Dereham Runners Athletics Club celebrate an excellent year

Jake Stearman was named Dereham Runners' male athlete of the year. Picture: Ashley Jarvis Media

Jake Stearman was named Dereham Runners' male athlete of the year. Picture: Ashley Jarvis Media - Credit: Archant

At their annual awards ceremony held last Friday Dereham Runners AC honoured many of the senior and junior athletes whose efforts have seen the club go from strength to strength in 2017.

Male runner of the year was awarded to Jake Stearman, a highly impressive achievement in his first year of competing as a senior.

Already a county standard runner, Jake has notched up three strong pb performances in recent months over 5k (16.36), 10k (35.26) and five miles (27.48), and has also placed first in several races and parkruns.

His goals for 2018 include competing at the National Cross Country Championships, to be held at Loughborough in March, as well as a serious crack at the Sportlink Grand Prix, a series of 10 tough endurance races in Norfolk spread throughout the year.

Female runner of the year went to Carol Devlin, whose amazing run of form saw her placed first in her age category for the Grand Prix series, with a perfect maximum score of 700. Carol's achievement is all the more inspiring given that she returned to club running only three years ago, having dropped out of the sport for more than a decade.

Best runner aged over 50 went to Jacquie Wood, whose achievements included the Race to the King ultra marathon along the South Downs in Sussex, while club chairman Todd Lake accepted the Kiwi Award for services to the club.

The award for best newcomer went to Helen Harrison while the coaches award went to Philip Websdale, one of the club's most dedicated athletes, who this year ran 1,000 miles as well as covering another 1,000 by bike. Indeed Philip left the Memorial Hall on Friday with no less than three awards.

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Several other DRAC awards encourage participation in competitive racing. In the Senior Grand Prix the 10 best performances from a selection of 12 Norfolk races are counted, subject to runners completing at least seven. The top three female winners were Carol Devlin, Emma Potter-Campbell and Paula Olley, while the male finalists were James Nice and Philip Websdale. Winners in the Club 100 series were tireless marathon specialist Ian Odgers (182), Carol Devlin (136), Philip Websdale (123), Todd Lake (119), Emma Potter Campbell (118) and Andrew Rowles (104).