Club news

A Marathon weekend

A weekend of many Marathon’s, Snowdonia National Park, Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park. All very diverse terrains, scenery and challenge. Impressive performances all around.

Calling all beginners! Please take note as you start your journey into the runners world, toying with your own goals and ambitions everything is possible. Liam Keen joined the club in September, having only started running in April, pushing himself until he was able to run 5k so that he could join one of the club groups. He did extremely well to complete his first ever race in the Dartmoor Vale 10k in 58.00 and is now looking to take on other challenges.

On Saturday, Roger Voaden and Chris Aylen made the long journey to North Wales to take part in the Snowdonia Marathon. For Chris, this was his third visit to the race, but for Roger it was a new marathon to try out. The first Snowdonia Marathon was held in 1982, and was conceived as an alternative to the many city and town races that were becoming so popular. The spectacular route, encircling Wales’ highest peak, has made this a must do event for marathon runners and this year over 2,500 people took part. With two huge climbs in the course, the total ascent is 823 metres, meaning that if it was run on the flat, the distance would be 29.3miles. A slightly misty day meant that the tops of the mountains weren’t visible, but the scenery was still very impressive. Both runners enjoyed their runs with Roger clocking another excellent time for such a difficult course to finish in 3.23.06 and coming 6th MV50, while Chris Aylen completed in 4.55.31.

Sunday saw Paul Carter, Rob Kelly and Chris Turner all take part in the Sibelco Dartmoor Vale Marathon much closer to home. This is a two lap race along country lanes, starting and finishing at the Newton Abbot Racecourse. The course is relatively flat but has quite a hill at mile 6 which is then repeated at mile 18. Paul Carter ran a superb race to finish in 3.15.53, coming 6th overall and first MV50. Chris Turner, who is setting new personal bests with every race recently, also put in an incredible run to come home in 3.19.23, improving on his current PB by nearly eight minutes and finishing 11th overall. Rob Kelly also had a good run, finishing only four places behind Chris in 3.23.47.

Geoff Hill had withdrawn from the full marathon here, having had to take a break from training due to injury. He felt fit enough to run the half marathon however and was running very well up to mile ten, when he started to feel the lack of training. His pace slowed but he still completed in a very good time of 1.35.07 to come second MV40.

Completing the list of marathoners on Sunday was Robert Richards. He had set himself a huge challenge by taking on the Exmoor Trail Marathon as his first ever marathon. Starting in the beautiful Doone Valley, this is a very tough trail run with open moorlands, wooded valleys and coastal paths, encompassing some stunning scenery but accredited with the steepest marathon climb in the country, with the total ascent for the marathon being nearly 5,000ft. Robert loved the whole thing and did himself and the club proud by finishing within his target time of six hours, completing in 5.49.57, to come third in the MV50 age group.

And for something different…. Mags Jarvis took on a different discipline on Sunday when she competed in the Dartington Duathlon, held in the grounds of Dartington Hall, Totnes. Competing in the Sprint distance, she started with a 5k road run, followed by a 20k bike ride and finally a 2.5k off road run. Mags had done this race last year and was very pleased to find she was nearly four minutes faster this time round, finishing in 1.45.54. This year Mags was the oldest female competitor, coming second in the “Vintage” (60+) age category.

Many thanks to Jane Jackson for the run report and Robert Richards for the editing

Tavy 7 and the Edinburgh Marathon Festival tour

It was another top draw performance from our amazing club this weekend with a huge turnout for the Tavy 7, records tumbling, team success’s across the board and much further afield a more sedate running experience in Edinburgh.

At the Tavy 7 on Sunday, the remnants of Storm Brian failed to stop our runners from putting in some great performances. The 7 mile course is surprisingly fast, all on roads except for the start and finish which are into a field. This popular race had record entries this year, despite the continued threat of showers that was ever present the wind was brutal on the exposed sections of the course. With the wet conditions the start was delayed 15mins to allow runners to safely navigate the parking area and get to the start point. Unfortunately the gateway had become a quagmire with vehicles and foot traffic through it, so runners were slowed to a ‘tiptoe through the mud’ pace on the way out and sprint finishes were delayed on the return. Nineteen of our runners competed this year and what an awesome display and a brilliant team effort.

First Male home for the club was Roger Voaden in 45.06, using this race as a final week’s taper before he runs the Snowdonia Marathon next weekend. Just one runner separated him from fellow club mate Graham Bryant, coming back to form to finish in 45.36 with Andy Vernon next in 47.54. These three, together with Ed Dumpleton who was next in 49.29, made up Okehampton’s Men’s Team who took 1st place.

The ladies were headed by Katie Littlejohns, for once leaving her usual off road moorland running and putting in a great run to finish in 50.37, setting a new club record for the distance. New club member Jennie Bruce, running her first ever race, is proving to be a great prospect for the future, having a natural talent which meant that despite very little training and no race experience at all she put in a great performance to finish in 53.25. Third home was Monika Richards finishing in 59.35. Katie, Monika and Jane Jackson made up Okehampton’s Ladies’ Team also scooping 1st prize, with Jennie’s time not being included having entered before joining the club.

The more senior members certainly did the club and themselves proud with Jane Jackson’s time of 1.00.40 won her the 1st FV60 prize and was also a new club record for her age category. Ged Fitzgibbon taking the 2nd MV65 prize in a time of 1.01.53, bettering his own club record for the distance set last year at the same venue. Janet White also had a better run this year with her time of 1.13.52 winning her the 2nd FV65 trophy. Jane Richardson is still on a roll with some impressive runs recently. Having knocked 8 minutes off her half marathon PB at the Great West Run last week, she ran another PB, here coming home in 1.14.31 to take the 3rd FV65 prize.

Other times; Mike Baker; 50.39, Claire Stanbury; 1.02.33, David Slocombe; 1.02.59, Lucy Brint; 1.05.04, Cathy Carey; 1.05.04, Jo Camies; 1.05.06, Emma Dean; 1.05.23, Lotte Smith; 1.12.25.

Much further afield and proving that running as a hobby is not all about competing or pitting yourself against the elements Tracey Mills and Rachel Holland along with some friends took to a more relaxed jog around the beautiful sights of Edinburgh. Conquering Arthurs seat among other historic sites with the Edinburgh Marathon Festival running tours was a precursor to afternoon tea!

With the winter season shortly over the horizon, head torches, warmer clothing and impressive headgear is the order of the day and the winner this week in the amazing head gear category at the Tavy 7 goes to….. Mike Baker.

Many thanks to Jane Jackson for the run report

The Great West Run and the Eden Project

What a fantastic weekend of Club running! A cracking performance from everyone taking part in races this weekend, the energy and desire was evident to see. We had over 17 clubs members taking part in two major events this weekend. Exeter hosted the Great West Run, a half marathon and at the Eden Project, both a marathon and half marathon.

The Great West Run is a popular race and always attracts a big entries and this year with over 2,900 finishers. The course changed slightly with the race starting and finishing in Exeter Arena for the first time, taking in the city centre, the university and country lanes through Stoke Woods.

There were some great performances from the club with four managing PB’s on this tough and quite hilly course. First home for the club was Rob Kelly, having a fantastic run to finish in 1.23.12. Next home was Chris Turner, who has improved off the scale in the last 12 months, his time of 1.25.56 giving him a new PB. Geoff Hill, still trying to stay one step ahead of the injuries that plague his races, ran well to finish a respectable 1.30.48, with George Haskell coming home in 1.35.45, having struggled to get his pace right throughout.

Okehampton’s first ladies were the next in, with Heidi Wills and Jackie Dawes running together and their time of 1.52.55 being a new PB for Heidi.

Robert Richards was delighted with his finishing time of 1.57.13, a new PB, beating his previous one set over 25 years ago! Robert is currently training for the Exmoor Marathon in two weeks’ time and says the club has really helped him with his training. Mike Westland gave his usual 100% despite having had a long injury layoff and finished in 2.00.41. Jo Bradford had been disappointed with her first half marathon run at Barnstaple three weeks ago due to being unwell, but had a better time here, running with club mate Viki Heyer, and the pair finishing in 2.06.26 to give Jo a new PB. Katie Bolt was running her first half marathon here and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, coming home in 2.34.16.
Other times included; Deborah Cunningham; 2.15.39, Vicky Hall; 2.17.47, Jane Richardson; 2.26.59, Cathy Carey; 2.30.38, Claire Sprague; 2.37.08, Sarah Bell; 2.57.43.

At the Eden Project in Cornwall there were three club runners, two in the full marathon and one in the half. Both these routes follow challenging multi-terrain courses, taking the runners through the spoil heaps known as the “Cornish Alps”, the former Luxulyan granite works, now reclaimed by nature and the Eden Project itself set in the former clay pit. In the full marathon Karen Skye put in a terrific performance over a very muddy course to come home in 3.59.27 to be fourth Lady and first in her age group. Lucy Skye’s race didn’t go quite so well after struggling with a virus all week but she was happy to complete in 4.28.37.

In the half marathon lone Abi Colton ran a good race finishing just outside her sub-2 hour target in 2.02.54.

Many thanks to Jane Jackson for the run report

Plymouth 10k and Westward League XC begins

The first meeting of the Westward League Cross-Country Championships took place at Stover School on Sunday and we had a full team for both the men’s and the ladies’ races. Following non-stop rain the previous day it was hard to believe how dry the course was and the glorious sunshine made it feel unseasonal for one of these fixtures, more typically held under grey winter skies. In fact the heat made this tough course even harder than usual, especially for the men running the longer course in the hottest part of the day.

The ladies race was unfortunately marred by a huge and uncharacteristic marshalling error. Five ORC ladies ran but due to confusion over how many loops of parts of the course runners had completed, they all ended up running different distances. First back was Monika Richards who, through no fault of her own, had not completed the full distance, followed by Sarah Marvin who, it turned out later had run the correct course, although this was well over the normal 5k for the ladies. Jane Jackson was next, running a full 5k and longer course than Monika but not the actual course, and then Gill Spinney who like Sarah had been sent in the correct direction. Jo Bradford had to retire after twisting her knee. As it stands the organisers have decided to keep the race results over voiding the entire race.

Our representative in the under 15 girls category, Issy Edworthy lost out due to a marshalling error as despite having a straightforward 2 lap course, the runners were turned in to the finish after just one lap. This undoubtedly affected the results, as despite the fact they had all run the same distance, those with greater endurance who had paced their race for two laps would not have been so well placed.

The men’s race went better, although the organisers had changed their course to avoid more mix-ups, but it seemed to work and they all completed nearly a full 10k. Team captain Paul Crease, who is really on-form at present, was the first home for the club with Andy Vallance just nine places behind. Another on-form runner, Rob Kelly was next, overtaking club-mate Rob Hicks whose 100 mile Ultra two weeks ago didn’t stop him putting in a good run round this ‘sprint’ of a course! These four were all well placed giving the club a good start to the overall league positions. Good runs were put in by the others too with Chris Turner next and Paul Carter immediately behind him, followed by Graham Bryant, Geoff Hill, then Phil Read, who was trying out the cross-country for the first time, as was Andy Humberstone who came in behind him.

Just one other ORC was racing on Sunday. Catherine Walker went down to Plymouth to take part in the popular Plymouth 10k. This is one of the largest 10ks in the south west, where runners do an out-and- back course starting in Princess Way. With an early start the runners weren’t affected by the heat felt by those running at Stover. Catherine had only run her first 10k two weeks before at the tough Killerton course and found the flatter road race much more to her liking. She ran very well to finish in 1.03.56 and set a huge personal best.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report

Glencoe Gathering, Plym Trail Marathon and Lanhydrock 10

After last weekend’s busy schedule of races, there were just two marathons that were the focus for ORC this weekend. Three ORCs, Mervyn Rice, Christine Fritsch and Gavin Punchard took on the challenging Glencoe Marathon in Scotland. Merv did have a previous off-road marathon under his belt, although that had been a learning curve for him, but for Christine this was her first marathon of any sort. This is an epic trail run that ascends a total of 1,608 metres through the heart of Glencoe and into the foothills of Ben Nevis. The route takes the runners through the pass of Glencoe before climbing 500 metres up the fearsome Devil’s Staircase, before dropping back to sea level at Kinlochleven.  There is then more climbing until the descent into Glen Nevis and the base of the UK’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. A spectacular race in good conditions, but on Sunday there was rain all day, turning the paths into rivers and making the going slippery and more boggy even than normal. Gavin, who had provided much assistance to Merv in preparation for this race, completed in a good time of 5:18:29. Merv ran a very good race completing in 5:24:01 and second in the age group, while Christine went wrong at the end of the race, adding another mile to the already long distance and finished in 6:14:50. All were pleased to complete such a challenging race.

Much nearer home Roger Voaden took part in the Plym Trail Marathon. This race is organised by firstandlastrunning who, following the success of their events in the spring over this course, have put on another weekend of half and full marathons. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the runners do a double out-and- back on the popular Cycle Route 27. Despite the rain Roger had a great run finishing in 3.24.00 to take second place.

The previous weekend, four ORCs took part in the Lanhydrock 10. Organised by the National Trust this is a lovely, undulating 10 mile multi-terrain run around the spectacular Lanhydrock estate that takes the runners along woodland paths and parkland. Jackie Dawes and Juliet Paterson ran together, finishing together in 1.36.23 and Carole Cornwall also had a good run coming home in 1.52.06. Unfortunately Katy Speak had to retire form the race with an injury.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report