Exe-rated runners!

Exe-rated runners!
The successful Harriers team, en masse, at the Erme Valley Relays, July 2013

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Harriers host a belting Blister!

Around 500 runners gather at Bicton College for the start of the Bicton Blister and Blister Lite races

Sunday 27th November saw the Exmouth Harriers stage their biggest event of the year: the Bicton Blister and Bicton Lite races. The sun came out this year and greeted a record number of entrants across the two races, with 422 finishers in the main 10 mile event, and 84 completers in the 4.5 mile "Lite" race. An astounding number of entries were taken on the day, with a long queue of late entrants at race HQ signing up right until 5 minutes before the race was due to start!

Race HQ and the late entries desk were busy with well over a hundred late entires pouring in until the very last minute!

Both races start and finish in the beautiful grounds of Bicton College, near Sidmouth, and take runners on a mile of tarmac country lanes out the back of the College before leading them off onto Woodbury Common. Here the course twists and turns over muddy, stoney, uneven tracks and provides competitiors with some stunning views to distract them from the pain of the neverending ascents and descents! After completing a short loop, the Lite runners then head for home, whilst the competitors in the 10 mile event go on to complete a second, longer loop on the commons, crossing a few streams and jumping a few fallen logs and tree roots in the process.

Competition was fierce this year with last year's winner, Stuart Hall, back to defend his title. Kerry Rees, who took victory just one week before at the equally tough 10 mile Drogo race was also on the start line, as was the in-form Tavistock AC runner, Jim Cole. These three men dominated the event, with Cole taking the victory in a "blistering" time of 1.01.15, from Rees (1.01.28) and Hall (1.02.58).

The women's race was not quite so tight at the top, with the first three ladies coming in at 2 minute intervals, but some impressive times were clocked here nevertheless. Unaffiliated runner, Rachael Currie, stormed home to vistory in 1.14.46, in 39th place overall. Wendy Urban of Torbay AC repeated her position from last year, 2nd lady in 1.16.29, and Exmouth Harrier's own Caroline Pleasence claimed a hard earned 3rd spot in a time of 1.18.41.

Caroline Pleasence rounded off her very successful Autumn season of competition with a hard earned 3rd place!

Other Harrier finishers in the 10 mile event were: Richard Bishop, 36th in 1.14.18; Jim Pyne, 60th in 1.18.59; Scott Jordan, 120th in 1.25.13; Lorraine Croome, 159th in 1.28.21; Ray Elston, 258th and 2nd man over 70 in 1.36.15 and Roger Riggs, 274th in 1.37.56. Special mentions must go to Ray, who continues to defy nature and age as he upped the distance from the 'Lite' race last year to run the full 10 miles this year, and to Roger, who is a relative newcomer to the running club scene and this event is by no means the easiest introduction to competitive running!

Roger Riggs (left) and Scott Jordan both had great races in the 10 mile event

The Lite event was over-flowing with Exmouth Harrier runners this year as the graduates from club's beginners' jogging course chose to target it as their first competitive run. All of the beginners, expertly guided by their mentor, Bob Woodhall, have made superb progress over the past few months and have committed themselves to Bob's training programme with determination and good humour! Their hardwork clearly payed its dividends as there were some commendable performances and impressive times in Sunday's 4.5 mile race.

The first Harrier home in this race, and a graduate of the beginner's course, was eighteen year old Michael Morton, taking 23rd spot overall in a time of 42.41. Hot on his heels, just one place and 4 seconds behind, but out-sprinted by Michael on the home straight, was Siobhan Trapnell. This gained Siobhan 6th female overall and 1st in the FV40 category.

L: The top 4 Harriers finishers in the Lite race, L - R: Michael Morton, Siobhan Trapnell, Nic Musgrove and Sarah Slight. Well done guys!
R: Sandra Bate looks happy to have sighted the finish line, but she'd better watch her back as Linda Western and Susan Percy are hot on her heels!

Other Harrier finishers were: Sarah Slight, 39th in 45.46; Nic Musgrove, 40th in 47.00; Alison Wilkinson, 56th in 50.13; Roxanne Henry, 68th in 52.49; Sandra Bate, 80th in 1.09.31; and, rounding them off, finishing within 3 seconds of each other, were Linda Western, 1.09.43, and Susan Percy, 1.09.46, in 81st and 82nd positions respectively.

Alison Wilkinson heads for home! Roxanne Henry sights the finish!

The 'Lite' was won by 14 year old runner Callum Hall in an amazing 29.29: he's one to watch for the future! Top woman was the ever-consistent South West Road Runner's veteran, Karen Cook, 5th overall, in 35.18.

Feedback suggests that the runners appreciated all the little extras, such as the bagpipe seranade half way around the course, the Ironbridge Runner stall, the post-race massage facility... I know that some of the marshalls appreciated this latter...

Lorraine and Ellie selflessly testing the massage facility to ensure it's up to scratch for the runners. Good news: it was!

Well done to all the Harrier finishers, though particularly to all our newcomers. We hope you enjoyed the experience and will stay with the club and go on to compete in many more races!

On behalf of the race director, a big thank you as well to all the many other Harriers who sacrificed a run in order to help out on the day. Whatever role you took on, the event could not have gone ahead so smoothly without you.

Finally, we send our best wishes to runner Pamela, who had an accident out on the course. We wish her a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Dave and Dave, the dynamic duo, run the Cornish marathon

Also taking place on Sunday 20th November was the Cornish Marathon: a hilly 26.2 miler, starting and finishing at Pensilver, mid-Cornwall, and taking runners over the undulating roads of Bodmin Moor. If the weather is kind to runners on the day, this race boasts simultaneous views of both the North and South coasts of the county and is popular with runners seeking a friendly, low-key rural marathon. There were two Harrier representatives at the event this year: Dave Stone and Dave Wright.

Dave Stone rates this marathon as one of his favourites and has run it many times in the past. He won the event in 2003 and has had numerous other high placings, including a 3rd in last year's race. This year, however, his time of 3.01.56 was 10 minutes down on that of 2010 and just saw him make the top 10 finishers, placing 9th overall. He was, nevertheless, top man on the day in the MV40 category.

Dave Wright was tackling this particular event for the first time, though he is no novice to the marathon distance. Encouraged by his strong performance at the Dartmoor Vale marathon in October this year, Dave was unphased by the hills and unpredictable moorland weather conditions, and he ran a strong race for 53rd position overall and 4th MV50 in a time of 3.33.46. The race was won by Noel Kindon of Cornwall AC in a time of 2.44.15. There were 240 finishers.

11 Harriers storm the castle!

Sunday 20th November saw no less than 11 Exmouth Harriers storm Castle Drogo en masse. No, they had not turned militant, they were in fact there to tackle the Drogo 10. This is an extremely tough, 10 mile race that takes place within the grounds of Castle Drogo in Drewsteignton. The route offers a wide variety of running surface to keep the runners guessing. These include rutted muddy tracks, fields, steep zig-zag paths, a suspension bridge and even a cattle grid is thrown in for good measure! Due to this and to the steepness of the climbs and descents, the race tends to attract some high quality competition at the top end. The weather on the day started off looking ominous but the cloud lifted just in time as around 500 hardy souls toed the start line and prepared to charge off down the main castle drive. Of the 495 eventual finishers, all the Harriers were well placed.

Anchoring them home was the in-form Jamie Palmer, who ran superbly to finish in 1.10.41: a good time on such a tough course and it saw Jamie place 19th overall and 4th MV40. Next in was the ever-consitent Mike Musgrove, 26th overall and 7th MV40 in 1.11.34. He was shortly followed by Richard Bishop in 1.13.56. This secured him 36th place overall and 9th MV45: a very strong category on the day with 3 of the top 4 finishers coming from this age group.

Jon Garrity ran well for 59th place in a time of 1.16.35. Chris Dupain also made the top 100 finishers, 94th in 1.21.49. His sister Emma wasn't too far behind him, having a solid run for 130th position overall and a hard earned 12th spot in the female race in 1.25.02. Scott Jordan was hot on Emma's heels, 8 places behind her in 1.25.49. Next in was Terry Oldham, 157th in 1.27.20, followed by Ben White, 183rd in 1.30.34. Lorraine Gilson ran well for 215th in 1.34.13, which placed her well up the rankings in her female vet 50 category. Rounding off a collection of fine performances for the Harriers was Dawn Teed, 346th in 1.46.23.

The race was won by Ceri Rees of Poole Runners in an impressive 1.01.22.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Adam takes on Torbay at the Templer 10

On Sunday 6th November, under a cloudless sky and with a crisp, cooling breeze that formed ideal running conditions, Adam Miller hopped across the river to take part in the Teignbridge Trotter organised Templer 10 race. A bit of a misnomer as the course actually mesures in at 9.7 miles, but that would spoil the alliteration, hence the title!

This is a multi-terrain route that starts and finishes alongside the River Teign at the Passsage House Hotel in Kingsteignton. It gets its name from the Templer Way that forms part of the route as runners head out to do a loop of the Stover Country Park. It is a flat course but runners are slowed by the various tree roots, mud, stiles, slippery wooden bridges and sharp turns that they have to negociate.

As in previous years, Torbay AC were out in force and a force to be recokened with they always are. This did not phase Adam though who set off behind last year's 1st and 2nd placed finishers, Lee Turner and Peter Monaghan, and a third Torbay AC athlete, Jon Parkinson. A little way in and Jon pulled away from Adam and by the time the runners reached Stover Park he was out of sight. Adam stuck to his task though and kept running hard and as he emerged from the park, at about the 5 1/2 mile marker, he caught site of Jon again and gradually closed the gap before going past him at about 8 1/2 miles. Unfortunately, chasing him down left Adam slightly depleted in energy and he didn't have it left in the legs to keep ahead of him, so he passed Adam again, putting Adam into 4th place as they crossed the finish line. How frustrating for our Harrier as the gap between 2nd and 3rd place was almost 3 minutes, yet the gap between 3rd place and Adam in 4th was a mere 6 seconds! Adam finished in 57.13. Peter Monaghan won the race, finishing just 1 second ahead of Torbay club mate Lee Turner in a time of 53.43. With 3 Torbay athletes in the top 3, small wonder then that Torbay scooped the male team prize!

Another member of Torbay AC, Wendy Urban, won the women's race in 64.10, from Karen Cook of SWRR in 2nd.

Despite coming 4th - usually the frustrating so-near-yet-so-far position that puts you as the first runner not to win a prize, at this race there were prizes for the top 5 men and women and Adam also won a prize for 1st place in the male vet 35 category. Quite a lucrative day out then!

Susan Hill was also competing in a Harrier's vest and ran a strong race taking her to 146th position overall and 5th in the female vet 50 category. Bravo!

There were 242 finishers.

Mike yomps to victory at the Yarcombe Yomp!

The weekend of 5th / 6th November proved to be a hectic one on the Exmouth Harriers' racing calendar, and events all got off to a superb start on the Saturday with Mike Musgrove winning the 10 mile Yarcombe Yomp.

Staged by Axe Valley Runners and starting in the village of Yarcombe, both 10 mile and 5 mile options are offered, both being tricky, off road courses around the countryside. For the Harriers Mike Musgrove tackled the 10 mile route and his wife Nic and fellow female Harrier Siobahn Trapnell competed in the 5 mile event.

After the week's heavy rain it proved to be a very muddy affair, starting out across a series of fields and tracks and then leading up a long, steep climb to the top of the valley. After negotating a tricky section through a wood, we dropped down to the start/finish line. This was the finish for the 5 mile event but the 10 milers had the joy of repeating the process and running a second lap.

Special mention must go to Nic and Siobahn. This was Nic`s first off roader and she said she loved it. Both ladies are graduates of the Exmouth Harrier's beginners' running course and so the fact that they are now competing in tough, off-road events is testimony to the hard work that they have put into their running in the last few months. Siobahn took the victory in the 5 mile female race, finishing in 52.12, for 5th place over all (out of 15 finishers). Nic was hot on her heels, completing in 60.17, 10th place over all and 5th lady. Mike suggests that her short interlude en route to talk to a number of cows and their owner halfway round the course might have affected this time and may have been a cover up for taking a rest and enjoying the stunning views over the valley.... Nic denies this allogation!

In the 10 miler, Mike took a clean victory from the 60 runners, finishing in an impressive time of 1h14.30 - 2 clear minutes ahead of the 2nd placed runner, Nic Smith from Sidmouth RC - and putting to bed those bothersome achillies niggles that he was experiencing back in October.

The event finished off in the village hall where a lovely selection of soup and the biggest selection of homemade cakes Mike haas ever seen awaited the runners!

Well done to all 3 Harriers!

Is this the Yarcombe Yomp or the Yarcombe Romp? ... Jury's out!