Club news

Exeter half and WWL Stover School

After the snow of last week the weather last weekend was still not very runner-friendly in that there was blustery wind but that aside conditions were pretty good for the first of the two days of the Exeter Half Marathon. With the start and finish at Haven Banks on the Quay, the course is two laps of the Riverside Valley Park. With a slightly twisting route, which can be exposed to the wind in places, it is however very flat and considered a PB course. Three Okehampton runners were in action there on the Saturday, with Andy Vallance first home for the club. Now well into his training for the London Marathon Andy had a great run, finishing in time of 1.19.47. Jonathan Stephens, a relative newcomer to the club, was running his first race here and put in a great performance to finish in 1.27.11. Emma Dean hasn’t run a half marathon for two years so it wasn’t surprising she set a new PB here as her running has improved dramatically in the last year. Her time of 1.42.20 knocked a massive 18 minutes off her previous best time.


Sunday saw worse conditions for Kathryn Volket-Igoe who had opted to run on this day. With everything from a biting cold wind, freezing rain and some occasional sunshine, Kathryn didn’t have the conditions to run a PB, but was pleased to fill in the remaining gap in her awards chart, finishing in 2.15.05.

Similar conditions were experienced by the club’s Westward League runners in the penultimate meeting of the series at Stover, but with the addition of plenty of mud underfoot. The Under 13 Boy’s was the first race to have ORC represented, where Mathew Richards improved on his first run at Westward Ho! to come in 12th.

The ladies found the going tough but all cheerfully ploughed their way round, with Jo Page putting in a very strong run to finish in 31st place, despite some injury worries leaving her decision to run until after a warm up round the course. Sarah Marvin finished ahead of daughter Molly here, followed by Jo Bradford who put some distance between her and Karen King this time, with Jane Jackson next, then Mags Jarvis who had overtaken Christine Fritsch in the late stages of the race.

The Under 15’s followed on from the Ladies race, meaning they had an even muddier, churned up course to tackle but both Sam Priday and Harrison King ran well with Sam finishing in an impressive 7th position


The Men’s race saw a bout of horizontal freezing hail and rain during their first lap, but some good team places were scored with Paul Crease first home in 25th place, with Andy Vallance just four places behind. Christian Davies continues to improve his X-country times and was next home, followed by Stephen Sincock, Graham Bryant, Stuart Page and Ian Page. With just one race left the series Okehampton currently has three runners, Stephen Sincock, Ian Page and Jane Jackson holding good places in their age categories.

Thank you Jane for reporting.

Record Breakers

With the untimely deluge of snow jut before the weekend there were fears that races may be affected, but as the worst of the snow was only over the moors it turned out that most races went ahead as planned. On Saturday Endurancelife’s coastal trail series started off this years series of races with the South West Coast Path Trail Running Challenge, where a selection of distances from 10k to Ultra Marathon are offered. This is where the Coastal Trail Series was born and it has become a cult classic. Situated within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is both picturesque and punishing. There was a lone Okehampton Running Club member taking part here, club Chairman Jeremy Tandy, taking on the 34 mile Ultra Marathon, just two weeks after escorting Roger Voaden round his 100th marathon. Jeremy is no stranger to running long distances and enjoyed his run with friends round this scenic course in beautiful weather, where the only trace of snow was the occasional glimpse of Dartmoor’s white bulk in the distance, finishing in 8.30.14.

On Sunday a fast five mile race gave two Okehampton runners an opportunity to test their speed round a fast and flat course. The Exmouth Express 5 is a five mile road race comprised of a two lap course of Exmouth Town and Sea Front. Formerly known as the Fullfords Five, this race, hosted by Exmouth Harriers, is now sponsored by Climb South West. Jo Page and Jane Richardson were the two ladies representing Okehampton and both enjoyed their runs in beautiful but very cold conditions. Jo Page showed what great form she’s in with a brilliantly fast and well paced run to finish in 33min 09secs to be placed 5th lady and 1st Senior Lady, also setting a new club age group and overall record. Jane Richardson had a good run too, coming home in 48.29 to also set a new club record for the FV65 category.

Unfortunately there was one ORC whose race plans fell victim to the snow this weekend. Rob Hicks was due to start the incredibly tough 100 mile Arc of Attrition along the Cornish coast path from Coverack to Porthtowan on Friday, running through the night to finish on Saturday. Obviously this sort of race requires not only a great deal of training, but also some logistical arrangements as it involves having crew to support the runners throughout the race. For someone with a family and young children this became impossible in the chaos of Thursday and Friday’s travel disruption due to the snow and sadly Rob had to abandon his race plans.

Thank you Janes for the reporting.