Last weekend saw podium finishes for two ORCs. After his win over a five mile fell race last week, Rob Hicks took on a very different challenge, the Roseland August Trail, known as the RAT, on the Southwest Coast Path in Cornwall. This race, organised by trail running event specialists Mud Crew, has four different distance options, The Black Route, 32 miles, The Red Route, 20 miles, The White Route, 11 miles and The Plague, 64 miles and this is the option Rob chose to run. All these routes follow the same part of coastline, with runners from different routes joining each other at different points along the way. It is a very tough race both physically and mentally, with nearly 4,000m of ascent over the Plague’s 64 mile course and, having run out 32 miles from the start at Porthpean to St Anthony Head near Falmouth, the runners have to turn round and run back, a very big ask. The route takes competitors though stunning coastal scenery, across fields, and through villages, but the endless sets of steps and stiles become increasingly hard to negotiate as the legs tire. Setting off just after midnight, the first five hours of running are done by the light of a head torch. The recent rain had left the course muddy in places and and some drizzle overnight made it slippery on the rocky sections.
After a steady start, by 28 miles Rob had settled into fourth place and from there on ran the rest of the race completely on his own. Troubled by a stomach problem, he barely took on any nutrition over the whole race, relying on drinking cola for his energy supply. Despite this he kept his pace and eventually finished in an incredible time of 12hr 55min 50sec to come third male.
Nearer home eight ORCs took part in the Sticklepath Horseshoe race. This is a classic, beautiful but quite tough fell run from Sticklepath village, which takes the runners from the start behind Finch Foundry out on footpaths through Belstone Cleave and then onto the moors. A stiff climb up to Belstone Tor is followed by a relatively flat path along the ridge to beyond Oke Tor before a steep descent into Steeperton Gorge, where a crossing of the River Taw is followed by an equally steep but longer climb to the top of Steeperton Tor. The Horseshoe is completed by the long, steady pull up to the top of Cosdon Beacon and then off its northern flank, down to retrace the path back to the village. Paul Crease loves this sort of fell running with its mix of tough climbs followed by crazy, fast descents and flew round the 9.7 mile course in 1.18.05 to finish in second place.
Other ORC times were Chris Turner 01:25:49; Andy Vallance 01:25:49; Mike Baker 01:35:40; Merv Rice 01:46:02; Greg Miller 02:08:12; Phil Spinney 02:18:39; Gill Spinney 02:18:39.