Can you spot yourself in our photos taken at the City of Norwich Half Marathon?
PUBLISHED: 11:34 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 16 April 2018
Ash Harrell was the epitomy of the loneliness of the long distance runner as he cruised to an impressive victory in the City of Norwich Half marathon.
A big crowd at the Norfolk Showground saw a dominant performance from the City of Norwich AC runner, who finished in 1:09:54, almost four minutes ahead of Reepham Runners’ Dominic Blake who, wearing the 7 shirt, produced a leap of delight as he crossed the finish line. First woman runner across the line was another member of the organising City of Norwich AC, 22-year-old Mabel Beckett, whose 1:21:19 smashed her personal best by three minutes.
For Harrell, 29, it was one place better than last year when he came in behind club team-mate Piers Arnold – and a sign that past injury problems are, like his rivals, well and truly behind him.
“I had problems first in 2013, an ongoing calf problem which stemmed from my lower back and glutes,” said the landscape gardener from Norwich, who now lives in Loughton, Essex.
“I didn’t run between 2013 and pretty much 2015 and then I managed to see a specialist who sorted me out and this was my first race back a year ago. Last year I was on the way back, now I am almost back. I jumped into my first marathon, in Frankfurt, last October, where I did 2:32, so things are on the up. I used to run for GB and England so to get back to that is the aim and hopefully later this season, maybe next season, I will be fighting fit again.”
Beckett was running the half marathon distance for only the second time, having competed in the Great North Run.
“It was nice to do this one, especially with all the people and the CoNAC volunteers around the course,” she said. “I like it – I think it is hard but it is something I’d look to do again. I have come back from university, where I played football, only because I can run a lot, but maybe I will do some cross country, some 10ks.”
Around 2,000 runners entered the 33rd running of the race, sponsored by Larking Gowen.
“The weather has been kind, conditions are good, a good field but perhaps not enough competition up front, we would like to have seen a bit of a race but can’t have everything,” said race director Hugh McGill. “It is a lovely course and we are very grateful to the villagers who are very patient and accommodating and do a great job of supporting the runners.”
Leading men: 1 Ash Harrell (City of Norwich) 1:09:54, 2 Dominic Blake (Reepham Runners) 1:13.50, 3 Jack Gillick (Wymondham AC) 1:17:13.
Leading women: 1 Mabel Beckett (City of Norwich) 1:21:19, 2 Sarah Stradling (Colchester Harriers) 1:25:17, 3 Philippa Taylor (Nene Valley Harriers) 1:25:50.