Thousands of people take part in city half marathon

There was sweat, a few tears and plenty of sore feet as thousands of runners descended upon the Norfolk Showground yesterday to take part in the rescheduled 26th Norwich Half Marathon.

The original event had to be postponed last November because of the Arctic weather, but there was no threat of derailment this weekend with parts of the 13.1-mile course bathed in glorious sunshine yesterday.

A total of 3,250 places were snapped up for the sold-out race which this year has Macmillan Cancer Support as its official charity. The Larking Gowen-sponsored race started and finished at the showground in Costessey.

As well as raising money for Macmillan, participants helped provide a financial boost to hundreds of other charities across Norwich, Norfolk and beyond by taking part in the event in aid of their own good causes.

And while the elite athletes battled it out at the front of the field the rest of the chasing pack were made up of a variety of competent club runners wanting to set personal best times, to half-marathon debutantes and fun runners dressed in a variety of weird and wonderful outfits – even Elvis Presley made an appearance.

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Former Norwich City footballer Paul McVeigh was among the runners, completing the event in a gun time of 1hr 46mins 21secs while EDP editor Peter Waters also took part and finished in a gun time of 2hrs 23secs.

He said: 'The EDP is very pleased to be involved with the event and it's great to see so many people turn out and raise money for charity.'

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Robert Pyke, 37, from Norwich, who works as a solicitor for Fosters, completed his first half marathon in 1hr 54 mins.

He said: 'I'm chuffed to bits – just wanted to get below two hours. There was a really good crowd and we got support from all the people, especially through the villages.'

His friend, Warren Farrow, 27, who lives in Norwich and runs his own industrial cleaning company, was equally thrilled to have broken the two-hour mark in his first half marathon.

He said: 'I was chuffed with that – it's the first time I've run further than six miles.'

Another Norwich Half Marathon debutante, Duncan Johnson, 38, from Norwich, who is involved in internet marketing, came round the course in 2hrs 30mins in what was his second attempt at a half marathon having competed in a race in London.

He said: 'It was fantastic – the crowds are getting bigger – and the fun runners are incredible; hats off to Elvis Presley. I'm now going to make it a regular thing.'

As always, the event was blessed with support from thousands of family and friends of runners coming along to cheer their loved ones on, and people living in villages lining the route, like Marlingford and Easton, coming out to offer their encouragement.

Hugh McGill, race director, said the fact it was dry – for the morning at least – helped swell the numbers coming to watch.

He said: 'March is a little bit nicer than November with the snow and the ice, and the weather has been kind to us and everything has gone well.'

One of those offering her support to colleagues at Coltishall Jaguars Running Club was Sarah Jay, 44, from Stratton Strawless. Mrs Jay, who is an assistant manager at a plumbing merchants, said: 'It was superb –excellent crowds and the event was really well run. I've run it before but unfortunately I'm injured this year but would like to do it again.'

See a picture gallery from the event at

SPORT report – Page 29

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