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10k Run returns to Thetford Forest

The Breckland Forest 10K Run returned to Thetford Forest with 98 runners! Find out more about the event from BFER Volunteer and Engagement Officer, Nicole.

10k Run returns to Thetford Forest

On Sunday 26th November 2023, the Breckland Forest 10K Run returned to Thetford Forest. This popular running event, organised by Run Breckland, had not been able to take place for several years due to Covid-19. This year the event returned, supported by BFER and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 

On Sunday I joined the Run Breckland Forest 10k as one of 98 runners. Arriving early to Santon Downham village hall where the run would commence, it felt like it must surely be the coldest morning of autumn so far. A frost glistened on the ground and I headed straight into the hall to warm up. I was met by the friendly welcome of the Run Breckland volunteers and team (as well as the inviting smell of bacon sandwiches cooking!). Despite the cold weather, the room buzzed with excited anticipation. Run Breckland’s events build a community, and there were smiles all round as participants greeted each other, whether friends, family, or strangers. I spoke to several other runners. Some had been on the route previously, some were there for the first time. I myself had never run a 10k trail run. In fact, I had only recently starting running 10k at all, and braced myself for what I thought might be a bit of an ordeal. How wrong I was!

The run began, and we were off!

A pack of multicoloured running jackets heading into the cool of the forest. The trees around us glowed with autumn colours. Pretty soon, we were out of the woods and alongside the river. The water glistened in the morning sunlight as it flowed gently alongside us. Birds chirped, and horses in adjacent fields turned their heads to watch us go by. Some people ran, some jogged, other walked. It didn’t matter. We were all welcomed and encouraged, cheered on by the volunteer marshals who stood at intervals along the route.

Back in the forest and the track changed from sand, to gravel, road, to track. At the top of a particularly sandy hill, a volunteer cheered us on while playing motivational songs from a portable speaker. At the half way check point a volunteer rang a school bell while another blew a whistle cheerfully. ‘Well done!’ they called, ‘Good running!’. They handed out drinks to those who wanted a pit stop.

Three quarters of the way and we were nearly there, phew! ‘Nearly there’ we said to each other, ‘you can do it!’.

Suddenly I reached a path and had no runners in front of me. ‘I hope I don’t get lost!’ I thought. There was no chance of that, as arrows clearly marked the way. The diligent Run Breckland team had made sure all points were covered.

The finish line

Turning a corner, I heard the bell again up ahead, and realised I was near the finish line. Hurrah! As I turned into the village green, runners who had already finished smiled and urged me on. Finally I crossed the line, and a volunteer handed me a large medal. In the village hall, there were teas and coffees and home made cakes. I spotted a few people who I had met at the start line and we congratulated each other. What I had expected to be quite gruelling, had actually turned out to be an incredibly jolly morning. It didn’t matter how fast or slow we went, or whether we stopped to walk. No one was trying to chase a personal best, or beat the person next to them. Everyone was out for the enjoyment of taking part, and overall, of being outdoors in the beautiful scenery of the forest.

Run Breckland

A huge thank you to Run Breckland and their fantastic team of volunteer marshals for putting on this excellent event. Run Breckland are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation that organise welcoming and inclusive running events across the Brecks.

Find out more about Run Breckland’s upcoming events HERE

Would you like to join Run Breckland’s friendly team of volunteers? Find out more on our Volunteer Hub 

For more images from the event, visit Run Breckland’s Facebook Page

Image credits: Geoffrey Herschell and Tom Juggins

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