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Getting ready to celebrate the Sportlink GP Series in style

Action from the Valentine's 10k earlier this year - part of the excellent Sportlink Grand Prix Series. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Action from the Valentine's 10k earlier this year - part of the excellent Sportlink Grand Prix Series. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

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Further to my column last week about how it feels like some big city events exploit runners, I wanted to talk about the Sportlink GP Series this week.

It's particularly relevant ahead of the awards ceremony to take place at the Assembly House in Norwich this evening.

The great and the good will be honoured and I'm looking forward to catching up with a few of the winners in all the different age categories, who will be revealed tonight after the 12 races that took place this year.

Cards on the table, I knew very little about the GP Series before I took to running consistently a few years ago.

Rather embarrassingly, in the early days of this column and Run Anglia, I remember having a conversation with Neil Featherby about how there should be some kind of series for runners to accumulate points through a number of races.

"There is one…" he said… "And I've just sponsored it for the next three years…"

I think Neil knew then he was going to have to offer a lot more than just coaching if the Run Anglia concept was going to get off the ground.

The Sportlink sponsored-series has become the backbone of the coverage we've provided this year and focusing on the local race scene, which is also very healthy outside of the series, has allowed me the chance to get to know even more of the personalities on the circuit.

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I've run in a few of the events and having competed (in the loosest sense of the word) in a few races outside of the county you would really struggle to find better value for money for club and non-club runners.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

Whilst clubs take on the running of each event, Pat Brightman in particular deserves mention in the administration of the series - it can't be easy keeping note of everyone's scores. I break out in a cold maths sweat just thinking about it.

I'd always rather run in these events but I'm also lucky enough to report on them, which has been good for the journalism soul following years of reporting on football clubs.

It's refreshing to be able to talk to whoever you want to without having to go through a press team worried about some of the questions you may, or may not, pose.

I have had to refine my interview technique a little though.

On one occasion at the Holt 10K in May I was keen to get the interview with winner, Ryston Runners' James O'Neill, in the bag, aware that my son, Logan, was getting itchy feet under my wife's supervision and keen to run across the home straight whenever the chance presented itself. He found it hilarious… Alison less so.

But I perhaps didn't let poor old James recover enough before speaking to him seeing as I spent most of the interview slightly concerned he might be ill over me given how he had exerted himself in running 34:03. I can only imagine the state I would be in if I ever come near such a time.

It will certainly be different catching up with runners in a less sweaty environment although there is one thing that does concern me… how will I recognise everyone without their running kit on?

<BLOB> Recovery update… I was due to return to hospital on Thursday for another X-ray on my foot and ankle after this running page had been sent to print. Hopefully the dreaded moonboot will be off for good and a semblance of normal life can have resumed by the time you read this but if it's still strapped to my withered left leg then you'll know I didn't get the news I was hoping for. Apologies for any grumpiness in advance.

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