Monthly Archives: August 2019

Woods, Water & Pb’s.

Four ORCs headed to Clatworthy Reservoir, West Somerset, on Saturday 17th August for Flying Fox Running’s Woods and Water race series. The course was a 5-mile loop around the edge of the reservoir with a almost entirely a mix of gravel, grass and mud running surfaces. Keeping the water on your left (good advice from the Race Director to avoid getting lost!), the route wound its way through densely shadowed woods and out again into open spaces with fantastic views of the reservoir and surrounding hills. Did I mention hills? Oh yes – them too! After a quick down hill blast from the start and across the dam, there was one of those hills that just keeps on giving – zig-zagging its way to the top of the hill and threatening to leave nothing left in the legs for the steep descent on the other side. After that, lets just say that the course was “undulating”, with another hill at the end to keep the heart rate high on the dash to the finish.

The race series began with the Daytime edition: 10-miles (two loops). Jeremy Tandy was the first ORC home in 69 min 9 sec – 4th place overall and 1st in category. Jo Page finished in 79 min 16 sec to scoop First Lady! Ian Page and Karen Gear completed the course in 91 min 20 sec and 94 min 43 sec respectively. All the ORC runners thoroughly enjoyed the race – definitely one to repeat.

Repeat? Oh yes! 4 ORCs became 2 for the second part of the race series: the Dusk edition, a single loop of the 5-mile course, but this time in the dark! Head torches were mandatory kit but there was just enough light left in the sky for brave runners (like Jo!) to soak up the atmosphere of running in the dark, with bats flitting around in the open spaces above the path and deer rustling in the woods. At mile 4, where the course turned back toward the finish, runners where greeted with the magnificent sight of head torches bobbing along beside the reservoir bank where they’d been running minutes before. Jeremy Tandy came home in first place overall in a time of 34 min 19 sec, and Jo Page was First Lady once more in 40 min 45 sec.

And on top of everything – the medals were fantastic too!

On Saturday morning three Okehampton runners ran the weekly Tavy 5k where Robert Kelly came 3rd in a time of 17.35, while Hayden Bond finished just four seconds behind him to set a new PB of 17.39 with Paul Carter finishing in 19.11.

ORC members ‘storming’ through the August weather.

Despite it being August, the weather disrupted running events last weekend. Due to the weather warnings for gales on Saturday the Sticklepath Horseshoe, a popular fell race, was cancelled while surprisingly, the coastal Roseland August Trail Running Festival went ahead. Okehampton had originally had ten members booked in to run varying distances of the RAT, but due to injury and other issues, only four runners made it to the start.

Organised by Mud Crew, the RAT has distance options from the White Rat at 11miles, The Red Rat at 20miles, the Black Rat, a true ultra marathon at 50k and the very challenging Plague, a 100k out and back on the Black route. New this year was a challenge called Bring Out Your Dead which was a 24 hour non stop race, repeated over the same 5 challenging miles for as many times as they could. Okehampton was represented in the Red Rat by Jo Page and Jeremy Tandy and in the Black Rat by Jane Jackson and Christine Fritsch. The Black route starts at St Anthony’s head near Falmouth and follows the South West Coast Path north to finish at Higher Porthpean. In between are many steep ascents, descents, steps and stiles to negotiate with ever increasingly weary legs, the last 5 miles being notoriously the hardest part of the course. Jane Jackson had experienced this punishing route in 2015 when she ran it as her first Ultra and was hampered then by a knee problem. This year she had hoped for a better run, but the other knee soon gave her trouble and by mile 15 she was very close to pulling out, but with the help and encouragement of her running buddy Christine she continued on, the two of them finally crossing the finish line together in 9.14.07. Jeremy and Jo’s start was at Portloe and unfortunately their race experience wasn’t too good. Having been directed down to the harbour they were unprepared for the start further up the road and consequently they got severely hampered by slower runners for the first seven miles on a single track path by which time there was no point in trying to race it. Jeremy finished in 3.34.46, with Jo coming home in 4.03.56, but they kindly stayed on to cheer their fellow ORCs home.

On Sunday Okehampton’s Geoffrey Hill and Roger Voaden travelled to Dublin to take part in the Rock ’N’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon. The route takes in some of the most best known landmarks of the city, including the famous Guiness Brewery and has live music along the course. Geoff Hill has been enjoying an injury free period in his training, so he was pleased to knock just over 2 minutes off his current PB by finishing in 1.22.21. Roger on the other hand has had injury problems and has been unable to put in training time, so he was pleased to finish in 1.27.15.

The fifth race of the Exeter Summer 5k Series took place on Tuesday 6th and saw five members of Okehampton Running Club taking part. This race was held in good weather conditions and some great times were achieved. First home was Jeremy Tandy in an excellent time of 18:00, which was a personal best and club diamond award. He was also 3rd M45. Graham Bryant was next to finish in 18:30, which was a seasons best. Claudine Benstead was first ORC lady home and finished in the outstanding time of 20:03 which is a new course record for the Exe 5k by a W60. It is also a new club age group record and a club Platinum award. Paul Evison ran well after his half marathon at the weekend and put in a tremendous sprint finish at the end to finish in 23:02, coming 3rd M65. Jo Bradford continued with her very consistent results for this series with 3rd place in W45, finishing in 23:23.

Wednesday evening saw another in the series of fell races hosted by Tavistock AC and Tamar Trail Runners. The Tavy Trio of Tors is a 5.5 mile run starting near Pew Tor and follows a path past Vixen Tor, crossing a leat and a road up to Middle Staple Tor. The runners follow the ridge to Roos Tor and Cox Tor before a fast downhill to Pork Hill car park and finishing back at Pew Tor. In the senior race Jeremy Tandy finished 3rd overall with a tense final 1km sweeping down from Pew Tor being pursued all the way by another runner. In the junior races Mathew Richards had another great run to head the Under 15 boys category while Aiden Spinney and his sister Kiera were first in the Under 11’s ad Under 9’s respectively.

There’s something wild about ORC.

Last Thursday Okehampton runner Kaie Sherjan travelled down to Cornwall to take part in another evening race organised by Purple Gecko Events, this one being held in Tehidy Country Park. Following a day of heavy showers, the sun was shining by the time the runners lined up at the start of this beautiful scenic race with plenty of hills. With 5k or 10k options Katie ran the longer distance and was pleasantly surprised to find that despite the hills she had managed to knock over a minute off her PB, finishing in 1.10.44.

Sunday saw two more ORCs taking on 10k’s with Hayden Bond running the Barry Island 10k and Rachael Haydon the Totnes 10k. Having run the Barry Island 10k last year Hayden knew what to expect from the undulating course but this year the weather was more favourable with cooler conditions.  The course took in the all scenic points of Barry and the surrounding area, finishing on the sea front. Hayden was very pleased with a time of 38.44 and 58th position out of 2840 runners. Rachael hadn’t realised that the Totnes 10k was a multi-terrain race, but despite not being used to doing off road running she enjoyed the undulating course with its twisting paths through fields, woodland and riverbank trails, finishing in a very good time of 1hr.6min.

A longer distance was the focus for the Okehampton runners taking part in the Something Wild Running Festival. This is a friendly weekend-long running event based at Huccaby Farm on Dartmoor with trail races on both days, from 5k and 10k on Saturday to a Half Marathon, Marathon and a 50k Ultra on the Sunday. Okehampton Running Club was represented in all three distances on Sunday and enjoyed great success. In the Half Marathon, which being trail was actually 14.4 miles, Jo Page showed how versatile a runner she is, completing the course over rough terrain and with considerable ascent in a brilliant 2.24.05 to be first Lady. For Chris Turner, running the
marathon, this was his first long race since an injury over 12 months ago. He has doggedly fought back to fitness and was thrilled with his run here, finishing in 4.44.49 to also scoop first place for ORC. Gill Spinney also ran the marathon and continued Okehampton’s winning theme by taking
first place in the FV40 category with her time of 5.57.09. Robert Richards had planned to be running the Mendip Marauder Ultra this weekend but it had been cancelled at very short notice due to a road closure making the route impossible so he took a last minute place at the Ultra Marathon here to not waste his training. After a good first half Rob started to suffer from nausea, a problem he’s had in previous ultras, but he continued on to finish in 8.29.12.


Three Okehampton runners made the trip to Indian Queens on a hot and humid Sunday morning for the Half Marathon organised by Newquay Roadrunners. This race incorporates part of the Cornish Grand Prix Series so competition is dependably high. A new course this year included 500 feet of climbing making it much tougher than in previous years. Starting in the town centre, the route includes large sections on the Goss Moor Trail before
and after climbing to the highest point of the course at Menna before a fast run back in through the town centre finishing at the race HQ.
Out of the 606 finishers, first home for the club, 35th overall and 2nd MV55 was Steve Sincock in a time of 1:25:41 breaking the age group club record he set at Taunton earlier this year. Next in was Paul Evison (1:51:07) followed by Angus Farrelly opening his half marathon account in the club achievements in a time of 2:07:50.