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Dena's a world champ

PUBLISHED: 10:25 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:54 13 July 2010

NORTH Norfolk has a new world champion!

East Runton's Dena Parfitt of the North Norfolk Beach Runners, who has been running brilliantly at local level for the past year, was selected to represent Great Britain at the World Masters Athletics Championships last weekend in Clement, France.

NORTH Norfolk has a new world champion!

East Runton's Dena Parfitt of the North Norfolk Beach Runners, who has been running brilliantly at local level for the past year, was selected to represent Great Britain at the World Masters Athletics Championships last weekend in Clement, France.

Dena ran the race of her life to become Half Marathon World Champion for the 45-49 age group. In a total field of around 1,000 Masters Athletes, Dena was up against the world's best, including several top Russian athletes and her big rivals, Maxine McKinnon, representing Spain and British International, Danielle Sanderson.

The secret to Dena's race was a really fast start in which she ran the first kilometre in 3:30 to put herself 15 seconds ahead of her nearest challengers, a gap she maintained up to the half way point.

The second half was a supreme effort as the wind blew up on the flat course bisecting the industrial area of the French town and Danielle Sanderson and one of the top Russians gradually closed the gap.

But Dena bravely held on to cross the line in 1-21:42, her fastest ever time, to win by just five seconds from Danielle Sanderson, finishing fourth overall in the field of 1,000 and helping Britain to a team gold medal.

The North Norfolk Beach Runners have never boasted a World Champion before and the club and its coach, Dena's husband Kevin Parfitt will certainly want to celebrate her success at the forthcoming annual meeting next week.

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