Round three of the Westward League Cross Country took place on Sunday, on a cold but very dry day. The venue for this event was in the playing fields and woods adjoining the Exeter Arena, and included within it were the Devon Championships. Injury and illness made for a few last minute changes to our men’s team but all the runners put in great efforts and ran well. Andy Vallance was the first of the men and the only male to have entered the Championships, coming home in 31.25 giving him 14th place in the Championships and 2nd in his age category. Matt Pitson was next with another good run in 32.00 and Rob Kelly in 33.08. Hugh Robinson ran nearly the whole race with Chris Turner on his heels, but he managed to hold him off right to the finish with them clocking 33.56 and 33.59 respectively. Stuart May was next in 36.20 and George Haskell came home in 37.39.
The ladies race saw a doubling of ORC entries from the previous meeting in the senior ladies race, with six runners taking part, and Eleanor Marvin running in the under 15 age category. Again Molly Marvin was the first ORC home with a great run to finish in in 20.55, giving her a qualifying sixth place in her age category for the Devon Championships. Sarah Marvin followed her home in 21.24, coming 5th in her age group with Juliet Paterson next in 22.42. Anne Binns was next, pleased with her time of 23.22 in her first race back from injury, followed by Jane Jackson in 24.59 and Mags Jarvis in 27.07. Eleanor Marvin ran very well over the 3.9k course, against a fast field of very competitive under 15 entrants, to come home in 19th place in a time of 16.25.
December’s Run in the Park took place earlier that morning and we were pleased to see the cold weather has not scared the runners away – Santa even made a debut!
The fourth round of the Westward League is on 15th January at Westward Ho! ORC members can enter this race for free, you just need to wear a club vest or t-shirt. Please get in touch with Andy Vallance if you would like to take part. If you are in need of some club kit (or just want some more) please email ORC, with your name, kit request and size. Jane will bring your order along to club, where you can try it on and pay.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report
Bicton Blister & Downton Half Marathon
Posted by: Chris Turner 30th November 2016
Three ORCs took the trip down to Budleigh Salterton to take part in the Bicton Blister on Sunday. This popular multi-terrain 10 miler starts and finishes at Bicton College and is mostly on the sandy, stony and sometimes muddy paths of Woodbury Common and adjoining woodland. It was the first time any of them had done this race and all three enjoyed the it despite the cold day and chilly wind. Christine Frisch was the first home in 1.45.28, with Katy Speak next in 1.46.51 and Mags Jarvis in 1.49.39.
Hugh Robinson travelled even further to run in the Downton Half Marathon on the edge of the New Forest. This all road race takes in the the hills on the east of the Avon valley, with stunning views on a late autumn day. Hugh ran a great race and was pleased with his time of 1.26.41 to come 11th overall, despite it being hillier than he expected.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report.
Cornish Marathon & Kendal Mountain Festival
Posted by: Chris Turner 21st November 2016
Following a night of gale force winds and torrential rain, the skies cleared and the wind dropped to give perfect weather for the last autumn marathon of the season, the Cornish Marathon. This is Cornwall’s only all road marathon, which starts in Pensilva and takes the runners a scenic circular route to Jamaica Inn at Bolventor and back. Four ORCs took part this year with Roger putting in his usual good performance to come in ahead of his club mates in 3.21.30. Not far behind was Paul Carter in 3.25.00 and Andrew Thorne in 4.12. Unfortunately Rob Kelly had to pull out at mile 6 feeling unwell.
Merv took the long trip up to Cumbria for the Kendal Mountain Festival. This four day event is a celebration of all aspects of outdoor pursuits including running, cycling, climbing, and outdoor swimming. Included in the festival is the Adidas 10k trail race which starts in the town, taking the runners out to Scout Scar, then north along the escarpment before heading back into Kendal for the finish. The recent snow had not affected the going here, but made for stunning views of the snow-covered peaks of the higher fells. Merv completed the race in 57.13 and was pleased to come 2nd MV60 in such good fell running company.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report.
Westward League XC – Newquay
Posted by: Chris Turner 15th November 2016
The second round of the Westward League Cross Country series took place on Sunday. The race was held in Newquay, where last year runners had very wet and slippery going to deal with, but this year, despite the recent rain, the ground was still exceptionally dry with runners finishing without a trace of mud on them. For the first time since taking part in the league, ORC was represented by both senior men and senior women teams! The ladies race, over 5k, went first with the very talented Molly Marvin being the first ORC home to come in 63rd in an excellent 21.50 just two seconds ahead of her mum Sarah, who she out- sprinted in the finishing straight. This is Molly’s first venture in senior races and she did very well to cope with nerves and a cold. Jane Jackson was the third lady runner in the team and finished in 27.15.
There were six ORC men with the five best places to count for the team in the 8k men’s race. Pete Devenport put in a superb run to come home first for ORC in a very good time of 29.21, boosting the points for the men’s team with a great 17th place. Second was Andy Vallance finishing 49th in 31.45, overtaking Matt Pitson near the end, who came 50th in 31.48. Paul Crease was next in 32.14 (59th) with Stuart May in 35.01 (103rd) and George Haskell finishing his first Cross Country in a good 36.34 (116th).
The next round is in Exeter on 4th December. That’s two days before the Xmas meal so a good reason to run! Another is that this event is FREE for ORC members to take part – just let Andy Vallance know you would like to go and then turn up on the day with either your ORC vest or t-shirt. If you haven’t got any club gear, please get in touch with Jane Jackson and see what’s currently in stock!
Many thanks to Jane for the run report
Dart to Dart, Bideford 10, Drogo 10 & More!
Posted by: Chris Turner 8th November 2016
It was a busy weekend of racing for ORC this week which started with a night time race on Friday evening. Always looking for new challenges, Christine Fritsch took part in the Dart to Dart, the first of the Wild Night Run series of races. These are run on a mix of trails, paths and some road with runners using head torches to see by, although the route is marked with arrows and flashing lights. With a choice of a 5.5 mile, or an 8.5 mile course Christine chose the longer one, which turned out to be 9.5 miles after a course change. This was Christine’s first experience of night races and on a cold but clear night she thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness and solitude of it, finishing in 1.54.07.
The Bideford 10 Miler was the focus for most of the club’s members on Sunday with a huge turnout of 30 runners. Regarded as a fast, flat race with great personal best potential, the course takes runners out by road to Yelland and returns along the Tarka Trail. Being a coastal course, the possibility of a PB can be influenced by the weather on the day, but this year the gusty wind was from a favourable direction, behind the runners on the homeward stretch. First ORC home was Robert Kelly, continuing his excellent season of races with a great run and a PB in 1.00.45, to come 14th overall and followed by yet another terrific run from Roger Voaden in 1.01.11 to take second MV50. Third home was Andy Vallance in 1.01.37. ORCs ladies were headed by Katie Littlejohns with another PB in 1.13.09, winning the senior ladies category and bettering her own club record at the distance by 5 minutes. Second lady ORC home was Charlotte Radnor in 1.23.03 and third was Jo-Anne Turner with another PB in 1.17.56. The ladies were definitely on form with Katie, Charlotte and Claire Stanbury (1.24.38. PB) taking the first Senior Ladies Team prize and Jackie Dawes setting a new club age group record. Seventeen ORCs clocked new PB’s and several were running this distance for the first time, including Jane Richardson, setting herself a new challenge at the age of 67!
Other ORC times; Chris Turner; 1.04.28. PB, Stuart May; 1.09.17 PB, Jean-Paul Quertier; 1.11.33, Jason Ewing; 1.14.29. PB, John Binns; 1.19.34, Mike Westland 1.20.18, Jackie Dawes; 1.22.30. PB, Chris Fullford-Brown; 1.24.23, Graham Bryant; 1.26.42, Lucy Brint; 1.30.38. PB, Anne Binns; 1.30.42, Nicola Smith; 1.31.32. PB, Caroline Wilson; 1.33.36. PB, Joanne Burrow; 1.38.05.PB, Rachael Haydon; 1.38.05. PB, Emma Kellerher; 1.42.04, Janet White; 1.46.29, Ruth Bushell; 1.49.12. PB, Jane Richardson 1.50.36. PB, Jessica Corcoran; 1.50.56, Angela Hatten; 1.50.56. PB, Claire Sprague; 1.53.37. Sarah Bell; 1.55.34. PB.
Another popular local race, the Drogo 10, unfortunately clashed with the Bideford 10 this year. Normally held later in the month, the Drogo 10 offers about 9.5miles of hilly trails through the grounds of Castle Drogo and Fingle Woods. The good autumn weather has left the normally muddy paths in an unusually dry condition, but with the trees still showing spectacular colours, the runners had plenty to distract them from the pain of the infamous Hunter’s Path hill. Five ORCs took part this year with Pete Devenport giving an outstanding performance to finish fifth overall in 1.03.40, followed by Geoff Hill also running well in 1.11.07. Next was Jeremy Tandy who clocked 1.15.11 and Matt Bailey 1.15.43, with Alan Luffingham completing in 1.54.26.
Just two ORCs chose a different ten mile race to try. Carole Cornwall and Katy Speak ran the Templar Ten, a multi terrain course through the grounds of Stover School and the beautiful Stover Country Park, finishing together in 1hr 46mins.
Further afield, Mags took part in the Age UK Leeds Abby Dash. With many
international runners and an entry of over 9,000 this is one of the most well known and fastest 10k road races in the country. In very cold and windy conditions, Mags did extremely well to finish in 55.43, gaining a diamond award.
Having barely had time to draw breath after his superb run at the Leicester marathon last week, Roger, along with Paul Carter, took on the Dartmoor Vale Marathon on Sunday. This is a two lap race, starting and finishing at the Newton Abbot Racecourse and takes the runners out to Chudleigh and then back along country lanes beside Ugbrooke Park. The course is relatively flat but has a hill at mile 11 which is then repeated at mile 22. Both were on terrific form again, with Roger coming home in 3.13.18 to finish second male and Paul not far behind in 3.15.04 for third male.
Having completed a novice triathlon earlier this year, Mags tackled her first duathlon Sunday which was held in the grounds of Dartington Hall near Totnes. Competing at the sprint distance, the race begins with a 5k road run, followed by a 20k bike leg and finishes with a 2.5k cross-country run. With her sole aim being to complete, Mags did very well, finishing in 1.49.11, to come second in the “Vintage” (60+) category.
Chris Turner travelled a long way to find a really muddy challenge on Saturday at the Rocksolid Race in Milton Keynes. Staged in Silverstone Woods, this mud run and obstacle course is where the Rocksolid races started and here are some of the most inventive and difficult obstacles to be tackled, most of which involve getting wet and muddy. With choices of 5k, 10k and 15k, Chris opted for the longest route, thankfully finishing unscathed in 2hours 30mins.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report.
Tavy 7, Leicester and Abingdon Marathons
Posted by: Chris Turner 27th October 2016
The Tavy 7, one of the oldest established races in the local race calendar, took place on Sunday. Always a much loved and popular race, this year it was sold out well in advance of the day. An impressive turnout from ORC saw fifteen members take part this year in beautiful sunny, if somewhat windy conditions. Despite being on the edge of Dartmoor, the course is relatively flat and fast, with an uphill climb to just over mile two, followed by a long downhill before a gently undulating run along country lanes and open moorland. First ORC home was Andrew Vernon in 47.52, followed by John Binns in 55.00 and the first lady ORC, Charlotte Radnor in 55.57. Other ORC times; Keri Quertier; 58.45, Abby Metherall; 58.45, Heidi Wills; 59.30, Emma Dean; 59.36, Becca Ewing; 59.36, Katy Speak; 1.02.55, Ged Fitzgibbon; 1.03.11, Lucy Brint; 1.05.15, Cathy Carey; 1.05.15, Lucy Marrison; 1.05.15, Janet White; 1.16.40 (2nd FV65). Unfortunately Lotte Smith had to retire after being stung by a wasp on her leg and needing medical attention.
Further afield Okehampton’s most prolific marathon runner, Roger Voaden, continued his autumn marathon season with a superb run at the Leicester Marathon. Despite his consistently fast times, Roger has never run a sub-three hour marathon outside of his London Marathon runs, but in good conditions he ran a terrific race to finish in 2.58.27, coming 16th overall and 2nd MV50.
Nick Seccombe also took on a marathon on the Sunday. The Abingdon Marathon was first held 35 years ago and, over time, has built a reputation for being a fast, flat course with PB potential, and entries are always sold out within a couple months of going on sale. In perfect conditions Nick did achieve a PB, despite not having the best run-up to the marathon having only recently started at University, he had a great run to finish in 3.10.34.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report
Great West Run, Eden Half & Westward League
Posted by: Chris Turner 19th October 2016
ORC was out in force in Exeter on Sunday to take part in the Great West Run Half Marathon. With the early rain clearing to a bright, sunny autumn day, the conditions were perfect for both the runners and the many spectators along the route. Almost 3,000 took part this year and included amongst them was Olympic Medallist Jame Cracknell. The course, which takes the runners through the heart of the city, is quite hilly and not renowned as a PB half marathon, however ORC’s thrive on hills, and five of them achieved some excellent personal bests. First of these was Matt Pitson who stormed round to come 15th overall in a brilliant time of 1.20.29. Roger Voaden was the next home in 1.23.11, followed by Rob Kelly with another good run in 1.24.37. Katie Littlejohns, who has had great success this summer with off road races on Dartmoor, proved that she could still be quick over the city runs, to be the first lady ORC home in a very good 1.39.59.
Other ORC times: Geoff Hill; 1.25.18 (PB), Stuart May; 1.32.11, Jean-Paul Quertier; 1.38.48, George Haskell; 1.39.35 (PB), Andrew Thorne; 1.42.31, Mark Hawkins; 1.42.09 (PB), Charlotte Radnor; 1.47.10, Mike Westland; 1.54.27, Chris Fullford Brown; 1.59.05, Claire Kelly; 2.09.12, Rachael Haydon; 2.11.32 (PB), Claire Sprague; 2.39.48, Sarah Bell; 2.44.40.
Christine Fritsch travelled in the other direction to take part in the Eden Half Marathon. Starting from the iconic Eden Project, the course here is a challenging mix of tarmac and trail with plenty of ups and downs and takes the runners through some spectacular scenery, from lunar-like clay quarries to lush green valleys. Christine loves this type of course, and after finishing in 2.17.22, said she would be back to do it again next year.
The previous Sunday saw the start of the new season of Westward League cross-country races. This is a series of six races held once a month, with men running 8k and ladies 5k, the first race being held in Plymouth. With very dry conditions this was not one of the typically muddy, hilly courses but there was a big turnout for the first race and we had six runners taking part. Matt Pitson was the first home coming 39th in 33.36, with Andy Vallance just five places behind in 34.02. Paul Crease was next in 35.09, Geoff Hill in 36.39, Stuart May in 38.08 and Chris Turner, with the Bournemouth marathon the week before still in his legs, in 39.42.
Saturday four ORCs took part in a team triathlon at Roadford Lake. The event took place from the Activity Centre on the lakeside and started with a 400m swim, followed by a 13k cycle and finished with a 3.5k run. With 90 teams taking part, Tim Watson, Dave Mugliston, Sarah Marvin and Juliette Paterson did extremely well, coming second in their age category just four seconds behind the winners, with Dave closing down on the last member of the winning team right to the end.
The autumn marathon season saw three more ORCs taking on the 26.2mile challenge at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival on Sunday. Seasoned marathon runners, Chris Turner and Graham Bryant, were joined by marathon rookie Mark Hawkins on a glorious day that was perfect for trip to the seaside, but a bit too hot for marathon running. This year’s race was started by Ben Smith who is nearing the end of his challenge to run the equivalent of 401 marathons in 401 days, and the course takes the runners along the seafront between Boscombe and Bournemouth with beautiful coastal views but not much shade. Despite the heat, Chris Turner had a great race to finish first of the three in 3.28.08, setting a new PB by just over a minute. Mark Hawkins had struggled with the training, having only run his first half marathon this year, but had managed all the mileage, before pulling a hamstring with just 18 days to go. Rest and physio treatment made it possible for him to run and he was very relieved to complete in a great time of 4.02.01 and in doing so raised a large sum of money for Children’s Hospice South West and the Devon Air Ambulance. Sadly Graham Bryant was forced to retire after a shoelace broke.
The Delicious Drake’s Trail is an untimed trail run, not a race, with a difference. The runners are taken on a gastronomic tour of the western fringes of Dartmoor between Tavistock and Yelverton sampling locally produced food and drink, including beer, wine, savouries and sweets, along the 11.5 mile route. With only 300 places available, 15 ORCs managed to secure places and embraced the fancy dress “sporting heroes”
Loch Ness, Bristol, Barnstaple and more!
Posted by: Chris Turner 28th September 2016
It’s been a very busy week for ORC members with races in many different venues including Loch Ness, Bristol, Barnstaple, Bovey Tracey and Newton Abbot. The annual 5k handicap race was held on Thursday in Simmons Park, which followed the course used on monthly Run in the Park. The race saw an extremely tight finish with Christine Fritsch getting to within 5 seconds of Kerry Morashti who led from start to finish, putting in an excellent sprint over the last 20m. Third in was George Haskell who overtook a good number of runners and the fastest over the course was Matt Pitson.
Coe has been very busy over the last few months preparing for autumn marathons and the first two of these were held this weekend. Geoff Hill had the furthest journey travelling up to the Scottish Highlands to take part in the Loch Ness Marathon. The route began near Fort Augustus and continued through breath taking scenery, going along the south-eastern shores of Loch Ness (Nessie was not seen!), across the River Ness, and into the centre of Inverness, capital city of the Highlands, for the finish. This was Geoff’s first marathon and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience despite getting cramp for part of the route. He finished the course in a very good time of 3:41:50.
The second marathon was much closer to home in Barnstaple. The race course was fairly flat, some of it along the Tarka Trail. Four ORCs took part and they found the route a little windy in places. However, all finished the race with very good times. Rob Kelly was the first ORC to finish in 3:08, followed by Roger Voaden in 3:12, Paul Carter in 3:16 and Andy Vallance in 3.20, who did particularly well as his preparation was severely hampered by an injury (not to mention carrying a fellow competitor for a mile to an ambulance!). Also at Barnstaple was a half marathon which was entered by three ORC ladies who all had a good race. First home was Jackie Dawes in a personal best of 1:52:36, followed by Claire Stanbury in 1:56:19, also a personal best and Lucy Brint finished in 2:10:14.
A second half marathon race was the Great Bristol. Stuart May, Becca Ewing and Jason Ewing travelled to Bristol to take part in the most recent addition to the Great Run Series, with over 10,000 other runners. All three produced very good times. Stuart ran strongly to finish in 1:35:21 while Jason and his wife Becca matched each other well, both finishing in 1:42:16, which was a personal best for Becca.
Sarah Marvin went to Newton Abbot for the ladies’ 10k race which followed a scenic route along undulating, quiet rural lanes. It was Sarah’s first 10k; in fact it was her first road race ever, having previous experience on the track. She thoroughly enjoyed it, finding the marshals hugely friendly and supportive and finished 16th overall in a great time of 46:37.
Christine Fritsch decided that after taking part in the challenging 8 mile Bude Pirate Run a couple of weeks ago she would like to try the Bovey Beauty. This is a 10 mile fell race including 560m of climbing over tough and hilly terrain, through some of the most rugged and remote areas of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Also taking part were Rob Hicks and Paul Crease. Rob had a storming run finishing second overall and he won the senior male group with a time of 1:22:26. Paul had a great run finishing fourth overall and third in the M40 age group in 1:26:24. Christine also had a good run finishing in 2:09:59.