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Chester Marathon, Galway Half Marathon, Exe Estuary Trail Half Marathon & London Marathon

Once again Okehampton’s running club members were spread far and wide to race this weekend.

Paul Carter was in Chester with an old friend of the club, Roger Voaden, to run the Marathon. This race sees runner’s leave the race course and pass through the city centre, then leaving through the Roman Walls heading for the Dee Bridge and Wales. Having left the city behind the route passes the Duke of Westminster’s Estate, through Pulford before crossing the border into Wales and the villages of Lavister and Rossett. Keeping to the rural lanes runners enter the historic village of Holt. Then crossing the ancient Roman bridge at Farndon to return to England and the home stretch running through Churnton, Aldford and Huntingdon. The course is largely flat with some short hills or gradual climbs which are predominantly in the second half of the course. Paul had a great run coming home in 3hrs 13:08. As a side note, this race would have seen club member Stephen Sincock don an England vest had it not been for a most unfortunate accident earlier in the year which put him out of action for 4months!

Simon O’Neill was in Ireland to run the Galway Half Marathon with his 21 year old son. The event, which covers other distances, is held at Nimmo’s Pier, Claddagh and took place on Saturday in beautiful weather. Simon, although 10 minutes slower than the last time he ran this race in 2018, did very well to finish in 1:42 having had covid a few weeks ago and not yet fully recovered.

Lucy Gooding was in Exmouth to take on the Exe Estuary Trail Half Marathon. This gently undulating route heads along the Exmouth Prom and joins the Estuary Trail, here it winds it’s way alongside  the Exe Estuary through the picturesque village of Lympstone and into Exton. Runners then turn around at a Marshall and head back the way they came to finish at Exmouth. Lucy ran well crossing the line 3hrs14:33

The London Marathon took place again this year in the Autumn before returning to its more usual season in the spring of 2023.There are many reasons that this event holds such an attraction for runners of all ages and from all over the world. The setting with all the historic buildings and iconic landmarks, the atmosphere and the support of the crowds. For  very many it is an opportunity to raise money for a chosen charity and with 40,000 runners in total the sums raised are considerable to say the least.

Two ORC ladies took part this year. Jo Page, who was unable to take advantage of a championship place awarded earlier, started in the second wave and despite this made her way through the traffic to gain an excellent time of 3hrs 27:19. This is good enough for a Boston qualifying time and a London ‘Good For Age’ as she looks to build on her two World Major Stars.

Mel Priday ,who was running for a charity, found the many words of encouragement from her supporters and the crowds that line the streets, along with much training, enough to get her round the 26.2 mile course. Considering she was uncertain whether she would be able to complete the distance was naturally pleased to finish in the very creditable time of 5hrs 8:51.


Lakeland Four Passes, Jewson Barnstaple Half Marathon, Newton Abbot Ladies’ 10K, Killerton Parkrun & Exmouth 10K

Lakeland Four Passes

One sole ORC, Christine Jeffrey travelled to the Lake District to take part in the Lakeland Four Passes, which is an 19(ish) mile route with 5300ft of ascent taking in four of the Lake Districts most scenic valleys and their adjoining passes.
The Lakes blessed the runners with perfect running conditions and breathtaking views on this tough run. Christine finished in 5 hours and 19 minutes (watch time, official results are still pending).

Jewson Barnstaple Half Marathon

Barnstaple Half and Full Marathon made a comeback this week, organised by North Devon Road runners. Two members Chris Turner and Rob Kelly took on the Half marathon course. The route goes from Rock Park through Barnstaple and onto the Tarka trail towards Fremington. It is a flat and fast course which returns to Rock Park for the finish. Chris ran 1.21.07 and Rob 1.27.08.

Newton Abbot Ladies’ 10K

It was the 25th year of this superb scenic race where the route follows undulating rural lanes throughout, with little traffic and passes through the local hamlets of Ogwell and Denbury. 2 ORC ladies enjoyed the undulating course in glorious sunshine along with over 200 others.
Joanne Page came 7th and 3rd FV35 in 43.41
Karen King came 46th and 4th FV40 in 52.21

Killerton Parkrun

3 ORCs enjoyed the scenic parkrun around the grounds of Killerton. Karen King won her age category in a time of 24:35 which was only 6 seconds off her PB. Jo Page also won her age category in a slow for her time of 24:36. Paul King came in not far behind.

Exmouth 10K

Claudine Benstead is a regular racer in the Exmouth Events. This week she beat many other younger runners as she usually does and ran a 40.58 time to win First Lady overall.


Warhorse 10k & Honiton Hippo

There were two races this weekend supported by ORC’s, both of which held a minute’s silence at the start as a mark of respect to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

On Sunday there were 14 ORC’s taking part in the popular local race, the Warhorse 10k. A unique touch to this race is that it is started by shotgun, this is very loud to those unaware!

The race starts and finishes in the picturesque village of Iddesleigh and takes the runners through country lanes and the beautiful estate of the privately owned Ash House. The majority of the route is ascent, with a particularly gruelling 1 mile climb around the 4 mile mark.

On a beautiful day for running, Ian Ripper was the first ORC home in a time of 48:18 followed by Claire Watkins in 48:32 who took first place in her age category. This rewarded her with a beautiful plaque and a signed copy of Michael Morpurgo’s book, War Horse.

Paul Evison continuing his good form was the next ORC back in a superb time of 49:56, followed by Anne Binns, who is training for the New York marathon, in 50.07 and husband John in 50:18. They were followed by another husband and wife team, Karen King in 54:10 and Paul in 55:27.

Rachel Luxton was next home in 55:31, Richard Jones 58:41, Chris Fulford-Brown in 1:05:31 and Victoria Evison in 1:06:46 who smashed a whopping 8 minutes off her time from her last run on this course!

The newest member of the club, Louis Rowlands did well to come home in 1:09:33 followed by Lucy Gooding in 1:11:06 and Olivia Wheeleker and Jo Teixeira together in 1:20:54 – well done to everyone.

Also running on Sunday were Angus Farrelly and Sarah and Molly Marvin, the only ORC’s to travel to Honiton for the 2022 Honiton Hippo.

Billed as a ‘Tough multi-terrain race with roughly 7 miles of mud, sweat and tears’ it lived up to its promise! The ‘highlight’ is the Land Rover Experience where runners have no choice but to pass through several different water features. Water is also on the agenda with the 2 river crossings, which is waist height for most runners!

Sarah said there was plenty of water and lots of mud, hills (hills and more hills), but the many lovely smiling marshals made for a great atmosphere and all in all, a thoroughly enjoyable and recommended day out.

All 3 of them came in together in a time of 1:23:29.


Treggy 7, Run Exe 5k, Sourton Tor Fell Race, Dartmoor In a Day, Great North Run & Bude Pirate Run

Some events were  cancelled or postponed while we are mourning the loss of our most wonderful sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth 2nd, others took place and some were run before the sad event.

Sunday 4th September saw four ORC’s take part in the Treggy 7 Road Race. This undulating course is part of the Cornish Grand Prix Series. This meant a very competitive race with teams from Hayle, Newquay, Falmouth, Truro and St.Austell among others. It was a very warm day with excellent running conditions. First home for ORC was Andrew Vallance in a PB of 45.13, very closely followed by Richard Davies in 45.15. Andrew Vernon followed in 49.44 claiming 3rd V50. The sole lady representative was Claire Watkins who is to be congratulated on setting a new club Vet F45 record of 54.26.

The following Tuesday evening saw five ORC members take part in the 6th and final round of the Run Exe 5k Summer Series. As regular readers of this column will know this event is a two lap course beside the flood relief channel and along the footpaths which surround Exwick  playing fields. First home was Andrew Vernon 19.16 2nd V50, Claudine Benstead was next in 20.11 1st V60 then Sophie Luxton finishing her season with a fine 21.34 1st FU17. Paul Evison followed in 22.48 3rd V65 and Victoria Evison who gained a PB of 30.10 to round off a successful evening.

The overall series rankings,  in which Okehampton are well placed again this year, have been announced. In order to figure in the final rankings runners have to complete four of the six races. A yellow jersey is awarded for category winners, red jersey for 2nd and green jersey for 3rd. ORC took four category prizes. Claudine Benstead and Sophie Luxton won their age group, Andrew Vernon was 2nd and Paul Evison 3rd in their respective age groups.

Okehampton Running club has it’s very own Summer Series comprising four fell races. The final one of the season is the Sourton Tor Fell Race. The race is a short and sharp traditional fell race and this year it was tackled by four junior  and twelve senior ORC’s under threatening skies. In the event the rain held off and the senior male course record was broken by just under a minute, Tom Perry returning to Bearslake where the race had started just 17minutes and 52 seconds earlier. The home club runners had a great showing with Arthur Lane (11.01) taking the U11 boys spot, Paul Crease (20.59) being the first V50 male to finish and Claire Watkins coming in as third lady (25.44).

The juniors performed really well with Eleanor Taylor (12.03), Alistair Taylor (12.32) and Kieran Spinney (20.46). In the senior race, Chris Turner (20.15) was first ORC to return followed by Paul Crease, Joe Lane (21.57), Tom Polland (22.29), Aiden Spinney (24.35), Daniel Heggs (25.24), Claire Watkins, Will Serviour (26.54), Katherine Hails (28.46), Christine Fritsch (30.43) and Lucy Gooding (41.40).

On behalf of the club the Race Director would like to thank the Volunteers and especially the Bearslake Inn for hosting and Andrew Horn for the use of his field for parking.

There was some excellent running on Saturday from Daniella Tansley and Ian Ripper who took on the ‘Dartmoor in a day’ challenge. This is a self navigation event across the moor with two checkpoints/aid stations on the way. The weather was warm and there was little breeze.

Ian took on the full 50km from Okehampton to Ivybridge and finished in a provisional time of 6:56 (17th overall and 15th male) just inside his target time of 7 hours. Daniella did the 30km option from Postbridge to Ivybridge her longest run to date. Finishing in 4:18 (10th overall and 6th lady).

Having nearly 60,000 runners the Great North Run is the worlds biggest half marathon. This year the weather was kind and the sun came out for the second half of the race. Jo Page, who was the sole ORC racing, reports that she enjoyed the race from start to finish due to the crowds and atmosphere. She finished 2248th  in 1hr 37.07 her fastest time in 18months.

Another  fixture held on Sunday was the Bude Pirate Run organised by the Bude Rats. The race is billed as 8ish miles and covers trails, fields, woods and the North Cornwall Coast Path. It is a beautiful course with lots of steep climbs and the added bonus of a pasty for all finishers. Claire Watkins represented the club and gained 2nd Vet45 crossing the line in 1hr14.


Saints Way Challenge, City to Sea Marathon, Bridgewater 10k & Parkrun

Two ORCs have been running big races this week. Firstly, Mike Saywell ran the Purple Gecko Saints Way challenge.  A 28-mile coast-to-coast mixed trail/road run from Padstow to Fowey. Things did not quite go to plan for Mike as he had to walk most of the last 10 miles due to a dodgy knee, so he was really pleased to finish 28th out of 82 runners in a time of 5:41:09.   This was the last run in a series of 4 races (totalling 100 miles) and a finish secured him an excellent 3rd place male in the series.

Lucy Gooding completed the City to Sea marathon yesterday,  a mix of road and coastal trail. This was her first marathon, she finished in 6 hrs 53 mins. Lucy said she loved it! The first 18/19 miles were flat, but the last few miles were very hilly with lots of steep steps which she said were a bit much for her little legs! The route took runners from Exeter, through Starcross, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Shaldon and ended up at Babbacombe. Congratulations on becoming a marathoner Lucy.

Claudine Benstead ran Bridgewater 10k to scoop 3rd place Female in a time of 48.04 and 1st place VF60. The 10K race along with a Half marathon is a fund raiser for Cancer research UK. It started and finished at Morganian’s Rugby Club passing through the beautiful village of Chedzoy.

Park Run runners this week were Jo Page and Karen and Ollie King; they chose Exmouth this week. Jo ran her fastest 10K since 2019 after a big mileage week of marathon training. Jo ran 20.48 and was 3rd female and 1st FV35. Ollie and Karen ran together in a time of 28.41.     


Great Links Tor Flyer

Last Wednesday saw a strong team of ORC’s and ORC Juniors head off to take part in the Great Links Tor Flyer, part of the Dartmoor Fell Series of races.

It is a spectacular route of 4.5 miles of fantastic running with some breath-taking views, starting and finishing at Fox and Hounds near Lydford.

The 4 juniors were running first, they had a 2km race to the top of Great Nodden and back – Ellenor Taylor (U11) and Alistair Taylor (U9) were 1st back in their respective races with Arthur Lane (U11) and Jacob Lane (U9) 2nd back in their categories. Brilliant running by the juniors and they were the team winners.

11 seniors took part in the new adult course. This took the track to Gt Nodden Tor, past both cairns then almost back on yourself to descend via the open moor to the check point at Little Links Tor. From here the runners continued to the next checkpoint at Great Links Tor then had a pretty flat or downhill run to the check points at Arms Tor and Brat Tor then a fast descent to the finish.

Luke Stannus was the first ORC home, fourth overall in a great time of 39:13. Joseph Lane was next in 42:14 closely followed by Chris Turner in 43:09. They were followed by Paul Crease 44:38, Mike Saywell 45:29, Charlie Temperley 45:53, Daniel Heggs 48:33 and Will Seviour 53:12.

The 3 ladies had a good run with Katherine Hails coming second in her age category in a time of 55:23, Christine Fritsch third in her age category in 1:01:25 and Hannah Susorney in 1:09:58.

The seniors were also the team winners, well done everyone, a great result. The final race in the series is the Sourton Fell Race on Wednesday 7 September organised by Okehampton Running Club.


Godolphin Hill 10k & Lands End Park Run

Two ORC’s travelled to West Cornwall on Friday 19th to take part in Freedom Racing’s Godolphin Hill 10k. The sun shone and from the start runners head up and out from the grounds of Godolphin House, the route twists and winds its way up Godolphin hill itself before taking  a rapid descent down the other side. A short road section brings runners to the base of Tregonning Hill and 110 metres of climbing to reach the top. The route then heads back down and onto another road section before a final race up and over Godolphin Hill once again. This is followed by a fast technical downhill dash to the finish line. Jo Page was 1st Lady across the finish line and Karen 8th.

Staying in the area overnight the two friends decided to do the Lands End Parkrun which is England’s most westerly. Karen came in 8th and Jo 9th and both were 2nd in their age catagories.


Ivybridge 3 Tops, Mile End Parkrun & The Great Escape

Ivybridge 3 Tops Fell Race

Five ORCS braved the sun and took on the Ivybridge 3 Tops Fell Race on Thursday. A breeze made the far too hot of a run just a too hot of a run. The race involved a 10km tour of the moor above Ivybridge visiting 3 different ‘tops’ with two brutal climbs. Paul Crease came in first M50 and fourth overall at 53:11, followed by Joe Lane (57:35), Daniel Heggs (1:04:53), Will Seviour (1:17:46), and Hannah Susorney (1:34:34).

Two juniors also ran the 1km. This was a beautifully steep race to the top of Western Beacon and back. Art Lane came 1st under 11 and Jake Lane 1st under 9. 

Mile End Parkrun

London parkrun tourism wasn’t made easy this morning for Jo Page, Karen and Paul King with the train strikes and engineering work but they made it to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare. Jo planned to run it hard and fast. She definitely ran hard but was over a minute slower than a few weeks ago which she put down to her recent blood donation. Jo was 7th female in 22.00 minutes and 1st VW35-39, Paul King (24.27) and Karen King (25.37)

The Great Escape

Molly and Sarah Marvin braved the heat and took on The Great Escape on Saturday. The race started at 11:30am which ensured that they were up on the moor in the blazing sunshine for midday and the early afternoon. Despite there being no shade, there was a cooling breeze for most of the run and they took their time and enjoyed the scenery. The race was 15.5 miles from Princetown to Ivybridge across the moor and had spectacular views. It was very well signed with two much needed water stations.


Run Exeter 5k, Forest Flyer, Sticklepath Horseshoe, Ashford Parkrun & Totnes 10k

Last Tuesday the 2nd August saw 6 ORC’s take part in the penultimate race in the Run Exeter 5k series, with more excellent running and podium finishes for the runners. Andrew Vernon was the first ORC home in a time of 19.15, giving him second place in his age category, he was followed by Claudine Benstead in 20.16, first in her category. Then came Joanne Page who was second in her category, Sophie May Luxton first in her category, Paul Evison third in category and Victoria Evison fifth in her category.

There are a total of 6 races in the series, with the best 4 results taken, the last race will be on the 6th September, so everything to run for. Claudine is currently leading the table in the F60 category and Andrew is leading in the M50+ category, with Paul in third place for the M65+ category.

Friday evening saw three ORC’s travel to the Haldon Forest to take part in the Forest Flyer organised by the Dawlish Coasters. This race is nearly 5 miles, completely off road on undulating cinder paths in a stunning forest setting.

The first ORC home was Joanne Page in a time of 36:16 and third female overall. Next was Paul King in a time of 42:22 with Karen King not far behind her husband in a time of 44:45.

On Saturday 4 ORC’s took part in the Sticklepath Horseshoe, this is the first time the event has taken place since 2018.

The race is a 9.6-mile self-navigation fell race across the moorland of North Dartmoor, starting and finishing at Sticklepath. The runners are required to pass through 6 Official Checkpoints at Skaigh Warren, Belstone Seat, Belstone Tor, Steeperton Tor, Cosdon Beacon, and Skaigh Warren again. They can take any route between the checkpoints, but there are clear paths to follow all the way round.

The weather was hot but clear, giving fantastic visibility on the moors which made for some breath-taking views from the top of the hills.

Paul Crease was the first ORC back in a time of 1:23 securing him fifth place overall, he was closely followed by Joe Lane in a time of 1:26 and Mike Saywell was in eleventh place in a time of 1:39. Paul Evison had a tough race and did well to finish, but in a slower time than usual.

The ORC’s enjoyed this friendly event, organised in the same spirit as our own fell races and it is highly recommended to anyone that enjoys running on the moor. The finishers were rewarded with home-made flapjack and a cider!

There’s no stopping some ORC’s and Chris Turner decided to run parkrun whilst on holiday. He did the Ashford parkrun, a two-lap course around Victoria Park. He was glad he did, as he finished with a new PB of 17:42! Well done Chris.

On a very hot Sunday morning Andrew Vernon was running again, he was the sole ORC at the Totnes 10k. This undulating multi terrain course starts at the Totnes Pavilion winding its way along the river Dart through fields, tracks, woods and then back to the start.

it’s a very hilly course, especially with the new uphill section that has been added due to damage to part of river trail, and with the hot conditions it was never going to be a quick race.

Andrew did well to finish in a time of 50.09 giving him fourth place in his category. He described it as ‘hot, hilly and hard going’! Well done to him and all the runners.


Postbridge Pootle Fell Race, Parke Park Run & Stoke Gabriel 10k (ish)

On Wednesday 27th July 8 ORC’s met to run the inaugural Postbridge Pootle Fell Race. The course is approximately 10.5km over the moorland north of Postbridge. Seven narrow bridges in the first quarter mile makes for an interesting start. The ground then rises quickly to Braddon Tor and this is followed by a ridge of three tors before the descent to Powder Mills Farm. The final mile is a mostly level forest track which allows for a swift finish.

Okehampton runners performed very well and secured Men’s Team 1st with Chris Turner coming in 4th overall(3rd senior) in a time of 46.09 followed by Paul Crease (1st V50) 46.31. They were followed by Joe Lane (3rd V40 displaying some skilful cattle clearing along the way), Rob Gooding, Ian Ripper and Will Serviour. First ORC lady across the line was Christine Fritsch (1.15.49) followed by Hannah Susorney.

Quite by chance two groups of ORC’s decided to try the Parke Parkrun for the first time on Saturday. They were met with warm humid conditions. It is a lovely wooded Trail course through the Historic Parkland of the Parke Estate, near Bovey Tracey, which is owned by the National Trust. There is a challenging hill near the beginning and elsewhere the course undulates but also has some broad level sections where the runners can push forward.

Paul King led the group home in 26.42 with young Ollie finishing just ahead of mum Karen and Jo Page in an excellent 33.34. Soon after came Victoria Evison in 34.30 and just in arrears by a few seconds was dad Paul.

The next day Paul and Karen King were in action again, along with Lucy Gooding, they travelled south to take part in the Stoke Gabriel 10k ‘ish run. The race, which was raising money for charity started at the football club. It proceeded down to the Mill Pool and around the waters edge to the river Dart. Luckily the water was on it’s way out so the runners didn’t get too wet. From here the runners past through a largely wooded trail then up, up and up again to a field which has been described as ‘the Hay Field from Hell’ presumably this caused the runners a certain amount of inconvenience. Then it was through more woodland to the finish. Karen describes the course as lovely but definitely not a PB one. At the time of going to print the official times are not in. However Paul’s watch time was 1.18, Karen’s 1.19 and Lucy’s 1.36. The runners were rewarded with a Bacon Bap and a pint of Cider for finishing.