Club History

The Norwich Road Runners are Norfolk’s largest dedicated running club, with more than 500 senior members, and 70 junior members, supported by a committee of 12, and more than 25 running coaches. The club's history dates back to the early 1980s, and was formed by Ray Lindsay (still running with the club), Stephen Sadd (still running with Norfolk Gazelles) and Mike Futter. The three entered the first Norfolk Marathon in 1982, under the team name Fitt Signs.

Above: The 1984 Norfolk Marathon. The club was only 9 members, with Michael Futter (666) and Lance Cornall (677) taking part.

By the following year’s race, Richard Sales had joined, and to this day, he still hold the majority of the club’s records, for all distances (1:07 for Half Marathon distance and 2:28 for Marathon distance). As the club continued to grow, they still competed under non-affiliated status, but by 1985 the membership was increasing week by week, so they decided to affiliate to the national governing body, UK Athletics, as Norwich Road Runners. The rest, as they say, was history.

Above: Club veteran Ray Lindsay at the 1986 Brussels Marathon. 11th place, first British finisher, and winner of 500 franks.

The headquarters of the club has changed over the years, having previously been at the Crome Centre and The Norman Centre. The club is currently based at The Sewell Park Sports Centre, on Constitution Hill.

Organising Local Races

The club hosts a variety of distance races every year, with four road based races and three cross country races. Along with the other clubs and event organisers in Norfolk, this helps provide the country with one of the most diverse and spread out racing calendars in the entire country, aiding development of road running in Norfolk, and building a strong community of runners. These events usually form part of the Sportlink Grand Prix, and the Norfolk County Championships.

Wroxham 5k Series

Since its formation the club has seen amalgamations with the Woodruff Runners, in 1987, and the Sports Village Runners in 2001, who brought with them the Wroxham 5k Series, which is going as strong as it ever has been to this day. The Wroxham 5k Series was originally set up by Martin Yeomans, when he was at the Sports Village Running Club. They hosted a 10k for several years around Hellesdon, Horsford and Drayton. However, with a dwindling membership and increasing traffic, the marshalling requirements meant it was no longer viable. Martin looked for local venues to host a 5k, which was much more manageable, and found the Wroxham 5k course at Broadland High School.

The series consists of three 5 kilometre road races, usually in May, June and July.

The first race was in 1996 and has 130 finishers. Olympian Paul Evans, turning up on the night, ran the race in 14:11, a record which is still unbeaten (as of July 2017). The race has remained at Broadland High School and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016. The series continues to be very popular with local runners, with a record 627 finishing the third race on 5th July 2017. The race continues to evolve, to serve an increased entry, and in 2016 was amended to include a wider and traffic free start line, and in 2015 introduced chip timing, replacing the traditional timer and finishing position noting, due to an increase in participants, especially at the faster (sub 22) end of the field.

In 2016 the club introduced a 2km junior fun run, which was on the sports field at the back of Broadland High School, for young runners to take part in.

Click here to visit the Wroxham 5k Series Information Page.

Broadland Half Marathon

The Broadland Half Marathon is a spring race that loops around South Walsham, Salhouse and Woodbastwick. The race was initially a 15 mile race (the winning time in 2000 was 1:26:49, by Carl Prewer of Lowestoft RR). However the distance was a speciality and was struggling to attract a sustainable field year after year, with only 96 runners finishing in the final year it was hosted, in 2004. The decision was taken to change the race to the more popular half marathon distance, and the race jumped to an impressive 207 finishers. The race has been a half marathon ever since. Due to the location of the race, and its restrictive parking, entry is limited to between 400-500, and usually sells out within a few weeks of entries opening, and months ahead of the actual event. The current record finishers is the 2016 race, with 378 crossing the line.

Click here to visit the Broadland Half Marathon Information Page.

Horsford Cross Country Series

The Horsford XC Series is a set of three winter cross country races, hosted in the surrounding woodlands of Horsford. The race makes a great pallet cleanser after the excesses of Christmas, with the races taking part (usually) in November, December, and January. The course varies each year, due to the ever-changing woodlands, but features a lapped course full of muddy bogs, water features, and a very undulating course. Distances vary depending on the runner's gender and age, and is popular with younger runners.

The race is cheap and cheerful - it is not chip timed, no numbers are issued, and it is entry on the day, but is a great fun event in which runners come away covered head to toe in mud.

Click here to visit the Horsford Cross Country Series Information Page.

Round Norfolk Relay

The Norwich Road Runners have also been a huge part of the running community in the county. The club has fielded teams in the Round Norfolk Relay for more than 28 years, only being beaten by Ryston Runners (as the original team who set the relay up). In terms of appearances, Richard Sales has appeared 25 times, Ray Lindsay has appeared 23 times, Dale Hurren has appeared 18 times, Sally Cushing has appeared 17 times, and Karl Sherry has appeared 16 times.

Masters

Winner: 2017 (22:48:37), 2016 (23:39:46), 2014 (22:20:50), 2012 (22:35:19), 2010 (22:05:47)

Ladies

Winner: 2017 (26:25:35), 2007 (24:52:24)

Club

Winner: 2011 (20:40:31), 2010 (20:43:37)

Norfolk Club

Winner: 2011 (20:40:31), 2010 (20:43:37), 2009 (20:31:42)

Open

Winner: 2009 (20:31:42)

The club also marshals the change over point at Cley each year, and has an input into the race via the Athletics Norfolk Road Running Committee.

Club Trips

Since inception, the club has always organised trips away to other races, both within the country and further afield in Europe. Closer to home, the club organises teams and travel for the Ekiden Relays, in Ipswich, regularly sending over 10 teams to the 26.2mi relay course. One of the first club trips, in 1987, saw 12 members making the trip to Dublin to take part in the marathon, and raise sponsorship for Little Plumstead Hospital. The last official club trip was in 2015, when the club visited Amsterdam for the 5 mile, half marathon and marathon events.

The club also organises transport to events further afield which members have booked into, but aren't official club trips. A popular event is the St Neots Half Marathon (due to it being the nearest half marathon in November), which usually has more than 50 members attend, so a coach is hired.

Road Runners also attend national cross country events, such as the Southern XC Championships, and the National XC Championships, and usually pays for members' entry and travel.

All Time Race Attendance

In recent years the membership of the club has greatly increased, due to the popularity of running and increased viability of the club at races, as well as on social media and the internet. The club welcomes runners of all abilities, from complete newcomers through to race and championship winners. In 2017 the club had more than 165 members take part in the Run Norwich 10k, and we were easily the biggest club on the day. 

  1. Run Norwich 10k 2017 - 165 club members
  2. Humpty Dumpty 10k 2018 (in memory of member Sze-Ming Cheung) - 150 club members
  3. Run Norwich 10k 2016 - 131 club members
  4. Run Norwich 10k 2015 - 111 club members
  5. Humpty Dumpty 10k 2017 - 109 club members
  6. Reepham Summer 10k 2017 - 87 club members
  7. Wymondham 10k 2018 - 77 club members