Hundreds of runners are gearing up to give Dereham a racing spectacle as the countdown to an annual town centre event begins.

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There are just a handful of days left before a stream of runners flow through Dereham’s High Street and nearby streets as part of a 5km running event.

Organised by Dereham Runners, the fourth edition of the annual event will see about 250 people, ranging from experienced club runners to those who have been training over the last few months, take part.

Hoping to retain his crown will be last year’s winner Ashley Harrell while City of Norwich’s Emma Patel and Nicky Alford will be hoping to lead the women’s field.

The event, held in partnership with Breckland Council, will start at 9.15am this Sunday and the runners will benefit from 70pc of the course closed off to traffic.

They will set off from London Road, close to the Commercial Road junction, before taking a left along Station Road and Matsell Way. They will then snake their way through the heart of Dereham and back towards the start.

The runners will complete a second lap before finishing at the recreation ground.

It is hoped as many spectators as possible will line the streets and cheer on the runners.

Race director Todd Lake, who is also the chairman of Dereham Runners, said: “This is a town centre event which is quite rare and it will be great if people come out and give their support.”

He added: “When you are coming to watch, it’s good to clap and support. We’ve got an awful lot of local, non club runners who will be taking part and some people will have trained for two months or more specifically for this event.

“Supporting people in something they are doing, whether it’s to achieve a personal best or a target time, is a good thing to do.”

Roads will close at 9am and reopen at 10am, diversions will be put in place while the race is on.

Online entry closes on Thursday at midnight. Entry costs £6.50 for club runners or £8.50. Unsold places will be available on the day for £10.

All finishers will receive a race medal and there will be prizes for the top men and women and age group winners.

To enter, go to www.derehamrunners.co.uk. For road closure details, go to www.breckland.gov.uk/dereham5k.

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