Club news

Couch to 5k successes and couple of others

Last week saw the end of the club’s Couch to 5k beginners course and it was finished off on Sunday with an opportunity for these new runners to put themselves to the test and complete a 5k timed run on the Granite Way. It wasn’t a race, just a chance for them to prove to themselves that they had come a long way from when they started 10 weeks ago. A 5k course was measured out, starting near Prewley with the runners heading towards Okehampton and turning at Meldon Viaduct for the return half. On a cold and grey morning it was good to see twelve of the Pavey group turn out to give themselves the chance to run a continuous 5k and be awarded with a certificate upon completion of their run. Every one of them completed in under 38 minutes with Jim Fitton finishing in under thirty and all were delighted with their efforts and we now look forward to them starting their transition into the club.

After these runners had completed their time trial another one was held for other ORC members to run for their club awards. Twelve runners also took part in this with several of them running new personal bests. These were Tom Andrews; 21.24, John Binns; 21.26, Katherine Murray; 24.11, and Paul Evison who not only set a new PB but also a new club record for the MV65 category with a time of 23.16, while one of the new junior members, Mathew Richards, ran his first 5k time trial, completing in a very respectable 20.54.

Merv Rice enjoyed a great run when he took part in the Adidas Terrex 10k which is held in conjunction with the Kendal Mountain Festival in Cumbria. Merv attends the festival most years where his son-in-law is the event manager and this year was blessed with beautiful weather to get out for a run on the surrounding fells. The race was started by Olympic Triathlete Jonathan Brownlee and the route took the runners out of town from the centre of Kendal, taking in the Tour of Britain finish climb, before heading off road to Scout Scar. Here they turned right along the escarpment where there were magnificent views across the Lyth Valley, before returning back to Kendal and down steep cobbled streets to the centre. Merv thoroughly enjoyed the chance to run in this beautiful area once again, finishing in 1.01.13.

One Lucky ORC found blue skies and sunshine to run in on Sunday. Jane Richardson took part in her third 10 mile race in three weeks when she ran the Bicton Blister in East Budleigh. The race starts and finishes at Bicton College with short road sections, but is mostly on forestry tracks and on the sandy and stony heathland paths of Woodbury Common. Jane had a very good run here, thankfully not adding any extra miles by getting lost as she had at the Drogo10 last week, to finish in 1.52.58.

Thank you Jane Jackson for your reporting.

Drogo 10, and some Smurfs.

The Drogo 10, another very popular local race, was the main focus for our runners last weekend. Set in the grounds of Castle Drogo and the beautiful Fingle Woods that fill the valley below it, this is a tough 10 miler with a some steep climbs, most memorably the brutal Hunters Path climb with nearly 450ft of ascent between miles 8 and 9. At this time of year the compensation for this effort are the the wonderful autumn colours, made more enjoyable by the sunshine and good conditions underfoot, making it a perfect day for running. The course had been slightly adjusted this year, extending it slightly to make it the full ten miles of its title. Thirteen Okehampton runners took part, the first home for the club being Alec Robinson, finishing in 1.23.04, while the first ORC ladies were Jo Page and Karen Vallance, coming home together in 1.36.45.

Other ORC times; Mike Baker; 1.26.12, Angus Farrelly; 1.43.31, Paul Evison; !.46.51, Robert Cunnington; 1.49.03, Christine Fritsch, 1.49.40, Mags Jarvis; 1.51.17, Janet White; 2.12.34, Ali Holiday; @.12.34, Danielle Fullford Brown; 2.19.01. Jane Richardson finished her “Drogo 11” in 2.20.39, having added an extra mile after unfortunately taking a wrong path along with a group of other runners.

There was a long journey to Bury St Edmunds in Norfolk on Sunday for marathon buddies Roger Voaden and Geoff Hill to take part in the Snetterton Race Track Marathon. The course is made up of six laps of the iconic race circuit, making for a flat, smooth and fast run but being very exposed to the cold easterly wind that was blowing this weekend. Lapped courses are never as easy to run as they sound but Roger has the experience to handle any marathon and came home to 3.27.13 to be 16th overall. Geoff tackles every marathon now with the promise that this will be his last, finishing here in 3.50.26 and vowing this will be his last EVER….watch this space!

Saturday provided a warm up to Sunday’s race for Jo Page when she took part in MoRunning’s Mo 10k in Exeter. This event, held on the Riverside Valley Park supports the Movember Foundation, a charity tackling men’s health, but the race is lighthearted with fancy dress encouraged and most runners sporting moustaches of various types. Jo ran with a friend and they finished in 53.20 to become proud owners of a moustache shaped medal.

On another lighthearted note, but with an equally important reason, several ORCs took part in Friday’s Children In Need fundraising by “running” a five-legged race through Okehampton. More of a glorified pub crawl whilst tied to several friends than a race, hats off (or maybe wigs off) to Jo Burrow, Viki Hayer, Lucy Brint, Jo Bradford, Geraldine Walter, Hannah Woods, Tracey Mills and Beki Simmons who risked life and limbs to run approximately a mile in around 45mins, hopefully their slowest mile ever!

Thank you Jane for your reporting

Westward Cross Country league

After a sombre morning of reflection on Remembrance Sunday, athletes gathered at the second event in this year’s Westward League X-Country held in Newquay, incorporating the Cornish County Championships. Okehampton had struggled a bit to fill teams due to injury and other commitments but managed to field a Senior and Vet team in the ladies and a senior team in the men’s race, with some juniors also representing the club. Despite the previous day’s rain the conditions underfoot were remarkably dry and the races took place in beautiful sunshine, but with a strong and very cold wind. Having his first Westward League outing, young Tom Priday was the first to run in the Under 13 boys coming home strongly to overtake several runners in the finishing straight. The Ladies were next, missing League stalwarts Sarah and Molly Marvin this time, but Jo Page secured a some good points for the club with another very strong run, while Jo Bradford and Karen King came home together, their places counting for both Senior and Vet Teams. Next was Jane Jackson, finishing one place ahead of Christine Fritsch who she’d overtaken on the final hill, but not managing to overhaul the next runner. Next in was Mel Priday who, with two sons running, had decided to don her ORC vest and have her first run in the Ladies team here. The two Under 15 boys were next up with Sam Priday having another great run to finish eighth in a field of top class runners and Harrison King keeping going well after racing three times in the previous four days. In the Men’s race Hugh Robinson seemed to have recovered well from his Cornish Marathon the weekend before to come in first for the club, his time being over a minute faster than his run here last year. Westward League rookie Hayden Bond ran a very impressive race, keeping Hugh in his sights all the way round to finish just three places behind him. Stephen Sincock was next to gain some good vet points with two more runners separating him from Graham Bryant. Christian Davies was not only taking part in his first Westward League race, but also only his second race ever and had a very good run to come home next ahead of Stuart Page. Unfortunately Ian Page pulled a calf muscle on the second lap and had to pull up, very disappointing as he had won his age category at the Plymouth meeting.

On Saturday evening a large ORC contingent took part in the Exeter Glow in the Park, a fun event held at Westpoint. Described as the ultimate night time neon event for families and friends, this 5k run has a course of 2 laps on paths. tracks and some grass, the way being marked by flashing arrows. Competitors could walk, jog, run or even dance their way round, passing through “glow zones” on the way with the money raised from this going to two Downes Syndrome charities. A great time was had by all ORCs and their families who took part, all entering the spirit of the evening with fluorescent face paint and colourful hi-viz clothing.

Thanks to Jane Jackson for your reporting

Bideford 10 and the Cornish marathon

After an original forecast for wind and rain on Sunday, there were actually near perfect conditions for the Bideford 10 miler where Okehampton Running Club was once again well represented with 23 runners taking part. This very popular race has a fast and flat course that starts on Bideford Quay and follows the road out to Yelland before returning along the Tarka Trail. With the good conditions and a fast course the ORCs managed to amass no less than 12 personal best times, two club records and three age category places in a very competitive race. First home for the club was Hayden Bond, determined to complete in around 65mins, but exceeding this target to come home in 1:04:01 to set a huge PB. Stephen Sincock was next home for Okehampton with a very impressive run, his time of 1.05.23 securing him 1st MV55 and setting a new age category club record, with Andrew Vernon coming home next in 1.07.49to be 3rd MV50. Next to finish was also the first ORC lady runner, Jo Page, her third race in eight days not seeming to affect her performance and finishing in an incredible 1.09.03 to set a new overall Ladies club record in her first race over this distance. Vet runner Jane Richardson was the only lady ORC to get an age category place, coming 3rd FV65 in 1.37.19, amazingly still setting new PB’s at an age when most are getting slower.

Other ORC times; Geoff Hill; 1.11.08, George Haskell; 1.11.36, Tom Andrew; 1.18.50 PB, Philip Read; 1.18.48 PB, Jackie Dawes; 1.21.07 PB, Karen King; 1.22.03 PB, Mike Westland; 1.25.57, Paul Evison; 1.25.35 PB, Jane Jackson; 1.26.52, Chris Fullford Brown; 1.27.43, Geraldine Walter; 1.28.26 PB, Christine Fritsch; 1.29.26 PB, Mags Jarvis; 1.30.56 PB, Paul Jelley; 1.33.59, Jo Burrow; 1.35.08, PB, Rachel Haydon; 1.38.33, Lotte Smith; 1.40.07, Vicky Hall; 1.42.01.

Four ORCs had a successful outing to the Cornish Marathon on Sunday. With over 2,000 feet of ascent and a steep climb from miles 24 to 25, this is a tough marathon but still a very popular one for runners who really like to test themselves. Hugh Robinson was the first home for the club in 3.14.06, an excellent time for such a hilly race and one that earned him a top 10 place and a win in the MV40 category. Paul Carter always runs well here and he didn’t disappoint again with a time of 3.19.19 to come 15th overall. Roger Voaden finished in 3.24.30 and Graham Bryant in 3.36.50, the collective times for all four (and after a recount) giving them the 3rd  2nd Male Team prize.

On Halloween Jo Page took part in a night race organised by Jolly Running. The Dark Halloween 10k Trail race started from the Drum inn, Cockington and took the runners on a hilly route through Cockington and Scasdon Woods with terrain varying from paths, grass tracks and woodland trails to small tarmac sections. With her Tavy 7 run three days earlier in her legs and the Bideford 10 miler looming the following weekend, Jo slightly regretted entering this, especially at the point where she and some other runners took the wrong course in the dark, but the lure of a “glow-in-the-dark” medal was enough to keep her going to complete in 1.02.12.

The previous weekend Christine Fritsch travelled up to the Peak District to run a fell race that would give her the qualification she needed to enter the Three Peaks Race next year. Despite her many off-road races, the Three Peaks Race required evidence of completing a longer fell race than most in this area so she entered the Grin and Bear it with a feeling of it just ticking a box. However it turned out to be a lovely race and she thoroughly enjoyed it, despite it being a tough 17 miles, finishing in 3.57.49.

Last Thursday saw a big milestone for the club with the first ever ORC Junior Athletics Club training session being held in Okehampton College sports hall. Committee member Rob Hicks raised the idea of a junior section at the 2017 club AGM and with the support of the Running Club and OCRA this idea became a reality and the latest sporting opportunity for children in the area. Rob first had to complete England Athletics training courses to qualify fully as a coach and was pleased with the feedback from parents and children after the first session where 21 young athletes between the ages of 8 and 11 enjoyed an hour of javelin throwing, long jump techniques and relay running. All aspects of athletics will be covered in future sessions and as members of an Affiliated club the children will be able to enter EA competitions if the they wish.

Not forgetting the brave Saturday moor runners.

Thank you Jane for your continued efforts.