Some things run in the family. In some families, that’s running.
A former international competitor, Altrincham athlete Dave Norman is known throughout the running community for his efforts both within races and behind the scenes of them.
Son of British athlete Jeff Norman and brother to team-mate Andy, Manchester’s two-time marathon champion is making sure he now gives back to the sport that has given him and his family so much joy over the years.
As well as leading popular social media race coverage page ‘RunningLive’, Norman is in charge of organising the highly competitive Trafford 10k event that continues to grow year on year.
“It’s been a huge part of my life,” said the 38-year-old. “I grew up watching my Dad compete, especially over the marathon, and I certainly never looked back once I got into it.”
Putting in the miles: Dave Norman began running at just 13 years of age.
With a life-time best of two hours and 18 minutes, injuries have made remaining an ever-present face at competitions difficult and required a re-think of how he could continue to contribute to the running community.
One outcome of this was ’RunningLive’, which has already reached over 1000 page-likes since it was launched in July 2016.
“I set up RunningLive as I knew it would force me to go to events and get in plenty of bike rides when it might otherwise be easy to sit inside. It also, by watching these events, it kept me motivated to get back into the running as soon as possible.”
“It’s great to see how much people appreciate the extra coverage, and also offers a platform for an open discussion on standards and performances.”
Runners, camera, action: RunningLive offers live streaming of events around the North West.
Always an advocate for high standards in athletics, the 15th place finisher in the 2010 London marathon is also in charge of organising a race well renowned for its rapid times; the Trafford 10K.
“I started working on the race 20 years ago this year. It had been going quite a few years before that but previously it was organised by Trafford council, hence its given name.” he explained.
“I found out they were no longer going to put the race on, which would have been a massive shame, and so I offered to start organising it.
“I think it’s just built year on year. We had a couple of international runners who came around 15 years ago and ran a couple of quick times and it just snowballed from there.
“People could see fast times were possible on the course and before you knew it we had four elite runners, then eight, then 16 and before we knew it we had a bit of a monster!”
In recent years, the event has attracted big names with plenty of international experience. Aldershot, Farnham and District athlete Chris Thompson won this year’s edition in a breath-taking 28 minutes and 55 seconds with Elinor Kirk of Swansea Harriers arriving home as first female in 33.29.
“I think it’s really important to get all these quick athletes together,” said Norman.
“There’s not enough races like this in the UK so we’re certainly trying to make things happen with British distance running.”
Both of this year’s winners beat the times from the previous year, despite the 2016 course and those before it being deemed ‘short’ by the Association of UK Course Measurers.
Norman admits he was worried the 2017 entry list would take a hit following the news and even had doubts about his position.
“I was a little bit concerned and, actually, I had thought with the disappointment of what happened last year that I may not continue to organise the race.
“But, I must admit, I have been quite taken aback with the popularity of the race this year.
“We’ve had a record number of starters and probably the best elite field to date, so it just goes to show that people don’t just come for the super quick times- they come for a race as well.
“I’m just over the moon with the turnout.”
Now back into the training himself, the Altrincham runner has had some thoughts about life after running- including a move into coaching- but insists he is putting no end date on his own goals.
“No matter what level you’re at, you can always set yourself goals and build on those when you manage to achieve them.
“That’s a great feeling because you know how much has gone into achieving each one, and for me it’s even greater when you know you’ve done it despite setbacks along the way.”