It was a fairly typical Dartmoor morning for the Granite Way races on Sunday with heavy drizzle obscuring the lovely views which then cleared to be replaced by a cold wind. This event offers two options of a 10 mile (one lap) or 20 mile (two lap) race which takes runners out and back along the Granite Way cycle path with Dartmoor to one side and open countryside the other. The 20 mile race is an ideal preparation for those training for spring marathons, so for some runners it is less a race than a test of how their training is going. It was hard to tell if it was a race or just a training run for the winner of the 20 miler, Adam Holland, who has won more marathons than anyone else in the UK, but his winning time of 1.56.49 set a new course record. First ORC home in fourth place was last years winner, Andrew Vallance, in 2.06.09, slightly hampered by a pulled muscle in the second half. Robert Kelly ran another good race to finish in fifth place in 2.08.47, showing his training is on target for a good run at the London Marathon. Mike Baker, who along with Rob has the other club place at London, was next in 2.43.35, giving his confidence a boost, having never run a marathon before. Anne Binns was next and the first ORC lady in 2.57.34 to take first FV50, and Viki Heyer in 3.23.32, both of whom are training for London too.
In the 10 miler last year’s winner Simon Yeo from Tamar Trotters proved too strong for Chris Turner, who had to settle for second, but Chris still improved his time by nearly a minute to finish in 1.03.46 and set a new PB. Having only run his first race last week at the Bideford Half Marathon, Ed Dumpleton’s aim was to get the feel of pacing his race better to finish stronger and he certainly achieved this finishing in 1.16.08, coming home considerably faster than he went out and winning the MV40 category. First female ORC home was Tracey Mills who had an excellent run setting a new PB of 1.27.47, knocking a massive 8 minutes off her previous 10 mile best. Jo Bradford and Mags Jarvis ran the race together with Jo just edging ahead at the end to finish in 1.32.36 and give herself a new PB, with Mags only a minute behind in 1.33.35, also setting a PB and coming first FV60. Janet White finished in 1.48.38 and was first FV65.
Many miles away, and in a very different climate, Mark Hawkins was running the the Barcelona Marathon. Having fallen just short of his target of sub-four hours at his first marathon in Bournemouth last year, Mark decided to try again with the experience he learned from that race. He had found his first marathon hard to enjoy, so above all Mark wanted to enjoy the experience and Barcelona turned out to be the ideal setting for this. The atmosphere of the race, the beautiful setting and the fantastic support from the crowds made this a incredible experience for Mark whose finishing time of 3.51.01 was the icing on the cake, giving him a new PB by 11 minutes. He also raised a good sum of money for the Devon Air Ambulance.
Back in Devon, it was the 30th Anniversary of the iconic Grizzly, and ORC had two runners taking part, both of whom knew what they were letting themselves in for having run it before. This tough off road race with its notorious steep climbs, bogs and pebble beach section, is definitely for those who love a challenge over speed. Rob Hicks has run many Grizzly’s and was happy to be back again this year although he was a little disappointed with his finish time of 2.48.54, having struggled with low energy levels. Christine Fritsch ran her first Grizzly last year, loved it and came back for more. She was pleased with her time of 4.24.36 which was a huge improvement on last year despite more slippery conditions.
Many thanks to Jane for the run report