Despite it being August, the weather disrupted running events last weekend. Due to the weather warnings for gales on Saturday the Sticklepath Horseshoe, a popular fell race, was cancelled while surprisingly, the coastal Roseland August Trail Running Festival went ahead. Okehampton had originally had ten members booked in to run varying distances of the RAT, but due to injury and other issues, only four runners made it to the start.
Organised by Mud Crew, the RAT has distance options from the White Rat at 11miles, The Red Rat at 20miles, the Black Rat, a true ultra marathon at 50k and the very challenging Plague, a 100k out and back on the Black route. New this year was a challenge called Bring Out Your Dead which was a 24 hour non stop race, repeated over the same 5 challenging miles for as many times as they could. Okehampton was represented in the Red Rat by Jo Page and Jeremy Tandy and in the Black Rat by Jane Jackson and Christine Fritsch. The Black route starts at St Anthony’s head near Falmouth and follows the South West Coast Path north to finish at Higher Porthpean. In between are many steep ascents, descents, steps and stiles to negotiate with ever increasingly weary legs, the last 5 miles being notoriously the hardest part of the course. Jane Jackson had experienced this punishing route in 2015 when she ran it as her first Ultra and was hampered then by a knee problem. This year she had hoped for a better run, but the other knee soon gave her trouble and by mile 15 she was very close to pulling out, but with the help and encouragement of her running buddy Christine she continued on, the two of them finally crossing the finish line together in 9.14.07. Jeremy and Jo’s start was at Portloe and unfortunately their race experience wasn’t too good. Having been directed down to the harbour they were unprepared for the start further up the road and consequently they got severely hampered by slower runners for the first seven miles on a single track path by which time there was no point in trying to race it. Jeremy finished in 3.34.46, with Jo coming home in 4.03.56, but they kindly stayed on to cheer their fellow ORCs home.
On Sunday Okehampton’s Geoffrey Hill and Roger Voaden travelled to Dublin to take part in the Rock ’N’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon. The route takes in some of the most best known landmarks of the city, including the famous Guiness Brewery and has live music along the course. Geoff Hill has been enjoying an injury free period in his training, so he was pleased to knock just over 2 minutes off his current PB by finishing in 1.22.21. Roger on the other hand has had injury problems and has been unable to put in training time, so he was pleased to finish in 1.27.15.
The fifth race of the Exeter Summer 5k Series took place on Tuesday 6th and saw five members of Okehampton Running Club taking part. This race was held in good weather conditions and some great times were achieved. First home was Jeremy Tandy in an excellent time of 18:00, which was a personal best and club diamond award. He was also 3rd M45. Graham Bryant was next to finish in 18:30, which was a seasons best. Claudine Benstead was first ORC lady home and finished in the outstanding time of 20:03 which is a new course record for the Exe 5k by a W60. It is also a new club age group record and a club Platinum award. Paul Evison ran well after his half marathon at the weekend and put in a tremendous sprint finish at the end to finish in 23:02, coming 3rd M65. Jo Bradford continued with her very consistent results for this series with 3rd place in W45, finishing in 23:23.
Wednesday evening saw another in the series of fell races hosted by Tavistock AC and Tamar Trail Runners. The Tavy Trio of Tors is a 5.5 mile run starting near Pew Tor and follows a path past Vixen Tor, crossing a leat and a road up to Middle Staple Tor. The runners follow the ridge to Roos Tor and Cox Tor before a fast downhill to Pork Hill car park and finishing back at Pew Tor. In the senior race Jeremy Tandy finished 3rd overall with a tense final 1km sweeping down from Pew Tor being pursued all the way by another runner. In the junior races Mathew Richards had another great run to head the Under 15 boys category while Aiden Spinney and his sister Kiera were first in the Under 11’s ad Under 9’s respectively.