With even the postponed London Marathon not being able to go ahead due to the pandemic, Sunday saw nine ORCs take part in the Virtual London Marathon in several different locations. This was going to be a memorable marathon for all of them, but it was the weather conditions that made it one that they’d never forget. The runners could complete the 26.2miles wherever they wanted with their times being uploaded via the official VLM app or by sending in their times from a running app.
In the appalling conditions on Sunday, the earliest group to start benefitted from slightly better weather, though even they had a headwind on the second half. Robert Kelly, Paul Carter and Graham Bryant ran from Exwick along the Exe valley Way to Dawlish and back, with Robert the fastest of the three, finishing in an excellent 3.02.09. Graham Bryant had trained hard for this marathon and despite the conditions ran an impressive 2min PB to finish in 3.08.58, while Paul Carter finished in 3.30.52.
Several ORCs set off from Meeth on the Tarka Trail to run the full length in a straight line to Barnstaple and they perhaps had some of the worst of the weather in the closing stages where they felt the full force of the 50mph winds and horizontal rain out on the estuary. Jo Page ran this route, having a really great run despite the conditions to finish in 3.32.31, less than 3months after a stress fracture in her foot. Jo Bradford had been plagued by a hamstring injury so, running with Jackie Dawes, her aim was really just to complete. They finished together in 4.13.36, having had to stop for a change of clothes as they were so cold and wet. Jules Lewis-Thompson ran this route solo, overcoming these terrible conditions to complete her first marathon in a very creditable 4.55.04.
Karen King chose to run on the Camel Trail from Camelford to Padstow. Karen’s preparation hadn’t been great but her aim was to complete and raise money for Veterans With Dogs, which she achieved in 4.55.49.
Mel Priday stuck to familiar ground around Okehampton, running on lanes, the Granite Way and even some on the moors. As if this wasn’t hard enough, a miscalculation of the marathon app meant she completed 28.6miles, finally finishing in 6.00.57.
All the runners were very grateful for the much needed support from friends and family along the route.