The successful Harriers team, en masse, at the Erme Valley Relays, July 2013
Monday, 11 June 2012
Good day at the D.D. office for D., D., and E!
Dartmoor Discovery 2012
The Dartmoor Discovery is a 32.3 mile ultra marathon organised by the Teignbridge Trotters and which starts and ends in Princetown. With this race it's not only the distance that makes this one of the most challenging races in the region, but it's also the neverending hills and the unpredictable weather conditions that have given this a fearsome reputation on the ultra running circuit. Nevertheless, 3 Harriers felt brave enough to give the thing a bash, and here's how they got on...
Weather: Some would say ideal conditions - the gale force winds of the previous days had died down, there were showers, but only light ones and not long-lasting, there was patchy sun but not too hot. Temp. about 12 degrees; though many of us found that the last 8 or so miles got quite cold as there was a head wind and our pace had dropped off by then so we weren't generating enough heat to keep the muscles warm.
On the start line and psyching ourselves up for the colossal 32.3 mile task ahead.
(I seem to have already decided it's not going to go well and have bowed my head in resignation!)
A tired and (in my case!) almost hypothermic Dave and Ellie at the end of the race.
Dave Stone's race: Dave had an asolute stormer of a run and ran his fastest D.D. time ever of 3:43:59, on his 8th attempt at the event. Ordinarily this would be easily good enough for the win - it was about 8 minutes quicker than last year's winning time - but on this occasion someone phenomenal in the form of John Ward from Bideford AC came out of the woordwork! Dave knew that John was fast (he's a sub 2h30 marathoner!) but he hoped he would have the advantage on the stamina side, with John being a novice of ultra running and Dave being a hardened pro. However, John proved to have both speed and stamina and he stormed home to a comfortable victory and also breaking the course record, clocking 3:33:36! So Dave can take heart from knowing that he was beaten by a superb athlete. He can also take heart from the fact that he is still getting quicker, year on year. However, he was a bit frustrated that he and John are in the same MV40 category, so Dave even had to settle for 2nd place in that too!
Dave, still up with the winner, John Ward, at Newbridge (mile 10)
This looks like a man who is pleased to have sighted the finish line!
A massive new course best for Dave, an outstandingly gutsy run!
Dave with his prize (a cut glass decanter) for coming 2nd. Quick!, get the port poured out!
Ellie's race: I had a shocker! Hated every minute of it and wanted to give up about 8 miles in! Had a stinking cold all week leading up to it and threw every medicine under the sun at it which I think upset my stomach as I had bad cramps for the first half of the race. Despite being billed as the favourite I knew I wasn't the favourite and, as predicted, Isobel Wykes from Truro AC got ahead of me at the first hill at Dartmeet and I never saw her again! Disheartening to know from early on that I was running for 2nd again, so I set myself a goal of running sub 4h20. I failed at that too and struggled massively in the last 10 or so miles. I got very cold over the latter stages and my leg muscles seized up. I have never been so grateful to see a finish line in my entire life! So, I did run faster than last year by 6 minutes, but not quite the time I was hoping for with 4:27:02. 13th overall (exactly the same as last year), 2nd female, beaten very convincingly by Izzy who was only 5 minutes outside the female course record. So, like Dave, I repeated the same position as last year. With this time last year I would have won, but again, a super quality athlete popped up and ran a fantastic race, so I was at least beaten good and proper by a very deserving winner!
(Excuse the vest! I was running on behalf of my 2nd claim club, Teignbridge, to represent the ladies team).
Mile 4 and not feeling as fresh as I would like... gonna be a long day!
Mile 21 at Widecombe and clearly enjoying myself more than I remember doing!
I've never been so grateful to see a finish line in my life!
Receiving my prize for finishing 2nd lady... my mother's already eyeing it up for her crysanths!
Dave Wright's race: Dave has only been running for a couple of years. He took it up as the big 5-0 birthday approached after having read somewhere that if you're not fit by the time you're fifty, you never will be! Not content at just dabbling with fitness though, he threw himself in at the deep end by training for his first marathon in the autumn of 2010. Which one did he pick? Abingdon - nice and flat? Dartmoor Vale - nice and local? No! He chose the Snowdonia as his first ever marathon, so you can already see that this man likes to set himself a tough challenge! Small wonder then that he signed up for the D.D. Dave was feeling confident that he would perform well, based on his recent marathon times and on how well the training had gone. He was hoping for a finish time of around 4h40. He set off hard and went through 10k and the first major hill on the course just behind me, in about 44 mins, and he stuck to his task throughout the race, digging deep in the latter stages when every fibre of his body was screaming at him to stop, and he finished in 4:46:41 for a well earned 28th place overall. Although he didn't quite make his 4h40 target, this is a phenomenal time for a debut on this course. Most impressively, however, this placed him top man in the MV 50 category! He beat some very high quality athletes in this category, including Alan Boone from the host club, Teignbridge Trotters, so Dave should be thrilled and incredibly proud at this amazing performance.
So, all 3 Harrier entrants came away with some prize money (IBR vouchers!) and tropheys. To any other Harriers who are tempted to have a bash at this iconic race next year we say: come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!!
Dave Wright, going strong at mile 4
Battling on through Buckland-in-the-Moor, mile 18
Still looking strong at the finish, setting an amazing time for a debut Discovery!
Dave with his well deserved and hard earned prize for placing 1st MV50.