Monthly Archives: November 2020

Lockdown Bridge Challenge

The fortnightly Okehampton Running Club Challenge this weekend was just one word – “bridges”. This was left open to the members to interpret in whatever way they chose, all complying with the Lockdown rules of only running with one other socially distanced runner.

It kicked off on Saturday with runners clocking up more and more bridges and those who included Simmons Park in their run were spoilt for choice of bridges. There were some who’s tally were well into the 20’s but these were dwarfed by Karen King and Jo Page’s run where they clocked a staggering 54 bridges in a 16mile run around Okehampton and parts of the moors.

Robert Richards, who set the challenge, had planned his run around some of the beautiful and ancient clapper bridges on the moors. Running with Wendy Walters, they claimed 5 clapper bridges in their 12mile run, but there was one place where the absence of a bridge was keenly felt by Wendy who ended up thigh deep in boggy water!

Also out on the moors was Joe Lane who grabbed the chance of a moor run with a simple solution to the challenge, running from Bridestowe to Two Bridges.

Joanne Baker Teixeira set herself the task of finding the biggest and smallest bridges in the area, covering 8 miles to establish Meldon Viaduct is the biggest and a tiny bridge on the Golf Course is the smallest.

Sunday produced some different takes on the bridges theme. Ian Ripper burned his bridges with an extra pint Saturday night and struggling to get out for a run Sunday! Andy Vallance and Paul Crease decided on a “no bridges” run on the moors, trying to cross the rivers by fords marked on the OS25 map. A great 19mile run resulted in 12 named fords crossed and very wet feet. Jane Jackson only crossed one bridge, at Sheepwash, but did so 60 times, doing it once in both directions for every year she has lived in the village.

Some more traditional bridge-bagging runs were undertaken with Jackie Dawes running with Kate Wilson. This time last year they were both running across the Ponte Vecchio during the Florence Marathon, but got together to run 10miles taking in 28 bridges in the lanes around South Zeal, Sticklepath and South Tawton.

Coach Sarah Bell did 3 separate runs to accompany three “couch to 5k” runners on what is quite a hard stage of their course, having to do a continuous 25min run. Congratulations to Natalie Uglow, Emily Currie, Nick Marvin, Helen Picarella, Charlotte Williams, Kathryn Vile and Beverley Dennis for getting out to take part and to Sarah for her dedicated support.

Some other runners are struggling with motivation, time or coming back from Injury without the club sessions, and Jodie Monnox, Sophie Fletcher and Kerry Morashti found the biggest bridge to cross was actually getting out and running.

Another great challenge was enjoyed by all who took part and one thing became obvious during the course of the challenge – there are more bridges than anyone imagined in and around Okehampton!


Feel the Burn lockdown 2.0 challenge

The implementation of the second lockdown put a stop to Okehampton Running Club’s group runs, all races and the newly set-up Couch to 5k programme. Not to be discouraged at the prospect of returning to running with little motivation, Robert Richards once more set up the fortnightly ORC challenges, giving runners a sense of achievement for completing a run and sharing it on the club’s Facebook page. This kicked off with a challenge to “feel the burn” during a run over the weekend, either by putting a real effort in for the last km of the run, or pushing hard on an uphill section.

Once again ORCs rose to the challenge, with runners either going out on their own or with one socially distanced other runner. First to log in was Bernadette Blackman with a 6.8m run on the moors where her last km was faster despite an uphill finish.

Several headed out to the moors where unfortunately they were enveloped in a thick mist on Saturday, but Rob Hicks managed to put in a fast last km on a tour of the ring road putting him in the lead for the fastest male, only to be overtaken soon after by Joe Lane. He’d narrowly missed a sub 20min 5k on a previous challenge but by running the same route the other way round he achieved his goal in 19.46 with his last km the fastest.

It wasn’t all about speed though, just about putting some effort in to feel the burn in the legs, something Beki Simmons and Hannah Woods felt when they had to divert their route which made their last and fastest km uphill which certainly made their legs burn.

It was very encouraging to see how some of the Couch to 5k runners embraced the challenge incorporating the “feel the burn” into their programme for this week. It’s particularly hard for them as they have only just started running and the support of others is really needed to keep their motivation up so a big well done to Bev Dennis, Charlotte Williams, Natalie Uglow, Vicky Evison, Emily Curry and Jayne Pleace.

Sunday saw  much better day for those who did their challenge on the moors where Phil Turner was the first up there enjoying the beautiful early morning sun and clocking a fast last km albeit a bit downhill.

Joseph Lynch loves these challenges and took part on both days and Carron Holmes also went out for a second try on Sunday. Having narrowly failed to make her last km the fastest on Saturday, she made sure she really made her legs burn this time!

The overall fastest 5k of the challenge was clocked by Robert Kelly on the Granite Way, making it hard for himself by running 20k with each km progressively faster than the previous one, his last being an impressive 3.36.

Anne Binns put in the fastest km for a lady, clocking a 4.11 last km while running with her husband John.

It wasn’t a race to clock the fastest time though. The real aim of this challenge was just to get people out there running and enjoying seeing how fellow club mates did too and in this it was very successful. 76 club runners took part and 5 non-club runners with 56 ladies, 20 men and 4 juniors. All are looking forward to the next challenge.

Twilight Halloween

On Thursday night three Okehampton Running Club members made their way to Scorrier House  in Cornwall for the Purple Gecko Halloween Twilight Run. This was a well organised event that followed all the Covid rules and regulations, while still putting on a fantastically fun and entertaining event, with plenty of mud, hills and Zombies included!

With all three wearing fancy dress, the first off was Keeley Philips in the 5k event, setting off into the darkness at 5.30pm to run her first night race. Taking it steady to enjoy the new experience, Keeley finished in 30.37 having avoided being eaten by Zombies!


The 10k event set off at 7pm, with Erin McDaid having a brilliant run to come home in 1st place in a time of 37.00mins, nine minutes ahead of the second placed runner. Jo Page also had a great race, her time of 47.34 securing her 1st Lady and coming 4th overall.