Monthly Archives: November 2019

Mountains, Sun, Sea & Castles.

Two ORCs were to be found racing 400 miles north in Cumbria on Saturday. Merv Rice and Jane Jackson were both in the Lake District for the four day Kendal Mountain Festival where a 10k trail race was held as part of the festivities. The race started in the town centre where it took some time for the 700 runners to pass through the start gantry. As you would expect in that part of the country the route immediately took the runners uphill for over three miles, initially on tarmac but then off road as they climbed to the top of Scout Scar. The stunning views of the mountains, some with snow on the peaks, and the coast back towards Morecambe Bay made the effort worthwhile however. After some undulating ground there was one more steep uphill before the runners made their way downhill across the golf course and then back into the town via several flights of cobbled or stone steps. Merv has done this race before but finished slightly slower than last year in 1.02.04. It was Janes first time here finishing in 1.13.38.


Jo Page went all the way to Cyprus for a marathon, running the Larnaca Marathon in 3:38:25, finishing 4th female and 57th overall on a hot day of Well I survived the Marathon in 27 degrees.

20 ORC’s braved the The Drogo 10 a 10 mile multi-terrain race that starts and finishes at Castle Drogo, taking in views of the Teign Valley.

Paul Crease was the first ORC home in 1.11.35, Katherine Murray was the first of the ORC women over the line in 1.39.22. Other ORC runners and times were Andy Vallance 1.11.38, Jeremy Tandy 1.16.38, Graham Bryant 1.17.57, Hayden Bond 1.19.48, Stuart Page 1.28.23, Alec Robinson 1.31.01, Jason Ewing 1.32.47, Mike Baker 1.33.15, Elliot Hails 1.33.15, Sarah Marvin 1.41.40, Karen Vallance 1.41.40, Angus Farrelly 1.43.23, Phil Read 1.43.30, Elodie Stott 1.50.29, Lucinda Walsh 1.51.55, Jessie Guscott 1.55.14, Carole Cornwall 2.02.47 and Janet White 2.13.42

ORC teams assemble for XC.

The Newquay edition of the Westward League Cross Country series took place on Sunday 10th November, combined with the Cornish County Championships. Set in the grounds of Newquay Sports Centre, the course heads out around the sports fields, packing in as much elevation change possible on the site. From juniors to seniors, ladies to men, their routes followed different loops and lap counts around the sports pitches to make up the distance for each category. The heavy rains from previous days had given way to clear skies on Sunday. Sunshine warmed competitor’s backs, and the grass of the sports pitches shone green. But the ground was still saturated and green grass soon gave way to brown mud making the going underfoot very soft and very slippery in the corners. From the start to the finish, each XC race was relentless, trying to catch the person in front, trying not to be caught – especially in sprints to the finish because times don’t count, only your finishing position. No medals for this race – take homes were smiles, tired legs and all the mud caked onto shoes, legs, clothes and even faces!

Well done to all who took part especially the newcomers, juniors Arthur and Stanley Hicks and seniors Richard Davies and Joe Lane.

Juniors;  U11 Girls; Kiera Spinney, U 11 Boys; Arthur Hicks, Aiden Spinney, Stanley Hicks, U13 Boys; Quincy Richards, U15 Boys; Mathew Richards, TJ Priday, U17 Boys; Sam Priday.

Ladies; Jo Page, Jo Bradford, Karen Gear, Gill Spinney, Mags Jarvis, Karen King, Mel Priday.

Men;  Andy Vallance, Paul Crease, Richard Davies, Rob Hicks, Chris Turner, Jeremy Tandy, Joe Lane, Stuart Page, Ian Page.


Junior runners Sam Priday, Mathew Richards, Quincy Richards and Harrison King ran for their school at the East Devon X-Country Schools event. Sam and Mathew both came first in their age groups, making it likely that they will be picked to represent East Devon in the County Schools Championship, while Quincy came 24th and Harrison 18th.

Rain with 100% chance of a run!

In a window of lovely weather on Sunday morning, 30 ORCs enjoyed near perfect conditions at the Bideford 10 miler, despite the course being flooded almost knee deep in one section. There were some great results too, although several were running with little training due to injuries, but determined to get their third in the series of stacking medals. Hayden Bond was the first home with a superb run in 1.00.19 and a new PB which would have been closer to the magic sub-hour time but for the slowing effect of the flooded 100 metres of track near Instow. Steve Sincock was second home, winning the MV55 category by a clear margin of 4mins in 1.03.43 to beat his own club record, followed by Andrew Vernon who was 2nd MV50 in 1.05.46. First ORC lady was Jo Page in 1.08.59 for 3rd Senior Lady and 5th overall lady, also a new PB and club record. Dave Bates was in the prizes again, coming 2nd MV65 for a new club record in 1.11.10 and Jane Richardson won the FV70 category in 1.40.30, setting a club FV70 for the first time, despite not feeling she’d had a very good race.
Other ORC times; Graham Bryant; 1.05.56, Paul Carter; 1.06.48, Neil Agnew; 1.14.45, Kathleen Sincock; 1.16.40 (club record), Paul Evison; 1.18.38, Mike Westland; 1.19.49 (club record), Louise Lyle; 1.20.16, Jo Bradford; 1.21.14 (PB), Tom Andrew; 1.21.16, Robert Richards; 1.22.26, Angus Farrelly; 1.22.46, Jackie Dawes; 1.22.56, Karen King; 1.29.53, Mags Jarvis; 1.30.35, Vicky Bond; 1.35.01, Chris Fullford-Brown; 1.40.05, Tracey Mills; 1.40.08, Rachel Holland; 1.40.08 (PB), Lotte Smith; 1.40.13, Jane Jackson; 1.43.07, Catherine Walker; 1.43.08, (PB), Michelle Luddington; 1.43.17 (PB), Kathryn Volkelt-Igoe; 1.48.46, Katie Sherjan; 1.55.46.

The heavy rain had caused flooding that forced a change of course at the Cornish Marathon where the notoriously hilly route had been changed to an out and back, though still with plenty of elevation. Two ORCs ran here with Robert Kelly finishing in 7th place in an impressive 3hr 6min, despite his pace slowing in the last six miles and Roger Voaden coming home in 3hr 29min.

Cam Whitelaw took on an unusual 10k, running the Cornwall Air Ambulance Runway Runaround 10k at Newquay Airport with his dad. Here’s his report;
It was an early start for Newquay where the race was due to start at 8.00, however it was delayed for some reason and left us waiting in the cold and rain for 15 minutes. Finally we were off and we made our way to the runway turning into a slight headwind before doing the first U-turn to come back on ourselves. The light rain and tail wind was refreshing on the flat tarmac course going out and we got to run under the tails of a few parked up Thomas Cook planes which was an experience. At the second U-turn unfortunately we had the joy of the headwind and a slightly heavier rain. I felt good all the way around pushing myself at a good pace with my dad in unison. I managed to gather a bit more speed at the end and finished with a new PB of 56:24.

ORCs Jo Page and Jeremy Tandy headed in the direction of Torquay on All Hallows’ Eve for some spooky fun at Jolly Running’s Dark Halloween trail run. Featuring a trio of fun run, 5K and 10K, the routes twist and turn through the wooded grounds of Cockington Hall, seemingly finding the steepest slopes, the most slippery tree routes and plenty of mud. With the sun long since set the race winds along the trails and through the woods in pitch darkness. Head torches were mandatory, fancy dress optional. Zombies and ghouls and skeletons and witches mixed with runners in club vests and hi-viz lending the race a haunted carnival feel. 5K and 10K competitors set off together from the start, following the same route for about 3-miles in where the 5K headed to the finish and the 10K set out for another loop. The eerie sound of church bells echoed through the woods, with mist lighting up the beams of runners’ head torches. Reflective route markings and marshals guided the way to make sure that no souls were lost during the race. In the 5K Jo conquered her demons from last year when she got lost, finishing in a time of 27 minutes 54 seconds – fourth overall and first place female, securing another trophy for her collection! Jeremy, dressed in a skeleton suit, completed the 10K in 8th position with a time of 57 minutes 38 seconds. The best bit? Glow in the dark medals!

Kate Wilson was the lone ORC runner in the previous Sunday’s Plym Trail Autumn Half Marathon. This event was held on 2 days and she certainly picked the right day to do it – Sunday was cool, sunny and dry. The half marathon began with a short run from Clearbrook village hall to the top of the hill at the edge of the village and then follows a 12.3 mile out-and-back course along cycle route 27. The attractive route follows an old railway line, crossing several bridges and passes through a dimly lit tunnel. It’s almost completely flat, although there is a slight descent in the first half mile – making a fun end to a half marathon! Kate was really pleased with her time – a new PB of 1.54.25. to be 3rd lady home.

What a difference a day makes!

Five Okehampton runners braved appalling conditions on when they took on races in the Trail Events Exmoor Challenge on Saturday. Even getting there needed some determination with flood waters and trees down across roads. Conditions were no better out on the course where storm force winds and rain made keeping upright on the muddy, slippery and often flooded paths difficult and made forward motion impossible on some of the more exposed areas. Carole Cornwall, Katy Speak, Jessica Corcoran and Claire Sprague had entered the half marathon hoping for a run with some lovely views of the moors and coast, but the reality on the day was limited views and an extremely tough and steeply hilly course. Kay and Carole ran together and completed in 3.37.13. Claire Sprague found the going really tough as she wasn’t feeling well and eventually retired at the second checkpoint.nt. Jessica had stayed with Claire until she retired but then continued on to finish on her own. Jane Jackson, in a change from her usual long distance runs, ran the 12k course, still with a big elevation for the distance. She was pleased to finish in one piece after being blown off her feet on a rocky section of exposed headland coming home in 1.46.28.

What a difference a day made when runners at the Tavy 7 on Sunday enjoyed near perfect conditions of sunshine and a gentle breeze. There was a great show of ORCs at this event as usual where there was a record entry of 700 runners to enjoy the undulating course round the Dartmoor lanes. First home for the club was Hayden Bond in 43.41 and first ORC lady was Emma Dean who finished in 57.03. It was the more senior ORCs who shone here though with Steve Sincock winning the MV55 age category in 44.36 to set a new club age category record by over 6mins, while Dave Bates was victorious in the MV65 with a great time of 49.10, knocking over 8mins off the current club age category record. Andy Vernon came 2nd in the MV50 category and a personal course PB in 45.47 and Paul Evison, still improving at 66, knocked three and a half minutes of last year’s time to take 3rd in the MV65 group in 54.45.
Other ORC times; Richard Davies; 44.38, Mike Baker; 52.25, Merv Rice; 56.16, Jackie Dawes; 58.32, Ged Fitzgibbon; 59.46, Ellodie Stott; 1.06.19, Lotte Smith; 1.09.15, Christine Fritsch; 1.10.37, Janet White; 1.17.57.

Jo Page and Jeremy Tandy took Okehampton Running Club on tour this weekend. A quick stop on Saturday for a picturesque Parkrun in Divonne-les-Bains, France. Followed by the main event of the weekend on Sunday in Lausanne, Switzerland: the Lausanne Marathon. Not just a marathon – but also a 1/2 marathon, 10K, 10K walk and 10K nordic walk. Set on the shores of Lake Geneva this festival of running had stunning scenery, a really friendly atmosphere and superb organisation. Oh – and the weather was glorious too! Jeremy had originally signed up for the marathon, but following injury swapped to join Jo on the 10K. Jo was first ORC home in a time of 40min 49sec (a massive personal best by 43 seconds!) and 31st female to cross the line. Jeremy followed home in a time of 43min 17sec in 544th overall.

2019 Chicago Marathon

Last weekend two Okehampton Running Club members, Jo Page and Anne Binns, enjoyed great success at the Chicago Marathon, doing themselves and the club proud. Both had run qualifying times for this marathon which is one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors and for Anne it was her third of the six having already completed London and Boston. Flying out several days before they enjoyed a few days holiday and warmed up for the marathon by running the Chicago 5k the day before along with Anne’s husband John. Unfortunately, despite her training going exactly to plan, Anne developed a slight knee pain during a park run just before flying out and was concerned that the pain was still present during this 5k, but was determined to run and get her coveted star to count towards the six races even if it meant a slow time. A cold but clear sunny day greeted the runners and both ladies rose to the occasion and produced superb runs. Jo Page had only run her first marathon just over a year ago but improved on that with a good run in Manchester in the spring, but here she knocked over two minutes off that time to run a new PB of 3.14.09, which not only set new club record and a qualifying time for the New York Marathon, but makes her the first club lady to secure a Championship entry time for the London Marathon. Anne limped round the first three miles, but found the pain in her knee gradually eased and returned to the sort of pace she had trained for, coming home in 3.52.48, setting a new PB, a new club age group record and giving her a guaranteed entry to New York, another World Marathon Major.
The two ORCs also met up with Marilyn Cooper’s son Peter, who has set himself the goal of completing the World Majors in memory of his mother who had hoped to achieve this herself before her unexpected death three years ago and he completed in 4.33.07.