’tis the season to be Jolly

The festive races continued through Christmas with the very popular Beat The Fox race on Boxing Day. Now taken over by Fremington Trailblazers, this used to be a low key charity 5k fun run to run off the excesses of Christmas Day but has grown in popularity and this year there were 545 finishers. It is now a proper race with prizes, but still retains its traditional format where runners follow someone dressed as a fox out from Fremington Manor to a point where the route goes off road. The fox stands aside and allows all the runners to pass, before giving chase to overtake as many runners as possible, the hope being that you can beat the fox to the finish.

The route follows tracks, fields and a short section of Tarka Trail before coming back through woods to the finish. Always a bit of a mud-fest, this year it was so muddy and slippery it was comical to watch the flailing arms and antics of people trying to stay upright! Six ORCs plus two juniors all enjoyed the fun and festive atmosphere (and the adults enjoyed the nip of port at halfway), all of them coming home ahead of the fox. As a bonus, Jeremy Tandy, who was third overall and first ORC back, also won the Male 41 and over prize, while a very surprised Jane Jackson won the Female over 55 prize.

ORC times; Jeremy Tandy; 19.37, Dave Bates; 23.09, Angus Farrelly; 26.01, Gill and Aiden Spinney; 31.04, Jane Jackson; 31.09, Phil and Kiera Spinney; 34.12.

Great to see Claudine Benstead, Dave Bates, Graham Bryant and Hayden Bond at Exeter Riverside Christmas parkrun. Fabulous morning for running. Merry Christmas.

Last weekend was all about off road festive races, meaning mud, water and more mud while dressed in some ridiculous outfit. Saturday saw seven ORCs travel to Escot Park in East Devon for the Extremely Jolly Trail Race. This year there were no river crossings  on the course as the exceptional rainfall had made them too deep and dangerous, but there were still 7 miles of extremely muddy woodland paths, fields and a water-slide to be negotiated. Junior ORC Ollie King enjoyed his run in the one mile Little Elves Race. In the senior race Jeremy Tandy was first ORC back in 56.05, but having taken the wrong course along with the other lead runners he missed out on his podium place, and was placed 5th overall. Jo Page was on form again and ran an excellent race despite the conditions to take the 2nd Female prize in 59.08. Other finishers ; Karen King; 1.24.57, Jane Jackson; 1.28.23, Daniella Tansley; 1.30.18, Liam Keen; 1.39.58.

On Sunday the festive costumes were on display again at the ever popular Torrington Christmas Caper. This race is more than a jolly pre-Christmas run and at the sharp end is a competitive and challenging 10 mile race. It’s renowned for its muddy trails, fields, river crossings and hills and runners expect a generous coating of mud by the end. This year however the road sections were the only places that were free of mud and water, with one section of “green lane” turning into a long lake of up to thigh deep water. There was an impressive turnout of ORCs here and some were hoping to see Geoff Hill and Hayden Bond compete as a pantomime horse, however in the end they decided that would be almost impossible to run in but they still wore great outfits.

Andy Vallance being the first home and Ellodie Stott the first ORC lady to finish. Dave Bates was the only ORC to take home a prize, coming 2nd MV60. Other ORC finishers; Jeremy Tandy, Hayden Bond, Geoff Hill, Mike Baker, Angus Farrelly, Paul Carter, Merv Rice, Karen Vallance, Abby Williams, Kate Wilson, Ali Holiday, Jo Bradford, Mags Jarvis, Carole Cornwall, Katy Speak, Jane Jackson