Exe-rated runners!

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

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

What a caper!

On Saturday 8th December, 3 Exmouth Harriers were in the village of Cockington, near Torquay, for the 7.25 mile multi-terrain Cockington Caper race. Organised not by a running club but by the Barnabus Sports Trust, who promote sports events and coaching by way of demonstrating and applying their own Christian beliefs. The organisation of this race is extremely thoughtful with the route being designed so that it forms three separate loops that keep bringing runners back through the HQ at Cockington Forge and cricket club, making it interesting for the spectators whilst also providing a boost to the runners as their friends and family can keep cheering them on.

 This year the organisers had added another extra cheeky bit of hill at the start, sending you right up to the top of the first field, taking the overall feet of climb for the 7.25m to over 1600ft: more climb than the Drogo! The going under foot was also muddier this year and was a bit of a slog in places.

I, Ellie Sutcliffe, did this race last year and, after leading it until the 7 mile mark, got overtaken by a much stronger Wendy Urban of Torbay AC on the last big climb with 1/4 of a mile to go and got run into 2nd. With that in mind, I wanted to go one better this year, so I climbed hard and tried to pick up speed along the only flat section of the course between miles 5 and 6 and, at this point, I found that my time was up on last year.... and then I went off course!! That'll teach me to just blindly follow the guy in front, assuming he knows where he's going, and not to look out for the tape and markers myself! We found ourselves in the middle some bushes and brambles and the path suddenly came to an abrupt halt. He started to shout 'help', and I started f-ing and blinding a little bit, thinking that I could be about to concede my lead. Fortunately the Torbay runner, who was some 100m behind me before I went off course, appeared up above us in the woods and responded to our cries and so we then knew where the  real path was. Instead of back tracking, I opted to beat my own route through the bushes and I ploughed on up the steep, brambly woodland ravine to pop out like a goafer back on track and I put the hammer down for the finish. I estimate I lost about a minute - although it felt like more at the time! - and so I finished 12 seconds slower than last year but 1st lady and 12th overall in 59:13.

Lisa Hatchard had a superb race. She is really starting to show a talent, and definitely a love, for these tough, hilly multi-terrain races. She started off at a sensible pace and after the first loop, of 2.5m, as she came back through the HQ, she was lying in about 9th in the female race. However, she kept strong to the end and kept battling on up some of the really steep climbs and picking off other female runners as she went. By the finish she had clawed her way up 5 places and finished as 4th female overall in 1:13:03, just missing out on 3rd by 30 seconds, but she was first in the FV35 category and gained a trophy and her choice of 2 different running accessories for her efforts.

Alison Milborrow is also enjoying her off-road running and backed up her fine performance at the Templer 10 with another solid run here at Cockington. Although she stated beforehand that she was not racing it but just treating it as a training run and aiming to enjoy it and take in some of the scenery without having to watch her footing the whole way round, as you do when you race, she still finished well up the field in 129th place overall in 1:27:48 and had indeed managed to enjoy herself.. unlike Lisa who said 'never again', but we're sure that she will change her mind once her legs have recovered!!

The fab 3 ready for the off at Cockington Forge!!

Lisa coming through the HQ area at the end of the first loop

First FV35 at the XC last week, 1st FV35 at a multi-terrain race this week!

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