The weather hasn’t been very kind to runners this winter and this weekend was no exception. While there can be a sense of great satisfaction from completing a tough race after battling with the elements, some races really need a fine day to be appreciated properly. This was the case for the six brave runners who ran the Dartmoor Trail Challenge on Saturday. This race wasn’t held last year due to calendar congestion, but organisers, Trail Events, hope this will be a permanent date for it in future. There are four route options, 12k, half marathon, full marathon and ultra, but all the ORCs thankfully opted for the 12k on what turned out to be a vile day. With the event’s description of all there was to see in this lovely part of Dartmoor around Hound Tor and Haytor Downs, the runners were looking forward to an enjoyable and scenic run. In conditions of freezing winds and horizontal rain however the reality was a bit different and all six were pleased to just get round, however they all did better than they expected and it turned out to be quite worthwhile after all. Chris Fullford Brown was the first home in 1.50.24 to be 2nd MV60. He was followed by Carole Cornwall in 1.53.43. to take 1st FV50, sharing the same time as club mate Katy Speak who took 2nd FV50. Janet White took 1st FV60 in 1.56.42 and Ruth Bushell completed the sweep of the FV50 group prizes by coming third in 1.56.32 with Claire Sprague finishing in 2.15.17.
The next day proved no better for the club’s runners at the penultimate meeting of the Westward League cross-country series, held in Central Park in Plymouth. Here it was there weather of the whole winter that affected the conditions, with the entire course being reduced to a muddy slop of varying depths. On a twisting, hilly and sometimes steeply banked course it was hard enough to stay upright never mind try and run a competitive race. The ladies team were the first to race so had the advantage of a slightly less churned up course, but they were treated to a violent hail shower over the first part of the race that made it hard to open their eyes and see where they were going. Molly Marvin had a great run despite the conditions, to come in first for the club in a very good position, with her mum Sarah a little further behind than usual having twisted her ankle playing hockey the previous day. Gill Spinney was next followed by Jane Jackson and Anne Binns. Most of the ladies have now completed the required five races for the series so need not compete in the final race. By the time the men ran there was little grass left to see, but Okehampton’s Paul Crease put in an incredibly strong run even so to come in first for the men with Andy Vallance next. “Mr Marathon”, Roger Voaden, showed his versatility having been drafted in to bolster a men’s team that has been hit recently by injuries. More accustomed to feeling the tarmac under his feet, he coped well with the mud to finish next and ahead of his marathon training partner Paul Carter. They were followed by Stuart Page and Andy Humberstone.
Not forgetting the regular Moor running group who always seem to find someone willing to go out on the moor.
And finally, who can name the tune they are singing in the Andy Vallance Carpool Karaoke.
Many thanks to Jane Jackson for the run report and Robert Richards for the editing.