Running and taking in the splendours of Norwich’s medieval churches is not something, you suspect, most people would normally consider doing at the same time.
But for Adrian Galvin it is a combination which he hopes will be attractive to those looking for some trail running around the Fine City – with a bit of history thrown in.
Adrian organised two Flintspiration & Perspiration events as part of the first Flintspiration weekend between April 29 and the Bank Holiday Monday.
I joined him and nine other runners on the second run on the Sunday – heading off from St Martin-at-Palace church.
The idea was to go on a 3.2 mile run over 90 minutes – stopping off at some of Norwich’s noteworthy medieval church landmarks as well as the cathedral, where a peregrine falcon deigned to swoop around the historic spire, sparking a rush of activity from the nearby twitchers.
I’d quite literally stumbled across the event after my son wondered in to one of the open churches in St Benedict’s last week, and somebody handed me a leaflet with details of the run among a whole host of activities taking place that weekend, from music, to storytelling and medieval dancing.
And after writing last week about runs linked to Tudor history – which had generated a lot of interest and helpful ideas from members of the Secret Norwich Facebook group, as well as a trip based on one of their recommendations to Framlingham Castle, it seemed only right to travel a bit further back in time from the era of Henry VIII and co I’d been thinking about, and give it a go.
The route took in Kett’s Heights – where you can enjoy a spectacular panoramic vista of Norwich, and where members of the Friends of Kett’s Heights were on hand to point out some of the 19 or so medieval churches you could still see dotted around the city.
It was a mixed group taking part – from a keen marathon runner who had taken part in the Amsterdam Marathon last year, to a group of friends who meet up at weekends and jog around the Earlham Road area. It was a
Adrian, who is a Friend of Norwich Historic Churches Trust, explained that he wanted to combine his love of running with his passion for telling the stories of these historic buildings.
“I love both and it gives you an extra appeal to the joy of churches – you put them together and you get something different,” he said.
“I’m keen to get an equal blend of it – not too much of a run, not too much churches, just to be able to stop off, spot something and then head off somewhere else.
“There’s a sense of a trail and a journey, which I really think adds to the appreciation. I am very keen on learning out of the classroom, active learning.
“That’s the way I’ve learned best. We’ve got such a fantastic city and resource here.
“I’m a runner as well,” he added. “Over the last few years I’ve done about six marathons, and lots of half marathons, and I’m just a weekly runner with the dog.
“Running is great as it gets you around bits of Norwich, more on the outskirts, you can do trails and little bits in the city.
“What running does is that it extends your scope further. You can go to the edge of the city, whereas if you do walking trails they’re great, but you don’t get to see some of the secret places.
“As we’ve seen today, you’ve got that panoramic view and you can look at that wide scale like a film, and then you go down and take a look at the detail.
“For me, it’s a really joyful thing to do, that you are combining two things and it’s just something different.”
And while the Flinstpiration weekend may have come and gone for this year, Adrian is already planning the next set of runs taking in churches and also other elements of Norwich’s history, while he is also in the process of setting up a website dedicated to the concept, too.
“I am going to do more,” he said. “It’s gone really well, I’ve got plans to do a series of trails, some for the trust and some of my own and gradually build it up really.
“It’s my enthusiasm as well as my passion and I feel in a place like this we can really do something special.
· To find out more you can email Adrian at firstname.lastname@example.org