Club news

Oke Croak, The Crossing, The Great Escape and More

In a complete turn-around from what normally happens at a Bank Holiday, the dismal grey clouds vanished and hot and sunny weather prevailed. This wasn’t however ideal conditions for the tough off road races that many ORCs were taking part in over the weekend. The third race in our summer series, the Oke Croak, was held on Saturday. Traditionally held on the Bank Holiday weekend, this race has seen the full range of conditions, from heavy rain to thick mist but this year the heat caught everyone by surprise. Starting in Simmons park the runners follow good paths out to the moors at Chapel Ford, then the well named Goat Track takes them on to pick up a path that continues on to Oke Tor, where they have to run through a natural stone arch. After a descent down to the military ring road the going gets tougher, as they then run across open moorland, contouring East Mill Tor before climbing to the top of Yes Tor. From there it is all downhill to Moorgate and back to Simmons park via Klondyke corner and Ball Hill. There was a good turnout of ORCs who took on this challenging 10 mile race. First home for the club was the off road specialist Rob Hicks, who ran a strong race in the heat, but was beaten into second place by Dartmoor Runner’s Robert Waddy, who was not the only runner to mistake West Mill Tor for Yes Tor. Realising his error, he retraced his steps, climbed Yes Tor and overtook Rob Hicks on the run in from Moorgate to come first in 1.25.48, with Rob Hicks a good second in 1.27.02. Club member Jo Bradford’s husband Paul was third male in 1.38.30. The next ORC home was Mervyn Rice in 1.58.56, while his daughter Jenny, on a visit to her parents, took the first Lady prize in 1.51.42. New member Gill Spinney was the second lady in 2.21.15.

Other ORC times were; Jean Paul Quertier and Jason Ewing; 2.03.36, Phil Read; 2.10.15, Phil Spinney; 2.21.13, Debs Crome; (3rd lady) 2.31.18, Hannah Ramsey; 2.31.19.

There was an even tougher challenge on the same day for the ORCs who took part in PureTrail’s 34 mile ultra marathon, The Crossing, and the shorter half marathon, The Great Escape. These races are run on paths and well marked trails, with The Crossing starting in Belstone and literally crossing the moor from north to south, while the Great Escape starts in Princetown and encompasses the later stages of The Crossing, both finishing in South Brent. While there is an overall downhill profile to both races, within the course there are many climbs, river crossings and the paths were technical in places with care being needed on uneven stoney tracks. The last section was in woodland which provided some welcome shade. Five ORCs ran The Crossing, with Chris Turner, Charlie Galley and Lucy Marrison all taking on a trail ultra marathon for the first time. Charlie had completed the Three Peaks Challenge the only the weekend before, and he and Chris ran together, finishing in a very good time of 6.43.26.
Lucy ran with Jo Turner who had previously completed a 32 mile ultra, and despite the warm conditions, they enjoyed the experience and the beautiful scenery they were running through, completing in 8.46.20. Experienced ultra runner Ang Martin has only returned relatively recently from an injury she acquired at the Exmoor CTS Ultra in April but ran an impressive race to finish in 7.24.37.

The Great Escape saw eight members taking on the half marathon which started two hours later meaning the whole run was in very warm conditions. Dartmoor specialist Katie Littlejohns was the first ORC home in this race running well to finish in 2.00.36. Mags Jarvis was the second ORC home running a terrific race to finish in 2.37.01 and coming 2nd FV60. Mags has Parkinson’s Disease and she decided to use this run to fundraise for the Parkinson’s UK charity, to raise the profile of the disease and help with research into the treatment of it. Mags’ daughter joined her for this and came down from her home in Liverpool to run the race too, finishing an impressive 4th overall and 2nd lady in 1.43.26.
Mags continues to inspire us with her determination to keep doing what she loves best, and her ability to keep training hard and achieve excellent results despite the onset of this debilitating illness is just outstanding. To date Mags has raised a great total of £2,350 with some more donations still coming in.

Other ORC times; Chris Fullford Brown; 2.40.32, Alison Holliday; 2.49.26, Danielle Fullford Brown; 2.52.19, Carole Cornwall; 3.00.58, Katy Speak; 3.02.19, Claire Sprague; 3.29.40.

The following day, ORC Ed Dumpleton took part in the Battle of Sedgemoor 10k, a well established fast and fairly flat race that takes the runners through the scenic rural countryside of the Somerse levels. Ed ran well and finished in 40.36 to set a new PB by 40 secs.

The previous weekend, lone ORC Andrew Vernon travelled down to Torquay to run the Torba Regatta 10k. Despite a strong headwind and a fall during the race, Andy finished in 40.34 to com second in his age category MV45.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report

Roseland August Trail and Sticklepath Horseshoe

Last weekend saw podium finishes for two ORCs. After his win over a five mile fell race last week, Rob Hicks took on a very different challenge, the Roseland August Trail, known as the RAT, on the Southwest Coast Path in Cornwall. This race, organised by trail running event specialists Mud Crew, has four different distance options, The Black Route, 32 miles, The Red Route, 20 miles, The White Route, 11 miles and The Plague, 64 miles and this is the option Rob chose to run.  All these routes follow the same part of coastline, with runners from different routes joining each other at different points along the way.  It is a very tough race both physically and mentally, with nearly 4,000m of ascent over the Plague’s 64 mile course and, having run out 32 miles from the start at Porthpean to St Anthony Head near Falmouth, the runners have to turn round and run back, a very big ask. The route takes competitors though stunning coastal scenery, across fields, and through villages, but the endless sets of steps and stiles become increasingly hard to negotiate as the legs tire. Setting off just after midnight, the first five hours of running are done by the light of a head torch. The recent rain had left the course muddy in places and and some drizzle overnight made it slippery on the rocky sections.
After a steady start, by 28 miles Rob had settled into fourth place and from there on ran the rest of the race completely on his own. Troubled by a stomach problem, he barely took on any nutrition over the whole race, relying on drinking cola for his energy supply. Despite this he kept his pace and eventually finished in an incredible time of 12hr 55min 50sec to come third male.

Nearer home eight ORCs took part in the Sticklepath Horseshoe race. This is a classic, beautiful but quite tough fell run from Sticklepath village, which takes the runners from the start behind Finch Foundry out on footpaths through Belstone Cleave and then onto the moors. A stiff climb up to Belstone Tor is followed by a relatively flat path along the ridge to beyond Oke Tor before a steep descent into Steeperton Gorge, where a crossing of the River Taw is followed by an equally steep but longer climb to the top of Steeperton Tor. The Horseshoe is completed by the long, steady pull up to the top of Cosdon Beacon and then off its northern flank, down to retrace the path back to the village. Paul Crease loves this sort of fell running with its mix of tough climbs followed by crazy, fast descents and flew round the 9.7 mile course in 1.18.05 to finish in second place.

Other ORC times were Chris Turner 01:25:49; Andy Vallance 01:25:49; Mike Baker 01:35:40; Merv Rice 01:46:02; Greg Miller 02:08:12; Phil Spinney 02:18:39; Gill Spinney 02:18:39.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report

Marilyn’s Meldon Madness, Indian Queens Half Marathon and more

Last Saturday saw the running of the second in our summer race series. This race, previously called the Great West Fell Run, has been renamed Marilyn’s Meldon Madness in honour of former ORC member Marilyn Cooper who died suddenly just over a year ago. A founding member of the club, Marilyn was an outstanding runner over all distances and terrain, but was always happiest when out running on the moors. She had a great love of the moors and an appreciation of how lucky she was to be able to run in such a beautiful area, so it seemed fitting for her name to be given to this lovely fell race, run over the part of the moors that she could see from her home in Inwardleigh. Her husband Paul, and two sons, Peter and Michael, had kindly donated a Dartington Rose Bowl trophy to be awarded in her memory to the first ORC lady home and “the boys”, as Marilyn referred to her adult sons, both ran the race, having their first taste of the type of running Marilyn did.

The weather played fair and gave the runners and spectators a clear if somewhat fresh afternoon to enjoy the spectacular views that this race offers with the climb to Yes Tor and High Willhays, the highest point in the south of England. From there the steep and tussocky descent to Black Tor claimed a few fallers, but thankfully this resulted in nothing more serious than some muddy kit. There was a good turnout for the race from both visiting runners and the club, everyone enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of a small, friendly fell race and the excellent post-race tea and cakes provided by club members. The first to finish was Rob Hicks, rarely to be seen running anywhere other than on the moors and the combination of his speed and familiarity with the terrain bringing him home in an superb time of 39.19 for the 5 mile course. Equally at home on the moors, where the family farm provides a base for her running holiday business, is Katie Littlejohns, who was not only the first ORC lady home for the new trophy, but was also the overall first lady in a time of 51.36.

Other ORC times; Chris Turner; (4th) 43.53, Andy Vernon; (7th & 1st M40) 45.49, Mike Baker; 49.44, John Binns; 54.14, Ed Dumpleton; 54.18, Robert Richards; 56.34, Phil Read; 58.48, Chris Aylen; 59.33, Ang Martin; (1st F40) 1.01.29, Christine Fritsch; 1.01.29, Danielle Fullford Brown; 1.05.41, Karen Vallance; 1.06.49, Jo Turner; 1.06.49, Debbie Bryant; 1.12.33, Janet White; 1.17.52.

Michael and Peter Cooper ran their first fell race together, and despite a lack of training and the fact that one ran in borrowed shoes and the other in road shoes, they finished in a very respectable 57.01.

We would like to thank the North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team who always attend this event.

On Sunday the Indian Queens Half Marathon threw up an unusual result for two club members when Paul Carter finished ahead of training partner Roger Voaden. Usually finishing a couple of minutes behind Roger, Paul overtook him at mile ten an held on to this lead to come home in 1.26.45 ahead of Roger in 1.27.25.

Ged Fitzgibbon was the only club representative at the Totnes 10k on Sunday. This multi-terrain race follows the River Dart mostly on trails and narrow woodland paths, with one big hill encountered in the middle of the race. Ged ran well to finish in 1.00.55 over this attractive but quite testing course.

Senior coach Geoff Hill had been in two minds as to whether to run the Gloucester City Marathon on Sunday having had to pull out of the Exeter 10k three weeks ago with a slight calf injury, but having rested his leg he decided to give it a go. Things went well for the first ten miles, then he started to feel some pain in his leg and his pace gradually dropped away. Determined to finish, he carried on, eventually finishing in 3.48.33, still a very good time, but over half an hour outside the London GFA qualifying time he had been aiming for.

The previous Saturday Ed Dumpleton took the opportunity of a visit to his sister in Lisburn,bNorthern Ireland, to try a new parkrun, and was pleased to run a new 5k personal best of 20.44, coming 10th out of over 300 runners.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report

6 Moor Miles & The Dartmoor 600s

While the weather continues to pretend its mid autumn, not mid summer, it fails to deter our club members from taking on challenges that would normally be held in much better conditions. Two ORCs took part in the Yelverton 6 Moor Miles race on Sunday and were lucky to only experience one shower, although the recent rain had made for a very muddy course. This well established race is a one lap course across open moorland in the picturesque setting of the Maristow Estate. Mags Jarvis ran a good race, although frustrated at the bottle-necking in the first mile, and finished in 64.49 to come second in her age group, with Janet White finishing in 75.31.

On the other side of the moors, five more ORCs took up the challenge to run the Dartmoor 600’s. This is not a race, there is set route and no time limit to complete it in, but a self-navigated challenge to run all 5 of the Dartmoor hills over 600m in one go. For Chris Turner, Katie Littlejohns, Mike Baker and Charlie Galley this was the first time they had attempted the challenge, but Christine Fritsch was revisiting these five peaks for a second time. She hadn’t felt well on her first tour round them and enjoyed this one better, despite the downpours of rain in the last two hours which led to them being drenched by the time they finished. They were joined on their run by Haldon Trail runner Lizzie Dyson who greatly assisted with the much needed navigation skills required for the run. Rob Hicks could also be found haring around the 600s an hour or so earlier!

Many thanks to Jane for the run report