North Norfolk Beach Runners gearing up for London Marathon Challenge

With the London Marathon just over 10 weeks away, Norfolk Runners' thoughts are turning to the distance races that fill the race calendar at the start of the year.

Ten North Norfolk Beach Runners joined a field of over 400 for the Reedham 10k with marathon specialist Colin Stark easily the fastest with a personal best time of 1-02:21 for a superb 21st place.

Six minutes back in 70th place was Tony Witmond, whose form just gets better and better, with Darren Armstrong in hot pursuit just 10 seconds behind. Dave Spooner also looked good as he broke 70 minutes for the first time with 1-09:27.

Andrew Maclaren was only two minutes back in 116th place with regular road racers Tony Heath, Noel Spruce, Ian Jarvis and Andi Osborne all enjoying a good outing while Mike Marshall celebrated his first race in the Over 70 age group with third place in the category.

Last weekend, one of the Cromer Club's fastest runners, Chris Merrylees, set a blistering pace at the Folksworth 15 to clock exactly 1-30:00 for ninth place in a field of 440 with clubmate Andy Kett also going well to finish 14th in 1-31:33.

This weekend Chris took a substantial team of Beach Runners to the South Eastern Area Cross Country Championships near Brighton. Most found the muddy and hilly course tough and there were a large number of non-finishers amongst the huge field for the 15k men's race and the 8k women's race.

But Chris continued his great form from the previous weekend with 141st place in a strong field.Robbie Britton, Andy Kett and John Christopher also placed in the top half of the field of 745 finishers.

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Malcolm Ball, 78, and Holt chef Andy Toogood also completed the punishing course. There was also a fine contingent of Beach Runner ladies with Lucy Collyer and Ellen Similon both placing well and Jess Neale, Shelley Burton and Emma Culley also finishing.