Norwich half marathon to be biggest yet
A record field will turn out for this year's City of Norwich half marathon on Sunday, thanks to the event swapping summer for winter.For the first time in the history of the race, organisers moved the half marathon from the heat of June to the more ambient temperatures of early December, with the hope of making life easier for those taking part after last year's scorching conditions.
A record field will turn out for this year's City of Norwich half marathon on Sunday, thanks to the event swapping summer for winter.
For the first time in the history of the race, organisers moved the half marathon from the heat of June to the more ambient temperatures of early December, with the hope of making life easier for those taking part after last year's scorching conditions.
The 30 degree heat last June led to 100 starters failing to complete the 13.1 mile course, which proved enough to convince those planning this year's race to make the break from tradition and move the event back five months in the athletics calendar.
The decision has proven to be inspired, with almost 2,300 entries for this weekend's race being submitted having passed its closing date - well over double the figure for last year.
Originally, organisers had modest hopes of pulling a similar field to the 971 entries they received for last year's race following its shift into winter, but they have now scrapped the idea of making entry available on the day of the race due to the record interest in the event.
Hugh McGill, race director from the organisers, City of Norwich Athletics Club, said: “We're delighted with the response that we have had from the running community in the east of England and are blown away by the number of people who have entered. We are really looking forward to what promises to be a great event on Sunday.”
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It will be the 15th time the fast two-lap Royal Norfolk Showground course has hosted the event, which is being run in aid of The Big C Appeal and will be started by British lightweight boxing champion Jon Thaxton at 11am.
As well as the number of runners significantly increasing since last year, the facilities, medical staff and even goody bags have all had to be doubled to ensure the event can cope with its popularity.
This year's race is the first under the sponsorship of Norfolk chartered accounting firm Larking Gowen, who's three year deal to support the event will take it through it its silver anniversary in 2009.
Sunday also sees the first running of the Race4each, a 5km run in aid of East Anglia's Children's Hospices. Beginning 10 minutes after the marathon runners get underway, 250 fun runners will be hoping to cross the finishing line on the streets of Easton.
The half marathon trialled chip timing for the first time in last year's race and has permanently adopted the system which is used at elite events across the globe. It uses a system of individual computer chips which are assigned to each runner and threaded through their shoelaces. A mat at the start and finishing lines then records the time of each runner to ensure there are no mix ups.
Entrants can pick up their chip today [Sat] from 10am until 4pm at the showground. Chips can also collected on race day from 8am, although organisers want as many to turn up as possible before Sunday. Runners must take their race voucher with them.
Last year's race at the showground saw Kenyan Simon Tonui heading the male runners with a run of 70 mins 26 secs, while Ethiopian exile Birhan Dagne finished top for the women, timed at 77 mins 18 secs.
The fastest of the men and women this year will receive £250, with cash prizes going down to 10th place in each field. Andrew Hennessy of Wells City Harriers is tipped to do well in the men's race, while Olivia Walwyn of CONAC is in form after beating her personal best recently.