Round Norfolk Relay: Top team effort by Newmarket Joggers

RNR: Newmarket Joggers took part in the 24-Hour Round Norfolk Relay (RNR) 2021 on 18th/19th September, backed up by a dedicated supporting team of van driver, cyclists, timers and marshals from the club, organised and led by Jim Withers. This event started in King’s Lynn in the early hours of Saturday morning and followed a 17-Stage clockwise loop, along the Norfolk Coast Route as far as Great Yarmouth; then inland, roughly following the county border with Suffolk, westwards to Feltwell. From there the route turned northwards to the finish in King’s Lynn. Stages were varying distances from 5.49 to 19.67 miles, totalling 197.93 miles in all, with 53 teams participating from all over East Anglia.

Teams were staggered so that the slowest went first and the quickest last, with all teams finishing back at King’s Lynn at about the same time on Sunday morning. The quickest team of Norwich Road Runners clocked 21h:40m:03s for the whole race, with Newmarket Joggers’ mixed men’s and women’s club team coming in 19th of 53 teams overall in 26:30:06, about 30 minutes longer than scheduled. There were various prizes for different types of team entries and individual Stage times. However, this event was not really about winning but about the enjoyment of participation and disciplined organisation combined with team camaraderie. All our runners were followed closely by the team van during the dark hours and by cyclists during the day.

Above left: Brian Munns, Jeremy Reader and Jim Withers at Wells. Above right: Paul Holley hands over to Olivia Carter at Stage 2. Thanks to the team for Strava photos.

We had 2 top three finishers in Paul Holley (Stage 1, 16.32 mi, 3rd of 53 in 1:45:43, Age Grade 81.55%) and Mark Hayward (Stage 10, 18.13 mi, 3rd in 1:48:20, 78.02%), both also achieving the two highest age grades of our team. Not far behind were Jamie Rule (Stage 5, 10.81 mi, 5th in 1:20:37) and Jimmy Smith (Stage 12, 19.67 mi, 7th in 2:06:47). Hannah Parsons (Stage 6, 7.90 mi, 15th in 1:00:58, 68.84%), Lisa Johnson (Stage 16, 5.49 mi, 32nd in 0:45:29, 58.5%) and Ruth Eberhardt (Stage 17, 11.73 mi, 37th in 1:34:44, 68.16%) were our top performing female runners, with Ruth gaining her highest age grade of the year so far in her inspired final stage, bringing the baton home.

Above left: Andy Hayward passes baton to Clive Purbrook at Stage 15 in Wissington. Above right: Jeremy Reader hands over to Jamie Rule at Stage 5 in Cley. Thanks to the team for Strava photos.

Well done to each member of our running team, who put forth their best efforts for the club in every stage, including Olivia Carter (Stage 2, 13.75 mi, 2:07:55), Emma Reader (Stage 3, 5.76 mi, 1:15:54), Jeremy Reader (Stage 4, 10.81 mi, 1:44:23), Danielle Jones (Stage 7, 9.24 mi, 1:26:39),  Kate Warboys (Stage 8, 7.52 mi, 1:17:27), Richard Jones (Stage 9, 16.60 mi, 2:16:51), Neville Clarke (Stage 11, 12.45 mi, 1:38:40), Adam Maltpress (Stage 13, 13.25 mi, 1:44:10), Andy Hayward (Stage 14, 7.27 mi, 1:08:44) and Clive Purbrook (Stage 15, 10.59 mi, 1:26:45). Also, thanks to the support crew of Jim Withers, Brian Munns, Emma & Jeremy Reader, Kate Warboys and any others unknowingly left out.

Above: Ruth Eberhardt bringing the baton home for the Joggers. Thanks to Ruth for this great Strava photo; apologies for loss of pixels during processing.

Weekend Race Round Up, Sunday 26th Sept.

Run Sandringham 10K: A big turnout of 1,328 runners for this race, in the grounds of the Royal Estate in Norfolk. Brian Munns did well to finish 147th overall in 47:37, finishing 12th of 62 in M55, while Jim Withers also had a good run, finishing 500th in 55:10, 11th of 35 in M65+, a very good result for both, though not quite their best 10K efforts so far this year.

Great Shelford 5K Fun Run: Paul Holley and new member Dan Hutchison popped in on this local fun run, in aid of the Great Shelford Playscape project. Dan (M Open) finished 4th of 280 finishers in a time of 16:57 and Paul was right behind in 17:12, 7th overall and 1st of 14 in M55 (a massive 89.15% age grade!), so a very good day’s work for the duo (see photo).

Dan Hutchison and Paul Holley at Great Shelford for the 5K Fun Run. Thanks for photo.

Standalone 10K, Letchworth, Sunday, Sept 26th: James Thomson called in on one of his favourite races from his time living in Hertfordshire and clocked 42:14, his best time of the year so far, finishing an impressive 65th of 747 finishers overall.

Acorn Bank 10K, Penrith, Cumbria, Sunday Sept 26th: Marc Drury (41:42, 12th of 118 overall) and Angela Barnes (58:14, 22nd F of 56) both had excellent runs in this race, an undulating road route, with HQ start/finish in the beautiful grounds of the Acorn Bank National Trust property.

Ely Runfest 10K: Suzanne Bailey (1:03:25, 17th F), Sarah Last (1:09:15, 24th F) and Gillian Green (1:20:32, 42nd F) all enjoyed their runs in bright sunshine, in a total field of 87. In the Half Marathon, Caroline Mcintosh clocked a courageous 2:46:09 in a run/walk effort, after recent back injury has hampered her marathon training program for Tokyo next spring.

Cambourne 10K: Chris Aylmer (1:03:11, 204th of 273 overall) was finally able to compete in this race, which had been postponed from April 2020. It was a lovely, sunny, autumn day and ideal ground conditions for this undulating trail run.

Kevin Henry virtual 5K League 2021: The Kevin Henry League sixth and final fixture, which normally starts and finishes in the Cambridge University Sports Ground, organised by Cambridge & Coleridge (C&C), was completed as a virtual event earlier in September, with the final league standings now decided. To our great relief, Newmarket Joggers managed to hold onto a combined 4th place of 8 clubs in the table, despite pressure from Cambridge Tri Club (CTC) and Royston Runners in the previous fixture. C&C finished top of the League by just one point from Ely Runners, with Saffron Striders some way back in 3rd. Behind the Joggers were CTC, Royston Runners, Haverhill RC and Histon & Impington. Our men’s team was 3rd and women’s team 7th, with our combined team managing a very decent 4th; not bad after starting off rock bottom after the first fixture in April. Also, a significant improvement on last year. Congratulations to our fastest 5 women and fastest 5 men in the final fixture; women: Lisa Johnson (23:34, 30th F of 227F), Danielle Jones (24:01, 34th F), Melanie Tindale (24:16, 39th F), Rebecca Oettle (24:51, 48th F) and Rosalyn Crawford (25:08, 51st F); men: James Smith (17:03, 5th M of 221M), Mark Hayward (17:13, 8th M), Paul Holley (17:58, 17th M), Jonathan Pye (18:48, 26th M) and James Thomson (19:32, 41st M). Thanks to all who entered, gaining valuable points for the club.

NJ Grand Prix Update: Malcolm Osbourn has surged into 3rd position in the Men’s Grand Prix, with just two fixtures to go. He put in a tremendous performance in the Kevin Henry final fixture, recording a virtual 5K time of 24:28 on the impeccable track at Bury St Edmunds, gaining his best ever age grade of 75.41% (diamond standard), plus an all-time PB as far as is known. It was a very shrewd tactic at a time when some Joggers were expressing doubt that multiple laps around a track for a 5K was a good idea, or at least a little too mind-numbing to bear. Well, Mo Farah must have done a good number of track 5Ks and he’s never been heard to complain about the number of laps! Malcolm knows the track well and is well aware just how speedy it can be over 5K. Remaining clear at the top of the men’s Grand Prix table is Paul Holley, with Jimmy Smith safely in 2nd. Jamie Rule and Stuart Sowerby both missed the final KH, so have slipped down a few rungs.

In the women’s Grand Prix, Ruth Bell is still top but has used her wild card, so looks rather vulnerable compared with the other four close contenders for the top three, i.e. Ruth Eberhardt, Caroline Mcintosh, Ellie Margetts and Jan Holmes. It’s going to be an exciting finish. Helen Wass missed the final KH and has slipped down the table somewhat; hopefully not due to injury. She was not relishing the thought of two long multi-choice runs, having already done the 5 mile and 10K options earlier in the year.

Don’t forget to arrange your multi-choice wild card race (virtual or real) with Sianie Painter for a date in October, if you haven’t used it already in a previous month. It will get you double age grade points for the final multi-choice race. The Cambridge Half might be a popular choice, with so many Joggers entered and its reputation as a fast, fairly flat course, with the last 3 miles now gently downhill.