Race The Tide, Dorchester & Women Can Marathons and ORC’s on tour

After a week of sunshine and hot temperatures it looked hopeful that Friday night’s thunderstorm might have cooled things down somewhat for the weekend’s races, but this was not the reality unfortunately and conditions stayed warm for running. On Saturday three Okehampton Running Club members travelled down to South Devon to take part in pureTrail’s Race the Tide. Set in the beautiful Flete Estate there were three distance options, a 10k, a 16mile ‘long half marathon’ and a 29mile ‘long marathon’. All three Okehampton runners chose the middle distance race, which takes runners on lovely woodland trails for the first 6miles before they cross the Erme Estuary to join the SWCP. This is where they have to beat the incoming tide as the start time is set so they only have 96 minutes to reach the crossing point. From there they follow the coast path with its typical steep ascents before heading inland on bridlepaths back into the woodland of the Flete Estate. With a total ascent of 629 metres, muddy tracks, river crossings and narrow coastal paths this was a tough test of fitness for ORCs Jo Turner, Katie Speak and Carole Cornwall who all enjoyed the scenic route despite its hard nature. Jo did well to finish in 3hr.3min.16sec to come second in her age category. Katie and Carole ran together as they often do, finishing in 3.30.59.


Dorset was the destination for Okehampton’s Caroline Wilson and Nicola Smith to run the Dorchester Marathon. This is the first year of this event organised by White Star Running and the Dorchester Rotary Club. Nicola’s first marathon had been an off road one in this county last year, but this was very different being entirely on roads through the lovely Dorset countryside. The hot sunny day didn’t make for good running conditions, especially on a tough and hilly course so hopes of their target times were shelved and they were happy to complete in 5.08.05 which was still a 10min PB for Nicola.


Back in Devon there was another completely new marathon on Sunday, the Women Can Marathon.This women only race was inspired by Katherine Switzer who was the first woman to officially complete a marathon 50 years ago at the all male Boston Marathon. She did this despite being manhandled by officials who tried to drag her off the course two miles in, and thereby changing women’s endurance running forever, proving that women weren’t too fragile to run such distances. The women running this new Women Can marathon certainly had to be tough as this was a largely off road race with nearly 2,000ft of ascent, in the beautiful countryside around Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary, including a section of the coast path between Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouuth. For ORC Deborah Cunningham this was her 8th marathon, but she found it her toughest to date.  Hannah Ramsey however, had never run a marathon before and so this was a very tough introduction to marathon running. She was very happy to complete as she had a painful knee most of the way and really suffered in the last four miles. No times available yet.


On Saturday the ‘ORCs on Tour’ bus took four runners to the Exeter Riverside parkrun. Having set a 5k PB at the Tamar Lakes parkrun the week before, Jackie Dawes managed to improve again to clock a new PB of 24.15. Geoff Hill was 7th overall and the first Vet male home, setting a new PB of 18.22.

Many thanks to Jane Jackson for the report