Strong field ready to run in city race

Nearly 100 athletes will pound the streets in tonight's 12th Lord Mayor's 5k City Centre Classic road race in Norwich - and the competition for the two first prizes of £500 has never been keener.

Nearly 100 athletes will pound the streets in tonight's 12th Lord Mayor's 5k City Centre Classic road race in Norwich - and the competition for the two first prizes of £500 has never been keener.

"On Saturday evening we'll have the best field ever assembled for this event," said race director Granville Courtnell, from City of Norwich AC. "And I'm pleased to say that the quality at the sharp end means there'll be a real battle for the honours."

Returning to defend their crowns are 2006 winners Mark Miles and Birhan Dagne, both from Belgrave Harriers.

Miles won last year's race in 14 min 17 sec, just six seconds outside the course record, but is likely to be under great pressure.


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"On the entry list this year are several who'll make a real fight of it, none more so than 30-year-old Chris Davies from Telford AC, who ran 13:56 to win the AAA 5k title in Manchester last year. We expect Chris to go head to head with Mark over the two-lap city centre course," said Courtnell.

Dagne completed a hat-trick of wins last year, clocking 16 min 43 sec, but her course record of 16:27 was set when she won for the first time in 2004.

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The men's record of 14:11 was set in 2000 by former Olympic athlete Paul Evans, who will present the prizes after tonight's race.

The race, which starts and finishes in Tombland, is supported for the first time by Norwich Union.

"One of the great attractions of this event is the fantastic support which the spectators provide all around the course," said Courtnell. "Each year, after the race, the athletes come up to me and say how much they relish the cheering and clapping that rings around the city centre as the race unfolds, and I know this year will be no exception."

The race carries a 20-minute time limit and any competitor failing to reach the halfway point inside 10 minutes is directed to retire by the race referee. A new men's or women's course record will earn a prize bonus of £250.

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