Runners end summer with a 198-mile dash

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Haverhill Running Club took part in the Round Norfolk Relay event at the weekend, to end the summer on a positive note.

The course mirrors the county boundary over a distance of 198 miles, divided into 17 unequal stages.

Norfolk’s skies, vast sandy beaches, open spaces and picturesque towns and villages, with their attractive cottages and medieval churches, all contribute to making the race a unique running experience.

Haverhill try to organise a team to attend every year.

This year, 61 teams took part, with Haverhill finishing in 27th place overall, and 14th in the Open class category in which they were involved.

They completed the 198 mile race in 26 hours, 30 minutes and 54 seconds and set a pace of eight minutes and two seconds per mile, almost two minutes of the mile pace of the team that won.

The race was won by the City of Norwich Athletics Club in a time that was more than two hours ahead of their own estimation — 20:23:40.

Haverhill, in contrast, finished almost 25 minutes behind their expected combined time but were not in any way disappointed by it.

But club committee member Hayley Wilson said: “We had some fantastic runs from club members.

“We also had a great support crew who drove a van supporting the runners — cyclists who are required to be with the runners and our club also marshall one of the changeover points.

“It is a great event.”

The race follows a staggered start format, based on anticipated finishing times, ensuring that teams of similar ability start together, with faster teams chasing.

The race starts at Lynnsport in King’s Lynn, takes the Norfolk Coastal path as far as Cromer to Great Yarmouth — by the time the majority of teams reach the town, it is dark. It is during the next 60-odd miles where the race is mostly won or lost, as the time stagger unwinds on the mostly flat main roads.

Unique in character and concept, the race presents not only a tough physical challenge, but also team work.