Exe-rated runners!

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

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Parkrun round up

Whilst Autumn is a busy period on the local running calendar in terms of 10ks, half-marathons, off-road races and cross-country meets, it is easy to forget that Parkrun quietly and unassumingly keeps on going and welcoming runners to its free weekly 5k times runs all around the country.

September 22nd was an exciting day for Parkrun fans in Devon as it saw the launch of a brand new event in Plymouth. The Plym Valley Parkrun now joins Killerton as the only two Parkruns held throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset; the next nearest is Poole in Dorset. This inaugural event attracted a total of 53 runners, some of them the most staunchest of Parkrun fans, having clokced up over 100 runs at different events all across the country, and it also attracted Harriers' Parkrun devotee, Roger Rowe. Making light work of this new 5k course that follows an out and back trail alongside the River Plym, Roger posted a time time of 21.53 for 15th place overall and giving him the new MV65 course record on the course... will it be broken?!

Meanwhile, back in Killerton, the Killer-Parkrun regulars have been out in force and clocking up PBs a plenty. The biggest PB to be set recently is by Carly Audritt who managed to get her time below 23 minutes for the first time this week, 22nd September, when she ran 22:40 to take 4th female spot and 15th place overall. Gordon Seaward, avid running enthusiast and long-time supporter of the local running scene, who does most of the timings at Killerton has kindly provided Carly with a training plan which clearly is paying off if the recent improvements on her 5k times are anything to go by!

Carly's partner, Adam Miller, has also been having a very successful run of Parkrun performances in September. On the 8th September he set a new PB of 17:36 and was the first runner home at that event. A week later on the 15th he improved that PB by 2 seconds to run 17:34 for 3rd place overall. This week he again took the top spot in the race with a time of 17:39, showing just how consistent he is at this distance and now that he is very familiar with the course, having run it 55 times in total!

Other Harriers who have run at Parkrun recently include Andy Kennedy (22nd in 22:23), Roger Rowe (25th in 22:43) and Jon Lambert (27th in a new PB time of 22:50), all on the 15th September. This week saw Jon Garrity helping to pace his sister, Rachael, around the course in a time of 30:08, so Jon's Killerton PB remains an impressive 18:34.

With it being so near and free of charge, this really is a great opportunity to push yourself over a timed and measured distance... and to enjoy a cup of coffee and a cake in the Killerton tea rooms with fellow Parkrunners after. Sign up online and get your barcode now and get yourself down to Killerton this Saturday!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Moira and Ellie in an all ladies line-up!

On Sunday 23rd September, the same day as the Woodbury 10k, just the two Harriers - myself, Ellie Sutcliffe, and Moira Glen - opted to run in an all ladies' race. The Newton Abbot Ladies' 10k, organised by the Teignbridge Trotters, offers a rare opportunity, certainly in the local area, for women to battle it out head-to-head with no men in the mix. With it being exceedingly rare that a woman wins a race outright, opportunities to cross a tape as the overall winner, or in, say, 46th place overall and also as 46th female, are few and far between, making this race worth doing.

Despite the awful conditions, with pouring rain, gusting winds and about 4 very long and very deep puddles that totally blocked the road and had to be splashed through at over ankle height, 182 women managed to complete the race.

There was a very strong line up, with last year's winner, super vet athelete Ann Luke of Tamar Trotters, and silver medal winning Olympic modern pentathlete, Heather Fell of Tavistock, standing out as the strongest, this was going to be a tough and competitve race.

Ann Luke set off hard from the gun and I let her go, but after the first downhill, just 500m in, she came back to me and I decided to try and sit on her shoulder and go with her for as long as possible. Alison McEwing of Erme Valley also followed and a gap opened up between us three and the chasing pack, which contained Moira.

At about 3k, Ann's shoe lace came undone and she had to stop. I was in two minds as to whether to be exceedingly sporting and stop and wait for her, but we had by then managed to create a small 50m gap over Alison McEwing, who is always a threat, having beaten me by a minute at the Exeter 10k in August, so I decided to just back off the pace and wait for Ann to catch up. It didn't take her very long! We ran together until about 6k when she started to pull away and I didn't have the lungs to respond. Nevertheless, I kept her within my sights to the finish and managed to cross the line just 13 seconds behind her in a time of 39:22. I was thrilled as I have never even gotten closer to her before. She may be 55 but she's ranked number 1 for her age group in the country over both 10k and half-marathon distance and she is a quality athlete. To be able to say I've beaten an Olympic silver medallist is also a nice bonus, however, it must be highlighted that this was Heather's first time out over the 10k distance!

Moira, meanwhile, was having a battle of her own just a couple of minutes behind. She had been playing cat and mouse the whole way round with vet 50 runner, Marilyn Blair from Torrington AC. Moira would get Marilyn on the downhill sections, then Marilyn would pick Moira off again on the uphill. In the end Marilyn just got the better of Moira on the only flat section on the course - the 600 meters leading in to the finish line around Dornafield caravan site - and Moira finished just 7 seconds behind her in 44:07. This gave her 11th place overall in a very strong field and, even more impressively, she claimed the top FV45 spot, winning an Ironbridge Runner voucher and her first ever trophy as a reward.... the first trophy of many we think!! ;-)

Times were down on last year and certainly well down on a flat 10k performance due to the high winds, water on the course and to the fact that only the last 600m of this race are flat, with the rest undulating throughout as it weaves through the villages of Ogwell, Denbury and Ipplepen.

A great race, well organised - as Teignbridge Trotter races always are -, plentiful prizes with the first 5 ladies and the first 3 in every 5 year vet category being awarded a prize, a unique momento in the guise of a specially commissioned print of the Dartmoor Vale countryside by a local artist, and, last but my no means least, some truly superb cake on offer at the end. What more could a girl (or 182 of them) want?!
Start of the Newton Abbott Ladies 10k

Monday, 24 September 2012

Harriers out in force at Woodbury 10k

Exmouth Harriers were out in force at the Woodbury 10k race on Sunday 23rd September. In fact, as well as contributing  a good number of runners, the club contributes some expertise in organising the event which raises funds (around £ 1,000 this year) for Christian Aid. The Race Referee was hard-working club chair Bob Keast, a volunteer in a year when the Ol ympics Gamesmakers have highlighted how volunteers are the foundation stones of British sport. Also typically British, unfortunately, was the weather with rain falling throughout. Add this to a course over typically Devonian hilly terrain and times were never going to be outstanding.
Dave Stone won this race a year ago but on Sunday had to be happy with 3rd behind Bristol & West’s Adam Speake (34:56) and Tavistock’s Robert Orton (35:14). Dave’s time was 35:50 and he was also 1st Man Over 40. Marc Cox finished  4th in 37:05 and, over the last year, has established himself as one of the faster runners at Exmouth Harriers and it is not surprising to see him produce a performance like that at a local race. This was his first sub-38 minute 10k clocking but based on this time on an undulating and windy course, it will only be a matter of him targeting a flat, fast 10k and we may well see a performance in the 36 minute region from him. 
Then in 9th place overall came Hannah Bown, her come-back gathering pace week by week as she recorded 41:09, unlucky to just miss out on a 40 minute clocking, but the conditions were not ideal, and she was 1st woman by over 4 minutes. This all bodes very well for the Cardiff half-marathon which she will run on October 14th, along with sister Emma, and where she plans to target a sub-1:30 time. 
There was another good race from Richard Hawes who is on a roll of late. He crossed the line in 10th position overall with a time of 41:46. Richard was also 2nd Man Over 40 and 1st Over 45. 
There was then a bit of a gap before the next Harriers home. Hannah Bown’s sister Emma Dupain was 34th overall (47:41) and 7th woman home with partner Ben White not far away, but not quite able to stick with her, in 37th place (47:50). The game of cat and mouse between Emma and Ben thus continues!
Senior Dupain family club member, Nigel, was in the top 40 as well, his tortoise (40th in 48:24) just unable to catch fellow Harrier Dave Eveleigh’s hare (39th in 48:19). Both these guys were 1st in their age group, Nigel in the MV60 and Dave in the MV55. 
Running in close together were Kurt Margison (60th in 52;19) and Roger Riggs (61st in 52:27) both, as would be expected from club runners, well up the placings in a field of just over a hundred finishers, which included 35 women.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hugh and Dawn challenged at Charmouth

The UK's most southerly fell race, the Charmouth Challenge, traditionally takes place in July each year. If it was ever going to have to be cancelled due to torrential rain, you would think that July would offer the most fail safe option and the best weather of the year to avoid that... not so in 2012, the wettest summer on record! The race was rescheduled to 16th September and went ahead in dry, sunny conditions two months later than billed.

The route covers a distance of almost 8 miles but with 1900ft of climb that sees runners summit the highest point on the south coast: the Golden Cap.

On the start line for the Harriers, that staunch off-road running pair of Hugh Marsden and Dawn Teed. As with 'Race the Train', the 'Haytor Heller' and the 'Sidmouth Festival 10k', this is another race that they complete year on year and it's yet another multi-terrain toughie.

Like last year, Hugh was just pipped to the 1st MV50 spot, this time by a Poole Runners athlete who finished less than a minute in front of him. Hugh finished in overall 11th - incidentally, the exact same position as last year, but over a minute quicker than last year - just over the hour in 1:00:22.

Dawn also had a fine run, taking 1:22:11 to claim 60th spot overall and 7th FV40. Impressively, this was well over a minute faster than her time from last year and saw her place a massive 82 places higher, highlighting that she has had a super summer 2013 season and also showing a good spring-board from which to launch herself into the Westward Cross-country league which she plans to tackle this winter.

The race was won by Kyle Hackett of Poole Runners in 54:36. Top woman was Lin Lascelles, an FV45 athlete from Maiden Newton Runners, in 1:05:40.

95 finishers - well well down on last year's numbers, no doubt due to the postponement of the race.

Chair is in his off-road element again!

On Saturday 15th September, Harriers' chairman, Bob Keast, travelled a little further afield than the local Jurassic Coast race, as he was in the Brecon Beacons to take part in the Mountain Trail Challenge.

Fantastic weather greeted the participants on the day as they set off on either a 20 mile or 30 mile route. The event is not a race but rather a challenge against the terrain and yourself. Entrants can go at their own speed, running as much or as little as they please, or just walking the whole lot. The aim of the day is to just get out there and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery, which was at its best on the day as clear skies made for some spectacular long distance views. 

Chair, to be found in his most natural state when off-road, opted for the longer 30 mile challenge and was out on his feet for about 8 hours covering the distance. He coped fine on the day but reports feeling a little sore and stiff the morning after! 
As this picture, taken by Bob, shows, this is a must-do challenge for anyone who might enjoy a non-competitive but fully supported day out in the stunning Brecon Beacons. 
Pre-registration is now open for the 2013 event, which will take place on Saturday 14th September:

Sunday, 16 September 2012

All 5 Harriers in the top 15% at Jurassic Coast 10k

If this race is called the Jurassic Coast 10k, then the Exmouth Harrier members who lined up on the start line at Budleigh Salterton to tackle this 10k multi-terrain run were clearly the T-rex's of the field, as all finished in the top 15% of competitors, and 4 of the 5 members placed in the top 8 of finishers!

The event is usually an annual feature on the running calendar but did not run last year due to the committments of the organisers, who put on the event for the cancer charity, Force, and donate all of the proceeds after costs. The event is cheap to enter, at only £4 for affiliated members, but runners are encouraged to donate more or to raise money for completing the run.

After our own Fulford 5 race you could not get a race closer to home that this and any Harriers that have attended the "away days" at White Bridge, Budleigh, will be familiar with the route. From the sea front, the races skirts around the edge of Lime Kiln car park before picking up the river trail along the Otter to White Bridge. A right turn here to cross the bridge and another right turn brings runners onto the coastal path and sees them heading north-east, up some rather lung-busting inclines, to Crab Ledge, where the race veers off the coast and heads inland. Dropping down a track to meet Clamour Bridge, the race crosses the River Otter again and then sees runners pushing on for home along the last 1.5 flat miles to the finish at Lime Kiln, Budleigh.
Runners can just be made out like ants on the horizon as we head off up the coastal path away from Budleigh

On the start line were 5 Harriers, all having a slight advantage over many of the competitors by knowing the route inside and out! From the gun Mike Musgrove went off hard with Marc Cox in hot pursuit. Jon Garrity was also following in close order, then a little gap to myself, Ellie Sutcliffe, and Scott-2 Trigs-Jordan.

Hitting the first hill and the positions were the same: Mike out front, Marc 100m behind in 2nd, Hercules Wimbledon runner, Dave Grima, in 3rd, Jon Garrity in 4th. All looked promising for a Harriers clean sweep, but could we all keep up this hard pace to the finish? Read on to find out...

Still holding their positions as they crest the first hill: Mike in 1st, Marc in 2nd, Jon in 4th.
Conditions were extremely hot and we were running into full sun along the cliff path. We were all very grateful for the water station at 5k, not least because this marked the last of the major climbs and it was mostly down hill or flat from here.

Mike's strategy had been to go out hard on the hills and try and put as much distance between himself and his competitors as possible, though no-one could have known that Mike's greatest challenge would come from fellow Harrier, Marc Cox. On the flat river section in the last 3k Marc started to close on Mike, getting to within a few yards of him at one point, but Mike kicked again and increased the gap.
Mike and Marc start as they mean to finish: in first and second. Jon is in hot pursuit, sat in 4th at this early stage
2 Trigs goes off hard and is ideally equipped for the first 5k into the full sun with his go-faster shades on!

Pushing himself to the limit, Mike kept his lead from start to finish and crossed the line in an excellent time of 37:35 on a hilly course, taking 1st place overall and the prize for 1st male vet. Giving it his all and (in his own words!) "breathing like a pregnant sow" as he approached the finish, he adds this win to his victory in the 10 mile multi-terrain Yarcombe Yomp race and the June 16th Killerton Parkrun event.
Mike: victorious and knackered at the finish. The winner!

Marc had a superb run to come 2nd overall, his highest placing in a race to date (but let's not forget that he has been running for less than a year, so surely more success is to follow) in a time of 38:14. To put Marc's progress into perspective, he ran 38:12 at the much flatter and faster road course at the Karen Halls Ottery 10k back in May, indicating huge progress in terms of speed since then.
Marc storms home for 2nd place overall: surely the first of many podium places for him

Jon Garrity had a very fine run and placed 6th overall and 2nd MV40 (after Mike), also completing in under the 40 minute mark - which is always a benchmark for good club runners, but especially so in a race of this sort of terrain and hill profile - in 39:31. Like Marc, Jon has not been running competitively for very long and this time is only 17 seconds adrift of his previous 10k clocking, set at the comparatively more serene Woodbury road 10k last September, again indicating Jon's huge progress over the past 12 months.
Jon Garrity: strong run for 6th overall and 2nd MV40

Next in, in 8th place overall and first female, was yours truly. My race target was to finish as first female but to my utter amazement and delight I also set a new female course record. My time of 40:26 took 10 seconds off the previous course record, set by Hercules Wimbledon athlete, Claire Grima, in 2009. This is the first record I have claimed outright by out running a previous time (and not just earned by default as I happened to finish first in an inaugural running of a race!), so this one was totally unexpected and means a lot! This was my 2nd ever race after taking up running 2 years ago in 2010 and I managed to chip over 4 minutes off that time this time round.
Ellie crossing the line for 1st female and 8th overall

Shortly after, Scott cantered over the line and, in a spectacular finish funnel tussle, he out-sprinted a SWRR competitor for a highly creditable 34th place overall and 8th MV40. This was 2 Trigs first competitive race back in 2010, where he ran 46:40 for 49th place. This time he finished 15 places higher and 13 seconds quicker in a time of 46:27.
Scott out-sprinting a SWRR competitor for 34th place

There were 235 finishers and so all 5 Harrier competitors finished in the top 15% of finishers. We may only be a small club, but what we lack in quantity, we sure make up for in quality and team spirit! Speaking of this latter, massive thanks to Nigel and Emma Dupain who turned up to see us off at the start; to Moira Glen who appeared to cheer us on half way round at Clamour Bridge and then popped up again at the finish; and to Adam Miller and Carly Audritt who, fresh from Parkrun PBs themselves that morning, dashed over to Budleigh to watch the finish. Great team spirit and support: go Harriers!!!
With our prizes L - R: Ellie - 1st female and new female course record; Mike - 1st overall and 1st male vet; Marc - 2nd overall

Friday, 14 September 2012

Harriers end the Yeovilton series on a high

Wednesday 12th September saw the final round of the summer Yeovilton 5k series taking place, with 2 Harriers and a Harrier guest lining up alongside a 150 strong field.

Billed as being slightly faster than the Exeter course, some Harriers feel that it is worth the extra miles to head up to Yeovil to earn those precious extra seconds on their seasons best times. 

For Harriers' Ethiopian guest star, Berihu Tesfay, this was a chance to improve upon his already impressive time of 14:57 set the previous week at the Run Exe 5k. With some stiffer competition on the Yeovilton course he was pushed harder from the gun to run a more competitive race and this saw him run to victory in a superb time of 14:46. Well worth the journey up the A303 then!

Berihu is staying with long time Harriers' stalwart, Cathy Newman, whilst he is in the UK. A fine runner herself, being a former UK international, Cathy is looking to get some form back now she is back in the UK full time after a 2 year spell working out in Ethiopia. She set a bench mark time of just over 19 minutes at the August round of the Run Exe series and was able to improve upon that considerably at Yeovilton and run herself into 2nd spot, behind another UK international, Kate Reed, and clock a time of 18:42. To give you an idea of the strength of this performance, it equates to 88% on age-graded time (incidentally, so does Berihu's time - talk about evenly matched!), just 1% behind the winning female, Kate Reed's, 16:05 clocking. 

The final Harrier running on the night was super-vet, Roger Rowe. Always a fan of fast, PB courses, Roger often makes the trip North to take part in the Yeovilton series. On this occasion he managed to post a season's best time for the distance of 20:52, bringing him in at 81% age-graded and 1st MV65.

The question is.... what will Berihu try his hand at next?!

What goes round and round in 25 circles?....

Answer: Andy Johnson and Richard Hawes at the Devon County AA 10'000m track championships that took place at Exeter Arena on Wednesday 12th September.

Also on the entry list for the Harriers was Dave Eveleigh, but Dave wasn't feeling at his best and being ever the perfectionist with his running he did not want to run and deliver a mediocre performance, so he made the reluctant but sensible decision to conserve his energies for another day.

Entries for the event were full, with 40 athletes signing up, meaning that the field could be split into two and offer an A race for sub-40 min 10k runners and a B race for 40 mins +. This meant that runners of all abilities got the chance to run in a competitive race and gave them the opportunity to pit themselves against athletes of a similar standard and to push themselves towards a personal best or season's best time.

Relatively new Harriers' member, Richard Hawes, did just that. Rich has been running for less than a year, having started last autumn with a - self-admitted - low fitness level. He tried to do too much too soon and ended up picking up a few injuries. This year, however, with a more measured approach and by taking some advise from friend and fellow Harrier, Mike Musgrove, Rich's running has gone from strength to strength. Just last month he set an impressive 10k PB of 41:35 at the Exeter event and so his target for this track 10k was to better that and to try and get as close to 40 minutes as possible.

Setting off hard from the gun and running most of the 25 laps tucked in just behind super-vet athlete Karen Cook of SWRR proved to be a good strategy as Richard paced himself well and even managed to store up a little burst of energy to put on what was one of the most impressive sprint finishes of the night. He crossed the line in 40:31:35 to knock a whole minute off his PB in the space of a month! Even more impressively, Rich just missed out on a bronze medal in the county champs by 1 place and 10 seconds in the MV45 category, at his first ever championship race! Rich now plans to step up his training over the winter and to target a few key races next spring where he will surely build on his natural ability and go on to set more and more PBs and get himself elevated onto that MV45 podium!

The only other Harriers' representative on the night was the very experienced and seasoned campaigner, Andy Johnson. Lacking his sparring partner, Dave Eveleigh, to push him, Andy did a pretty impressive job of pushing himself around that track, digging in and gritting his teeth to clock a time of 43:07:41; just 16 seconds adrift of his Exeter 10k time set in August. Those 16 seconds were no doubt lost on the unforgiving back straight of the track which had a strong headwind blowing in the faces of the athletes on the night, stealing precious seconds off their lap times. Andy finished as 6th MV45 on the night.

Despite feeling dizzy after 25 counter-clockwise laps, both athletes seemed to enjoy their track experience!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

5 Harriers keep their powder dry for Powderham 10k!

With the off-roadie contingent down the road in Ivy Bridge, those Harriers fancying a rather more sedate option of a 10k run in the stunning setting of the Powderham Castle Estate headed across the water to take part in the Force 10k @Powderham.

Promising a bit of everything, with the first 5k being flat and on road, and the last 5k being undulating and mainly off-road on woodland trails, this run attracted some top level club runners and first time charity entrants alike and had a great atmosphere.

5 Harriers toed the startline, all opting for the 10k rather than the shorter 5k option. Conditions were hot and humid with little breeze and so the shaded sections under the trees were very welcome. With the route following an accurately measured 10k loop of tracks in and around the Castle grounds and with any public roads used - e.g. the stretch along the River Exe - being closed to traffic, this was a safe and enjoyable run for all.

Following a much needed 2 week rest period, the first Harrier home on the day was myself, Ellie Sutcliffe. I finished 9th overall and 1st female in 39:32. My prize was a signed copy of Adharanand Finn's new book, 'Running with the Kenyans', and Adharanand was also running in the race on Sunday, finishing 4th overall in 37:00. (Good job he didn't finish in the top 3 or he'd have won his own book!).

Next in, having a fine run, was Moira Glen. Moira tried to hang onto super-vet runner, Karen Cook, but Karen proved a little too strong for Moira on the long 1 mile climb at mile 4 and a gap opened up, with Moira hanging on for 4th place in the ladies race and 22nd overall in 42:28. She was also 1st in her FV45 age category but unfortunately no category prizes were awarded.

Then came new Harrier, Kurt Margison, having a strong run, despite the hot and sunny conditions, to clock 51:04 which placed him 98th overall and so in the top third of all finishers.

Having their own little private battle were Stan and Joan Mason. After Joan came out on top at the Torbay Regatta 10k, Stan had a point to prove at Powderham and so he went out hard, stuck to his task, and sure enough managed to score the equaliser! Stan finished in 55:48 for 146th place overall and Joan was not far behind, 174th, 57th female, in 57:53. And so to Woodbury 10k in 2 weeks time which has been selected as the decider! Who will it be? Place your bets please!

With live music, a good selection of excellently prized refreshments, post-race massage available and 50% discount for runners and their supporters into the castle after, this was a superb event and one which other Harriers should definitely give a go next year!

Moira finishing strongly for 4th place.

The 5 participating Harriers in front of the Castle: great backdrop to a race!

Lisa, Scott and Terry hit the hills!

On Sunday 9th September was the annual staging of the Erme Valley Harriers' organised 'Beacon Challenge'. A run of between 7.5 and 8 miles in length, this run takes runners up a huge climb to the beacon sat way above Ivy Bridge on the edge of the moor, and then sees them turn around and tare back down again towards the town. Although it is a marshalled route, it is similar to a fell race in all other aspects and so it attracted some top local off-road athletes and the Harriers' trail loving trio of Lisa Hatchard, Scott-2 Trigs-Jordan and Terry-The Dark Destroyer-Oldham.

Top of the Harriers pile on the day was Scott. Getting stronger and stronger on these tough, trail type races, 2 Trigs managed to find the trig point that was the Beacon on this occasion (!), before turning turtle and using his very fast descending skills to good effect as he tore down the hill towards the finish to post a time of 1:07:14. This gave him a highly respectable 35th place overall and 7th MV40.

Terry didn't get the nickname 'The Dark Destroyer' for nothing and he will have tried to hang onto Scott's tails for as long as possible, but 2 Trigs proved to be too strong on this occasion and a gap of just over 3 minutes managed to open up with Terry crossing the line in 1:10:40 for 55th place. Still well up the field and a highly commendable 2nd place in the MV55 category.

Lisa has clearly been bitten by the fell running bug after her exploits at Stourton Tor last week and so she signed up for another tough, hilly off-roader straight away and got stuck in. Not deterred by the fact that this race was over 3 times longer, she ran a solid run for 89th place overall in a time of 1:18:14.

The race was won in a new course record time of 50:30 by Tamar Trotters' Mike Robinson.
Top woman, placing an impressive 7th overall, was Emma Hitchins of Haldon Trail Runners, in 58:32.
122 finishers.
Terry, Lisa and Scott were supported at the Ivy Bridge Beacon Challenge by a Harriers' mini-mascot (a.k.a. Lisa's daughter and Harrier in waiting!)

Run Exe Summer 5k series: that's a wrap!

On 4th September was the final round of the Ironbridge Runner Run Exe Summer 5k Series and back in town to guest star for Exmouth Harriers was Eithiopian runner, Berihu Tesfay, who won the race comfortably in 14:57. This was an improvement of over a minute on his attempt at the same course this time last year and was pretty close to the course record, set last month by Tom Merson, despite Berihu being unchallenged for first place and having to push the pace himself. Rumour has it that this Wednesday he is going to run in the final round of the Yeovilton 5k series, which boasts a slightly faster course still than the Exeter track, so watch this space for another sub-15 clocking from Berihu!

There have always been great rivalries in athletics and often intra-club contests are more intense than those across clubs. There was certainly a bit of friendly sparring going on between Andrew Johnson and Dave Eveleigh throughout the summer 5ks as these were the only Exmouth Harriers to complete all three races in the series. Coe and Ovett it may not be, but going into this final run of this year’s event each had finished in front of the other once and so both were vying for the deciding victory in the last round. With no more than 200 metres to go Dave looked to have done enough when he slowed drastically, allowing Andrew to pass him and claim club bragging rights!
On the night Andrew was 47th in 20:38 in and Dave 48thin 20:43. For the overall series standings, both finished 3rd in their age group (Dave V55, Andrew V45) and Dave in particular can take encouragement from the fact that his times for this year were well up, by around 2 minutes, on those he posted last year. Will this pair have a rematch at the Winter 3k track series? We'll have to wait and see!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Lisa falls for the fells!!

Lisa Hatchard was down in Stourton on Wednesday 5th September for the Stourton Tour fell race. Organised by Okehampton Running Club, this is a small, low-key and friendly event - all in the true manner of fell running - and so proved ideal for Lisa as she was running a fell race for the first time ever!

For those of you who are familiar with the fell running scene, you will know that races are ranked according to both the ascent involved, as either category A, B or C, and to the distance of the race, as S (short, less than 6 miles), M (medium, 6-12 miles) or L (long, over 12 miles). Measuring in at 2.6 miles and with 800ft of total climb, this race is catgegorised as AS: short, but steep!

Below is a post-race report by Okehampton RC, which gives a real flavour of the race:

"The second running of the Sourton Tors Race in its new format  saw 15 runners make their way to the north west edge of Dartmoor to take on the steep ascent up to Sourton Tor.  With almost perfect  weather conditions the 15 hardy souls set off along the 300m track which lead them on to the open moor. As the path steepened, three runners broke away from the pack John Yells, Ben Bradford and Paul Crease (Okehampton RC).  As the three crossed the summit of Sourton Tor John held a 30sec lead over Ben with Paul another 20secs behind.  During the descent Paul used all his local knowledge to make up his deficit over Ben passing him within the final 1km  but could not catch John who took the race win with a new course record of 20:04.  The next five male runners saw the battle of the vets with Kavin Hagley (SWRR) edging out the MV O/50 winner Brain Charters (Exeter Harriers).  Roger Nosworthy (Bude Rats) completed the results taking home the MV O/60 award.

The ladies event saw a battle between the two local clubs Okehampton Running Club and Bude Rats with Helen Heard (Bude Rats) edging out Lucy and Karen Skye (Okehampton RC) to take the ladies crown in a new course record of 24:49.  Bridget Funnell (Bude Rats) took home the LV O/50 prize with Lisa Hatchard (Exmouth Harriers) completing her first fell race crossing the line with a giant grin across her face.

Okehampton Running Club would like to thank Sue and Brian for their help with the marshalling and all the runners who made it a very enjoyable evening event. Also a special thank you to The Bearslake Inn Lake who kindly let us use their facilities."


MEN (including overall race position)
1. J.Yells 20:042. P.Crease O/40 Okehampton RC 20:39
3. B.Bradford 21:06
4. K.Hagley O/40 SWRR 22.48
5. B.Charters O/50 Exeter Harriers 23:30
6. M.Rice O/50 Okehampton RC 24.25
9. R.Ensor O/40 26.04
12. G.Miller O/40 Okehampton RC 28.18
13. I.Moor 28.25
15. R.Nosworthy O/60 Bude Rats 31.59

LADIES (with overall race position in brackets)
1.(7) H.Heard O/35 Bude Rats 24:49
2.(8) L.Skye Okehampton RC 26:00
3.(10) K Skye O/35 Okehampton RC 27:23
4.(11) B.Funnell O/55 Bude Rats 28:00
5.(14) L.Hatchard Exmouth Harriers 30.34

So although Lisa finished 5th of the 5 ladies, all 5 women finished within 6 minutes of each other, so it was a small but competitive race, and Lisa still manage to beat a male competitor! Girl power!! Most importantly, she thoroughly enjoyed her first fell run experience and we are sure that this will be the first of many races for her! Well done Lisa!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Adam sets yet another half-marathon PB at Bridgwater!

The second event of the first weekend of September, which attracted one lone Harrier, was the inaugural Bridgwater Half Marathon. A welcome new event over this distance in the area, it boasts a flat and fast course and offers competitors in the Southwest the chance to set a new PB. Fired up by this challenge, Exmouth's own Adam Miller ventured up the M5 and did exactly that.

Adam had already set an already impressive new half-marathon PB of 78:14 at the Torbay event back in June. Whilst the Bridgwater course is advertised as being fast Adam didn't know whether he was in PB shape having backed off his training to take a few months rest over the summer. He has nevertheless kept his legs sharp by running weekly fast 5ks at the Killerton Parkrun events.

On the day Adam felt that he had the speed but not the speed-distance endurance as he started to flag a little in the latter miles. This meant that after holding 3rd position for most of the race he was just overhauled towards the end, eventually finishing just 26 seconds adrift of 3rd place. As it was he still ran a superb race to clock 77:22 and set another new PB. Not long now surely before he goes sub-77!! Well done Adam!

Sometime 2nd claim Exmouth Harrier, Tom Merson, won the race in an impressive 68:54, a time which was just 10 seconds short of his PB.

Hugh and Dawn in action at Dartmouth

Following a hectic bank holiday weekend on the racing scene, the first weekend of September was a relatively quiet one that saw only 3 Harriers participate in 2 different races. The first race was held on the Saturday 1st September and saw Hugh Marsden and Dawn Teed head down to Dartmouth for the annual Regatta 5 mile road race.

This is a relatively tough 5 miler as the first half is all uphill, climbing up and out of the sloping seaside town, before turning around and treating runners to a nice downhill second half. Times are therefore slightly down on a flatter 5 miler, such as the Harriers' own February Fulford 5 race.

Hugh and Dawn enjoy this race due to its festival atmosphere and participate almost every year... oh, and the chance to visit Trago Mills on the way down might also play a part in luring Hugh back each year!!! Hugh often wins his category here, however, this year he had to be content with 2nd placed MV50 after being edged out by visiting runner, Nick Hides from Clevedon AC. Hugh still ran a strong race, as always, and finished in a creditable 9th place overall in 33:09.

Dawn also had a solid race to finish in 79th place overall in a time of 44:38. She placed 5th in her FV45 category, however, it must be stressed that this was an extremely strong category on the day with the first 2 females across the line outright both being from this same category, highlighting the quality of female vet 45 runners in the area.

The race was won by veteran Torbay AC athlete Pete Monaghan in 29:43. Wendy Urban, also of Torbay, took the women's title in 36:11.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Ann Widecombe honours Harriers at Lustleigh Show 10k!

Ann Widecombe has been quite adventurous in some of her post-political activity but she was probably wise to sit out the Lustleigh 10k multi-terrain race in favour of handing out the medals to finishers and later presenting the prizes as Guest of Honour at the Village Show the run forms part of. In stature she is rather smaller than you might expect but the stature of the Lustleigh 10k, compared to similar events locally is perhaps greater than expected. It is a tough, off road course, as you might expect for a race staged on the fringes of Dartmoor. It is hilly, muddy (this year particularly) and it twists and it turns but all the runners would have to agree that it is a picturesque environment and there are worse places to pound out 6.2 tough miles.

There were four Exmouth runners ready for the Lustleigh experience on bank holiday Monday 27th August. The star of the (Lustleigh) show was undoubtedly Hannah Bown. Now back to her very best form following a hard and determined effort to regain her fitness post-pregnancy, Hannah placed 17th overall in 46:30 and was the 1st woman home. Widders must have been in awe as she draped the finishers medal around Hannah's neck!

After a gap in racing for some months, Andy Kennedy is now starting to come up with performances that we might expect from him given those he was producing in his younger years; he was 40th in 50:25.

Nigel Dupain was 60th in 55:05 and less than a minute away from placing 3rd MV60. Nigel also looked rather more comfortable than Dave Eveleigh (Dave's own words!) who finished 86th in 60:30. One thing you can say for Dave though is that he always gives every race his all, whether it's a fast, flat 5k or a tough, hilly 10, like this one.

There were 123 finishers. The race was won by Tavistock AC ultra runner and 100 marathon man, Adam Holland, in 38:44.

To have the unique experience of being presented with a medal by a former politician turned celebrity, sign up for next year's race as Ann Widecombe does the annual honours at this race which takes places just down the road from her home at Haytor village!