An early morning beckoned on Saturday 23rd June for 4 members of Lowestoft Road Runners for what was set to be a very long day. Aaron Shrimpton, Ian Chilley, Gary McDonald and Vanessa May ran the Norfolk 100km trail race. The race started at 7am with a nettle ridden route around Castle Acre, Norfolk, to join the Peddars Way heading North towards the coast. This part of the route was now familiar to them, but presented deep rutted ground, and sometimes heavy surrounding growth. A complete contrast to their Peddars Way ultra marathon in January when it was more like a mud bath. On reaching the coastal village of Holme-Next-The-Sea, the second checkpoint, was a welcome chance to refill drinks before turning eastwards onto the Norfolk Coast Path, which they would follow for the remainder of the race. At Thornham the coast path headed inland for a while, before going back towards the coast some time later at Titchwell. Weather was mostly warm and humid with little breeze so keeping a check on fluid intake was very important, so for Aaron and Gary a swift visit to the ice-cream van near Brancaster for ice lollies proved to be refreshing. The coast path saw the runners head through the coastal villages of Burnham Deepdale and Burnham Overy before tackling the dunes of Holkham and heading through the woodland to Wells-Next-the-Sea. Arrival in Wells was welcoming as after checking out the route in training the rest was now familiar ground and gave the reassuring knowledge that it was only 20 miles to go till the finish line. Knowing the route however had its pitfalls as it also meant they knew what was coming later on. After passing through the village of Cley all that was left to tackle in the last 13km was just over 4 miles of relentless shingle bank which continued to Weybourne and the hills into Sheringham including that of the watchtower and the last climb being over Beeston Bump before the finish at Beeston Hall School.
For Aaron, Gary and Vanessa the completion of this race was completion of the Positive Steps Grand Slam and earned the three a grand slam memento of a specially engraved glass tankard. Ian will be completing this in October at the King's Forest 50k as he started his quest a race later than the others.
Leading the club members home in 9th position was Aaron with a time of 12:02:25, next in 12th places was Gary in 12:11:36, Ian finished 16th in 12:32:33 and Vanessa finished 21st (7th lady) in 12:44:35. There were 51 finishers of 55 starters.
Vanessa was also running to raise funds for Hounds For Heroes anyone wishing to donate to her cause can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vanessa-s-may
Gary, running the event in a charity vest, was raising funds for both the Cleft Lip and Palate Association and for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, his page can be found at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/garymcdonald1
Contributed By Gary McDonald