The Hameldown Hammer

What a fantastic set of results for the ORC’s this weekend. The bracing cold weather still did not deter our hardy runners. You are all so inspiring!

The grey skies and rain cleared away and there was blue sky and glorious sunshine even if there was a bitter wind that made it not quite as comfortable outside as it appeared from inside. Two races occupied the our runners this weekend; the Exeter City 10k and the beautiful but tough Hameldown Races.

Like many of the fast, flat Exeter races, the 10k was sited at Dukes Meadow and Riverside Valley Park, using virtually a double lap of the Riverside Parkrun route but in reverse. Five runner’s took the opportunity to test their speed here with some great performances. Rob Kelly proved he was over his recent calf injury to have an outstanding run coming home in second place overall in an impressive time of 37.16, improving on his fifth place last year. Chris Turner was next home for the club, also gradually coming back to form after an injury and finishing in 44.50. Mike Westland has also struggled to get consistent training in with some persistent niggles so he was pleased with his time of 49.14. Ged Fitzgibbon was next home in 53.26 with Jane Richardson in 1.04.54.

The clear skies and sunshine made for really spectacular views for the runners of the Hameldown Races. The Hameldown Hammer Half Marathon and the shorter Hameldown 7EVEN start and finish in Widecombe-In-The-Moor at the foot of the Hameldown ridge. The first three miles of both races are a tough uphill slog at the top of which the 7EVEN runners do a loop around Grispound and Hookney Tor before returning to the ridge to follow the path back down again. From Grimspound the half marathon route takes the runners left down to Challacombe before turning north then east, skirting Hookney Tor to form the second half of the hammer head that gives the race its name. Here the biting cold wind was felt in full force before some shelter was found at Heathercombe, but the runners then had a second ascent of the Hameldown Ridge followed by a downhill return to Widecombe. Conditions underfoot were much improved by the freezing temperatures that gave the impression that the ground was dry though in fact it was just frozen, but wet feet could still not be avoided in some places. Two runners took part in the shorter race and for both Liam Keen and Denise Horner this was their first taste of trail running. Both found it a bit tougher than expected but coped well with Denise coming in ahead of Liam in 1.31.53 and 1.37.54 respectively.

The Hammer had six  runners, two of these having never run a half marathon of any sort and for one it was also his first trail race. This didn’t stop Tom Andrew, relatively new to running, from being the first ORC home in 2.28.40 and deciding that he preferred this type of race to road running. Gill Spinney was more used to off-road running but had never done this distance before finishing, however she ran strongly to be the next home in2.38.36 . Christine Fritsch, Jane Jackson and Mags Jarvis crossed the line together, Jane and Christine having run the whole race together and meeting up with Mags in the later stages. Do all look at the video on our facebook page coming in together on 2.46.59. Andy Humberstone had never run a race of this sort before, but ran really well and thoroughly enjoyed it coming home in 2.57.04.

It off course is not possible to forget or ignore the wonderful moor runners, who every week seem to find some runners on the moor. A busy weekend and well done to everyone else who found the time to take in our beautiful environment and get some miles under your feet.

Many thanks to Jane Jackson for the run report as usual, and to Robert Richards for posting on the website.