Last Wednesday evening 50 runners from Okehampton Running Club (ORC) went on a ‘fun’ run to recce the route of the weekends Marilyn’s Meldon Madness (MMM) race.
The race, on Saturday 12 June is the first of the Dartmoor Summer Series of Fell Races hosted by ORC. As places are limited, and competition keen from athletes from other local clubs, Head Coach Rob Richards thought a trial run for club members would be a great way to get back into group running.
The evening itself was not promising, with Dartmoor ‘mizzle’ hanging over the moor at Meldon, but great fun was had by all. The run covered 9km, staring at Meldon, going via Yes Tor, High Willhays (the highest point) before a welcome descent to Black Tor and down Homerton Hill to the finish back at Meldon reservoir.
It was wonderful to see old familiar faces along with several new faces. The club has actually increased its membership numbers over the lockdown period.
Fortunately, Saturday dawned bright with much better weather than the recce on Wednesday!
The race takes you to the highest point in the south of England with stunning views over the county. The 1,362ft ascent is tough enough to challenge any off-road runner but, at just 9km, it offers a rare opportunity for anyone to try their first fell race.
There are a number of compulsory checkpoints at which all runners MUST give their number to the marshalls. Due to difficulty of marking the course accurately, self-navigation is required by all runners.
The race was renamed in 2017 in memory of Marilyn Cooper and was this year sponsored by her son Peter, of Coopah Running. They kindly gave clothing as prizes for the winners and a generous donation to North Dartmoor Search and Rescue.
There was a great turnout with the maximum entry allowed of 50 runners competing in the senior race, on what turned out to be a bright and sunny day.
The first home was Adam Holland of Tavistock AC in a time of 38:54 and first lady was Jo Meek in 42:04.
The first ORC runner home was an under 18 runner, Sam Priday in a superb time of 41:10.
First ORC lady home and winner of the Marilyn Cooper trophy was Jo Page (having recovered from her 24hr challenge of last weekend!) in a time of 49:45.
The race also had a junior’s section with children under 11 competing in the 2km, under 13 in the 3km or under 15 in the 4km return races. Another great turn out from the juniors, with 20 runners in total. Well done to all of them.
The next of the ORC races in the Summer Series is the Cosdon Hill Race on Sunday 4 July.
Full race results here