Round Norfolk Relay: Riverside Runners take overall victory as CoNAC settle for second place
PUBLISHED: 15:30 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:59 17 September 2019
Riverside Runners took a surprise overall victory in the Officescape Round Norfolk Relay as the City of Norwich AC (CoNAC) had to settle for second place.
St Neots-based Riverside Runners were fastest round the course, completing the 17 stages in 20-40:10, as CoNAC, winners for the last three years, took the runners up spot 20-58:07. Cambridge & Coleridge were third in 21-45:26.
Race director Martin Ive, taking charge of the event for the first time, was impressed a 'foreign' club performed well enough to take the overall club title.
"The Riverside team were ecstatic about winning," he said. "They don't enter a squad every year and so perhaps came to the race a bit fresher than the other favourites, which included City of Norwich, Norwich Road Runners, Wymondham AC, Ely and Cambridge. Their achievement is all the more impressive because they're not a local club, which makes it harder to organise reconnaissance runs on some of the more complicated off road stages. Still, City of Norwich hung on as the fastest Norfolk team."
The 198 mile course is divided into 17 multi-terrain stages and follows the county boundary of Norfolk. Starting from the Lynnsport complex in King's Lynn, the race heads out along the picturesque North Norfolk Coastal Path via Hunstanton, Wells, Cromer and Great Yarmouth, before turning inland for several long night stages through Bungay, Thetford and Downham Market, finally finishing back on the athletics track at Lynnsport on Sunday morning.
Stages range between five and 20 miles in length, and approximately equal numbers of men and women take part.
Fastest mixed team (containing at least eight female runners) were City of Norwich in 23-59:01, very closely followed by Wymondham AC (24-00:05) and March AC (24-22:24).
The first of three ladies-only teams home were Norwich Road Runners in 26-21:08.
The winning Masters team (male runners aged over 40, and women over 35) was Coltishall Jaguars in 25-02:04, while first prize in the Open category went to Ely in a very fast 20-58:40, who beat Norwich Road Runners into second place (21-06:03) and Wymondham into third (21-14:34).
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The youngest competitors were five junior athletes aged just 15, among them Billy Life of Coltishall Jaguars and Holly Bunn of City of Norwich. The oldest runner was 73-year-old Glyn Smith of Cambridge and Coleridge, who ticked off the penultimate 5.49 mile stage between Downham Market and Stowbridge in 50:31.
The first wheelchair athlete in the history of the Round Norfolk Relay was Claire Connon, also of Cambridge and Coleridge, who negotiated the nine-mile road leg between Mundesley and Lessingham in 1-06:18.
The trophy for best overall performance by a small club went to Bure Valley Harriers, and the Ron Hill Trophy for best family showing (three members in a single team) went to the indefatigable Webbs of St Edmund Pacers.
Altogether 1,020 runners took part this year, together with a similar number of volunteers including marshals, timekeepers, cyclists and support crews. This was Ive's first taste of race directing Norfolk's premier team race, taking over from Neville Knights, who had been in charge of the race since 2014.
"Neville has done a truly remarkable job in keeping all sorts of balls in the air for the last five years," said Ive. "Having cycled, run and driven the RNR many times over the years, I know it is a team effort. The same holds true of the work behind the scenes, and Neville has left the Relay in fantastic shape going forward."
Ian Longland of Officescape, who will be sponsoring the race for the next three years, added: "When you're running a stage the buzz is incredible. Running one of the closing stages as the sun rises and the birds start to wake is something very special. It's become a must for every club in the region - and even further afield.
"Runners of all capabilities can take part, making it very much a team event. Once the build-up begins in May it injects a real sense of excitement, as well as providing a bonding exercise. For me, aside from the London Marathon the Round Norfolk Relay is the most exciting race of the year."
See full results on page 46.
Stage one: M John Hudson (Norwich Road Runners Open) 1-42:42, L Rose Waterman (Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club) 2-01:48.
Stage two: M David Roy (Wymondham AC Open) 1-26:55, L Mabel Beckett (City of Norwich AC) 1-36:44.
Stage three: M Matt Harris (Norwich Road Runners Open) 37:57, L Iona Lake (City of Norwich AC) 38:55.
Stage four: M Tom Vickery (Cambridge & Coleridge Club) 1-08:15, L Caroline Brooks (Riverside Runners) 1-14:45.
Stage five: M Scott Walford (Bure Valley Harriers) 1-06:33, L Jet Watkinson (Wymondham AC Mixed Team) 1-20:25.
Stage six: M Alan Pritchard (Cambridge & Coleridge club) 48:05, L Sarah Cronin (Paddock Wood AC) 55:50.
Stage seven: M Paul Waggitt (Ely A) 53:22, L Johanna O'Regan (Riverside Runners) 55:54.
Stage eight: M Mark Popple (Stamford Striders) 42:58, L Phillipa Taylor (City of Norwich AC) 47:28.
Stage nine: M Alan Darby (Ely A) 1-33:20, L Geraldine Larham (March AC Team A) 2-03:05.
Stage 10: M Sam Coyne (City of Norwich AC) 1-42:13, L Charlotte Neale (North Norfolk Beach Runners) 2-00:27.
Stage 11: M Kevin Holland (Wymondham AC Open) 1-10:46, L Tessa Strain (Cambridge & Coleridge club) 1-24:29.
Stage 12: M Michael Taylor (Riverside Runners) 1-47:50, L Amy Chapman (Ryston Runners Mixed) 2-26:52.
Stage 13: M Lee Brown (Haverhill Running Club) 1-09:29, L Nicola Baker (GYRR Masters) 1-41:59.
Stage 14: M Dominic Hughes (Ryston Runners) 45:05, L Autumn Hales (Bure Valley Harriers) 47:58.
Stage 15: M Gary Crush (City of Norwich AC) 1-00:36, L Toni Alcaraz (March AC Team A) 1-08:26.
Stage 16: M Charlie Wakefield (Ryston Runners) 29:49, L Amy Beck (NRR Ladies) 34:05.
Stage 17: M Jonathan Escalante (Cambridge & Coleridge Club) 1-01:38, L Angie Joiner-Handy (Saint Edmund Pacers) 1-07:36.
Open Orchard Caravans Cup: 1 Ely A 20-58:40, 2 Norwich Road Runners Open 21-06:03, 3 Wymondham AC Open 21-14:34.
Club Vaughn-Arbuckle Cup: 1 Riverside Runners 20-40:10, 2 City of Norwich AC 20-58:07, 3 Cambridge & Coleridge Club 21-45:26.
Ladies Geoff Allen Cup: 1 NRR Ladies 26-21:08, 2 Norfolk Girlzelles 27-14:58, 3 North Norfolk Beach Runners 29-05:48.
Masters Mounted Baton: 1 Coltishall Jaguars Masters Team 25-02:04, 2 GYRR Masters 27-32:32, 3 Reepham Runners 27-36:54.
Mixed Birketts Trophy: 1 City of Norwich AC 23-59:01, 2 Wymondham AC Mixed Team 24-00:25, 3 March AC Team A 24-22:24.
Long Distance Relay Association of Running Clubs: 1 Ely A 20-58:40, 2 North Norfolk Beach Runners 22-43:15, 3 Norfolk Gazelles Men 24-19:23.
Norfolk Club: 1 City of Norwich AC 20-58:07, 2 Norwich Road Runners Open 21-06:03.
Visitor: 1 Riverside Runners 20-40:10, 2 Ely A 20-58:40.
Small Club: 1 Bure Valley Harriers 22-01:52, 2 West Norfolk AC 26-41:32.
Best Time Estimate Carrott Award: 1 GYRR Masters 0-02:20.
Worst Time Estimate Wooden Spoon: 1 Thetford AC Pike 2-11:02.
Eastern Daily Press Trophy fastest time stage one John Hudson (Norwich Road Runners Open) 1-42:42.
Dave Wootton Cup fastest time stage two David Roy (Wymondham AC Open) 1-26:55.
Darryl Davis Memorial Trophy best men's age graded performance stage four Phil Hurr (Bure Valley Harriers) 80.3pc.
Fat Birds Don't Fly Cup fastest time stage five Scott Walford (Bury Valley Harriers) 1-06:33.
Peter andrews Cup best age graded performance stage 11 John Moore (Norfolk Gazelles Mens) 87.5.
Winning Ways Trophy best age graded performance stage 16 Rosemary Jackson (Coltishall Jaguars Masters Team) 87.5.
Age Graded Awards
Overall: 1 Angie Joiner-Handy (Saint Edmund Pacers) stage 17 Kelly Holmes Trophy 100.
Senior Men: 1 Lee Brown (Haverhill Running Club) stage 13 John Barrow Trophy 86.4, 2 Michael Taylor (Riverside Runners) stage 12 85.9.
Senior Ladies: 1 Faith Viney (Bury Valley Harriers) stage 17 77.1, 2 Charlotte Neale (North Norfolk Beach Runners) stage 10 76.4.
Masters Men: 1 Nigel Rackham (Metros RC) stage nine 91.9, 2 John Moore (Norfolk Gazelles Mens) stage 11 87.5.
Masters Ladies: 1 Anne Ellen (Norfolk Girlzelles) stage 17 Paul Evans Trophy 97.7, 2 Phillipa Taylor (City of Norwich AC) stage eight 92.1.
Junior Men: 1 Charlie Wakefield (Ryston Runners) stage 16 Richard Nerurkar Trophy 84.4, 2 Billy Life (Coltishall Jaguars Club Team) stage 16 78.0.
Junior Ladies: 1 Emma Price (Riverside Runners) stage 16 79, 2 Ella sharrock (City of Norwich AC) stage 15 72.1.
Family (Ron Hill Trophy): 1 Sandra Webb, Joe Webb, Vince Webb (Saint Edmund Pacers) 69.3, 2 Peter Rackham, Nigel Rackham, Ariff Sidik (Metros RC) 65.4.