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Norfolk Gazelles take part in many Park Runs across the county, being such a friendly club we also target Park Runs so that we can meet up and enjoy a post run coffee and cake. In some cases there is an option for a bike ride or an open water swim, all are welcome to join us. Whilst not an official race we do wear Norfolk Gazelle running tops.
In 2019 Norfolk is expecting a few new Park Runs to open, reserved dates are for these to be included in the tour once we know they are officially open. We've also added some Park Runs not previously included in the tour.
7th - Colney parkrun 2nd anniversary
21st - Colney Mob Match revisted
25th - Eaton
1st - 8.30am Brundall followed by Catton at 10.30am
18th - Colney Lane Gazelles marshal take over
15th - Brandon
14th - Great Yarmouth
11th - Watton
25th - Holkham
16th - Sloughbottom
6th - Blickling
20th - Thetford
11th - Sizewell
25th - Lowestoft
22nd - Lingwood
12th - Sheringham
10th - Swaffham
7th - Gorleston
25th - Eaton
Looking for a race to run in mid March I was faced with two choices. The Mad March Hare or Beowulf Run. Both were 10ks. One race consisted of two laps round a featureless, usually windswept, semi abandoned areadrome. The other, through a forest and country park and along The Beowulf and Grendel Trail. Not surprisingly, I opted for the latter, as did a few more Gazelles.
After the race briefing, the 5kers headed off in the first wave and 10kers followed shortly after.
The first K was along a good track; no mud, no squelch underfoot and no rabbit holes. Crossing a road we entered Kings Forest. The next couple of K was on a sandy firebreak path. Recent high winds meant there were numerous fir cones, branches and other foilage scattered along way, making the going hazardous underfoot. Entering the forest proper, we became upon a rider on a Pale Horse I hoped this was not a foreboding sign of things to come....The sun rays streamed through the Silver Birch and Pine Trees as made our away along a bridleway. I heard the bird song of a Woodlark carried by the breeze as we entered a heathland section. A toad hopped across my path and I spent the next couple of K pondering the significance of this event. Hurdling a fallen tree and crossing the road we entered West Stow Park again.
A Victorian Pumping Station was passed as we made away along the river bank of The Lark. The going was easy and a Red Kite was seen hovering overhead watching the spectacle of runners weaving their way around West Stow Lake. The last K was a short wooded section and then into a field and a gradual incline to the finish line.
This is a great low key cross country event. The setting was lovely and the course not too muddy or arduous. I especially liked the lack of environmental impact; bring your own cup and no water bottles given out at the finish. The medal was a great design.
Of the six Gazelles who ran Beowulf James Frary had a great run finishing 3rd. The other Gazelles who ran were Lou Hurr, Lou Isherwood, Bob Pearson and Chris Haystead.
A return to Dartmoor, for the toughest half-marathon I've done (so far), starting and finishing in the picturesque village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Organised by Pure Trail Running, the race features 13 miles of gruelling climbs and descents, with the highest point at Hameldown Tor.
You know it's going to be a tough race when within 30 seconds of the start you're having to walk up 15-20% gradients. There were incredibly strong winds, up to 50 mph at times, and horizontal rain driving across the moorland (I was literally blown over at one point, into the mud, which was a bit scary). We have only a few bedraggled ponies and hardy marshal for company out there today.
The first two and a half miles are all uphill, to get up to Hameldown, then a steep descent to Challacombe, an abandoned medieval settlement. The downhill stretches are tough, as the ground is saturated and solid footing is hard to find, especially with the wind swirling and pushing us wherever it chooses. We loop around Challacombe Down and Hookney Tor, before another sharp descent where I lose my footing several times and end up falling backwards on to my arse or forwards on to my hands and knees.
On to the second checkpoint and then the toughest part of the course lies ahead: our second ascent of Hameldown, which is a two-mile slog against the wind. We pass a memorial to four crew members of an RAF bomber who were killed in a crash in 1941. Then we head for home, downhill for two miles back to Widecombe, where hot drinks and delicious homemade cake awaits us.
It was the most technically challenging course I've done, and has made me realise I still have a awful lot to learn about trail running, in particular how to tackle steep, slippery descents. Only 11 out of 209 finishers came home in under two hours, which gives you an idea of how tough it was!
Delicious cake at the finish though, and that's what makes it all worth while. Sign me up for next year. There are lots of tempting Dartmoor races organised by PureTrail.
Gazelles! We're always looking for simple reports of races (e.g., how many Gazelles were there, who did well), or fuller first-person accounts. If you've taken part in a race, please let us know! We need to know the date and name of the race, and the URL for any results. Please submit to email@example.com.