Monthly Archives: May 2020

Individual Event Challenge

Another weekend of good weather provided ideal running conditions for Okehampton Running Club’s Weekend Challenge for its members and ex-members. The task set for them this time was to just pick an acknowledged race distance and complete a run of that distance wearing club colours and posting their results to ORC’s Facebook page. There was no pressure to actually run it as a race, but it was just to remind runners that despite the lockdown they still could run a race when we finally emerge from this way of life. Some members met the challenge head on, completing a distance they had never done before or hadn’t run for a long time and some pushed themselves to run a virtual Personal Best for their chosen distance.

The distances chosen varied from a 100m sprint by Graham Bryant, to a full marathon, run by marathon specialist Roger Voaden, still a member despite moving away from Okehampton.

The relaxed feeling of choosing your distance and where to run it produced some great results. Jodie Monnox joined the club last October, coming through the couch to 5k course, and was the first runner to log in on Saturday morning. Her description of her run was that she’d decided not to push herself and enjoy her run, and then produced a huge 10k PB.

With some easing of the lockdown restrictions, some members could now get back to running on Dartmoor, a privilege that has only been available to members who lived near enough to run there from their homes. Dartmoor running specialist Christine Fritsch, along with several other “off roaders” took to the moors for their runs, once again enjoying the freedom of the wide open spaces and clocking up some good half marathons in the process.


Another change in the previous regulations meant that people could run with someone else as long as they maintained the 2 meter social distance throughout. Long-time  member Beki Simmons has never raced much but with the encouragement of running buddy Jo Burrow she pushed herself to run her first 10miler in over 5 years.


Nicola Leach has only got back to running in the last few months having been concentrating on her nursing training, but despite her long hours recently she completed her first half marathon in 2 years.


Perhaps the toughest 10k was run by Ricky Davies, starting from his house in the town and running all the way to the top of Yes Tor and High Willhays, a continuous climb of 1,669ft.


One of the club’s own races, Marilyn’s Meldon Madness should have been held on Saturday so a few runners chose that route for the challenge. Both last year’s first lady, Katie Littlejohns and Joe Lane ran it from home and back, Joe’s route turning the 5mile race into a half marathon.


Perhaps one of the most poignant runs was from ex-member Claire Stanbury. Saturday should have been her Wedding Day so Claire took her mind off it by running a 10miler challenge, clocking a new PB for the distance wearing her veil.


Just one junior took part this time, Stan Wood who clocked 5min45sec for his 1500m run, a distance he’s trying to improve his time on.


Again, the challenge brought the feeling of being a club back and inspired the members to get out and run. A total of 96 runners took part, running a total of 697 miles, including 30x 5k’s, 32x 10k’s, 22x 10milers, 12 half marathons and one full marathon. As ever thanks goes to Robert Richards for setting, organising and logging the challenge. Okehampton’s ideas are now being taken up by other clubs to keep their members engaged through this period that is understandably devoid of races and club runs.

Friends and Family Half Marathon Challenge

With no sign of lockdown coming to an end anytime soon, once again Okehampton Running Club members rose to another challenge set to them. Head coach Rob Richards and Ruth Bushell came up with a format for this challenge to help the members who have struggled with having to run on their own in lockdown by making it a team challenge, even if the team members couldn’t actually be together. It was also designed to be more inclusive, encouraging the members to reach out to family and friends to be part of their teams whether they were runners or not as walking was also allowed. The teams were to complete a cumulative half marathon over the course of the weekend, with husbands, wives, small children, parents and friends all taking part. This extended to friends and family in other parts of the country and even other parts of the world all doing some miles to put towards the team result. All that was required was for evidence of the distance completed along with a photo of either ORC kit being worn or for non members to print off the ORC logo and pin it to their T shirt and for the team leader to log the team results on the ORC Facebook page. After the enormous success of ORC’s previous challenge it was hard to imagine the response could be any better, but it was staggering.


With great imagination teams put their own twists on the challenge. One of Okehampton’s popular members is Joseph Lynch who has Downes Syndrome. He took charge of the Step By Step team comprising himself, his mother and Mags Jarvis. Completely off his own initiative he decided to use this as a fundraising opportunity, setting up an online page for people to donate to Parkinsons UK as his fellow team member Mags has this disease. Originally aiming to raise £100 its total is already £465.


Some of the faster runners decided that between eight of them a half marathon was too easy, so divided the distance up equally with the aim of running the maximum elevation. Each one of The Only Way Is Up team ran just 1.64 miles but their total elevation gain was an incredible 9,555ft involving many repetitions up and down the steepest bits of hill near their homes or even up and down steps!


Again past members were included in the challenge and responded with a virtual relay of 13 runners all completing just one mile and making a brilliant video of the virtual changeovers with a bottle of wine as the baton to be passed on to the last runner who had supposedly run out of wine in lockdown!


One group of ladies synchronised their runs so that a runner in the Bahamas ran at the same time as two in the UK and one in Dubai. Another team was comprised of runners in South Africa and Australia together with local runners, while Duncan Nicol who took part in the previous challenge aboard a cargo ship anchored off China, now persuaded his fellow crew members to join him, running on a treadmill, this time making their way across the Pacific Ocean towards the USA.

Okehampton member Debs Crome certainly took the opportunity to reach out o friends and family across the country and brought together a team of 30 all of whom ran or walked a minimum of 1km but most did a lot more. With the help of 29 non members, Debs being the only ORC amongst them, they amassed a total mileage of 177miles, equal to over 13.5 half marathons or 6.5 full marathons and by far the biggest collective mileage.


One relatively new member, Jodie Monnox got together a team of 23, including some Okehampton Golf Club members, calling it Complete and Putter Madness. With a lot of key workers in the team it provided a great distraction from their work over the weekend.

As with the previous ORC challenge 2 weeks ago it was the feeling of being part of a team and part of a club again that was the reward for all who took part. Along with many other less happy memories of this strange time we are living in, there will at least be memories of the moments of shared fun this brought and pride in the achievements of young and old, fit and not so fit who all put some effort into completing the challenge. Once again a massive thanks to Robert Richards who organised it and spent the weekend collating and recording the results, even managing to squeeze in a run himself.

The final totals were; Teams; 43,  Total distance covered; 1169.4m, Number of people who took part; 224 of which 87 were members. We all await the next challenge.