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Running dad keeps son's memory alive

PUBLISHED: 09:40 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:49 13 July 2010

Doting dad Alan Groves is limbering up for his ninth year organising a memorial run for his son who was killed in a road accident while training for the sport he loved.

Doting dad Alan Groves is limbering up for his ninth year organising a memorial run for his son who was killed in a road accident while training for the sport he loved.

Mike Groves was 38 when he was hit by a car while running home to Coltishall from the city centre, where he worked in Norwich Union's post distribution.

The keen runner and cyclist used his daily commute as part of his fitness programme preparing for competitions. His success is reflected in the cabinet full of trophies proudly displayed in his parents' home.

The athlete's funeral was attended by 200 fellow sportsmen, reinforcing the idea for Mr Groves that a running event would be the perfect legacy for his son.

He said: “The only thing we could do was keep his memory going in this way and it has always been my intention that the name will live forever.”

Since the starting gun fired nearly a decade ago, the race has grown each year to attract hundreds of competitors - and has raised £7,000 for the Quidenham Children's Hospice.

It is now firmly on the Norfolk running fixture list, thanks to the hard work of Mr Groves, who has thrown himself into keeping Mike's name alive.

For the first time this year it will be part of the Runner's Centre Grand Prix, a series of Norfolk races in which points can be gained leading to awards at the end of the year, something that Mike took part in.

Mr Groves has been encouraged by the success of the memorial run, but worries that his increasing age will prevent him from organising the run indefinitely, and in 2004 he set up the Coltishall Jaguars.

From very small beginnings, the club has grown to almost 60 active members whose bright orange vests are seen throughout the year at running events.

Mr Groves said: “I am very pleased with the way it has grown. All the people we have got are extremely decent people from all walks of life.”

The 2008 Mike Groves Run is on July 9; for more information about the Coltishall Jaguars, go to www.coltishall-jaguars.co.uk.

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