North Norfolk Beach Runners’ sprinters were out and about at the weekend, getting up early to run the Dereham 5k.

Standout performer with a podium (as ever) was Neil Adams (M40-44) who ran 16.30 for 6th overall and first out of 30 in category, with Darren Neale (M40-44) also getting a top-10 category place and 54th overall with 18.38.

The mature end of the NNBR men’s membership showed well yet again, Phil King (M60-65) clocking a PB 22.12 for 193rd and 7/14 in category, Derek Sadler (M65+) in 22.44 for 212th and 7/15, and Mike Marshall (M65+ nearly a decade and a half) in 31.03 for 426th and 13th.

PBs were also posted by first NNBR female home, Sal Ryder (F50-54) with 24.13, for 260th and 8/23 in category, and Kerry Smith (F 40-49), 26.28, for 337th. A special mention goes to new member, Sarah Grand, (FO) easing back to running with 31.14. Welcome, Sarah, the NNBR Force is with you.

Meanwhile, up in the Peak District, from Buxton, they run the PeaksSkyline half, a 14.5 mile course with nearly 3000 feet of climbing and vertiginous place names like as Ramshaw Rocks, Hen Cloud Cliff and The Roaches Ridge. Beck Maun (F40-49) and David Dawber (50-59) were among 57 finishers, Beck in 3.09.54 for 27th overall and 7thin category, and David in 3.55.11 for 49th and 4th.

The Cromer Ridge will never be the same.

Author: John Worrall


Forty seven North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 819 who ran the third and final race in the Wednesday evening Wroxham 5k series, organised by Norwich Road Runners.

The winner was CONAC’s Piers Arnold (M Senior) in 15.39 but in the balmy Broadland air, Beach Runners claimed a number of category podiums, several top-10s and a deluge of pbs.

First home among them was Neil Adams (M40-44) in 16.16 (pb) for 11th overall and 2nd out of 54 in category, while Charlotte Neale (FO) clocked 17.48 (pb) for 55th and 2nd/119. Neil thereby claimed a series 3rd and Charlotte 2nd over the three races.

Other podiums included Tony Witmond (M50-54) in 18.08 for 69th and 3rd// 55; Helen Hagon (F55-59) in 24:27 (pb) for 496th and 3rd/20; sprightly Sam Weller (M70+) in 25.21 for 556th and 3rd /12, and Liz Letzer, (F70+) with 28.07 (pb for the umpteenth time this year) for 682nd and 1st/4

Other pb-ers were Finlay Swanson 16:46, James Warner-Smith 17:14, Daryl London 17:57, Dean Howard 19:00, Gav Dent 20:58, Natalie Drake 21:45, Gary Hobart 22:06, Zoe Parish 22:36, Sophie Saunders 24:26, Katherine Wright (post natal pb) 25:59, Catherine Howard 26:11 and Sara Holroyd 32:13.

Up on the coast, meanwhile, nine Beach Runners, along with 755 others, opted for grand designs at the Holkham 10k. In a race where Framlingham Flyers’ Jim Last (M40-44) paradoxically came first, in 36.06, first Beach Runner home was Alex Curtis (M 30-34) in 34th place with 42.35, while Natalie Drake (F 35-39) was first female Beach Runner in 156th with 48.46.

And then up in Yorkshire, Beck Maun went for Saturday morning High Life in the Punk Panther 50k, taking 7.17.00 for the moorland course which took in Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at, not even a sun ‘at. Now that’s cool.

Author: John Worrall


Fourteen North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 345 finishers at the North Walsham EPIC – Exercising People in Communities – 5k race on Friday evening before the heat arrived, and seven of them, clearly not particularly in need of more exercise, gained top 10 category places.

In a race won by Michael Eccles (M)) of Bure Valley Harriers in 16.26, first Beach Runner home was James Warner-Smith (MO) in 17.53 for 4th, both overall and in category out of 83. In the same category, Daryl London was 9th and 7th, in 18.26. But in between them, though two categories older, was John Fagan (M45-49) in 18:12 for 6th overall and a notable 1st out of 23 in category, while same category, Dean Howard clocked 19.34 for 26th and 4th. Eddie Carman (M 50 to 54) was 35th overall and 2nd with a time of 20.12.

Two lady Beach Runners got podiums, Natalie Drake (FO) finishing 3rd out of 65 in category and 68th overall in 22.00, while Rachel Robson (F 55 to 59) got yet another gong with 2nd in category and 124th overall in 24.38. Don’t stand too close to that mantelpiece, Rachel.

Meanwhile on Sunday, out above the marshes at Freethorpe south of Acle, 10 Beach Runners sweltered along with 467 others at the Humpty Dumpty 10k in conditions not quite as hot as Saturday’s but hot enough for running.

It was won by Matthew Jeffries (M Senior) of Waveney Valley AC in 33.11 but first Beach Runner (as usual when he’s there) was Neil Adams (M 40 to 44) in 36.30 for 5th overall and 2nd out of 53 in category. Chris Parker (M Senior) clocked 38.44 for 19th overall and 7th out of 118 in category. But the more mature Beach Runners could also take the heat, notably Derek Sadler (M 65 to 69) who 48.39 for 137th and 4th, and Phil King (M 60 to 64) who was 172nd and 2nd in 50.30. And then father of the pack, Mike Marshall, (M 70+ a few more) barely raised a sweat in grabbing 6th out of 14 in category and 412th overall with a time of 1.06.52. But then he is pretty cool, that Mike.

Author: John Worrall

5 Mile Club Handicap Results 24’06’19

        Run   Handicap    
        Time   Time   Performance
1 Liz Letzer   0:48:51   0:55:00   0:06:09
2 Caroline Stacey   0:45:41   00:51:00   0:05:19
3 Zoe Parish   0:37:23   00:42:00   0:04:37
4 Kevin Parfitt   0:41:13   00:46:00   0:04:47
5 Andy Toogood   0:44:54   00:49:00   0:04:06
6 Lucy Stevens   0:49:05   00:52:00   0:02:55
7 Karen Balcombe   0:37:49   00:41:00   0:03:11
8 Garry Hobart   0:37:24   00:40:30   0:03:06
9 Darryl London   0:31:32   00:34:30   0:02:58
10 Ness Dent   0:54:37   00:57:30   0:02:53
11 Matt Harmer   0:38:43   00:41:30   0:02:47
12 Andy Parish   0:39:43   00:42:30   0:02:47
13 Lesley Winston   0:47:18   00:50:00   0:02:42
14 Emma Culley   0:47:51   00:50:30   0:02:39
15 Gav Dent   0:35:52   00:38:30   0:02:38
16 Phil King   0:38:45   00:41:00   0:02:15
17 David Dawber   0:39:54   00:42:00   0:02:06
18 Chris Merrylees   0:30:00   00:32:00   0:02:00
19 Natalie Drake   0:37:37   0:39:30   0:01:53
20 Vicky Last   0:41:48   00:43:30   0:01:42
21 Libby Ashton   0:46:28   00:48:00   0:01:32
22 Jonathan Philips *   0:34:00   00:35:30   0:01:30
23 Ady Woods   0:37:11   00:38:30   0:01:19
24 Tony Witmond   0:30:58   00:32:00   0:01:02
25 Kirsty Hobart   0:46:00   00:47:00   0:01:00
26 Kat Sanders   0:42:03   00:43:00   0:00:57
27 Chris Tindall   0:36:04   00:37:00   0:00:56
28 Becky Maun   0:36:35   00:37:30   0:00:55
29 John Stares   0:35:37   00:36:30   0:00:53
30 Liz Harris   0:40:12   00:41:00   0:00:48
31 Finlay Swanson   0:29:20   00:30:00   0:00:40
32 Dean Howard   0:32:01   00:32:30   0:00:29
33 Richard Price Thomas   0:31:34   00:32:00   0:00:26
34 Rachel Robson   0:41:07   00:41:30   0:00:23
35 Neil Adams   0:27:41   00:28:00   0:00:19
36 Ian Wade   0:40:04   00:40:00   0:00:04
37 Alex Ewbank   0:38:31   00:38:00   0:00:31
38 James Warner Smith   0:30:41   00:30:00   0:00:41
39 Stuart Murtha   0:33:43   00:33:00   0:00:43
40 Sue Ilsley   0:44:16   00:43:30   0:00:46
41 Darren Armstrong   0:32:55   00:32:00   0:00:55
42 Chris Parker   0:30:01   00:29:00   0:01:01
43 Jim Hayes   0:40:04   00:39:00   0:01:04
44 Dave Spooner   0:37:41   00:36:00   0:01:41
45 Chris Spooner   0:38:21   00:36:30   0:01:51
46 Vernon Hoare   0:39:05   00:36:30   0:02:35
47 John Folkard   1:03:22   01:00:30   0:02:52
    * recalculated for unfortunate wrong turn!          


On a very wet Wednesday evening last week, the roads of the Wroxham/Hoveton conurbation were flooded with blue vests because no less than 38 North Norfolk Beach Runners were among 796 who contested Race 2 of the Wroxham 5k series organised by Norwich Road Runners.

On this short dash, none of them got very close to the winning time, 14.44, by CONAC’s Piers Arnold but they did grab several top-10 category finishes.

First among them was Neil Adams (M40-44) in 16.24 for 16th  overall and 4th out of 53 in category, while Chris Merrylees (M40-44), now back to running, ran 17.38 for 58th and 6th.  A couple of age-groups higher, Tony Whitmond (M50-54), also with legs back in order, clocked 18.04 for 88th and 2ndout of 54.

Leading lady Beach Runner, as usual, was Charlotte Neale (FO) who ran 18.08 for 93rd overall and 4thout of 101 in category. But there were two top-10s in the F 55-59s – Karen Balcombe in 22.49 for 435th and 2nd out of 23, followed by Rachel Robson in 24.37 for 530th and 4th.  Jane Steed (F50-54) came 9thout of 38 in category and 461st overall with 23:30, while Liz Letzer (F70+) who has been posting pbs all year, came 695th and 2nd  with 28:31.

Meanwhile going long and out west in the Thames Valley near Reading, a handful Beach Runners, former and current, went in for the Mizuno Endure 24 (tag line, Epic, Brutal, Relentless) which involves individuals or relay teams doing as many laps of a five mile circuit as possible in 24 hours.

Running as individuals, their top performer was Beach Runner Anita Bullen (F, rising 50) who covered 13 laps –  65 miles – in her 24  hours, with an hour’s kip around midnight, which put her 30th out of 86 individual performances. The scenery was nice apparently and, well, it beats going to Morrisons of a Saturday.


Author: John Worrall


Back in 2004, Aylsham was the second small town in the UK to embrace the Italian Cittaslow philosophy which rebuts the concept of cloned communities and fast food. And it works. No-one rushes in Aylsham these days, except now those running the Aylsham EPIC 5km which is like Park Run but more worthy.

Thus it was that on Friday night, 14 worthy Beach Runners, along with 407 others, upped the pace a bit by dashing out of Market Place around the streets and back again and, in a race won by Callum Bowen-Jones (MO) of Dereham Runners in 16,06, claimed several top-10 category finishes.

First among them was James Warner-Smith (MO) in 17.40 for 9th overall and 8th out of 89 in category, while Natalie Drake (FO) ran 22.15 for 91st and 6th out of 109. Somewhere in between them came Matt Andrews (M45-49) in 19.52 for 40th and 3rd out of 28.

Natasha Sumner (F 40-44) ran 26.51 for 213th and 8th while Angela Smith (F60-64) clocked 38.15 for 402nd and 8th , those ladies not quite catching Garry Hobart (M55-59) who steamed in on 22.35 for 96th and 7th.

But the big NNBR one-two came in the F55-59 category where Karen Balcombe grabbed 1st – and 99thoverall – with 22.46, hotly pursued by Rachel Robson in 2nd – and 130th overall – with 24.01.

And then, in F40-44, Elizabeth Goodliffe was not only 1st out of 26 (and 78th overall) but ran a pb of 21.29.

Meanwhile out west, Michael Fish Sadler (M50-59 top end) ran the Yeovil marathon over Somerset undulations in 3.16.01 for 30th out of 194 and 5th in category.

Author: John Worrall


Fourteen North Norfolk Beach Runners ran the Mike Groves 10k, organised by Coltishall Jaguars on the runway of the former RAF base on a day when heat seeking missiles didn’t have far to look. In 28C, the field of 577 were more concerned with getting round, rather than with pbs on what in cooler conditions is a fast course.

There were nevertheless a few NNBR top 10 category finishes, first among whom was Adam Smart (MO) who ran 41.47 for 11th overall and 4th in category. Next came Jonathon Phillips (M50-54 46.30 for 52nd and 6th.

Natalie Drake (FO) was first female Beach Runner in 50.27 for 105th/9th, while Tracey Showers (F40-44) ran 56.12 for 204th and 8th.

Two of the NNBR SuperSeventies squad were there, continuing their preparation for the Ekiden marathon relay at Woodbridge on 14th July, although as Liz Letzer (F70+) said, after clocking 1.17.59 for 526th and 2nd, and opting not to run a third pb in 10 days, “It was just survival in the heat”.  Robin Rush (M70+) 1.26.10 for 561st and 8th, for his part remained in the zone and declined to add further.

Photocredit: Darren Armstrong.

Author: John Worrall


North Norfolk Beach Runners have been running in all directions over the past week, five of them along on the prom in Race 3 of the Yarmouth 5-mile midweek series. In a field of 635, two Beach Runners nailed top-10 category places, Darren Armstrong (M 45-49) in 32.46 for 52nd  overall and 8th out of 54 in category, and Liz Letzer (F 70+) running a pb of 48.26 for 497th and 3rd.

And then on Sunday, at the Holt 10k which the club organises and thus had several dozen members marshalling, 16 Beach Runners were among 430 finishers and between them nabbed five top-three category places.

Neil Adams (M 40-44) was 4th overall and 1st in category with a time of 36.08; Finlay Swanson (MJ) ran 39.08 for 23rd and 2nd; Derek Sadler (M 65-69) in 48.29 was 136th  and 3rd, while Rachel Robson (F 55–59), like old wine, ran a pb of 51.04 for 185th and 3rd. And then for the second time that week, Liz Letzer, (F 70+) ran a pb, knocking a minute and a half off her previous best with 1.05.32 for 373rd and 2nd , and peaking nicely for this year’s  SuperSeventies’ tilt at the Ekiden marathon relay in Woodbridge in July.

Going longer than that were a handful of Beach Runners who ran the Angles Way 50k down the Waveney valley, from Beccles to Yarmouth with a 6.00am start. The results hadn’t been posted at the time of going to press, but the stand-out performer was Gemma Woolrych who was first female home.

But then going considerably longer again was Carmine de Grandis who ran the 200 mile, five-day Dragon’s Back Race, spanning Wales north to south, peaking Snowdon, Cader Idris and a few other would-be Beeston Bumps, each with precipitate drops for the inattentive. Out of 402 starters, there were 251 finishers, among whom he was 148th with a cumulative time of 63hours, 3min and 4 seconds, and crossing the line playing an accordion. He would have probably gone quicker without it but he said he couldn’t resist Snowdonia’s acoustics.

Author: John Worrall


Half a dozen North Norfolk Beach Runners had a mid-week run-out at the first of this year’s three Yarmouth 5K races and, in a field of 619, four of them had top 10 category finishes.

Darren Armstrong (M 45 – 49) was quickest, in 32-58 for 40th overall and 7th  in category,  while John Stares (M 50 – 54) clocked 35.21 for 102nd and 9th . Sam Weller (M 70+), back in action after a lay-off, ran 47.25 for 448th and 5th. Liz Letzer (F 70+) was the other top-tenner, running 51.12 for 519th and 3rd, though some way astern of faster, but younger, Natalie Drake (F 18-35) in 38.39 for 189th and 14th. Jon Folkard (M 55-59) ran sweeper for the day with 1.02.04 for 603rd and 34th, and then found that the doughnut shop had closed.

Meanwhile, in the Norfolk heartlands, the Dereham 10-mile attracted 10 Beach Runners, among 516 starters, who between them  gained five category top-tenners, including a couple of firsts.

First among firsts was usual suspect Neil Adams (M 40-44) in 58.17 for 6th overall and a category 1stout of 39, who only the previous day had run a 4.48 mile to take first in the veteran category over the distance at the Norfolk Track & Field Championship. So there’s a cool dude, if you like. Emma Blake, (F 40-44), confining her efforts to Dereham, settled for 1.05.26 for 93rd and 1st out of 44. Two of the more seasoned performers, Derek Sadler (M 65+) and Jim Hayes (M 65+ a few more than Derek) respectively ran 1.17.51 and 1.20.63 for 202nd and 243rd overall and 5th and 7th out of 16., while Darren Armstrong (M 45 – 49), clearly benefiting from his Yarmouth 5k training session, clocked 1.05.26 for 45 overall and 10th out of 48.

And then down on the south coast, a couple of 40-something Beach Runners and ultra men, Vinnie Purdy and Colin Stark, sauntered round the South Downs Marathon which, as it happened, was the 142nd marathon for each of them. They are still getting the hang of it and the times weren’t exceptional – both have run faster – but really, at a certain time of life and after a certain mileage, all these old boys get to be more interested in going for a run to have a natter.

Author: John Worrall

North Norfolk Beach Runners for NNNews and F&W Times

The past week has seen North Norfolk Beach Runners racing at distances ranging from 5k right up to the ultimate challenge of the London Marathon.

In the heat of last weekend, six members of the Cromer club took on the 5k, five lap circuit of Fakenham town centre. Neil Adams ran a super quick time of 16:57, a great effort round the twisty street course. It was good enough to earn him 3rd place overall and 1st place in the 40-44 age group.

Garry Hobart looks to be running really well this year and clocked 23:28 for 98th place with Jim Hayes not far behind in a time of 24:50. Jim’s run was good enough to give him 2nd place in his category, which we believe is the Over 65 men, not Fastest Men with a Ponytail!

Making up the sextet of Beach Runners were Graham Robson who clocked an excellent 25:47 and the evergreen Mike Marshall. Rachel Robson bravely completed 4 laps despite a fall and was back out training with the club just two days later.

Midweek and a typically chilly evening on the Yarmouth seafront saw the first race in the Yarmouth 5 Mile Series which attracted a huge field of nearly 700 runners. Club coach Darren Armstrong ran well to finish 40th in a time of 31:58 and Natalie Drake had a great race to clock 38:39 for 188th spot.

Sam Weller, who has been plagued by a host of injuries this year, was happy to get round the two lap circuit in 47:25 whilst Elizabeth Letzer was delighted to finish 3rd in her age group with 51:12.

A word too for the ever-present Jonathan Folkard who has run almost every one of the Yarmouth Series over the past twenty years, over 50 races in total.

After the dizzy heights of Fakenham and Yarmouth, the London Marathon could only be something of an anticlimax for the 8 Beach Runners who were amongst the 42,000 runners pounding the London streets from Greenwich to The Mall on Sunday.

John Fagan was the first Beach Runner across the line in a superb time of 3:01:43. Surely it will not be long before John dips under the magic three hour barrier. Emma Blake was the first lady to complete the 26.2 mile course in a brilliant 3:15:37.

Rebecca Maun had a wonderfully steady run, her pace barely falling off in the second half as she clocked a Good For Age time of 3:40:33 whilst Miles Wigginton, Mearl Brown and Simon Gibson were separated by just five minutes, Miles recording the best time of the trio with 4:11:34.

Further back Nicola Rumsby did well to hold her pace in the gruelling second half of the race as she recorded 5:10:04 and former Holt 10k Race Director Ross Haddow made a rare race appearance to get round the London streets in just over 6 hours.

Author: Jeremy Bolam standing in for John Worrall