The third race in the Westward League series was held in Exeter on Sunday, hosting the Devon X-Country Championships. On a cold but sunny day ORC had a good turnout who produced some great performances. The men were really on form with the first three finishers of Robert Kelly, Andy Vallance and Paul Crease taking the 1st Vet team prize. Individually, Robert was 3rd MV35, Andy 3rd MV40 and Paul 2nd MV45. The senior team of Richard Davies, Geoff Hill and Jeremy Tandy also took third place.The ladies team weren’t at full strength due to injuries, but ran well with Claudine Benstead winning the FV60 category but the vet team were just out of the prizes, finishing 4th. There were some new runners in the junior events with Maddie Burrows and Neve Webber having their first outing for the club.
The previous Wednesday was the Exeter and District versus East Devon School’s X-country Championships In Exeter. Qualification at this event would take the runners to the Devon selection later. With Sam Priday and Harrison King representing yrs 10/11 and Matthew Richards yrs 8/9 they all ran well, Sam finishing 2nd, Matthew 4th to both qualify and Harrison 27th.
Kate Wilson and Jackie Dawes travelled to Florence for the marathon on 24 November. 11,000 runners crammed into one of the city’s narrow streets for a mass 8.30am start. The route followed the river Arno through a large city park and into quieter residential districts before leading back into the winding streets. The race’s tagline is “We Run In Art” and the route takes in some of the city’s most iconic sights, including the beautiful Ponte Vecchio bridge which the runners cross shortly before halfway. The cracked and cobbled pavements make for some tricky running and are very unforgiving. The race ends at the magnificent Duomo (cathedral). There was a can of beer in the goody bags and lots of post-race cake. Jackie was very pleased to do another sub-four, coming in at 3hrs 55 mins. Kate was battling dodgy guts (necessitating many loo stops) and was quite disappointed with 4 hrs 22 mins, even though it was a PB. Despite tired legs, they both managed some dancing to cheesy Europop and disco classics at the post-marathon party.
Another ORC on tour this week as Robert Richards who ran a 10k in Spain. The race was the Akiles 10k in Casa De Campo, a scenic run through the rolling Central Park in the shadow of the Royal Palace, the former hunting grounds of the royal court in the capital Madrid. Robert finished in a time of 55:04 in weather more akin to Britain of cold and pouring rain.