It was a weekend of great performances by Okehampton runners, from juniors to the most senior members. Saturday saw the National X-Country Championships take place over an incredibly muddy and sticky course at Loughborough which made for very tough going. Jo Page ran a strong 10k Ladies race to come 4th of the Devon runners, with Mathew Richards also running very well to be 4th in the team in his race and Sam Priday 8th.
Geoff Hill returned to the Lee Valley Stadium in London, this time for the British Masters Track Championship where he followed up his gold in the 800m 2 weeks ago with a silver medal in the 400m, clocking a time of 57.63secs. Geoff won his final but the winner of the second final finished just one tenth of a second faster and so took gold.
On Sunday there was a good turnout of ORCs at the Bideford Half Marathon. Prize money for the first five male and female winners attracted some top runners to this fast and flat race where there were 1,550 entrants. Conditions were good once the torrential downpour that started as soon as the starting klaxon went off had passed! First ORC home with a superb run was Hayden Bond, finishing in an excellent 16th place in 1.17.00, knocking a minute off his PB. Claudine Benstead was the first ORC lady home in an incredible 1.33.12, winning the FV60 prize by a huge margin and setting a new club age category record. Steve Sincock was another category winner taking the MV60 prize with an equally impressive 1.24.05, also for a new club age record. Paul Carter was 3rd MV50 in 1.24.27 while Kathleen Sincock was 2nd FV50 in 1.41.59 and an age category club record. Just a minute behind her was Karen Vallance in 1.42.56 for 3rd FV50 and a three and a half minute PB. Ged Fitzgibbon took the 3rd MV70 prize in 1.54.29 and set a new MV70 club record. Andy Vallance finished not far behind Hayden in 1.17 25, good enough to set a new MV40 club record.
Other ORC times; Ricky Davies; 1.22.29, Johnathan Stephens ; 1.23.34, Graham Bryant; 1.26.36 (PB), Jo Page; 1.42.58, Emma Dean; 1.45.06, Ian Ripper; 1.46.33, Lucinda Walsh; 1.56.48.(PB), Jo Turner; 1.56.51, Kate Wilson; 1.56.53, Karen King; 2.04.31, Tom Andrew; 2.04.32, Jo Bradford; 2.04.32, Vicky Bond; 2.04.40.(PB), Gillian Tabor; 2.08.44, Jane Richardson 2.27.23.
The iconic Grizzly also took place on Sunday. Jeremy Tandy ran the full 20 mile Grizzly, finishing in 2.50.25 to be 26th out of 1,385 finishers. Christine Fritsch had to make the decision to drop to the shorter distance, the Cub, when she became unwell out on the course. Taking it slowly she still enjoyed the race, finishing in 2.12.23.
Voted best Club award
Posted by: Robert Richards 4th March 2020
Sunday saw the last in this year’s Westward League X-country series at Stover, where Okehampton’s male vet team needed a good performance to secure 2nd place overall. In extremely muddy conditions all ran well, the juniors all improving on their individual placings. When the final scores were added up Okehampton’s Vet team did come 2nd with individual places for Ian Page 2nd and Paul Crease 3rd in their age categories. Although this year the ladies teams didn’t get placed there were individual successes for Claudine Benstead, 1st in the FV60’s with Mags Jarvis 3rd FV60. On top of these awards, Okehampton was voted the Best Club of the Year by the Westward League, being awarded a Challenge Shield. This was an award for the club and all its runners from juniors to vets.
The previous weekend Geoff Hill travelled to the Lee Valley Stadium in London to compete in the South of England Masters Championships. Running in the 800m he paced his run to perfection, coming from behind to overtake the two runners ahead of him in the last 100m and winning by 2 tenths of a second in 2min 15.54secs, also setting a new SW Vets record. He now goes on to run in the British Masters Championships at the same venue next week.
Saturday night saw ORCs Jeremy Tandy and Tom Andrew cross the border to run the Night’s Watch Twilight Trail Run in Cardinham Woods. Both runners chose the 10k option on a typically steep and hilly course that was two laps of the 5k route. Jeremy had a great run here, coming home in first place in 42.59, while Tom was 16th in 57.48.
The second day of the Exeter Half Marathon took place on Sunday having been postponed due to Storm Ciara, and runners enjoyed sunny but breezy conditions. Jackie Dawes was ORC’s only competitor, using it as part of her London Marathon training, coming home in 1.53.31. Okehampton’s Roger Voaden was also running but acting as a pacer for a 1.30.00 time, a job he completed to perfection.
After being thwarted the previous weekend by Storm Dennis with the cancellation of the Bournemouth 10 miler, Steve Sincock travelled to Redruth in Cornwall to confront Storm Jorge at the Duchy 20.
From the start at the Penventon Hotel, runners headed out west straight into the worst of the headwind along the coast road, before turning back at mile 8 toward a shorter second lap.
With the Penventon Hotel almost in sight, runners were then turned up a final one mile loop running past the 19 mile mark, then down to turn and run back up a tough final climb that included a short section at a gradient of 11%.
Total race distance was ominous as you passed the 20 mile marker before a further quarter of a mile run into the finish where a warm pasty was waiting for all finishers.
Finishing in a time of 2:21:45, was good enough for 18th Overall, a bottle of wine for being the first MV60 and setting an Okehampton RC Age Category time.