Exe-rated runners!

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

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Heller'ver Haytor for the Harriers!

The Haytor Heller 6 mile fell race on Dartmoor, organised by the Teignbridge Trotters, has always been a happy hunting ground for a handful of Exmouth Harriers each year. Although less than 10k in distance, this is a brutally tough race which combines some killer climbs and descents with energy-sapping boggy and rough moorland terrain, making it one of the toughest running challenges in the area. This did not faze the 8 hardy Harriers who lined up at the foot of Haytor rocks on Saturday evening, 21st July, ready to tackle the run.

As usual, the race sold out way in advance and attracted some top notch local runners. The course record, set last year by visiting Ethiopian Harrier and guest of Cathy Newman, Berihu Tesfay, in an unbelievable time of 39 minutes. That time would be very hard to beat, but the race was very much on for the top spots across all the categories and the Harriers were in the mix right across the board.

First Harrier home and adding to a recent set of outstanding performances was Adam Miller. Adam fought hard to remain in contention with the leaders throughout the race and he eventually finished a very creditable 7th overall and 5th senior male in a time of 46:34, beating some very fine local and visiting athletes in the process. Remember: this time is not to be compared against a road 6 mile time, in fact you can look to add a full 10 minutes onto your average 10k performance to get an idea of how tough this race is!

Adam storming to a very fast finish!

Next in was stalwart off-roadie, Hugh Marsden. Hugh has run this race many times and so is now familiar with all that the course has to throw at you. In his usual fashion he started out steady and saved some energy and puff on the first climb up Haytor befoe stepping on the gas on the descent and from then on running faster and stronger to keep passing runners on his way to the finish. He crossed the line in a time of 48:07 for a highly commendable 16th place overall. Unfortunately on this occasion that was not quite good enough for top spot in the MV50 category as a visiting runner of the same age from Pontypridd had a stormer of a run to finish 8th overall, but Hugh did claim 2nd in his age group and the race organisers fortunately awarded prizes to the top two in each category.
Hugh approaches the finish line to claim 2nd place in the MV50 category

Haring in down the final hill a couple of minutes behind Hugh was my good self, Ellie Sutcliffe. The night before this race I had raced at the Chudleigh 6 mile road race and had a few issues with my dodgy left achillies, so I wasn't sure if I would be running at Haytor. I went out for a test run on the Saturday morning and my ankle felt ok so I decided to run and I'm VERY glad I did! In the absence of some strong female contenders from last year - Jo Meek, Lucy Commander, Sharon Daw - I found myself leading the ladies race from the off and holding on to finish 5 minutes clear of the next female, Eleanor Wood of Axe Valley. I managed to improve my time from last year by almost 40 seconds to 50:53. Last year this time would have only been good enough for 3rd, but you've got to be in it to win it: they weren't in it, and so I won it!

Ellie on the steep ascent up to Hound Tor

Then came the turn of Scott Jordan. Scott didn't manage to get into the race before the cut off but he turned up on the night in hope that someone might not be able to run and that he could get a number, and he did! Good thing too as he had an excellent run. Scott is very strong on his descents and on the first descent from Haytor he came past me at quite a pace! He dug in hard on the uphill sections to stay well up in the top 20% of finishers, crossing the line in 54:51 for 56th place overall and, not forgetting that as of last week Scott is now a "vet", finishing as 12th MV40.

Terry Oldham was the next Harrier home in 58:06 for 86th place overall and 7th MV55. Armed with his ultra-grippy Walshes, this sort of terrain is right up Terry's street and we were not surprised to see him tearing towards the finish line with a beaming smile on his face and loving every minute of this moorland run!

Terry on the first of many killer climbs!

Carly Audritt was hot on Terry's heels. Carly has only recently joined the Harriers, her debut performance for the club being at the recent Erme Valley relays. However, she is no stranger to pushing herself, having trained hard for her first ever marathon in London this year and kept up her fitness ever since. A regular attendee of the Killerton Parkrun, she is also used to running off-road and so those regular weekly 5k outings will have no doubt given her the confidence and strength to storm around the Haytor course to a sub-1hr time. She took 59:35 to complete the run and this fantastic run gave her 103rd place in the race, 5th place in the female race and 2nd senior female. What a brilliant result for only her second outing in the Harriers vest!

Lorraine and Carly tackle the killer hill up to Haytor Rocks - only 200 meters in and you're already gasping for breath!

Lorraine Gilson was next across the line in a fine time of 1:-4:32 for 135th place overall and a superb win in her FV50 category! This is a tough race and attracts some top quality vet athletes from across the region, so for Lorraine to come out top is a fantastic achievement and testament to what a gutsy runner she is on these tough multi-terrain races.

Lorraine storming home to the finish and to claim the win in the FV50 category!

As if inspired by her team mate and friend's superb performance, Dawn Teed then went and did exactly the same in her category by storming home in a time of 1:06:45 to lead the FV45s home and beat a lot of fine competitors.
Dawn looking strong on her way to victory in the FV45 category!

Still looking fresh and full of running after 6 gruelling miles across the moor

The icing on the cake of what was already an enjoyable and successful evening of running for the Harriers was when the ladies' team of myself, Carly, Lorraine and Dawn got announced as the winning female team! As the photo below shows, we were struggling between us to hold all our many prizes. Great job Harriers, same again next year!!? 
We totally cleaned up on the prize front: 1st female, 1st FV45, 1st FV50, 2nd MV50 and 1st ladies' team: what a club!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Richard runs his first road race at Chudleigh!

On the evening of Friday 20th July 3 Harriers headed to Chudleigh for the Chudleigh Carnival road race. Billed as a 6 miler, the distance in fact clocks in at just a shade over five and a half miles; however, there is a monster hill on the course that climbs up for one and a half miles, so this is not the fastest nor easiest 5 1/2 miles you will ever run!

For Richard Hawes, this was his first competitive outing on the tarmac and only his 4th ever race in total, having participated in the multi-terrain Haldon Heartbeat, Umborne Ug and Otter Rail and River Run races earlier in the season. Following on from what is now known as "vest gate" at the Otter Rail and River run last weekend, Rich was very anxious to be seen wearing the correct club kit this time, even if this did mean borrowing a ladies' cut vest off Nic Musgrove!!

Despite an ad-hoc approach to training, Rich seems to have a natural running ability and high fitness level as he stormed around the hilly course in 38:59 which gave him place 45th overall and 5th in the MV45 category. Most importantly he also enjoyed the experience and has even mooted that he will now try to attend club nights more frequently and commit himself to a more structured training regime, so his times will no doubt only get quicker!

Mike Musgrove did this race last year and managed to place 8th overall and 1st MV40. This year saw a very competitive race and some very fine runners toe the start line, so Mike dropped down the overall standings 2 places to finish 10th overall but, most crucially, he fought hard to post a time of 33:56 and secure  himself top spot in the MV40 category once again.

Ellie Sutcliffe, a.k.a. yours truly, had a similar experience to Mike, having placed 2nd here last year to the talented Tavistock athlete, Jo Meek. There was no Jo Meek on the start line of this year's race, however, there was another fine female athlete in the shape of Jaine Swift from Erme Valley. Swift by name, swift by nature, I have raced Jaine twice before and both times she showed me a clean pair of heels, and this third meeting followed the same pattern! She finished 45 seconds ahead of me, although I did improve my own time from last year by 30 seconds to clock 35:59 and claim the 2nd female spot again and 21st overall.

152 finishers, the winner was Pete Monaghan of Torbay AC in a spritely 30:49. Amazingly he is also in the vet 45 category.

There is a great atmosphere at this event as the whole main street is closed to traffic and lots of the villagers come out to cheer on the runners. The race is sponsored by the pub, the Bishop Lacy, and so drinks there after whilst waiting for the prize ceremony all help to make this a cracking race. Give it a go next year, you won't be disappointed!

Mike - looking like he's enjoying himself as well as working hard!

4 Harriers tackle the Tavy Town relays

On Thursday evening 19th July four male Harriers headed down to Tavistock to take part in the Tavy Town relays. Like the Erme Valley Relays, this is an annual event that consistently attracts some of the top competition from all the local running clubs. The Harriers men have often managed to pull together and send a couple of teams down, but this year, with so many other races taking place the same weekend, they only managed to send one team. But it's not quantity, it's quality, and our four runners sure displayed some of that, coming in as 7th team overall, out of 52!

The relay legs are short, only 1.1 miles in length, and so they tend to suit track athletes and runners who are strong and fast over the shorter distances. Our gang of Hugh Marsden, Dave Stone, Marc Cox and Scott Jordan will turn their hand to any distance though, and all of them put in some very impressive times.

Marc Cox is proving that he is a very fine runner over the shorter distances, having ran an impressive time at the Erme Valley relays and now following that up by running a very fast opening leg for the senior male team, clocking 5:39 for the 1.1m distance.

Scott Jordan consolidated the Harriers' position with a solid time of 6:36 and Hugh Marsden ran a very fine 6:02 to keep the team in contention.

Stalwart Harrier Dave Stone brought them home with the fastest leg, running 5:24 to give the team a cumulative time of 23:41 for the 4.4 miles. They placed 7th overall and 6th senior male team, even though 3 out of the 4 runners are in fact vets (yes, unbelievably Scott now counts as a 'vet' after the big 4-0 birthday last week!!)

The winning team, made up of a selection of some of the fasstest men in the South-west posted a time of 21:03, with all of their runners covering their legs in under 5:30.

All four Harriers enjoyed the evening and reported great camaraderie amongst the team members. Well done guys!
Harriers at the Tavy Town relays: Dave Stone, Hugh Marsden, Scott Jordan, Marc Cox

Monday, 16 July 2012

W'Otter l'Otter water by the Otter!

Richard, Mike, Ellie and Tom at the start of the Otter Rail and River Run 10k.
Harriers claimed 1st overall, 1st female overall and almost (but not quite) 1st male team!

On Saturday 14th July, on yet another rainy, cloudy miserable summer's day, 4 Harriers (well, 3 official Harriers and one slightly less official one, but we'll get to that later...) were at Tipton St. John for the Otter Rail and River Run 10k. Earlier in the week it looked uncertain as to whether the race would even go ahead as the said "river", the Otter, had burst its banks and the village playing field - also the start, finish, race HQ and the target of the funds raised by the race - found itself under 2ft of water! Fortunately the floods subsided sufficiently for the race to go ahead safely, but it meant that the course was muddier, boggier and wetter than usual. Runners were warned not to expect fast times or a course PB!

For the Harriers, the racing stalwarts of Mike Musgrove and myself, Ellie Sutcliffe, were there, along with a new face to the club, Richard Hawes, and our star-turn second claim member, Tom Merson. The male field was of a very high standard this year as, aside from Tom, 2 fine quality athletes from Exeter Harriers showed up, in addition to some other top level local runners from the nearby clubs of Sidmouth, Axe Valley, SWRR and Teignbridge.

Off we went and made our way along the flat stretch of river bank, but it was muddy and clayey and so keeping up a good pace was still hard going. Tom, as predicted, shot off the front end never to be seen again until the finish. Mike was up well up there trying to hang onto the other front runners and I was a short distance behind, trying to keep sight of Mike, with Richard keeping up a good pace not too far behind me.

After the flat river stretch the course turns uphill and into some woods, where it joins the old Ottery - Exmouth disused railway line. This was a nice, steady downhill stretch back towards the river, before you turned off onto some more muddy tracks and sunken lanes, some of which were totally flooded and you had to plough through stretches of muddy water that were thigh deep and about 10m long - all adds to the fun!

When Tom arrived back at the school playing field and the finish, not that many people were there to greet him as they were expecting the lead runner to take around 38 minutes in the day's conditions, but Tom took them all by surprise and stormed back in under 35 minutes to set a new course record! Not a fast, PB course indeed!! He was a full 3 minutes clear of the next two athletes, both from Exeter Harriers, who drew on time in a final sprint to the line.

Mike had a very good race to finish 7th overall in a high quality field. Ordinarily that should have been easily good enough for the top vet slot, but the Exeter Harriers athlete who placed 3rd overall had an outstanding run and upstaged Mike to 2nd MV40. Mike clocked a time of 40:36.

I came in next as 1st female, over 2 and 1/2 minutes clear of the next female, Jane Allison of Plymouth Harriers, in a time of 42:18. This gave me 10th place overall.

Richard Hawes had a very fine run and his swift time of 45:45 gave him 22nd place overall and 6th MV40. Richard is new to the club and also new to competitive running, this only being his 3rd ever race! With a  more structured training regime his already good times could turn into superb times and he certainly looks set to be an asset to our MV40 contingent in the future! Watch this space!

And now for the contentious bit, because every race has to have some drama, even local fun runs that take place alongside a welly-wanging contest on the village fĂȘte day....

Sidmouth RC were awarded with the male team prize but a protest from the Teignbridge Trotters team captain as one Sidmouth member was not wearing a club vest meant that Tom, Mike and Rich got promoted and called up to receive the shield. They were the proud owners of this shield for 2 full minutes before a second protest was lodged as Richard was not wearing a club vest either, and so after a brief but joyous 2 minutes of ownership they were then forced to hand it over to the 3rd placed male team.... the Teignbridge Trotters! Oh well, never mind, these things happen. The guys were not too bothered as they would rather win it outright than via a loophole in the system anyway. But we'd better expedite the delivery of Rich's vest before his next race to avoid any further political uprisings!!

A good event, well-organised, terrific but challenging course and always good to support the events of our neighbouring clubs. Next year we should get a crack team together and go and win that team trophy for real!
Tom, giving us all a lesson in what it should look like!

Mike, also striding out strongly at the finish.

Run like a rebel!

The local race calendar seems to be bursting at the seems at the moment with racing opportunities. Just this last weekend alone, for example, there was the choice of the Otter Rail and River Run 10k or the Duckponds 7k on the Saturday and the Magnificent 7 on the Sunday; there are also midweek evening races taking place most weeks and this week was no exception as on the Wednesday night I, Ellie Sutcliffe, headed over to Colyton, near Seaton, to take part in the inaugural Colyton Rebel Run.

So named after the town's historical rebellious nature (see: http://www.colytonhistory.co.uk/colyton-history-rebel.html ), this is billed as a 10k but in fact came in about 1k short of that. It is very similar to the Sidmouth Festival 10k with the first mile entailing a huge climb up a very steep and muddy field that reduced most of us to a fast fell walk in places. The route then levels out at the top before heading into some woods where it undulates and twists and turns through a lot of mud before you pop back out to join a farm track and then some fields. The beauty of an uphill start is a long downhill finish and the soft bouncy grass made for the perfect terrain to put the foot down and hurtle down the hill to the finish at Colyton Grammar School.

On the start line I caught sight of Lucy Owen, the talented vet runner from Sidmouth who just got the better of me on the descent at the Otterton Beat the Bus race a couple of weeks ago, so I knew I was in for a tough run! I knew she was a very strong descender and that with this race being a long steep descent to the finish, I knew I'd have to go out hard and try and build up a big enough advantage on the uphill and flat sections to try and hold her off on the last mile.

I managed to do just that, fortunately, and finished almost a minute clear by the end. My time: 40:34 for 12th place overall (out of 126 runners). The winner was Michael Robinson of Tamar Trotters in 34:30.

This was yet another fabulously organised Axe Valley Runner's event, with a terrific atmosphere at race HQ, where there was live music, cakes a plenty and a BBQ and bar on offer. I would definitely recommend this event to the Harriers off-road contingent for next year - fun, friendly, interesting route and a bargain at £6 to enter, with a good quality medal as a momento.

Approaching the finish of the Colyton Rebel Run

Thursday, 12 July 2012

6 Harriers tackle the tough Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon

On the weekend of 7th / 8th July, 7 Harriers (6 competitiors and one support member!) made the long trip north up the M5 and M6 motorways to the Lake District to take part in the 2 day, self-sufficient Saunders Mountain Marathon. The following report by competing Harrier, Terry Oldham, and the accompanying photos from Terry and Kaie, give you a real flavour of the event:

In the north of England is a place of magic. It is hidden away on the north west of the country and it is called Wasdale in Cumbria. Those of you that know it will immediately have an image of the mountains towering above the valley and the small hamlet of Wasdale Head. For those of you who don’t know it, a few photos will follow. On the evening of Friday the 6th July 2012, this valley and the mountains around were wrapped in layers of fast moving cloud and whipped by the gale force winds, which, even on the deep quiet waters of Wastwater, had created small foam topped waves that pushed headlong down the length of the lake. It was a beautiful and fearful side of the mountain magic.

Into this maelstrom came a group of walkers and runners taking part in the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon. The Harrier representatives were Bob Keast, Paul Champion, Sue Wilkin, Dave Backway, Katie Comer, Lorraine Gilson and Terry Oldham. All of these hardy bunch, save for Sue, who was in the role of support crew, took part in the marathon but in two different categories. Bob and Paul were in the ‘Carrock Fell’ category, and Dave, Katie, Lorraine and Terry in the ‘Kirk Fell’ category. They all had a challenge ahead of them, and Bob and Paul successfully completed their challenge finishing 89th, but the Kirkfell entrants had to settle for being unplaced due to missing a control point (or two...!). So, what went wrong for the ‘Kirkfellers’?

That category means that you do a nominal 13 miles or so on each day. However, the distance is actually calculated using a point to point measure taken from each control point. The actual distance is much greater and can be calculated based on both the more circuitous route, added to which is a measure of allowing 1 kilometre for 100 meters of climb. As the organisers prohibit the use of GPS (as this can be used as a navigation aid) you need to estimate distance and height. The organisers give you an estimate of total ascent for each day and so you can produce some sort of distance from that. An estimate of distances by the Kirkfellers gives something in the order of 18 - 20 miles on each day.

The control points must be visited in a certain order, and you have to find them with the aid of a grid reference, a short description and a map. So, you have to add in the time it takes to plot your map, and your course as you make your way from control point to control point. Add to that the weather conditions and the terrain, everything from crags to peat bogs and more besides, you can then judge how you have performed.

Unfortunately, on day one, there were two C.P.s which required a route across an exposed area of ground beneath Scafell Pike, and heading towards Brown Tongue. Lorraine here experienced an attack of vertigo and so she and Terry, forming a Mixed Vet team, had to descend down to Lingmell Gill and take a lower route, with the intention of taking another less exposed route back up to the high ground. However, once down they did not relish the ascent, so they took the decision to find another route and miss out the C.P.s. This meant they were out of the competition for places. However, they made their way to pick up the route at a different point and reached the overnight camp (Note: you have to carry all your kit for an overnight camp which is held at an undisclosed venue until the day of the race). This took Lorraine and Terry about 7 and ¾ hours. Dave and Katie, in the mean time, had pressed on and picked off the two C.P.s and were heading around the back of Whin Rigg before crossing Nether Wasdale and on to the Nether Wasdale Common and the overnight camp. It took them 9 ¾ hours having visited all the C.P.s, but they were still in the competition.

On day 2, the route finding was going very well and the Kirkfellers were picking off the C.P.s as they went along. But the route on this occasion took in a huge area of Caw Fell which is mainly peat bog and was brimming to the rim with water, so they were slowed down to a walk for most of the day. Although the day started bright, by the middle of the day large amounts of cloud had formed at high level and with that some drizzle and reduced visibility. Slogging across the wet ground brought them up to Buckbarrow and they then had to climb up to Scoat Fell and make their way to Pillar, and then a descent via Black Sail Pass. By the time they reached CP 6 on an exposed area called Windy Gap, beneath Pillar, in thick cloud and drizzle, they had to make a choice either to continue the route and take in all the C.P.s but be timed out, or miss out a CP, CP 7, and complete the event in the time given (which was a short window of 8 hours for day 2). Rather than be timed out, they decided to exit from Windy Gap down a scree slope (sometimes known as a chute), and not for the faint hearted, and down to Wasdale Head and the finish, where they did finish with just 30 minutes to spare.

Bob and Paul however had had a much better second day and once again had ticked off all of their C.P.s and were headed for home well within the cut off time. They took 7 hours 51 minutes for day one, and 6 hours 48 minutes for day two, and so a combined time of 14 hours 39 minutes and 11 seconds, finishing 89th team in their class. Congratulations to them both.
As for the Kirkfellers they had had a hugely challenging experience over two days, and were all well and truly k……tired out. All were disappointed not to have claimed a position, but the navigation element had gone well without any more than the odd hesitation, so all were justifiably satisfied with that. Also, bearing in mind the challenges of the category (and they may well now drop down to the Carrock Fell category for next year), they all felt they had done as much as they could in the time available. In addition, as the photographs confirm, they all had a jolly good time! And, after all, that is why we do these things isn’t it?

The venue of the camp is not disclosed until arrival - couldn't have any cheating by depositing supplies early to save on weight carrying them!

Terry heading up towards one of several checkpoints on day 1.

Navigational debate in progress... "I'm telling you man, it's this way"!!

Navigational error leads Lorraine into a stealth bog!

The views were just reward for the hard slog up Scafell.

The gang, having made a tricky ascent up a scree slope to one check point.

Some well deserved cider at the end of day 1 for Katie and Dave!

Paul mistook Terry and Lorraine's camper van for the chip wagon!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Wellies not needed as the sun comes out for the Welly 10!

On Sunday 8th July, the UK experienced its one day of summer. With torrential rain sandwiching the day, the participants of the Wellington 10 events were extremely lucky to find a window in the wet weather for the annual road races. However, in true British fashion, we are never satisfied and many grumbled that the day to be too hot for running a tough hilly road race.

There are 2 distances offered on the day - a 10 mile option and a shorter 10k race. Both races start and finish at the Wellington Rugby club and follow what the organisers describe as an "undulating" route, but what the runners would describe as down right hilly, around the country lanes to the south of the Somerset town.

I, Ellie Sutcliffe, was the sole Harrier representative taking part, as indeed I was last year. I won the female race here last year in a time of 1:07:30 and had hoped to better my time this year, feeling that I am fitter and in slightly better shape.... this didn't quite happen. I set out at a reasonable pace for the opening mile, which is the flattest on the course, and then from miles 1 - 5 it is almost solid climb with very little respite. A female from Westbury Harriers came up along side me shortly after the start and after mile 3 she started to pull away. I held onto her for about another mile, tucked in about 5-10 seconds behind, but on the climb my legs just lacked zip and I had to let her go and watch the gap increase.

From mile 5-6 you get a lovely long downhill stretch to get the breath back, but are then hit by 2 more short, sharp hills that really test your legs and interrupt your rhythm. I thought I was pushing on as hard as I could but when I got to the finish I was shocked to see that my time was in fact 18 seconds slower than last year. Yes, it was a hot day, but I generally cope fine in the heat. I think mainly it was having run the 5k parkrun the previous Saturday, then the Run Exe 5k on Tuesday followed by the 2.5m Erme Valley relay leg on Friday that had taken all the buzz out of my legs! So I dropped a place from last year to 2nd, finishing 47 seconds behind the winning female in the end, and in 15th place overall out of 144 finishers.

The race was won by Alec Woods of Bristol and West in 58:15. The course record for the 10 mile, incidentally, is held by 2nd claim Harrier Tom Merson: a nippy 55 minutes!

I would highly recommend this event to Harriers for next year. 2 distances on offer on a lovely (but hilly) quiet country course. Superb race HQ with samba band and live entertainment throughout the morning, and an excellent and good value selection of refreshments. Sign up and give it a go next year!

Start of the Wellington 10 mile. You are started by a samba band!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Harriers hit Erme Valley en masse for the relays

Most of the Harriers, apart from the first wave of runners who had to dash off to the start line, at the Erme Valley Relays 2012!

Despite it being one of the wettest days of the year in the wettest summer on record, this did not deter a hardy band of Harriers from descending en masse to Ivy Bridge to participate in the Erme Valley Relays. An eagerly anticipated annual event on the running calendars of most of the local running clubs, this is a great evening of competition, camaraderie and curry sauce covered chips consumption! This year the event had a record entry and a record number of participants on the day, proving that the Devon and Cornish runners are a tough breed who refuse to be beaten by the rain and cold.

91 teams in total completed the relays and of those an impressive total of 7 teams were composed of Exmouth Harriers. Traditionally the Harriers have always done well at these relays and year on year have managed to come away with some form of prize or top placing; however, competition and the standard of entry is also getting better year on year and so the Harriers had a real battle on their hands this year. Unfortunately none of our teams came away with the top category prizes, but this did not dampen the spirit of what was a great evening, a superb team performance and a fantastic atmosphere generated amongst the team members and competitors from other clubs.

The course is a tough one; although short, measuring in at just under 2.5 miles in distance, it is extremely hilly, with the first half being mostly down hill and with all the height needing to be regained in the latter half. Teams are composed of 4 people and each member runs the same leg, with the change-over point being at race HQ, just outside the Ivy Bridge Rugby Club.

The first team home was the ever-formidable Torbay AC, who covered the hilly 10 miles in a speedy cumulative total time of 53:20.
The first female team home was from the host club, Erme Valley Harriers, who took 62:07 to get their 4 members around the 4 legs.

On the start line raring to go! Stan, Adam and Jon are ready to run the 1st legs for our mens' teams

And here's how the Harriers faired...

Our first team home was our very strong senior male team. They placed 9th overall (so top 10% of teams) and 6th senior male team in a cumulative time of 57:03. These were the individual splits:
L1: Adam Miller - 13:46
L2: Marc Cox - 14:28
L3: Chris Dupain - 15:27
L4: Jamie Pearson - 13:22

Next in was our talented MV40 team. Hoping to challenge for a top spot in their category, they faced some very stiff competition on the night from the Erme Valley Harriers and South West Road Runner clubs and so in the end they had to settle for a hard-earned 3rd MV40 spot and they placed 15th overall in a total time of 58:27. Individual splits:
L1: Jon Garrity - 14:25
L2: Dave Stone - 13:23
L3: Andy Johnson - 16:25
L4: Jamie Palmer - 14:14

There was then a gap of just over 7 minutes before our next 2 Harriers teams crossed the line in immediate succession. The first of the 2 was our MV50 team who took 65:45 to cover the 10 mile route and this gave them 43rd place overall and 5th in their category. Our Harriers team came out top of the MV50s last year, but fast forward 12 months and they had to settle for 5th place against some much stiffer opposition. Splits:
L1: Dave Wright - 15:17
L2: Dave Eveleigh - 16:59
L3: Phil Bater - 18:45
L4: Hugh Marsden - 14:44

Just one place and less than one minute after our MV50 team came our first senior ladies team. Like our MV50 team, we faced some really stiff competition this year and so we knew we were going to have to go out hard from the start to stand any chance of making an impression on the top 3 teams. Places chopped and changed throughout the 4 legs and in the end we crossed the line as 4th senior female team, in 44th position overall, in a time of 66:22. There were the splits:
L1: Hannah Bown - 16:16
L2: Moira Glen - 16:32
L3: Emma Dupain - 18:09
L4: Ellie Sutcliffe - 15:25

After a short lull in Harrier proceedings came the arrival of our mixed team, composed of 3 ladies and 1 man (lucky you, Jon!). This team was composed of many first timers to the relays and it was Carly's first race in a Harriers vest, so they all got stuck in and made the most of the experience. They finished 63rd overall and the 6th mixed sex team in a time of 73:53. These were the individual legs:
L1: Nicola Crook - 19:43
L2: Lisa Hatchard - 19:44
L3: Carly Audritt - 19:14
L4: Jon Croome - 15:12

Our second senior male team rocked up next and although they had to be classified in the senior category due to the fact that they had one senior runner, Ben White, whilst the other 3 members were in fact all vet runners, so they did extremely well to finish in 75th place overall in a time of 78:37. Split times:
L1: Stan Mason - 21:32
L2: C. Margison - 19:02
L3: Jim Wyatt - 20:58
L4: Ben White - 17:05

Then rounding off an evening of fine Harrier performances was our FV45 team. The standard of female veteran athletes is getting higher year on year, with many local female veterans continually placing in the top 3 overall positions in races and proving to runners half their age that they are still a force to be reckoned with. So our vet ladies always had a tough battle on their hands, but they went into it fighting and emerged as a creditable 4th in their strong category and 78th overall in a total time of 79:19. Individual splits:
L1: Claire Baxter - 20:06
L2: Joan Mason - 21:27
L3: Dawn Teed - 19:37
L4: Lorraine Croome - 18:09

Well done to all the Harriers that gave up a cosy Friday in to face the miserable weather and participate. You did the Harriers proud and I think we all had a good time in the process! Thanks to all the kind people who volunteered to drive down and thanks to Dawn Teed and Dave Stone who did most of the organising of the teams. On on to Erme Valley Relays 2013!!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Run Exe Summer (technically...) 5k continues

On 3rd July the 2nd round of the I.B.R. organised 'Run Exe Summer 5k series' took place at Flower Pots fields on the banks of the River Exe. A day of heavy downpours threatened to make the event a wet one, however, the skies just about cleared in time for the off and conditions for 5k running were actually fairly close to ideal.

88 runners completed this round, which was 15 up on the first race held in June. However, the overall standard of this race was down on the first one, with the first man's time being over a minute slower.

Jamie Palmer was the first Harrier home in a creditable 10th place overall and 1st in the MV40 category in a time of 17:40. Impressive stuff, but on speaking to Jamie after the race he did not feel satisfied with the run and said he felt off form and would hope to post a quicker time at the next event.

I, Ellie Sutcliffe, was next to cross the finish line, in 20th place overall and 2nd female. The 5k is my most hated distance due to the fact that it represents an 18 minute asthma attack for me. Anyway, I puffed and wheezed and heaved my body around the course to a new PB time of 18:40, shaving 5 seconds off my previous best set on this same course last year. Happy with that considering I've done no speed work for over 2 months and have been concentrating on the longer stuff.

Dave Eveleigh was the next Harrier, finishing very strongly to post a superb time of 20:39 for 49th place overall and a very commendable 2nd place in the MV55 category. This time is up by 2 whole minutes on the times he was producing on this same course last year, showing that he is defying the ageing process and still being competitive. With the combination of a good summer training programme and sheer determination (which Dave has in abundance!), Dave will surely have reduced that time to under the 20 minute mark by the end of the season in September?

The fourth and final Harrier representative was Andrew Johnson. Andrew clocked 20:52 for 52nd spot, though this time was down by almost 20 seconds on his June outing. It will be interesting to see if Andrew can also get under 20 minutes by the end of the season - maybe a bit of friendly competition with Dave will help both of them to achieve this?!

Jamie Palmer approaching the finish and still looking strong.

Dave Eveleigh pushes on along the river bank with an SWRR rival!

Next round is Tuesday 1st August, 7.30pm kick off at Flower Pots fields in Exeter. £7 entry (affiliated). Pay on the night.