New course record set in Norfolk 100km race
- Credit: Archant
Both first and second placed runners finished quicker than the winning time in the inaugural race last year.
A new course record has been set in one of the toughest races in Norfolk.
Matt Hunt, 39, of the Woodbridge Shufflers in Suffolk, won the Norfolk 100km race in a time of nine hours and 39 seconds.
And Andy Kett, 38, of the North Norfolk Beach Runners, who had been leading in the first half of the race, followed closely behind in second place with a time of nine hours, 58 seconds.
Both were quicker than the winning time in the inaugural race last year of 10 hours, five minutes and 38 seconds.
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Javier Rio, 45, originally from Spain and now living in Colchester, finished third in a time of 10 hours and 40 seconds.
And the first lady home was Hazel Wray of the North Norfolk Beach Runners in 26th place, with a time of 13 hours and 33 minutes.
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Reflecting on his win, Matt said: 'It was great, I really enjoyed it. It was my first ultra so I wasn't really sure what to expect. My main aim was just to get to the finish line so, to come away as a winner and with a new course record, I am absolutely ecstatic.
'I was running with Andy, who finished second, for the early part of the race, then he picked the pace up and went off. Then I suddenly saw him come back to me and I picked the pace up a little bit as he was going through a bit of a bad spot; then I just concentrated on ticking the miles off at a pace I felt comfortable with.
'It was great scenery, it was pretty hot, and it's the first race I've ever won.'
When asked why he chose the Norfolk 100km as his first ultra, he added: 'I only live down in Suffolk, it seemed like a relatively flat, nice introduction to ultra running, and I don't think it will be my last.'
More than double the number of runners who took part in the first running of the event, which is run along the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, lined up for the start of the second annual race.
It began at the Bailey Gate in Castle Acre on Saturday at 7am, and entrants had until 11pm to reach the finish line at the Runton Road car park in Cromer.
However, a couple of diversions along the route meant that the actual distance covered was longer than advertised - 104 kilometres or 65 miles.
And a number of runners had to drop out halfway through the race due to heat exhaustion in humid temperatures - with extra water having to be drafted in to the checkpoints.
Only 45 of the 61 runners who started the race completed the course, with the final runner home after 16 hours and 15 minutes on their feet.
Among the trickier sections of the ultra marathon, which passes Holme next-the-Sea, was a five mile section of shingle between Cley and Weybourne.
But competitors admitted the scenery was the real winner.
Andy said: 'I'm really pleased. I had a little go early on and I held out for about 35 miles, then Matt passed me. And then I rallied and managed to finish in a time I am really chuffed with.
'I haven't done the whole course before but I've ran sections and however many times you go over Cley beach it is always a nightmare.
'I've taken part in around eight ultras and this is one of the longest I have done and probably one of the toughest.
'The weather was hot but the visibility was great and the views were fantastic.'
The race forms part of the Positive Steps Grand Slam, which includes the Kings Forest 50km and Peddars Way Ultra.
Race director Kevin Marshall, 56, from Bury St Edmunds, who runs sports consultancy Positive Steps Fitness and Wellbeing, said: 'It has been brilliant, everything has gone to plan. One of the highlights for me was the race at the front. The event is growing steadily because it's such an inspirational course.'
The next race planned in Norfolk by Positive Steps is the Norfolk Coastal Marathon which returns with a new route on October 29 from Happisburgh to Great Yarmouth - on a new coastal path which is yet to be built.