Danny Russell leads the way on tough 20th running of Norwich Lord Mayor’s 5k City Centre Classic

Danny Russell (2) heads the field of the Lord Mayor's 5km City Centre Classic shortly after the star

Danny Russell (2) heads the field of the Lord Mayor's 5km City Centre Classic shortly after the start - before going on to win the race. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Danny Russell beat the course and conditions to win the 20th anniversary edition of City of Norwich Athletic Club's Lord Mayor's 5k City Centre Classic on Saturday.

The Highgate Harriers 31-year-old broke away from the lead group of six with Conac's Piers Arnold, as they came through Red Lion Street for the second time.

Russell's kick then gave him a 30-metre lead over his rival and although Arnold chased down the gap, Russell held on for his first victory in the event and the £500 first prize, clocking 15 minutes 22 seconds.

The ladies' event was straightforward for pre-race favourite, Coventry's Katrina Wootton.

The 29-year-old's controlled performance saw her finish in 17.11, eight seconds ahead of home favourite, Iona Lake. The Conac 22-year-old, back for the summer from her studies in the USA, picked up £300 for her second place.

An unprecedented 10 runners were pulled out after failing to make the 10-minute cut-off, as the field took on a tough course in conditions pushing 31C.

Yet spectators turned out in force, reaching new highs for the event along Castle Meadow and Red Lion Street.

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Race director Granville Courtnell said: 'This was the best Lord Mayor's 5k and certainly the best Lord Mayor's 5k crowd we've ever seen, and we look forward to doing it all again next year.'

The day's biggest cheer went to 49-year-old James Cordeaux, who beat the lap-one cut-off by a few seconds – and then enjoyed big cheers all the way to the finish.

• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey