O’Neill wins Beach Runners’ seven-miler

Every year North Norfolk Beach Runners' seven-mile road race, the North Norfolk 7, seems to be blessed with wonderful weather and this year was no exception as the early morning sunshine, showers and rainbows gave way to a perfect running morning of light winds and cool sunshine.

Nearly 200 runners met at Gresham's School for the pleasant downhill run to Kelling, before taking on the much stiffer challenge of a hard climb up to Salthouse Heath before returning to the school along the Kelling Road.

Once again the men's winner was James O'Neill from Downham Market's Ryston Runners, who seems to have the ability to pull away from his fellow competitors almost at will. James's time of 41:09, although well outside his winning time from last year, was still an outstanding piece of running on such a tough course.

The first lady runner across the line was Norwich Road Runners' Rachel Leathwood, who looked to have plenty in reserve as she crossed the line in 46:06.

The course was marshalled by around 40 members of the Cromer Club, whose spirit and encouragement created a tremendous atmosphere for the visiting runners.

Two Beach Runners, Anna Latta and Merlin Tolley, both ran the race and recorded excellent times, whilst the indefatigable Vinnie Purdy managed to fit in a marathon on the previous day, taking his marathon count for the year well into double figures.

With full results now available for last weekend's Marriott's Way, the Beach Runners have recorded a notable double with both men's and women's winners coming from the club. Steve Jones was a runaway winner for the men, whilst Lucy Collyer produced one of her best races ever to take the ladies' prize.

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Elsewhere the Beach Runners' most prolific prize-winner, Richard Blake, took home yet another trophy as he recorded a superb time at the Mabelthorpe Marathon, crossing the finish line in a brilliant 3hrs 11mins to comfortably win the over 60 age group, whilst finishing a remarkable 25th overall.