For those looking for a different way to experience Norfolk’s rich heritage, a new event planned in Thetford may be the answer.
Taking place as part of this year’s Norfolk Heritage Open Days (HODs) festival, the Thetford Heritage Run offers a 5k or 10k run or walk for anyone who would like to visit several sites of interest in one go.
New for this year and organised by Run Breckland, the event will take place on the final weekend of HODs on Sunday, September 22.
Runners will set off from one of Thetford’s most historic sites, King’s House, which was the former palace of King James and the site of the medieval manor house once belonging to the Lords of the Manor of Thetford.
Sharon Nash, one of the organisers from Run Breckland, said: “We were approached by the town clerk about organising something to complement the Heritage Open Days events happening in Thetford and the Heritage Run was born.
“Participants will be supplied with the locations of certain heritage sites they must visit on their route and they will be asked to provide photographic evidence of each site visited by way of a selfie. In addition, they must make sure that they cover at least 5K or 10K, depending which distance they have chosen to complete, as they make their way around the town.”
Sites runners are likely to visit include the Ancient House Museum, one of the best examples of an early Tudor town house in East Anglia which has been a museum since 1924 and Thetford Priory, one of the largest and most important monasteries in medieval East Anglia which was the burial place of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk for 400 years. Runners will also get brownie points for making it to the top of Castle Hill, thought to be the tallest motte in England, and for taking a trip over the Grade II listed Nuns Bridges.
Sharon added: “The event is open to individuals and teams and we're hoping they will take the time to return to some of the sites for a more leisurely visit in the afternoon.
“There will be prizes on offer for the number of heritage sites visited, for the inventiveness of photographs, and for fancy dress and we expect them to make an effort! There's a wide choice given the history of the town, so people can dress as anything from Saxons to Romans, Boudicca, Thomas Paine, Duleep Singh or Dad’s Army.”
Run Breckland organises a range of community running events, working with Thetford Town Council, and is also responsible for the Santa and Easter Bunny 5k runs and the forest half and full marathons.
The run will start at 10am and is free to take part. To book your place, please email email@example.com
The organisers are also offering runners the option of receiving a heritage medal on completing the course for a small fee. Please enquire when booking your place.
Other events taking place in Thetford throughout Heritage Open Days include two new displays at the Guildhall starting with Alan Lamb, master stonemason to the Queen, explaining how to make replica stone statues on Saturday, September 14, from 2pm to 4pm. Following that on Saturday, September 21 from 10am to 3pm will be a display from Dr Dapinder Singh of Sikh artefacts and armour, with a morning and afternoon talk. Both are drop-in events.
King’s House will be opening its doors for three events on Saturday, September 14, welcoming visitors to see the work done by the GW Staniforth Trust in restoring the exterior of the Victorian conservatory. There will also be a display on one of Thetford’s civic pioneers, Allan Glaisyer Minns, who became Britain’s first black mayor in 1904, as well as an exhibition of 800 years of mayoralty and regalia in the upstairs council chamber. All are drop-in events and will be open from 10am to 3pm.
The Norfolk HODs festival runs from Friday, September 13 to Sunday, September 22. To download the brochure, visit www.theforumnorwich.co.uk/hods
Photo credits: Top and second, courtesy of Run Breckland. Middle and bottom, courtesy of Archant.