Norris and Gorrod beat the field and weather in Spartan Half Marathon

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IN gale force winds, through driving rain and with an initial field of 416 depleted to 312, partly because of the awful conditions, 24-year-old Peter Norris won yesterday’s Spartan AC Half-Marathon.

He finished 800 yards ahead of Peter Green (31) from Liverpool who in turn was well ahead of Jersey’s Brenton ‘Bomber’ Lee (34), normally a triathlete but who is in training for the next Island Games in 2009.

As expected, Jersey’s Jo Gorrod won the women’s race, but was suffering bitterly from the cold as she was led from the track.

‘I quite enjoyed the first five miles,’ said Gorrod (36), in the warmth of the physiotherapists’ room, ‘but after that it was quite unpleasant.

After a while I couldn’t feel my legs at all and after 10 km I turned my calf a bit.

La Rocque harbour was awful, as I was having to run against cross winds as well as the rain.’

By contrast Norris, a steeplechaser during the summer, ‘thoroughly enjoyed it’.

Looking fit enough to run another half-marathon as he eased past the finishing line, he tracked pre-race favourite, Peter Green (31), from Liverpool Harriers for seven miles before taking the lead and, after that, was never seriously challenged.

‘It was only coming to the track that I first looked back,’ said the Harrow man.

‘I enjoyed it; and kept looking out at the seafront as I ran in from Gorey.

‘The scenery was excellent.’

Green, by contrast, described the half-marathon as: ‘the most difficult race I’ve ever done.

But then I suppose it was the same for everyone else.’

After leading from the start he knew he wouldn’t win when Norris overtook him, but he also struggled running down Gorey Hill and at La Rocque.

‘In two words: “diabolical conditions”,’ he said.

In contrast, for third-placed Lee, the wind and rain were everything he wanted them to be.

‘These are my sort of conditions,’ he said, cheerfully, in the pouring rain.

‘I love them.

Can you thank my trainers, Andy Kemp and Dave Hallden for me?’

While Lee was happy with his race, in terms of most runners’ emotions, perhaps Jo Gorrod’s words summed up the event best: ‘I kept telling myself that the faster I’d run, the quicker I’d get back,’ she said, several minutes after her full colour had returned to her cheeks.

Meanwhile, for organiser Roy McCarthy, for whom this is his last half-marathon before he ’emigrates’ to Ireland: ‘It was a very difficult day all-round for the athletes and the marshals, with some of the runners never having seen anything as bad as that today.

‘If nothing else it proves that if we can operate under those conditions, we can operate in anything.’

– Full race results will be published in the JEP later this week.

– Two starters, Jersey’s Terry Rumney and Lee Chieh Chien (a Vietnamese student studying in London), were so badly affcted by the weather that they needed hospital treatment but, thankfully, are now fully recovered.

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