Club news

Westward Cross Country League

The one thing that can be guaranteed for the Westward League’s fixture at Westward Ho! is that it will be windy, but on Sunday it was the full force, energy sapping type of wind that was never behind you but always shoving you about. The pancake flat course is right on the coast with no protection from the wind, whatever the direction. It was much drier underfoot than in many winters, but there was plenty of thick, black mud in the ditches that had to be negotiated, knocking the runners out of their stride. There was a good turnout of Okehampton runners here with two juniors, and nine runners in both the men’s and ladies teams.

First to be put to the test round this very different type of course was Matthew Richards, a newcomer to the League races who has been training well with the club in recent weeks and had an excellent first run for the club in the Under 13 boys. Harrison King had to miss the December fixture due to an injured foot and hasn’t been able to train much since but got some good points here in the Under 15 boys race.

The ladies were lead home by Jo Page once again, barely seeming to be affected by the wind, setting an excellent pace for the conditions. Sarah and Molly Marvin were next, with Claudine Benstead, Issy Edworthy, Jo Bradford and Karen King not far apart. This is Issy’s first year in the Under 17’s category and she ran well. They were followed by Jane Jackson, Christine Fritsch and Mags Jarvis.

In the Men’s race Paul Crease ran his usual great race to finish well placed and first for the club. This fixture saw the return of Andy Vallance to the race circuit after months of house building and despite perhaps lacking his usual level of fitness he put in a solid performance to be next home. Paul Carter was next, but was being hunted down in the last lap by a brilliant performance from young Christian Davies who is going from strength to strength with each of his League runs now. Graham Bryant ran well too to be next home, to be followed by Stephen Sincock, with Indigo Ramsey, another improving young runner behind him and then Stuart Page. Ian Page ran a great race, picking off runners in his age category one by one and finishing strongly.

With the results now in there is good news for our teams, all of them improving their positions in the league table. The Vet Ladies Team has moved up a place to now lie in 7th, while the senior Ladies have improved considerably from 13th to 10th. Individually Jo Page has rocketed up from 18th to 8th place, while Claudine Benstead became the first ORC lady to get maximum points for being first home in her age group. Individual age category places can be hard to assess as some of our runners have missed a race, but currently Jane Jackson is still holding on to 2nd place in the FV60 group and Karen King is 6th in hers.

The men’s teams have also gained ground with the Senior team improving well from 17th to 12th and the Vet team from 11th to 10th. Again individual category places are tricky to determine with some absentees from different fixtures, but Stephen Sincock is in a strong 2nd place in the MV55 category and it was good to see Ian “daddy” Page running well again to collect a maximum 100 points in his age category for the second time.

One ORC, Mike Westland took on a very different sort of race when he ran the 9 mile Oh My Obelisk on Sunday, organised by Dawlish Coasters. Starting and finishing at the Dawlish Leisure Centre, this is an all terrain race which includes plenty of mud, country lanes and forest trails, with some spectacular views. Mike ran well in his first race for a while, finishing in 1.32.20 in cold and windy conditions.

Thank you Jane for continued reporting.

Brown Willy – New Years Day run

The traditional Brown Willy Run on New Years Day was held in positively tropical conditions compared to the weather usually to be found at this time of the year on Bodmin Moor. This is a 7 mile run, not a race, without any official timing, although there is a prize for the first male and female back but the fast runners will always take it on with an aim to be at least in the top 10 finishers. Conditions underfoot were good too, with the runners having enough mud on their legs to show they had taken part, but the knee deep variety of bog was absent this year. There is always a great atmosphere at this gathering of runners, as it is a chance to get out after all the festivities and enjoy a run with friends. Okehampton Running Club was out in force with 17 runners including 4 juniors taking part and first back was Rob Hicks who is a regular here, enjoying his run which brought him home in fifth place, while Paul Crease was another top ten finisher. Jo Page has run here before with her family, but a 28 minute improvement on last year’s time saw her come home second lady by a mere few seconds to fellow ORC Mervyn Rice’s daughter, Jenny, visiting her family from her home in the Lake District where she is a member of the Helm Hill club. The rest of the Okehampton runners all took it at their own pace, some running with their children and even the “club mascot” dog Meg taking part.

The following Saturday saw a number of ORCs taking part in various Parkruns, some to test their fitness after some time off, others just using it as a chance for some speed work. At the Exeter Riverside Parkrun Jo Page set another PB, going under 20mins for the first time with a superb time of 19.52, to knock an incredible 47secs off the time she set in October and be the first lady. Jo Bradford had not run seriously for several months so was pleased with her time of 23.44, which was a course PB for her and a good base to start from. Jane Jackson tried out the Tamar Lakes Parkrun as a chance for a fast run having done little in that line over Christmas and was pleased to be the first lady in 25.55.


Sunday saw three young Okehampton runners all take part in the South West X-Country Championships, held at Aldon Hill near Yeovil, after good runs at the Devon Championships in December. Molly Marvin enjoyed the good going round a hilly course, having a great run to finish 5th Devon athlete and 12th in the Under 20 Ladies. Sam Priday was also in good form finishing 12th in the Under 15 Boys and 4th for Devon, giving him a silver medal for the second placed County Team. His younger brother Tom put in a great performance in a very strong Under 13 field where he came 56th.

Thank you Jane for reporting.