Monthly Archives: December 2019

’tis the season to be Jolly

The festive races continued through Christmas with the very popular Beat The Fox race on Boxing Day. Now taken over by Fremington Trailblazers, this used to be a low key charity 5k fun run to run off the excesses of Christmas Day but has grown in popularity and this year there were 545 finishers. It is now a proper race with prizes, but still retains its traditional format where runners follow someone dressed as a fox out from Fremington Manor to a point where the route goes off road. The fox stands aside and allows all the runners to pass, before giving chase to overtake as many runners as possible, the hope being that you can beat the fox to the finish.

The route follows tracks, fields and a short section of Tarka Trail before coming back through woods to the finish. Always a bit of a mud-fest, this year it was so muddy and slippery it was comical to watch the flailing arms and antics of people trying to stay upright! Six ORCs plus two juniors all enjoyed the fun and festive atmosphere (and the adults enjoyed the nip of port at halfway), all of them coming home ahead of the fox. As a bonus, Jeremy Tandy, who was third overall and first ORC back, also won the Male 41 and over prize, while a very surprised Jane Jackson won the Female over 55 prize.

ORC times; Jeremy Tandy; 19.37, Dave Bates; 23.09, Angus Farrelly; 26.01, Gill and Aiden Spinney; 31.04, Jane Jackson; 31.09, Phil and Kiera Spinney; 34.12.

Great to see Claudine Benstead, Dave Bates, Graham Bryant and Hayden Bond at Exeter Riverside Christmas parkrun. Fabulous morning for running. Merry Christmas.

Last weekend was all about off road festive races, meaning mud, water and more mud while dressed in some ridiculous outfit. Saturday saw seven ORCs travel to Escot Park in East Devon for the Extremely Jolly Trail Race. This year there were no river crossings  on the course as the exceptional rainfall had made them too deep and dangerous, but there were still 7 miles of extremely muddy woodland paths, fields and a water-slide to be negotiated. Junior ORC Ollie King enjoyed his run in the one mile Little Elves Race. In the senior race Jeremy Tandy was first ORC back in 56.05, but having taken the wrong course along with the other lead runners he missed out on his podium place, and was placed 5th overall. Jo Page was on form again and ran an excellent race despite the conditions to take the 2nd Female prize in 59.08. Other finishers ; Karen King; 1.24.57, Jane Jackson; 1.28.23, Daniella Tansley; 1.30.18, Liam Keen; 1.39.58.

On Sunday the festive costumes were on display again at the ever popular Torrington Christmas Caper. This race is more than a jolly pre-Christmas run and at the sharp end is a competitive and challenging 10 mile race. It’s renowned for its muddy trails, fields, river crossings and hills and runners expect a generous coating of mud by the end. This year however the road sections were the only places that were free of mud and water, with one section of “green lane” turning into a long lake of up to thigh deep water. There was an impressive turnout of ORCs here and some were hoping to see Geoff Hill and Hayden Bond compete as a pantomime horse, however in the end they decided that would be almost impossible to run in but they still wore great outfits.

Andy Vallance being the first home and Ellodie Stott the first ORC lady to finish. Dave Bates was the only ORC to take home a prize, coming 2nd MV60. Other ORC finishers; Jeremy Tandy, Hayden Bond, Geoff Hill, Mike Baker, Angus Farrelly, Paul Carter, Merv Rice, Karen Vallance, Abby Williams, Kate Wilson, Ali Holiday, Jo Bradford, Mags Jarvis, Carole Cornwall, Katy Speak, Jane Jackson

Festive Running for ORC

At the Plym Trail Christmas Trail Races on Saturday Okehampton had runners in both the Half and full Marathons. Starting at Clearbrook near Yelverton the course is an out and back along the cycle trail, doubled for the marathon. Emma Dean was the first ORC home in the Half with a strong run, finishing in 1.50.50, followed by Jessica Guscott in 2.00.14. Robert Richards didn’t have such a good run with a calf niggle slowing him on the return miles and finished in 2.09.58. Roger Voaden was the lone club representative in the Marathon, finishing 4th in 3.18.33.

Wild Running’s Dark Dart Dash on Saturday evening made Christmas feel that bit closer with its festive dress code. This trail race loops around the grounds of Dartington Hall, providing 1K, 2K, 5K, and 10K routes with mud in plentiful supply. ORC was represented in the 2K, 5K and 10K races with junior members Aiden and Kiera Spinney in the 2k race, where Kiera came 3rd in her age category in 11.29 with her brother 4th in his category in 10.44. In the 5k Phil Turner finished in 43.55, while Karen Vallance took 2nd in her age category, finishing with her daughter Jasmine and Ali Holiday in 48.02. Jeremy Tandy was the first ORC home in the 10k, coming 2nd overall and 1st in category in 46.33, while Jo Turner was third in her category in 1.05.24. Phil Spinney, dressed as a Ghostbuster, finished in 1.15.20, scooping one of the best fancy dress prizes along with Jeremy who was dressed as an elf.

The festive running season continued on Sunday 8th December at Cardinham Woods with Purple Gecko’s Cardinham Christmas Canter. This provided Jeremy Tandy with another opportunity to run as an elf, this time coming 3rd in the 10k race in 40.44 over well maintained forestry tracks.

Jo Page took to the beach for her race on Sunday, running the Weston Christmas Cracker at Weston-Super-Mare. Dressed as a Christmas tree, Jo battled with the headwind on the exposed beach, finishing first senior lady in 47.38.

A Euro Trip for ORC members.

The third race in the Westward League series was held in Exeter on Sunday, hosting the Devon X-Country Championships. On a cold but sunny day ORC had a good turnout who produced some great performances. The men were really on form with the first three finishers of Robert Kelly, Andy Vallance and Paul Crease taking the 1st Vet team prize. Individually, Robert was 3rd MV35, Andy 3rd MV40 and Paul 2nd MV45. The senior team of Richard Davies, Geoff Hill and Jeremy Tandy also took third place.The ladies team weren’t at full strength due to injuries, but ran well with Claudine Benstead winning the FV60 category but the vet team were just out of the prizes, finishing 4th. There were some new runners in the junior events with Maddie Burrows and Neve Webber having their first outing for the club.

The previous Wednesday was the Exeter and District versus East Devon School’s X-country Championships In Exeter. Qualification at this event would take the runners to the Devon selection later. With Sam Priday and Harrison King representing yrs 10/11 and Matthew Richards yrs 8/9 they all ran well, Sam finishing 2nd, Matthew 4th to both qualify and Harrison 27th.


Kate Wilson and Jackie Dawes travelled to Florence for the marathon on 24 November. 11,000 runners crammed into one of the city’s narrow streets for a mass 8.30am start. The route followed the river Arno through a large city park and into quieter residential districts before leading back into the winding streets. The race’s tagline is “We Run In Art” and the route takes in some of the city’s most iconic sights, including the beautiful Ponte Vecchio bridge which the runners cross shortly before halfway. The cracked and cobbled pavements make for some tricky running and are very unforgiving. The race ends at the magnificent Duomo (cathedral). There was a can of beer in the goody bags and lots of post-race cake. Jackie was very pleased to do another sub-four, coming in at 3hrs 55 mins. Kate was battling dodgy guts (necessitating many loo stops) and was quite disappointed with 4 hrs 22 mins, even though it was a PB. Despite tired legs, they both managed some dancing to cheesy Europop and disco classics at the post-marathon party.


Another ORC on tour this week as Robert Richards who ran a 10k in Spain. The race was the Akiles 10k in Casa De Campo, a scenic run through the rolling Central Park in the shadow of the Royal Palace, the former hunting grounds of the royal court in the capital Madrid. Robert finished in a time of 55:04 in weather more akin to Britain of cold and pouring rain.

A succesfull ending to the clubs Couch 2 5k course.

Sunday saw the final day of Okehampton’s Couch to 5k course, ending with a 5k Time Trial for the runners to prove they could indeed run 5k now. Unfortunately some were not able to take part, but those who did were rewarded with a certificate saying they had completed the course. Congratulations to Rob Cunnington, Gemma Haines-Lawson, Becky Hawkins, Jodie Monnox, Evie Woods and Sarah Angel. Following this some of the present members from various groups took the opportunity to set a 5k time for their awards.

On Saturday Jeremy Tandy travelled to Ham Hill, Somerset, for Flying Fox Running’s “Run from the Romans” 10-mile night trail race. Route-following by head torch was made more challenging due to fog, making it difficult to spot the reflective course markings at times, so much so that Jeremy took a wrong path during the second lap. Fortunately he got back on course, overtaking those who had slipped by him to finish in third place in 1.17.58.

Jane Richardson and Janet White enjoyed trails, hills and some deep gloopy mud when they ran the 10mile Bicton Blister on Sunday. Starting and finishing at Bicton College, after a short road section the route follows trails across the sandy, stony and sometimes muddy paths of Woodbury Common, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Both ladies enjoyed their runs with Jane finishing in 2.03.41 and Janet in 2.09.45.