‘It could have been a lot worse’ - Warning after group faces abuse during evening run

Runner Jenny Norris narrowly avoided a cup which was thrown at her in Hoveton. Picture: JENNY NORRIS

Runner Jenny Norris narrowly avoided a cup which was thrown at her in Hoveton. Picture: JENNY NORRIS - Credit: Archant

Members of the region's running community have spoken of their disappointment after a group of runners from north Norfolk suffered abuse from an oncoming van driver.

It comes after a cup was thrown at a running group at around 6.30pm on Tuesday, March 3, on Stalham Road, close to the village hall and double mini roundabouts.

It follows other reported incidents of items being thrown at runners, and has sparked fears of a developing trend which will put off new runners.

Jenny Norris, of Martham, based between Great Yarmouth and Stalham, had just set off for her weekly run with the Coltishall Jaguars Running Club when the object came flying towards her and five other runners.

The 36-year-old, who was training with the Jags in Hoveton at the time, said: 'The white van beeped its horn at us and as they did that they also threw a paper cup towards us. We were running on the path, so we weren't causing the driver any inconvenience at all.

'Thankfully the cup didn't hit anyone but what concerns us as a club is that not only are people prepared to throw objects at runners - and these can hit really hard especially with the extra momentum they get from the moving vehicle - but that it is also littering at the same time.'

Mrs Norris has been training with the Jags since 2018. She voiced her concerns in a bid to reassure other runners that incidents like these are few and far between, and not to deter others from taking up the activity.

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Ken Hurst, a member of Bungay Black Dog Running Club, echoed Mrs Norris's thoughts and said: 'We have had a little bit of animosity towards the club but I'm quite surprised to hear that people are being antagonistic towards other runners on this scale.'

Tuesday's incident has not been reported to Norfolk police as Mrs Norris said she had been unable to get enough details of the driver or vehicle at the time.

She added: 'I'm angry that someone would do it but glad none of us were hit. I'm also thankful as it could have been a lot worse.'

Although this was the first time Mrs Norris had experienced this type of behaviour, she said another runner had reported having had an egg thrown at them in Wymondham just last week, and another an orange.

'I'm concerned with those who are just starting to run. Something like this could put them off running completely, which isn't good if they were starting to run to benefit their health.'

Stephanie Callen, who runs with Diss and District Athletics Club, said the incidents 'should not happen'.

'People should feel like they can run without these types of problems happening,' she said.

- Have you suffered any form of abuse while out running? Please contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop by using the email address above.