Great West Run, Eden Half & Westward League

ORC was out in force in Exeter on Sunday to take part in the Great West Run Half Marathon. With the early rain clearing to a bright, sunny autumn day, the conditions were perfect for both the runners and the many spectators along the route. Almost 3,000 took part this year and included amongst them was Olympic Medallist Jame Cracknell. The course, which takes the runners through the heart of the city, is quite hilly and not renowned as a PB half marathon, however ORC’s thrive on hills, and five of them achieved some excellent personal bests. First of these was Matt Pitson who stormed round to come 15th overall in a brilliant time of 1.20.29. Roger Voaden was the next home in 1.23.11, followed by Rob Kelly with another good run in 1.24.37. Katie Littlejohns, who has had great success this summer with off road races on Dartmoor, proved that she could still be quick over the city runs, to be the first lady ORC home in a very good 1.39.59.

Other ORC times: Geoff Hill; 1.25.18 (PB), Stuart May; 1.32.11, Jean-Paul Quertier; 1.38.48, George Haskell; 1.39.35 (PB), Andrew Thorne; 1.42.31, Mark Hawkins; 1.42.09 (PB), Charlotte Radnor; 1.47.10, Mike Westland; 1.54.27, Chris Fullford Brown; 1.59.05, Claire Kelly; 2.09.12, Rachael Haydon; 2.11.32 (PB), Claire Sprague; 2.39.48, Sarah Bell; 2.44.40.

Christine Fritsch travelled in the other direction to take part in the Eden Half Marathon. Starting from the iconic Eden Project, the course here is a challenging mix of tarmac and trail with plenty of ups and downs and takes the runners through some spectacular scenery, from lunar-like clay quarries to lush green valleys. Christine loves this type of course, and after finishing in 2.17.22, said she would be back to do it again next year.

The previous Sunday saw the start of the new season of Westward League cross-country races. This is a series of six races held once a month, with men running 8k and ladies 5k, the first race being held in Plymouth. With very dry conditions this was not one of the typically muddy, hilly courses but there was a big turnout for the first race and we had six runners taking part. Matt Pitson was the first home coming 39th in 33.36, with Andy Vallance just five places behind in 34.02. Paul Crease was next in 35.09, Geoff Hill in 36.39, Stuart May in 38.08 and Chris Turner, with the Bournemouth marathon the week before still in his legs, in 39.42.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report