A big weekend of races saw ORC members taking part in events as far apart as Scotland and Paris, but also in many more local races too. The type of races encompassed just about everything from road races to fell races, multi-terrain runs and an extremely challenging ultra marathon.
Nearest to home was the Barnstaple Marathon and Half Marathon. This race is now in its fourth year, and following feedback from previous years, the marathon course has been changed so that the runners complete the somewhat lonely Chivenor section of the race in the first half meaning they can benefit from the support of the spectators in the later stages. The course is a fast, flat route around the Taw estuary with lovely coastal scenery, but this also means it can be a bit exposed to the elements. Conditions though were good this year where Roger Voaden was the only ORC to run the full marathon, finishing in a slightly below par 3.30.20. In the half marathon fortunes were mixed, with Graham Bryant first ORC home, finishing in a great time of 1.34.59, while Tracey Mills was first lady ORC, running an impressive PB to finish in 1.57.06. Jo Bradford had trained well for this as it was her first half marathon, but had been ill in the run up to it and finished in 2.08.02, a good time but outside her sub-2hour target. Viki Heyer and Rachel Holland were also slightly disappointed with their runs, finishing in 2.04.00, and 2.15.49 respectively.
Geoff Hill was one to travel a long way for a race, venturing up to Lochness for his second go at the stunningly beautiful Lochness marathon. Geoff ran this race last year but had been injured and had been disappointed with his run. Unfortunately he had suffered injury again and his training had been far from ideal, so he was pleased to knock 10mins off last year’s time, finishing in a very good 3.31.59.
Two ORCs, Caroline Wilson and Nicola Leach, made an even longer journey, but the rewards were high for their trip to Disneyland Paris. They took part in the Disneyland Paris Magic Run Weekend, where they started on Friday with a 5k race, followed by a 10k on Saturday and finishing with a half marathon on Sunday. Here they ran through the Disney Parks and the surrounding countryside with Disney characters to cheer them on. For each of the races they received impressive bespoke medals, with an extra medal for completing the whole series of runs. Caroline also received another award, the Castle to Chateaux medal given to runners who have run a half marathon in Disneyland Paris and America in the same years.
Nearer home, four lady ORCs represented the club at the Bovey Beauty, a tough 10mile fell race across some of the most rugged and remote areas of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. The reputation of the Bovey Beauty as a challenging route in spectacular scenery attract athletes from all corners of Devon and this year there was a record entry. First home for the club was Jo Anne Turner, running a good time of 2.00.30, not far ahead of Gill Spinney in 2.02.15. Christine Fritsch was running this as her last taper run before taking on the Glencoe Mountain Marathon next weekend, so took this at a steady pace, running with Jane Jackson and finishing together in 2.19.27, with Jane winning the FV60 category.
There was another tough and hilly off roader not many miles away at Killerton where again there were four ladies from the club running. Here there was a choice of a half marathon or a 10k organised by Relish Running. Always preferring off road races, Sarah Marvin chose this as her first half marathon, and, despite it being very muddy and hilly, she ran extremely well to finish in 2.09.26 to be fifth lady home and win her age category. In the 10k, Abi Colton was the first ORC home in a good time given the testing course of 1.03.39. She was followed by Catherine Walker who only joined the club a month ago and had never done a race of this sort before. She did well to finish in 1.23.11 while Debbie Miller, who had started the race with a slight problem in her calf and was forced to walk most of the last mile, was pleased to have completed at all coming home in 1.28.58.
Tough races don’t come much harder however than the Ultra marathon, the Cotswold Century, that Rob Hicks took on this weekend. This extremely challenging race, with over 12,500ft of ascent follows the Cotswold Way from north to south, starting in Chipping Camden and finishing at Bath Abbey, 102 miles later. With a midday start on Saturday Rob had to run a greater portion of the race in the dark than in the light. Thankfully the conditions were good with the ground firm and dry and Rob ran a brilliant race, moving gradually up the field to finish in fifth place in a very impressive but mind-boggling time of 22hrs 28mins, well inside the thirty hour completion limit.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report
Beginners Group Starts 3rd October
Posted by: Chris Turner 21st September 2017
Each year we run a beginners group, the aim of which is to provide non-runners with the opportunity to try it out and get running up to 5k.
This year the group will start on 3rd October and it will run every week for 8 weeks. It will be on each Tuesday, meeting from 6:15pm at the Rugby club in Okehampton to start at 6:30pm for up to an hour. The cost for the 8 weeks is £10.
All you need to do is turn up ready to give it a go!
Bristol Half Marathon and Dingle Marathon
Posted by: Chris Turner
The Bristol Half Marathon was the destination for 5 ORCs last Sunday. With the appalling weather of Saturday clearing away, the runners were lucky to have good conditions for the race which is in its third year as part of the Great run series. It attracts up to 10,000 runners wanting to enjoy the fast, flat course and the great atmosphere this race has with music all along the route. Ed Dumpleton was the first ORC home, running a excellent race to knock an incredible five minutes off his current PB, to finish in 1.35.43. It is almost exactly a year ago that Ed first took up running since leaving school, when he joined the beginners group at the club, and with hard work and dedication he has risen through the groups to now run with the fastest runners. Next home was Jason Ewing who also had a great race and achieved a new PB by finishing in 1.40.25, followed by Jayne Peachey who had done little training specifically for this race, but still came home in a very good 1.47.33. Ged Fitzgibbon was next in 2.03.04 and Rachael Haydon completed in 2.16.57, thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.
Two weeks previously Andrew Thorne took part in the Dingle Marathon in Ireland. Known as Ireland’s most scenic marathon, the course designed for runners to enjoy the breath taking scenery and rugged coastline of Slea Head and the Dingle Peninsular. Set in this sort of location it was not the easiest of course with some challenging sections and a tough uphill climb at mile 22, but despite this and the heavy rain in the second half Andrew still managed to complete in under his target time of 4hours, finishing in 3.55.36.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report
Sourton Tors and Bude Pirate Run
Posted by: Chris Turner 18th September 2017
The 4th and last of our Summer Series races took place last Wednesday evening. The Sourton Tor race is a traditional up and down fell race, starting and finishing at the Bearslake Inn, Lake. It always has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, with the opportunity for runners gather afterwards in the pub and chew over the race together. With the distance of the race being a mere 2.6 miles it is surprising how far some competitors travel to take part, with club runners from Bournemouth, Truro, and Axe Valley this year. Last year’s winner, Toby Chapman returned to defend his title, which he did with ease while setting a new course record of 19.06. Rob Kelly was the first ORC home, taking a break from his more usual road racing, to finish in 21.59. Next home, in 28.29, was Phil Read, who only joined the club as a beginner less than 12 months ago, but he has really embraced moorland running and has completed three of the four summer series races. Jane Jackson was next, enjoying an outing on the moors after four months off due to injury and finishing in 32.43, just 5 seconds ahead of Jo-Anne Turner, Karen Vallance and Jayne Peachey who ran together.
With gale force winds and rain forecast for Sunday it didn’t look to be the best day for a coastal race, but the Bude Pirate run went ahead and the runners found the conditions not quite as bad as expected. The rain held off and although very blustery, the conditions underfoot weren’t too bad either. Starting near Crooklets Beach in Bude, this 8 mille race heads north on the coast path before turning inland where it follows woodland tracks before retuning to the coast at Duckpool and heading back to Bude. With stunning coastal scenery, it is however a tough race even on a good day, with the first three miles being almost entirely uphill. The steepest ascent though is on the return part of the course where walking is as quick as attempting to run. Two ORCs took part this year with John Binns enjoying a good run to finish in 1.14.30. Despite the conditions, Mags Jarvis also put in a great run to finish over 5 minutes faster than last year in a time of 1.29.56.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report
Dartmoor Highground Marathon, Treggy 7and More
Posted by: Chris Turner 11th September 2017
The first weekend of autumn saw some more challenging off road races for ORC. There were three options of distances for those taking part in the Dartmoor Highground Races, organised by Freedom Racing on Saturday. All starting from the Pavillion in Simmons Park, there was a 10 mile Yes Tor race, the Dartmoor Marathon and the Dartmoor 50 Ultra. These were all fully waymarked and supported races, but with the feel of a fell race, where runners crossed open moorland, scaled the highest points in the south of England, and also went over many lesser known Tors. Two ORCs took on the marathon distance with Mike Baker having trained specifically for it through the summer and Chris Turner just entering on impulse on the day, having had a great run over the 34mile Crossing Ultra the week before. With Yes Tor being visited twice in the course and a total ascent of 5,000ft this was a very tough marathon, with difficult terrain to be negotiated. Sadly Mike didn’t have a good run and had to retire at mile 17, but Chris had a great race, and, despite the miles in his legs from the previous weekend, finished in an excellent time of 4.48.17 to be 5th overall and 4th male.
On the same day three ORCs took part in another fell race on the moors, the Beer and Bacon Fell Run. This was described by last year’s inaugural race finishers as proper fell running, not on paths, but across open terrain, crossing streams, bogs and boulder fields with a total ascent of over 1,100ft. Starting at the Fox and Hounds the runners follow a five mile circular route, taking in Brat Tor, Doe Tor, Hare Tor, Chat Tor and Great Links Tor before returning to the finish at the Fox and Hounds. The first ORC home was Mervyn Rice, now in the late stages of his training for the Glencoe marathon, who had a good run to finish in 55.54. Next home was Gill Spinney coming home in 1.06.00 with Debs Crome finishing in 1.11.28.
In contrast to the good conditions for the runners on Saturday, the Treggy 7 was held in appalling weather the following day. Hosted by Launceston Road Runners this is a popular but hilly seven mile road race which follows a circular route from Launceston Town square and finishes in the grounds of Launceston Castle. Heavy rain before and during the race made for wet feet even before the runners set off, but in places the roads were so flooded competitors had to wade through quite deep water. Jane Richardson and Janet White were not deterred by the weather and ran well, coming home in 1.15.50 and 1.16.12 respectively.
Jackie Dawes was dedicated enough to take her running gear with her when she and her family went on holiday to Malaysia and Singapore. Jackie is raising money for Alzheimers Research UK, and is constantly updating her mileage to her fundraising page, aiming to raise £400. She ran the West Coast Parkrun in Singapore, taking ORC colours to a new part of the world. In 30 degrees heat, despite the race starting at 7.30am, she finished in 27.32. Jackie was also named Runner of the Week for the Running Down Dementia Campaign.