Round Norfolk Relay starts and finishes at Alive Lynnsport

The annual Round Norfolk Relay took place last weekend, featuring almost 60 teams tackling the 17 stages mirroring the county borders.

The event was not without incident this year after circumstances at Feltwell involving the police dealing with a ram raid led to the last-minute cancellation of Stage 14.

This was disappointing for those runners due to cover that stage, including Ryston’s Dawn Robinson, Oliver Foxwell, and Kerrie Page, but also of great credit to the organisers for the way they handled the situation.

Of Ryston’s three teams in the event, the A team finished with the second fastest time overall, also placing them second in the “Club” class and second Norfolk team, giving way to City of Norwich AC whose strength in depth has made them customary winners of this event.

Ryston B finished eighth overall and second in the “Open” class, while Ryston C, in 20th place overall, were fourth in the Mixed class.

For a relatively small club to field this number of teams is, in itself, a reflection of Ryston’s commitment to involvement and inclusion, before one even considers the number of members also involved in a team support capacity and, indeed, in the administration of the event itself.

Although the team element is the essence of this event, there are also individual stage awards and Ryston members picked up 10 of these.

Charlie Wakefield led the club team home with an impressive sub one-hour run from Stowbidge to Alive Lynnsport along the Fen Rivers Way, winning the stage and age grade award.

Two stages earlier, Joel Espley put in a winning performance over Stage 15 from Wissington to Downham, the only other outright stage win for the team.

The third stage win by a Ryston member was achieved by Adam Matthews for the Open team, over Stage seven from Mundesley to Lessingham.

In that same team, Malcolm Tuff (M55) took second in the next stage, but was pipped to the Masters Age Grade award by just 0.3 per cent.

Dan Guppy took second for the Club team, running Stage 4 from Wells to Cley, handing over to Rob Simmonds who achieved the same position into Cromer.

Callum Stanforth also took second, running from Thetford to Feltwell (Stage 13).

Danny Smith was the third of three with the same surname to cover the stage (11) from Earsham to Scole, the two Smiths ahead of him coming from the ultimate winning teams in both the Club and Open classes.

Emma Wood was the third female on Stage three from Burnham Overy to Wells, and Lesley Robins achieved the same award on Stage eight from Lessingham to Horsey.

The rest of the Club team was Paul Keaney (Stage 1 Alive Lynnsport to Hunstanton), Nathan Stockdale (S2 Hunstanton to Burnham Overy), Andy Simmonds (S6 Cromer to Mundesley), Amy Southam (S7 Mundesely to Lessingham), Matthew Thrower (S9 Horsey to Belton), Ryan Oakes (S10 Belton to Earsham), Rob Skillings (S12 Scole to Thetford), and Jurgite Jovaisiene (S16 Downham to Stowbridge, with their support crew including Martin Elsegood, David Lane, Nigel Kenny, Molly Sands, and Pauline Sparrow.

The Open team also featured Gavin Reynolds (S1), Will Honeybone (S2), Gareth Hunt (S3), Chris Chaplin (S4), Luke Garrigan (S5), Dan Barnes (S6), Lee Johnson (S9), Jason Cooper (S10), Nic Bensley (S11), Dan Yallop (S12) Warren Armsrong (S13), James Ord (S15), Cody Pearman (S16), and Darren Easter (S17), with their support team including Rod Wood and Sue Tuff.

The Mixed team comprised Martin Ive, Matt Hitchcock (2), Pauline Drewery (3), Stew Robins (4), Graeme Leeson (5), George Pettit (6), Julie Williamson (7), Lucy McDowie (8), Ian Wiggins (9), Justin Walker (10), Martin Heeley (11), Caine Burton (12), Becky Taylor (13), Elaine Lumley (15), Ruby Smith (16), and Tiegan Moore (17), with Linda Marshall, James Munson, Gary Walker, and Judith Berry in support.

The Stowbridge handover was marshalled by Chris Chapman, Mick Ennis, In Wiggins, Kate Penn, and Kevin Howlett, who were grateful to The Heron pub in the village for parking and sustenance.

Gaye Clarke was out on the course in her role as a timekeeper, and Jeremy Navrady, having “starred” on Radio Norfolk as spokesman for the event in a pre-race interview, was in his customary role as “Sweeper” for the whole event.

Other club members were out and about providing ancillary support.