Run Norwich 2018: Runners reveal why they tackle Norfolk’s biggest race

Everyone has their own story to tell why they run. Picture: Archant

Everyone has their own story to tell why they run. Picture: Archant - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Norwich city centre will come to a standstill tomorrow as 7,000 runners take on the Run Norwich route.

Suze Sharman after Run Norwich in 2017. Picture: Suze Sharman

Suze Sharman after Run Norwich in 2017. Picture: Suze Sharman - Credit: Archant

Here, a selection of runners give their reasons why they love to take on the biggest running event Norfolk has to offer.

Elise Mitchell

I started running in April last year, when I discovered the Couch to 5k programme.

Elise Mitchell in action at the Colour 5K run. Picture: Colour 5K

Elise Mitchell in action at the Colour 5K run. Picture: Colour 5K - Credit: Archant

I'd never run before, making all sorts of excuses like 'I'm not built for running', 'it makes my ankle hurt', 'it does your knees no good'.

Over the course of nine weeks, I went from being able to run for only 15 seconds without stopping, to completing a 5k run in 36 minutes. I've since got my 5k time down to 25:59 and have run up to half marathon distance a couple of times.

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I joined Great Yarmouth Road Runners (GYRR) in January, and haven't looked back since. I decided to participate in Run Norwich to give myself a new challenge, having completed my latest challenge of losing seven stone. The camaraderie and support of GYRR makes me go to training every week, and Run Norwich has given me a goal to aim for.

I've been told by previous participants that the support from the crowd and fellow runners carries you round the race. That's the part I'm looking forward to the most!

Rebecca Wicks in action at the Valentine's 10K. Picture: Valentine's 10K

Rebecca Wicks in action at the Valentine's 10K. Picture: Valentine's 10K - Credit: Archant

MORE: Plan your Run Norwich 2018 with our course guideSuze Sharman

It's the only race that starts practically on my doorstep and I have done every one so far.

The atmosphere on closed city roads is brilliant and must be a little bit like what the Lord Mayor's city centre classic feels like. The volunteers are amazing too, although I'm afraid that I snubbed one medal giver in favour of receiving mine from an NCFC player!

Charlotte Jessop has changed her life through running. Picture: Charlotte Jessop

Charlotte Jessop has changed her life through running. Picture: Charlotte Jessop - Credit: Archant

Although the route is challenging, it definitely showcases Norwich's landmarks, even going through the cathedral grounds and making sure you get to experience the hills too.

It's also a great opportunity to raise awareness and funds for a charity, and we aim to get as much cash as possible for Mind:

This year is extra special as it's my husband's birthday on race day – what better way to celebrate?!

Helen Fiske, far left, has taken to 'jeffing' with Norwich Road Runners. Picture: Helen Fiske

Helen Fiske, far left, has taken to 'jeffing' with Norwich Road Runners. Picture: Helen Fiske - Credit: Archant

Marie Charles

Let's start at the beginning. This will be my third Run Norwich. My first was two years ago. Someone convinced me running was a good way to get fit, so I signed up!

Two weeks before I had done nothing. There was me on the start line of the race, having only never struggled to run a 5k Parkrun about to do 10k in the what was at the time the hottest Run Norwich ever with two weeks 'training' under my belt.

I did it! I loved and loathed it in equal measure and went on to do another three 10ks that year. I then gave up for 6 months!!

I didn't like myself in those six months, I missed running, I missed the headspace it gave me, but I was super unfit again.

So April 2017 I started Couch to 5k again. In a year I went from that to London Marathon 2018. Yes, I ran London this year. I am very proud of it!

I'm not fast, I'm not fit and I eat pizza but I run. Why? I empower myself, I clear my head, (in my life you need that). I challenge myself but above all I inspire others and I make new friends.

I have made a new friend at every run I have done and this year will be no exception. I'm proud to be running with the Pace of Mind team, a pilot project for south Norwich to get people out there running. I'm excited to see who I will meet and very proud that in a year on running have raised over £3,000 for various charities.

That's why I run!

MORE: Run Norwich 2018 - everything you need to knowJude Durrant

I've run for a number of years (more than I can remember really) and it is a big part of my life socially and through my work. Something that integrates both is the Longdale Striders Running Group which I coach on a Tuesday. Last year several members decided to do Run Norwich and had such a great time and some wonderful photos. When I discovered nearly 40 of them had entered this year for various reasons I felt compelled to join them and to be part of the journey.

I also secretly wanted to be in their pictures, enjoying their successes at the end.

I feel honoured to be part of their running journeys. They are all amazing for many reasons. I'd like to thank them for letting me help them in their quest too.

Lisa Richardson

It's not every day that you get to run around your home town with and in front of thousands, shouting encouragement and making you feel awesome!

This is my second Run Norwich (first was 2016) with the nerves and excitement just the same but at least this time I know the route.

It's the highlight of my running year, the day where you see familiar faces, arranging with your friends to meet near the beer tent after the run to chat about how it went (maybe lucky enough to clock a new PB) and making new friends along the way.

With the energy, the good vibes; it feels like you are running for Norwich and not just yourself!

I love running (my countless pairs of trainers give it away) and I might not be the fastest but crossing that finish line with everyone else will always be one of best ways to spend a Sunday.

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook Charlotte Jessop

I Run Norwich to prove to myself I can. I started running two months ago and built myself up from nothing to 5k, to 10k and then to a half marathon booked next year.

Run Norwich is my first race ever and I am so happy to have the chance to challenge myself in my hometown. I started 2018 overweight, unhealthy and unfit and turned to running as part of the process of changing my life.

At the end of May I could only run from my front door to the first lamppost but I pushed on, going out 3/4/5 times a week. Within six weeks I was able to comfortably run 5k, so I booked a 5k race for late August.

I kept increasing my distance and a good friend recommended that I try and get a Run Norwich place. I asked on the Run Anglia Facebook group and got my place.

Helen Fiske

I Run Norwich, simply because Norwich is my home town and because I can!

The atmosphere on the day is just mind blowing and I'm pretty damn proud to be a part of this amazing experience and be able to share it with my friends and family.

I've run two out of the three so far as unfortunately for the 2006 Run Norwich I was injured with a disc problem.

Last year in 2017 on my way back from injury I was able to take part again and it brought back to me how amazing this race is.

Myself and a few friends, who were also coming back from injury jeffed it (used the walk/run training method) with a friend dressed as a sheep. We had an absolutely amazing time as the crowds and marshals were so supportive on route.

We weren't going for a time, we were there doing it just to take in the atmosphere and to have some fun with it and boy was it fun!

Some of us were over the moon just to be running again, let alone taking part in our favourite 10k! Also during that run there was discussions on setting up a run/walk group for people like us who were coming back from injury and I'm happy to say exactly a year down the line that group is still going at the Norwich Road Runners, led by myself.

If it wasn't for Run Norwich I don't think that would have happened. Needless to say the Norwich Road Runner Jeffing Crew will be back this Sunday. Bring it on!

Rebecca Wicks

I turned 39 last year and decided I needed a huge lifestyle change before turning the big 40 this year.

I started by walking 10,000 steps a day and this slowly turned to a bit of a jog and then to running in an attempt to shift the pounds.

I ran my first 10km race in October 2017. My friend then challenged me to run 40 races in my 40th year.

Run Norwich will be medal 29 of the year. I'm six stone lighter and my resting heart rate has dropped from 82 to 49. I am happier and healthier than I've been for a long time.

A year ago I couldn't run up the stairs without being breathless. Now I'm able to run 10km in just over an hour...if I can do it anyone can!

Don't miss your Run Norwich goody bag, which includes a 'Keep on Running' poster for crowds to help support any friends or family taking part in the race. For just £1.50 the bag includes a copy of Saturday's EDP and Norwich Evening News, a bottle of water, a bag of crisps, some sweets and the poster. They are available outside Debenhams and at The Market.