Monthly Archives: July 2021

RunExe 5k & Endure24

In blistering heat last Tuesday evening 2 runners from Okehampton Running Club (ORC), Claudine Benstead and Jane Richardson tackled the RunExe 5k.

This is a great traffic free and pancake flat 5km run on footpaths and cycle tracks around Exwick Playing Fields and the River Exe Flood Relief, suitable for people chasing PB’s along with novice runners.

The RunExe 5k are a series of runs in June, July, August and September, with runners welcome to take part in individual races, or the series. The best results from 3 of the 4 races count, with medals for everyone completing 3 or more races.

Keeping up their winning streaks both Claudine and Jane came first in their age categories, with Claudine completing the race in 20:17 and Jane in 28:10 – hopefully it won’t be quite so hot for them in the August race!

Not content with doing a team 24 hour challenge recently, ORC Jo Page decided she would do a solo challenge, the Endure 24.

The event on the 23rd – 25th July 2021 was held at Temple Island Meadows, Henley on Thames. There were 108 solo female runners and 212 solo male runners, along with numerous teams entered in the race. The tag line was ‘Epic, brutal, relentless’ and I’m sure it was all of those things!

Solo runners started the race on Friday at midday, and they carried on running as many laps as they could in the 24 hours, finishing on Saturday at midday. They could stop for rests and food whenever they wished during this time.

Jo covered an amazing 161km, smashing her expectations by completing not just her first 50miler, 100k but also 100 mile race. Her furthest distance before was 32 miles, so she was over the moon with what she achieved, especially as she was nursing an injury. In her own words “I can’t quite believe that I have run 100 miles, I am completely broken now, but it was worth it!”

Amazing isn’t really a big enough accolade for this fantastic achievement! Well done Jo.

The club is not just about racing, with many members enjoying the comradery and support of group runs and the popular Dartmoor runs that are put on by the coaches. There will also be another Couch to 5k intake in September for new runners, more details will be on the website in due course.


Exeter 10k, Tavy Relays & Haytor Heller

In contrast to last, this week was a busy race calendar with races on weekday evenings as well as the weekend.

Three members ran City Runs 10K in Exeter where they were joined by World, European and Commonwealth medallist Jo Pavey. This is a race where speed and a good time for each individual is the ultimate goal and the presence of Jo Pavey probably put everyone in race mode. All three achieved age category positions, Claudine Benstead 1st with a time of 41.36, Ged Fitzgibbon 2nd with 51.40 and Jane Richardson 1st with 1.01.37.

On Wednesday Okehampton Running Club, with the phenomenal support of its members were able to enter 6 junior, 1 under 12 boys, 3 men’s and 2 ladies teams to the Tavistock relays. The teams of four have one runner on the fast and furious 1.1 mile circular course at a time with a hand over of a baton within a designated space. The six Juniors teams known as the Tigers, Panthers, Lions, Lionesses, Puma’s and Jaguars all embraced the concept of team work and gave their all. Under 12 boys, Arthur Hicks, Aiden Spinney, Rudy Simmons and Elliot Woods won 1st place. Rob Hicks, Rob Kelly, Joe Lane and Mark Lynch took 1st place for the  Veteran 40 men. The Veteran ladies, Lucinda Walsh, Wendy White, Anne Marie Lethbridge and Wendy Walters took 2nd place. This event is always a great evening and it was super to see it back on the calendar and so well supported by the club.

On Saturday sole ORC Christine Fritsch took on Teignbridge Trotters Haytor Heller in phenomenal heat and a time of 1.16. As its name suggests this is a race with gruelling climbs and descents over 6 miles. It was the 35th anniversary of this race.     


Cosdon Hill Race

It was a much quieter week for racing, but this didn’t stop members of Okehampton Running Club (ORC) getting out and about on their usual club runs. Lots of members just enjoy the companionship of group running without racing, there really is something for everyone. Fosters even found a message that had been left for them on Tuesday when they did their run from the town up to the moor!

There were also 2 of the popular moor runs last week, one being a recce, or ‘chance to trot up and down one of many routes to Cosdon Hill’ in preparation for the club hosted race on Sunday.

The Cosdon Hill Race is part of the Dartmoor Fell Race Series. It usually coincides with Belstone Fair, but this unfortunately has to be cancelled again this year.

The day dawned bright, with just some light drizzle, but by late morning it turned in to what can only be called a monsoon! Hopes for a race that was dry with any visibility at all was looking very unlikely. But, in true Dartmoor fashion, the rain did eventually stop and by the start of the race the sun had even come out.

The juniors set off first in a 2k race for the under 11’s or 3km for under 13’s. Great racing by Thomas to win the Under 11’s boys and Kelsey the Under 11 girls and to William and Neve in the Under 13’s. Any juniors over 13 were permitted to race in the adult event.

A great turnout of runners from the area took part in the main race, with Tim Lenton and Jo Meek both racing and hoping to keep their crowns. It was great to see Adam Holland in the line up ‘fresh’ from just having completed his 10 marathons in ten days challenge, well done Adam!

The runners pick their own route up and down the hill, the only stipulation being they must check in with the marshals at the top of Cosdon. There are no easy routes with bogs, gorse and long grass to contend with – many of the runners also chose to take the quicker river crossing option on the final home stretch rather than go to the bridge, even though the water was quite high after all the recent rain.

Congratulations to Samuel Kelly for coming home first in a time of 29:50, with Sam Priday the first ORC home in third place and Tim Lenton in fourth. Jo Meek retained her title as winning lady and Karen Vallance was the first ORC lady home. Well done everyone for taking part, and thanks to all the marshals and North Dartmoor Search and Rescue for their support. Full results are available here.

The next race hosted by ORC in the Summer Series is Sourton Tors Race on Wednesday 8 September.