Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Oke Croak! This Saturday 8th June 2019 at 10:00am. ORC Summer Series-Race 2.

The Oke Croak is a must for all off-road runners.

The ten-plus mile route is challenging with 2,000 feet of ascent over the rugged moorland of northern Dartmoor.

You will head out of Simmons Park through the beautiful wooded valley beside the River Okement before starting the climb up the ancient “Goats path” to Oke Tor. Here you will be directed through the gap under the large stone after which you can draw breath before heading for East Mill Tor and Newbridge. At the top of Yes Tor, the highest point, admire the breathtaking views then downhill and homeward over Okehampton Common, past the Army Camp and back to the pavilion in the park where food and drink is available at the bar.

The race will be held under the rules of the Fell Runners Association, race classification BM. There are a number of compulsory checkpoints at which all runners MUST give their number to the stewards. Due to the difficulty of marking the course accurately, self navigation is required by all runners.

Race Headquarters is at the pavilion in the park. The pavilion offers changing and showering facilities as well as a bar for post race refreshments. Car parking (pay and display) at Simmons Park Car Park, EX20 1EP – follow the brown tourist signs at the main traffic lights in Okehampton. There will be marshals at the car park to direct you to Race HQ.

A memento will be given to all finishers.Prizes to the first, second and third male and female and first M40, M50, M60, F40, F50, F60.

Approx 10 Miles- £12 Entry on the day.


Marilyn’s Meldon Madness and loads more

The first ORC fell race of the club’s summer series, “Marilyn’s Meldon Madness”, got underway on Saturday having moved from its historical August date to an earlier May running. The 5 ½ mile race in memory of ORC founding member Marilyn Cooper takes runners from Meldon dam up to Yes Tor and High Willhays (the two highest points on Dartmoor) before looping back to Meldon via Black-a-Tor. It’s a mix of grassy trail and rough, rocky uneven ground with a simple “up and down” course elevation which makes it a quintessentially British fell race.

This year the bone dry ground and short, early season grass benefited racers with even the rough ground lending itself to fast running. Coupled with a clear, windless day all that was needed was a lead runner in form and the six year old course record was going to be under threat.

Young Johny Livingston was up for that challenge and led the field up round Longstone Hill at a furious pace. Johny’s big heart was undone by a lack of familiarity with the course however and the seasoned Devon fell racers who had initially followed took a more direct route to Yes Tor.

Course record holder, Professor Tim Lenton, summited first before powering across to High Willhays, followed by David Wilcox, James Best and lead ORC, Paul Crease, in pursuit. But Axe Valley runner Tim didn’t let up. The descent to Blacktor was soon dispatched and he pushed hard down Longstone Hill increasing his now substantial lead. When he came in view of the finish line it was clear he could break the record and he was cheered on by the enthusiastic ORC organisers to win in 37 minutes 22sec – 16 seconds faster than he ran in 2013. James Best of Tavistock took second, whilst vet 50 runner Dave Wilcox provided further inspiration for vet runners everywhere with his rapid third place. First lady to finish was a delighted Naomi Shaw of South West Road Runners in 51:43.

Paul Crease was first ORC home in 5th place and a time of 42:14 – a touch disappointed with his time (never one to make excuses, Paul didn’t cite that his recent Yorkshire 3 Peaks effort might still be in his legs).

The Marilyn Cooper trophy, which is awarded to the highest placed ORC lady, was deservingly won by Katherine Murray. Katherine rinsed herself with a racing sprint finish completing the course in a time of 54:49, winning a large measure of respect alongside the trophy.

Other prize winning ORCs were: Debs Crome – who took the Ladies V40 prize in 1:04:32 ; and Merv Rice, who as a vet 60 is the greatest advert for the benefits of running on the moor that you’ll ever see, 1st MV60 in 51:51.

…and not forgetting the famous cake stall at the finish.

Further Okehampton RC runners were: Andy Vernon in 46:49 (he loves the downhill); the consistently improving Elliot Hails in 47:34; the ever popular coach Mike Baker 48:33; closely followed by Alec Robinson 48:39; Phil Read (race tuned after his running holiday) 57:52; Gaz ‘no right to run hills that quick’ Williams 1:02:52; the forever young Paul Evison 1:02:56; smiling Kate Wilson 1:09:14; the positively beaming Ruth Bushell 1:09:19; and the effervescent Janet White 1:19:41.
Huge thanks to North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team for race support as well as all volunteers, marshals, cake bakers, the kids giving out drinks and the happy sweeper.

Over the last 4 days Jo-Anne Turner has been running the Devon Coast to Coast Ultra Marathon (total of 117 miles) . She is very proud to say that she managed to complete in a time of about 25 1/2 hours which was helped by the perfect weather and conditions. Karen Vallance decided to join me for day one and did an amazing job – maybe she will decide to be a trail runner now

Five members of Okehampton Running Club took part in the Race the Tide 15.5 mile “Long Half Marathon” held in on Sunday in the glorious setting of the Flete Estate, Mothecombe in South Devon. The weather was fine and sunny and the paths dry. The race was held primarily on beautiful woodland trails close the the estuary of the River Erme for the first 7 miles and then across the estuary itself. The runners had exactly 2 hours to reach the crossing area to “beat” the tide! Once over the estuary they joined the South West Coast Path and experienced some typical, tough coastal path ascents for about 3 miles before turning inland to run on bridlepaths and footpaths. Finally they ran back into the woodland on the Flete Estate and to the finish. The total ascent was about 1800 ft.

First ORC to finish was Chris Turner who was 6th senior male in a very good time of 2:26:07. Mags Jarvis and Christine Fritsch ran together and finished in 3:15:12, with Mags coming in 1st W60. Carole Cornwall and Katy Speak started the race but unfortunately were unable to complete it because Carole found she had not recovered from a recent illness.

Hayden Bond and Catherine Walker turned up for a very hot and hilly Plymouth Half this morning, even with the nice early start of 8.30 it was soon full sunshine which was not fun! Cathernine didn’t manage to beat her Bideford time but still happy with 2.23.10 considering the conditions. Hayden coming in with a new PB of 1.25.26 .

ORC’s all ready for the Cornish Imerys Trail Marathon & Half with Andrew Thorne, Claire Sprague, Lucinda Walsh and Jo Page.

Great run by Roger Voaden at the Exeter marathon 3:11 incredible. He was caught by the paparazzi for an interview directly after his finish.. just another day in the life of Roger Voaden

Hot and Sandy at the Exmouth Land and Sand 5k this morning.

Bideford 10k

The ORCs romped home with 8 trophies today in the ever popular Bideford 10K run, which takes place from Bideford to Instow providing scenic views of the Taw and Torridge estuary as it heads back to Bideford along the Tarka Trail. This year was the biggest to date with almost 1200 runners participating, 22 of them from Okehampton Running Club.

Although the weather was hot and sunny and not one that many would consider prime weather for PBs, the club runners achieved some remarkable results regardless.

Geoff Hill finished in a platinum award time of 37:16, placing 16th Overall, 2nd MV40 and 4th in the Vets Club Championship Male Individual standings. Second ORC home was Hayden Bond finishing in 38:16. Jeremy Tandy finished in 38:20 and was 3rd MV45. Andrew Vernon ran a platinum award standard time of 38:53 winning 1st MV50. Stephen Sincock ran a time of 40:03 and won 1st MV55

Claudine Benstead was first ORC lady over the line, finishing 5th female overall, 1st FV55, in a time of 40:40 also setting a new age category club record. This time also saw her take 3rd in the Vets Club Championship Female Individual standings. Jo Page achieved her first diamond award at this distance in a time of 41:36, placing 3rd Senior Female and 3rd in the Senior Club Championship Female Individual standings and also setting a new age category club record. Sarah Marvin was next over the line in 43:57, winning 1st FV45. Paul Evison finished in 47:22 setting a new age category club record and achieving a PB. Jane Richardson finished in 01:02:38 winning 1st FV70.

Other ORCs getting PBs were Emma Dean in 47:24, Lucinda Walsh 51:18, Kate Wilson 51:40, Kerry Morashti 58:48, Catherine Walker 59:27 and Jo Drew 1:09:46.

Further finishing times were Tom Andrew 48:28, Jo Bradford 48:57, Karen King 49:44, Ed Dumpleton 50:24, Christine Jeffrey 01:01:08, Kathryn Volkelt-Igoe 1:02:22

In the team standings the ORCs proved successful with the Okehampton male team placing 3rd in the Club Male standings. The ladies team technically placed 1st the Club Female standings but the team was unfortunately split due to an error in the way the teams are recorded, so for now, two ORC female teams placed third and fifth. Further ORC team successes were 2nd place for the female vets team and 2nd place also for the male vets team, and 2nd place in the Vets Club Championship for both Female and Male Vets teams.

Phil’s adventures in France. He ran the 17km Perigord Trail Race
and had a great time despite feeling nervous about how he’d get on. Great finish photo!

It was race two of the Run Exe 5K Summer Series tonight. 165 runners turned up to do battle even though it was a cold and windy night down at Exwick. This regular race is a traffic free and pancake flat 5km run on footpaths and cycle tracks around Exwick Playing Fields and the River Exe Flood Relief. Although this event is generally considered suitable for people chasing PB’s, tonight’s strong south-easterly wind made it hard work on the long back straight meaning it wasn’t a great night for smashing records.
First ORC home was Jo Bradford in a time of 23:31, placing third in her age category.
Margaret Jarvis finished in 25:06, also placing third in her age category and clocking up a platinum award time to boot! Both runners knocked a minute apiece off their times compared to their first 5K run of last season and are therefore happy that they have started this season better than last and are hoping to see continued improvements again as the season progresses.

Awards evening and weekly run report

Okehampton Running Club held its Awards Evening at Okehampton Golf Club last Friday evening. This annual celebration of the achievements of the runners throughout the year give the members a chance to vote for nominees in different categories, the winners being awarded with trophies. It has been a good year generally and the runners have continued to improve, finding that the friendly, competitive and supportive atmosphere the club generates of great benefit, inspiring them to put in the effort required to compete successfully. Indeed some runners joined the club with no intention of being competitive, but have found themselves drawn into the racing scene and are thoroughly enjoying the challenge.

After a buffet meal, the awards were presented to the winners and certificates covering six race distances from one mile to marathon were awarded to those who had achieved various standards in them. This year six members had managed to fill these certificates at every distance; Robert Kelly, Phil Read, Jane Jackson, Mags Jarvis, Jackie Dawes and Katherine Volkelt Igoe.

This years award winners were;

Highest Achiever Female; Jo Page, Highest Achiever Male; Roger Voaden, Most Improved Female; Emma Dean, most Improved Male; Paul Evison, Hardest Trainer Female; joint winners Jane Jackson and Karen Vallance, Hardest Trainer Male; Hugh Robinson, Best Newcomer; Stephen Sincock, Coach of the Year Female; Claire Sprague, Coach of the Year Male; Mike Baker, Member of the Year; Jane Jackson.

The Marilyn Cooper Memorial Cup is the only trophy that is awarded on merit and not by votes. It was given to the club by Paul Cooper following the death of his wife Marilyn in 2016 and is awarded to the female member who races the most miles in the year. It was no surprise that this year’s winner was Okehampton’s prolific race runner Jo Page who had raced an impressive total of 337 miles.

Race Director Hugh Robinson presented a cheque to North Dartmoor Search and Rescue for their support at the club’s Summer Series races. The club would also like to thank Williams Osteopathy for donating vouchers for the raffle and David Wills Catering for the lovely buffet food.

Last week Okehampton runners were involved in races varying from 2.7miles to a 3 day stage run covering 125k, and for several runners one race didn’t seem enough. On Wednesday evening two ORCs drove down to Hayle to take part in the Godrevy 10k, the first race of Freedom Racing’s Summer Sessions. Memories of awful weather in previous years were banished by blue skies, sunshine and a breeze to keep the runners cool round the off road course. Starting on the edge of the beach the runners went straight through standing water before the route headed south along the path through the dunes behind the beach, turning back north after 2km and along the beach. Hard pack sand, soft squidgy sand – the route had both, with a slight deviation due to the higher than expected tide. Through the Red River as it flows across the beach into the sea and up the slipway onto the rocky trails over the headland, past Godrevy lighthouse and back to the finish. Jo Page and Jeremy Tandy represented ORC in this fine little gem of a 10k trail race. Out of 264 runners, Jeremy was placed 10th in 44min 12sec while Jo Page was 2nd place lady and 15th overall in 46min 38sec to claim a trophy and some great prizes.

From a short coastal jaunt, Jeremy Tandy moved on to a three day ultra marathon, the Costa Brava Stage Run, starting on Friday with a relatively short first stage of just over 14 miles. The CBSR is more about the experience than a full on race, although there are podium positions for each stage completed, and follows the Costa Brava coast from its beginning in Blanes to its limit in the French region of Roselló, in Portbou, a total distance of 125k. Day one may have been a short distance but still had an elevation of 3,500ft and was run in uncharacteristically wet weather. Stage two saw welcome sunshine but was more of a challenge, covering 32 miles and a huge 7,200ft of elevation, with a flatter section that included 6k of energy-sapping soft sand running. The final day was also 30 miles with 6,700 ft of ascent which Jeremy completed in an impressive 5hr 49min, despite having to contend with a very strong wind, finishing 7th that day and 8th over the three days.

Jo Page is renowned for her love of racing and on Sunday stopped off in Southampton to run a half marathon on her way to catch a flight to Cyprus for work purposes. There are three races on offer here, with full and half marathons and also a 10k. All races start and finish in the heart of Southampton’s city centre with the run course passing iconic local landmarks including Bargate, QE2 Anchor and St Marys Stadium. Jo ran this with the intention of using it as a training run, but with no pressure for a particular time and a good recovery from her coastal 10k, she produced a superb run to set a new PB, finishing 1.31.54 to be placed 5th Senior Lady and 6th female overall, also coming an impressive 136th out of over 3,000 runners.

Hayden Bond crammed his two races into one day, starting with the Newport 10k on Sunday morning. This race is held on the same day as the established Newport Marathon and the route starts and finishes on Newport’s riverfront, with a flat and fast course passing some of Newport’s most iconic landmarks and the recently revamped city-centre. Hayden ran this as his first 10k race here last year and improved on that run to finish in 38.20, but aware that he had another race to complete in the evening was cautious not to overdo it. Hayden’s second run of the day was the Cardiff 5k where he set a new PB with a great time of 18.23.

For Okehampton runner Alison Lee just the one race was quite enough though, taking part in the traditional Torrington Round the Tree race on Friday evening. This is a multi-terrain challenge starting and finishing in Great Torrington town square and is part of the towns historic May Fair celebrations. At just 2.7 miles it has a fast and furious downhill first mile but a sting in the tail with an uphill finish. Alison enjoyed the race but found the the uphill finish quite tough.

Okehampton’s Ged Fitzgibbon was the club’s sole representative at the Great Bristol 10k on Sunday. This is a massive race where more than 13,000 runners took part, from elite athletes to those donning fancy dress for a charitable cause. The 6.2 mile course sets off from Anchor Road and loops around the Portway, before passing twice under the Clifton Suspension Bridge, along the Cumberland Basin and up to St Mary Redcliffe Church before returning to the finish point also on Anchor Road. Ged enjoyed the good conditions for the race, but not the company of so many runners, finishing in a good time of 51.23.