Monthly Archives: July 2020

The last Lockdown ORC challenge

With further easing of Lockdown restrictions Okehampton Running Club held what it hopes will be its last weekend challenge. England Athletics has updated its guidance for running clubs to restart some club sessions with precautions in place for the safety of runners and the general public and while numbers of runners will be restricted, the club hopes that there won’t be the need for these virtual club challenges. This last challenge was to test runners fitness coming out of lockdown by running a 5k to see if they have improved during this period.

Some club members have actually taken advantage of having more time to run whilst on furlough while others have struggled with continuing to work, possibly from home, and having children at home too giving them less time to get out and run. Others found it difficult to stay motivated without the regular club sessions or the company of friends in the early days and enjoyed the virtual support of others during the challenges.

Amazingly the club has actually had several new members join despite lockdown, enjoying the opportunity to familiarise themselves with present members through the Facebook posts and feeling part of the club with the challenges.

It turned out not to be the best weather for running fast times with some torrential rain and hot humid periods in between, but this didn’t stop people having a go at the challenge. There was a broad spectrum of routes, downhill, flat, or quite hilly, but it didn’t really matter, with the taking part more important than the result.  Having said that, there were some great times recorded with unofficial PB’s from Robert Richards, Ian Ripper, Charlotte Lynch and Jodie Monnox, while new members Adam Bussell and Jules  Lewis-Thompson did their first recorded 5k’s so now have a time to beat in future. It was also the first timed 5k run on tarmac for off-road runner Joe Lane who found it harder than expected and has a new respect for the road runners now. For Duncan Nicol it was the first land-based challenge he has been able to take part in, having joined in the previous ones while onboard a cargo ship in the Pacific. New member Eirin Mc Daid was one of the runners to get a drenching when he did his 5k round Burrator Reservoir, but he still knocked 5secs off his previous best round that route.

Above all, this was about people getting out there and enjoying taking part, no matter what the result. These challenges have certainly inspired ORCs to keep going while the club was unable to operate during the worst of this pandemic. Hopefully we will really get back to normal sometime, running together as before, but for now there is the prospect of a nearer normal experience when limited sessions start again. As before, a big thank you to Robert Richards for coming up with the ideas and getting people motivated.

Thanks to Jane for the reporting.

I am proud because…

Another Okehampton Running Club Challenge rolled round last weekend, this time with the theme of “Pride”as its inspiration. These challenges have played an enormous part in keeping the club members together and helping to retain the feeling that they are all still part of a club, not just individual runners despite the restrictions of the Covid Pandemic. This became evident by the fact that overwhelmingly most people did runs saying that they were proud to wear the club colours and proud to be a member of such an inspiring and supportive club.

One member, Nicola Leach was proud on this occasion though to wear an NHS rainbow vest for her run with Lora Medland, having bought it to wear at the Edinburgh Half Marathon, but been denied the chance. As a trainee nurse she had every reason to be proud of being part of the NHS through these times.

Robert Richards also dedicated his run to the key workers in the club and beyond by doing a route linking sights where they have been working throughout lockdown such as the police and fire stations, the hospital and the supermarkets.


Some were deservedly proud of themselves, and others of them. At the age of 70 Janet White’s return to running since breaking her ankle on a moor run last year has proved difficult, especially through lockdown, but this weekend she did two runs. The first was with two club mates on the Tarka Trail, running a mile and a half further than she has been with the reward of tea and cake at the end of it. The second was a short moor run with two other friends, giving her the confidence to get back out on the moors she so loves. All her co-runners were proud to be running with this inspiring lady.

Debs Crome celebrated her wedding Anniversary by doing a 6mile walk on Dartmoor, proudly wearing her ORC vest and reflecting on all the places she’s become familiar with through running with friends on the moors. Her husband surprised her with a bottle of home brew to mark the day while siting in the sun on Belstone Tor.

The person who has the most reason to feel proud is Andy Vallance. It was his idea to set up a running club in Okehampton and his run was the route he did when he first started running in 1998 in order to take part in the London Marathon. Without him taking up running ORC would never have happened, but the club has grown way beyond what he ever envisaged, changing and enriching people’s lives through making friendships that go beyond just running together, and by the fitness and confidence it has given members. People have met new partners and many have found a new passion for being outdoors and exercise, for running on the moors or for racing competitively. The club developed with an ethos of being inclusive, supportive and equal, where everyone’s achievements were acknowledged on whatever level, a club that all members are proud to be part of.

Thank you Jane for preparing the report.

Quarterly Acheivement Award

Despite not being able to run as a club for some time, some of Okehampton Running Club’s business is carrying on as usual. Included in this was the presentation of the ORC Cup, a quarterly trophy awarded to a member for outstanding effort and achievement in the previous three months. On Thursday Mags Jarvis presented Joseph Lynch with the cup in recognition of his enthusiastic participation in the ORC challenges that have taken place fortnightly since lockdown. Joseph, who has Downes Syndrome, together with his mum Charlotte and Mags made up the Step By Step team for the Half Marathon Challenge, with Joseph coming up with the team name and organising the distances each would run. He also took it upon himself to start up an online fundraising page to raise £100 for Parkinsons UK aware that Mags, who has Parkinson’s, wasn’t going to be able to raise money for them with the London Marathon being cancelled. In a very short time he exceeded his target, eventually raising £655. Joseph was very proud and pleased to win the cup, already engraved with his name.