidates, but like all projects there will always be a number of twists and turns along the way for which we unfortunately lost three of them due to ongoing niggles. However, as we now approach the big day, I am so pleased and even proud to say that 11 of them will be lining up with 7,000 or so other race entrants for which they will all be taking part in an event which will not only be a fantastic experience for them, but it will also be the end of a very personal journey for each one of them too.

Whilst the very elite will be racing their way round in a little under or just over 30 minutes, for most of the runners in the race it will be anything from 45 minutes to well over an hour. For the Norse Group, we may get one or two under 50 minutes and a couple under the hour, but for the majority it will be around 60 to 75 minutes.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

When they cross the finish line and receive their finishers medal, it will not only represent the run they have just completed, but actually represent all those weeks of hard effort which has gone into the training for this run. Running and preparing yourself to take on such a race is like everything else in life, you get out what you put in.

Whilst I have continually used such words as focus, motivation, desire, consistency and determination when trying to describe what it takes during our weekly sessions, those same words do indeed sum up what is required if you want to do something to the best of your ability. When they stand on the start line I am sure everything they have gone through will all start to make sense.

The Norse Running Group at the Field of Pain. Picture: Neil FeatherbyThe Norse Running Group at the Field of Pain. Picture: Neil Featherby

In last week’s column I gave plenty of last minute tips regarding diet, tapering and hydration.

However, and whilst preparation is so very important, race day comes with lots of nerves and excitement for which it is so easy to go off too quickly at the start.

MORE: Everything you need to know about Run Norwich 2018

In big races such as this, you can also easily get blocked at the start. If you do then stay very patient and gradually pick it up as you work your way round the course and don’t go bombing off the minute you get clear space as you can easily destroy all the hard work which has gone in to getting you to the start line in the first place.

Remember pace makes for the perfect race! Take note Mark Armstrong! Work your way up the hills as opposed to struggling up them and run your own race if you want to cross the finish line in a time which befits your fitness on the day.

The Norse Running Group at the Field of Pain. Picture: Neil FeatherbyThe Norse Running Group at the Field of Pain. Picture: Neil Featherby

Looking at the sharp end of the field... for me it has to be Nick Earl who is currently in the form of his life. However, Ash Harrell, is also in great form. I think last year’s winner Mike Kallenberg has been carrying an injury, but if not then he will most certainly be right in there with them as will the evergreen Adrian Mussett. Not too far behind them I can then see local stars Dom Blake, Michael Eccles, Stu Huntington, Gary Crush, Steve Cannell, Sam Coyne, Wayne Lincoln, James Senior, Nathan Risbey and Chris Mickleburgh all scrapping it out for top 10 placings.

When it comes to the ladies race, then it has to be Dani Nimmock closely followed by last year’s winner Emma Risbey, Jo Andrews and Cat Cummings. Nevertheless, the start list suggests that there are 42 sub 35-minute runners entered with many from away, so I also expect a few surprises which will of course lend itself to further excitement on the day.

Good luck to everyone and have a great run.

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