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Group allowed to put on three annual races at RAF airbase

PUBLISHED: 08:01 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 11 November 2019

Hundreds of runners turned out for the Jolly Jags 10k race organised by Coltishall Jaguars Running Club. Picutre: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Hundreds of runners turned out for the Jolly Jags 10k race organised by Coltishall Jaguars Running Club. Picutre: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Archant

A group of Norfolk runners has been given a reprieve to host a series of popular 10k races at the old RAF airbase in Coltishall.

The future of the races was in doubt when Coltishall Jaguars Running Club was served with a month's notice in August on its unit's lease at Scottow Enterprise Park (SEP) by Hethel Innovation Ltd (HIL).

However, after negotiations with the Norfolk County Council-owned company which manages the site, the Jaguars can continue to host three annual races at the park in March, June and September, but not the Scottow Sundowner 5k on a weekday evening.

Race director Paul Taylor said: "We are delighted with this decision and know the local running community will be too. Runners love the flat and largely traffic-free course at the base.

"We are also regularly praised for the friendly and inclusive atmosphere we offer to participants."

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The races, which welcome runners of all abilities, wheelchair athletes and also include separately timed junior races, have grown in popularity since the club moved to the park in spring 2016.

More than 850 adult runners and 150 juniors registered to take part in a race in September, with additional security and traffic management measures in place agreed between HIL and Jaguars to counter concerns raised by other tenants.

A HIL spokesperson said: "The Hethel team continues to work with the Coltishall Jaguars to make the races safe and enjoyable for all and minimise any disruption to other tenants. Every effort is being made to ensure that all parties are happy and treated fairly."

The management company said a lease review, with discussions over the club's rent, was ongoing.

Talks between HIL and the club regarding the renewal of the lease are also ongoing with a stepped change to commercial rates proposed.

Committee chairman Stephen Neal said: "We are hopeful that we can find a way forward.

"Our concern is that as a not-for-profit organisation we are unsure whether we will be able to raise the necessary funds to cover the rental increase, but we are continuing to discuss options with HIL."

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