Runners compete in north Norfolk ultra marathon

Runners both amateur and professional were given the chance to stretch their legs and their endurance to the limit – with an ultra marathon in north Norfolk.

The event, the first of its kind in the county, took place at Kelling Heath Holiday Park in Weybourne, on Saturday .

An Ultra Marathon is classed as anything over and above what a normal marathon would be – that is 26 miles and 385 yards.

For this ultra marathon, runners were given the choice of a 30 mile route up to Stiffkey then back to Kelling Heath, or 60 miles, up to Brancaster then back.

The course covered a range of different terrains from normal pathways to sandy and shingle covered beaches. The cut off for the runners to complete either the 30 or the 60 run, was 14 hours.

Ian Couch from Pulham Market was one of those who helped put the race together via his own company called Adventure Hub Ltd.

No stranger to endurance feats himself, he has run across the Gobi desert and rowed across the Atlantic.

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He said: 'It has been mostly local people taking part, but we have also had competitors from Scotland, Wales and Southampton. We have had a real mix of people, of all abilities, and our oldest competitor is 61.

'This is the first time we have done this in Norfolk, but we are planning to make it a yearly event and hold it here at Kelling Heath as we have received so much support from the people here.'

The event was also helping raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

In total 33 people took part. The winner of the 30 mile race was Ray Butler, 32, from Bishop's Storford, near Hertfordshire, who is a member of Bishop's Storford Running Club.

He completed the 30 mile course in four hours, 40 minutes and 33 seconds.

He said: 'I have only done one marathon before this, that was the London Marathon last year, so this the longest I have run.

'It was quite tough, especially the shingle part of the course near Cley, but I am glad as I wanted to get more off-road running practice.'

The winner of the 60 mile run was Richard Brown, from Flintshire in Wales, who completed the course in nine hours, 43 minutes and 40 seconds.

Greeting the runners as they made it back to Kelling Heath was former Norwich boxer, Jackson Williams, who in 2007 ran across America.

He said: 'It is great that we are able to do something like this in north Norfolk and we want to promote it as much as possible.'