Milton Keynes & North Dorset Village Marathons, Hartland Hartbreaker and Pennywell Pursuit 10k

Another busy weekend of races saw ORC members at various events across the country. Hugh Robinson travelled to Milton Keynes to take part in the marathon there which this year formed part of the celebrations for the town’s 50th birthday. Hugh was running his first marathon in over three years and had been targeting a run under three hours, despite his training being interrupted by illness. Runners set off in almost perfect running conditions – cool spring sunshine with little wind. The first few miles take in the wide boulevards and crowd support of the town centre, before cycle paths and footways lead the runners into more rural villages, past lakes, the Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda, roman ruins and the famous concrete cows before a stadium finish at the impressive home of the Milton Keynes Dons.  He ran a good consistent pace for his target up to mile 20 when his energy levels and speed dropped. Still keen to get a Good for Age qualifying time for London next year he made it back to the stadium and sprinted the perimeter of the pitch at the finish to secure a time of 3 hours 5 minutes exactly – securing the qualifying time of 3:05 without a single second to spare and setting a new PB by over 2 minutes. 

The North Dorset Village Marathon has grown a reputation for being a well organised, friendly race which takes runners through pretty villages where there is plenty of support and beautiful quiet countryside. It couldn’t be more different from the London Marathon the previous week and that is perhaps part of the attraction of it. A sprinkle of ORCs have attended this race over the years and this year there were two running it. Roger Voaden ran a brilliant race in London but he still enjoyed his second run here, finishing just a minute slower than in London in 3.08.14, for 7th place overall. Lucy Marrison had entered having been a training buddy to Heidi Wills who had run the London marathon and, not wishing to waste all the hard work she had put in, decided to run here. She found it a bit lonely in places, but with Heidi’s support at different locations she was happy with her finishing time of 4.28.35 and with her very unique medal.

In North Devon a very different sort of race saw three ORCs take on the challenging 18 mile Hartland Hartbreaker and three more tackle the 9 mile route. This notoriously tough race starts at Hartland Abbey and the runners are treated to a course that takes them through bluebell woods, stretches along the rugged coast path, through fields and back to the Abbey where the shorter course finishes. The long route heads back to the coast again, this time heading south where the cliff top paths are only inches from vertical drops. The heavy rain the day before made for terrible conditions underfoot with slippery mud and wet rock. The pain of the run was eased however in places by cocktail, prosseco and beer stops! Karen and Lucy Skye love this race and finished in 3.43.13, happy despite several falls, (due to the conditions, not the drink!) Christine struggled, having completed some really tough races recently and an exclusion diet lowering her energy levels, but enjoyed it enough to want to return, having finished in 4.31.38. In the shorter race Katy Speak and Carole Cornwall ran together coming home in 2.00.04 with Kerry Morashti finishing in 2.17.45.

There was a great turnout of ORCs at a completely new race later on Sunday, The Pennywell Pursuit 10k. Starting and finishing at Pennywell Farm, this is a challenging 10k charity run through the lovely South Hams countryside in aid of the Torbay Holiday Helpers Network. Unfortunately the beautiful scenery couldn’t be appreciated when the heavens opened soon after the start, the rain making for difficult conditions with the mud and hills and the runners found the going tough. For three of the runners, Katie Bolt, Susan Read and Philip Read this was their first ever race, and Jackie Dawes’ first venture into trail running, but all completed the course successfully.

ORC times; Jackie Dawes; 1.07.27, Ruth Bushell; 1.15.04, Danielle Fullford-Brown 1.16.46, Rachel Haydon; 1.20.14, Janet White; 1.20.16, Katie Bolt; 1.23.05, Jessica Corcoran; 1.23.44, Claire Sprague; 1.26.03, Sarah Bell; 1.30.07, Dani Bryant; 1.32.12, Susan Read; 1.45.23, Philip Read; 1.45.25.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report