Exe-rated runners!

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

Monday, 22 October 2012

Scott, Terry and Lorraine stagger and stumble around Exmoor in the mist!

The Exmouth Harriers off-road-loving trio of Scott Jordan, Terry Oldham and Lorraine Gilson headed up to Minehead this weekend to take part in 2 different events: the Exmoor Stagger and Exmoor Stumble. Both races are organised by Minehead R.C. and both offer rather testing, hilly routes on Exmoor. The Stagger sees runners work their way up from sea level to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor, climbing a total of 3627ft, before turning around and heading back down to Minehead again, covering a distance of almost 16 miles in the process. The Stumble offers a shorter alternative, measuring in at 6 miles, and starts alongside the Stagger but does not climb up onto the high moor; it is nevertheless a challenging off-road route and not to be under-estimated.

The following 3 paragraphs come from Terry:

"These events are all about hills, and so look away now if you only like the odd incline and a level path to run over. The first three miles are basically up and then up again, with a final set of zig zags and roller coaster paths bringing you out on to the ridge overlooking the valley below with Dunkery Beacon in the distance.

The Stumble runners head off back up the final incline and the Staggerers head steeply down hill over a treacherous combination of loose stones, leaves and mud. The descent is so steep that there is a distinct risk of losing control, which happened to Scott Jordan who when faced with a stile at about 2 thirds down could only hurdle the stile and hit the grass meadow below without a pause for thought. He then had an interesting descent down the greasy grass meadow before (metaphorically, fortunately) hitting the tarmac at the bottom. A rather more sedate descent by Terry Oldham meant that he was already losing time and distance on the fearless Scott and this continued to be a feature of the next 7 miles or so as the ascent of Dunkery Beacon approached.

Dunkery Beacon offers some splendid views of the North Devon and Somerset coastline and the hills of Exmoor, or it does when the cloud is not hanging low over the hill. So low in fact, that the entire ascent was in mist and with visibility down to about 20 yards. After the long haul to the top there’s a shout and a wave from the two marshalls, and then the rapid descent off the top over a particularly challenging mix of mud, stone and grass. This brings you to an undulating path (moorland, woodlands, waterfalls, stream crossings, dark Devon lanes) leading you back to the scene of Scott’s earlier heroics. However, on this occasion there was no need to worry about overdoing it given that everyone was walking that challenging climb back up to the very top of the ridge."

Both Scott (a.k.a. 2 Trigs) and Terry (a.k.a. The Dark Destroyer) opted for the longer Stagger option. As Terry mentions above, the day turned out to be a rather misty one and visibility on the upper part of the course was very poor, making the reading of signs and directional arrows from a distance impossible. Despite the origins of the nickname, 2 Trigs had no problem finding the beacon on this occasion and he was even giving reassurance to other runners that they were still on the right path. He had a superb run in the end, taking full advantage of his fast descending skills on the last 2 miles and picking off several runners on the final downhill stretches and almost getting too carried away at one point as a stile appeared out of nowhere and, with no time to apply the brakes, he vaulted it in true fell-runner fashion. He took 2:44:00 to cover the course and this gave him 72nd place and 13th MV40.

Also not living up to his nickname, which he gained after defeating Scott at the Drogo 10 mile race last year, our Dark Destroyer had to watch 2 Trigs disappear into the mist on this occasion. He nevertheless had a good run himself, also picking off some competitors on the descent whilst concurrently managing to find time to admire the scenery and take the odd photo along the way (see below!). He stopped the clock at 3:04:01, placing him 123rd and 10th in a highly competitive MV55 category.

There were 195 finishers in the Stagger and the race was won in a truly 'staggering' 1:51:28 by James Baker of Chichester AC, a former winner of the Haytor Heller race.
Top woman on the day was Isobel Wykes, winner of this year's Dartmoor Discovery, from Truro AC / Mudcrew in an equally impressive 2:17:13.

Lorraine, nursing a sore throat on the day, wisely opted to switch to the Stumble event, rather than miss out on a run, and posted a time of 1:08:43 for this challenging 6 miler. This gave her 41st place overall and a very creditable 3rd spot in the FV50 category, just a minute behind the category winner. Most importantly, she enjoyed the run through the stunning landscape on the vale of Exmoor.
101 finishers in this event; the winning time was 48:34 and the winning female 58:09, meaning Lorraine was only 10 minutes adrift of the top female spot!
Scott powering on towards the finish.

Staggeringly colour-coordinated! Terry nearing the finish.
2 Trigs looking strong at the finish

No comments:

Post a Comment