Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Fulford 5 preview

The Exmouth Harriers host one of their 2 annual races this coming Sunday, 3rd February: the popular Fulford 5 mile. The 2 lap course is nearly all flat (apart from the one small climb on each lap up from the seafront before descending down into the town) and takes runners along the lively Exmouth promenade twice, before finishing back at the starting point and race HQ, which is at the Exmouth LED swimming pool and leisure centre on Imperial Road (showering and changing facilities available).

Over 170 advance entries have been accepted so far and with on the day entries still to come there should be a field of over 200. And that field looks to be as highly competitive as ever this year. A glance at the entries as they stand suggests that Exmouth-based runner, Tom Merson, winner of the South West Inter-counties cross-country title at Bicton and more recently of the First Chance 10k race, will be one of the favourites for the overall title. In the female race the one to watch is the in-form winner of this year's First Chance 10k, SWRR athlete, Lucy Commander. Both of these athletes are former winners of the event and so know the course well. In the veteran categories the Men over 70 group looks very interesting with the home club’s Mick Allen and Ray Elston taking on former Exmouth runner (now with Sidmouth R.C.) John Perratt. 

With most Harriers taking up marshalling duties, only a few Harriers will be racing, but one of these is Carly Audritt, who will be hoping to continue her recent progress and improve upon her current 5 mile PB of 37:56, set at the Churston Flyer race in October 2012.

Pre-entries are now closed but entries are being taken from 9.30am on the day for an additional £2. The race starts at 11am. Momento to all finishers and an extensive prize list across all the usual categories.

Meanwhile, on a latitude 54 degrees south....

Hugh Marsden recently took part in the South Georgia Half-Marathon held in the South Atlantic British Dependency of that name. With the population numbered in dozens it is quite remarkable that anybody should pop up to finish in front of our boy but they did, and for the second year running: the nerve! Thanks to YouTube though you can re-live Hugh’s 2011 victory which was summed up in 21/minutes of film featuring some spectacular sweeping views of the former whaling base. See the video here:
The video also shows just how tough the course is - billed as one of the toughest, if not THE toughest in the world - and shows what an amazing time our Hugh put in.
Of course it should be remembered that as well as being an Exmouth Harrier Hugh represented another South Atlantic territory when in the 90s he twice ran the Commonwealth games Marathon under the Falkland Islands flag, so he is very much their boy too.

Alison, Dawn and Lisa tame 'The Beast'!

Alison Milborrow, Lisa Hatchard and ladies' team captain Dawn Teed, joined in with a Honiton RC organised event on Sunday 27th January. It isn't a race, but more of a long training run with 100 other people tagging along for company! You have to self-navigate from the instructions (similar to the coast to coast info) a 16 mile course from Dunkeswell to Smeathorpe (7.45 miles) where you stop at the village hall for a pasty and mulled cider! Then it's on to Upottery, where you stop at the Sidmouth Arms. This is the 10 mile point where some people choose to leave us and a minibus takes them back to the start. The rest of us go on another 3.3 miles to Luppitt and we stop at the Luppitt Inn for further refreshments if required!. You have a choice on the final leg of 2.6 miles on road with a very nasty hill or off road with more mud back to the start at Dunkeswell where we finished off with chips and coke at the Highfield Sports and Social Club.

There is more mud than the Grizzly! And to give you an idea the 7.45 miles took 1hr 45mins (no wonder, with all that food and alcohol slowing you down, jokes ed.!!!!!)

But it was a lovely run in the crisp, winter sunshine and no rain! Easy to follow instructions (Lisa is an expert, it turns out!), but there is usually someone in front you can follow (if they go the right way, which Parrett Trail experience has told us, does not always happen!)

The three ladies ran together (as a team) and since it wasn't a conventional race and there were no prizes, there was a relaxed and highly social atmosphere to the event.

If all of this noshing and swilling interspersed with sections of running through stunning countryside appeals, then they have a sister run, the Blackdown Beauty, on 13th July which Alison, Dawn and Lisa are thinking about. It fills up early but it would be great to get some of the other Harriers there... and rumour has it that instead of a pasty there is a cream tea on offer at this one! Yum!

Alison and Lisa running across the snowy fields of East Devon

At pit-stop number 1, pasties were provided!

The ladies, en route to the next watering hole!

The 3 merry troughers, having completing the 16 muddy miles

Friday, 25 January 2013

Trucks and tribulations for Katie in Lima!

Exmouth Harrier on Tour
Leg 4 Quito to Lima

Having literally just returned from Cotopaxi and had a shower, my new co-driver Michaela was knocking on my door to find me wrapped in a towel! First impressions don’t seem to have done any harm though – we get on like a house on fire! A quick change of clothes and I joined her to take my new truck, Cindy, to the truck park and get acquainted. Cindy is an experience. She has a cronky gearbox, and a replacement was in customs at Quito, but they wouldn’t release it because it wasn’t painted green… The gearbox is now going on travels of it’s own to Miami to be painted before arriving at La Paz – hopefully. In the mean time we have the equivalent of a gym workout every time we drive her to hold 3rd, 5th and 6th gears in place whilst driving to make sure they don’t pop out!!

The next day was spent in the truck park preparing Cindy for our new group, and wielding a screwdriver, filler and paint. We met our new group – a mix of Brits, Aussies and a New Zealander for a group meal in the evening which gave us all chance to get to know each other, before an early start to head towards Coca the following day.  The drive was amazing, with rather good views of Cotopaxi which was slightly odd knowing that I had been at the summit less than 48 hours previous. Unfortunately due to a problem with a bridge en route we had to take a long way round and an extra 3 hours of driving to get to our destination, but still had chance to stop at a roadside restaurant for very good soup, pork and potatoes for $2.00. Temperatures were soaring as we reached the jungle and a cold shower was very welcome! It didn’t take us long to spy a cocktail bar where we enjoyed one (or two) delicious cocktails.

The first day of our jungle experience dawned with a 7 hour boat trip down the Rio Napo. The River Napo is part of the Amazon basin, and is one of the tributary rivers for the Amazon. A brief stop for lunch on an idyllic beach at the side of the river and some monkeying around completed an enjoyable trip to our home for the next three nights in the jungle lodge of Panacocha which is one of the most beautiful areas of the rainforest that I have seen.  The evening was spent swinging in hammocks and making up a song called ‘Cindy, Oh Cindy’.

Day two involved a morning walk through the jungle, wildlife spotting, eating lemon ants, some tree hugging moments, and melting in the humidity. As soon as we got back to the lunch we were straight in the river to cool down, and had a vine climbing competition with one of our guides, Omar, which I did quite well at.  Tarzan would have been jealous! After lunch we took a boat trip down to a natural lake to do some more wildlife spotting and a bit more swimming. The water was so warm – it was lovely! Great hilarity ensued when one of the passengers, Bertie, tried to get back into the boat. I had to give him a leg up while another pax pulled him in. End result: two feet sticking out over the edge and a stuck Bertie! The evening was completed by the guides giving us jungle tattoos using a natural dye which lasts approximately 10 days. Mine was supposed to be symbolic of an anaconda, but we all agreed that it looks like a sprouting coconut.

The following day I was up early with four other passengers to go for a trip up the river in a dug out canoe, for some more wildlife spotting. We had literally been on the river for 5 minutes when the heavens opened with the type of rain that puts the ‘rain’ into ‘rainforest’. We turned back and in 5 minutes the canoe was a quarter full of rain water!! Bertie and I made the decision to hide in the hammocks until breakfast and have hammock wars. Unfortunately we were a little loud and acted as a very effective alarm clock for our other passengers!

After breakfast we were back in the boat and heading out for a very soggy jungle walk.  Only four passengers were brave enough to join me and guides, traipsing through the rainforest. It was worth the trip as we did get to see howler monkeys, and the jungle was beautiful in the rain, even if I did have an inch of water at the bottom of my wellies!  An afternoon spent sheltering from the rain, and we were back out in the dark caiman spotting, after which Omar tried helping me with my abysmal Spanish!

Day four and it was time to leave Panacocha. Back on the boat and the rain had brought out all of the wildlife. We saw more howler monkeys, toucans, Morpho butterflies, a variety of birds, social spiders, and then the motor on the boat broke. It still worked but on reduced power so we continued to make our way up river until eventually our guides flagged down a local bus boat. Transferring boats from one to the other, Bertie went to sit down next to a plastic bag which promptly started squawking – he had nearly sat on a chicken, let out a shrill shriek and had the whole boat in stitches! 

An early start got us underway for a long drive day back out of the jungle towards Rio Verde. More spectacular scenery and twisting mountain roads Set off to Rio Verde.  A quick stop at a roadside restaurant for a lunch of chicken soup, pork ribs and chips, oat & passion fruit drink. We finally arrived at our campsite called Pequeno Paradisio, or Little Paradise which summed it up perfectly.

I actually got up early the following day and went for a short run to the village of Rio Verde before breakfast.  We then got kitted out to go canyoning.  For those of you who are unsure what canyoning is, it involves going down a river on foot, jumping over waterfalls, abseiling, ziplines and sliding down natural slides. It is great fun and we all had an amazing time. We followed the experience with a bus ride into Banos where my passengers were keen to try a bridge swing, which is very similar to a bungee jump except you have to jump off a bridge. Frankly I can’t think of anything less appealing but I agreed to give it a go. Two attempts, numerous temper tantrums, tears and all over shaking with fear they finally pushed me! I can honestly say I would never ever do it again and brought the photos to prove I’d done it! The evening was spent playing silly games as it was the campsite owners Birthday, resulting in Mic and myself winning the cereal box game.

Another early start for another run – this time for an hour and down to a beautiful waterfall. There is still enough altitude at Rio Verde for me to question my rashness on my way back out of the valley! I then spent the morning working on the truck, before making my way to Rio Verde for some empanadas – cheese & chicken followed by choc & banana.  In the absence of any buses we ended up taking local transport to Banos which was a bit like being transported on a cattle truck! Finally arrived we treat3ed ourselves to a massage, and found some chocolate, cheese and red wine – luxury!

Back on the road the following day, we headed back into the mountains en route for Chugchilan, with a stop for some ‘Papas con Cuy’ for lunch – potoatoes and guinea pig!! Personally I quite enjoy the taste, but it’s not for everyone. The drive took us through beautiful scenery, along twisting mountain roads, and with plenty of opportunity for truck porn – a silly competition I started to see who can get the best photo of Cindy in stunning locations. At the hostel we enjoyed good food, and local folk music and dancing in the evening.

The next day was a trekking day. Transported by a cattle truck ride to the Laguna Quilotoa, an emerald green lake, we then trekked back down the mountain. The weather was fantastic and we had amazing views to neighbouring volcanoes in the area, including Cotopaxi again!

Driving out the following day took us off road through the southern part of Quilotoa loop. A narrow dirt road with large drops to the side, and un-navigable in bad weather, this route is well worth taking when the opportunity arises as the scenery Panama hat actually originates. The hats are manufactured in Cuenca, exported to Panama and then shipped Worldwide, hence the name.  Whilst in Cuenca we took a visit to a hat factory where I ended up walking away with a red Panama hat as my new driving hat. Mic and I then spent the rest of the day trying to fix the fridge in Cindy, sadly without success. We did however find a large pair of pale green granny pants for our passengers to wear whenever they call Cindy a B U S – she is not a bus, she is a TRUCK! Bertie immediately made the faux par and ended up wearing the pants over his clothes to the restaurant that evening.

Back on the truck the following day, we crossed the border form Ecuador to Peru at Tumbes, and made our way to a beachside campsite at Puenta Sal, with little beach shacks and a restaurant that makes the most amazing passion fruit piscos which the whole group appreciated! A good evening followed with music and dancing with the locals, including a rather attractive young man called Nicolas, an architect and surfer who turned out to be a very good dancer.

The following morning was spent relaxing on the beach (aka recovery from a hangover!), and swimming in the pacific.  I was going to have a surfing lesson but the surf was too big for a beginner – next time! Chilled on hammocks, then went into town to change money, and explore. Tried lumuca ice cream – lovely! The evening was much quieter than the previous night, and some of the locals (inc Nicolas) joined us again.

Back on Cindy with a very early start, we made our way to Huanchaca, via a brief visit to some Inca tombs. Once at Huanchaca I spent the remaining afternoon doing work.  It was a little bit of a reality check as Huanchaca is quite touristy – a complete contrast to the previous two days. However, the pre-Inca settlement of Chan Chan are located at Huanchaca.  The ruins are all adobe built and the detail still remaining is incredible Our guide, Edith, was amazing. Really informative with a great sense of humour.

Finally we reached the last day of the trip, with another long drive day to our end point at Lima.  The traffic was eventful but we reached the hotel unscathed. Unfortunately en route I’m ashamed to say I mentioned the dreaded B word and had to wear the truck pants out to the restaurant that evening. Undeterred I put on the little black dress and wore them with my head held high and STILL got called a pretty woman. Maybe granny pants really are the way forward…???      

Meet Cindy: the troublesome truck!

"The type of rain that puts the word 'rain' into rainforest"!

Katie, just hanging around!

Long overdue news from South America!

Exmouth Harrier on Tour 
Quito and Cotopaxi

NB. This installment was from December 2012. This instalment seem Katie climbing up glaciers and ice-crevasses and snow-smothered mountains with ice-axes and crampons... during her day off!!

After a flight that nightmares are made of, with delays at check in due to computer issues, I missed the connection at Bogota – 5 hours and the next flight later I finally left for Quito. I spent Sunday exploring the city – the old town is simply beautiful. A few enquiries later and I had managed to book myself on a trek up Cotopaxi, an active volcano standing at 5897m.  I had a day to work on my acclimatisation, so I made to most of the chance to trek up TeleferiQo and Pinchincha which both overlook Quito.

The next day I took a local bus to Latacunga to meet my guide – a mere $1.50 for a 1.5 hour trip! I wish it was as cheap in the UK. In Latacunga I met Miguel, my guide and Jason my trekking partner for the next two days. After being kitted out with an ice axe and crampons we were ready to go.  The drive to Cotopaxi through the Cotopaxi National Park was beautiful, and once there we had a short trek up scree slopes to get to base camp – relative luxury in a little log cabin!  An early dinner at 4.30pm and then straight to bed to get some rest as we were setting off at 1am. At 10pm I woke with a splitting headache so frantically took some painkillers – I didn’t want to risk not being able to try my summit bid! Fortunately when I woke at midnight it had passed.

All kitted out we set off back up the scree slopes for another two hours of ascent until we reached the ice fields and it was on with the crampons.  Travelling through the ice fields in the dark, with just the light of our head torches was amazing – crevasses and ice towers just loomed from nowhere and our guide was essential! The ascent was very tough – incredibly steep in places to the point where I needed to use my ice axe in one hand and jam my free hand into holes left by previous ice axes so I could work my feet up the slope. The sun rose when we were an hour from the summit, throwing light and creating shadows across the ice and snow. It was spectacular! After a brief rest we commenced the final 300m. The air was thin and progress was slow but we gradually made our way up the steep slopes, the smell of sulphur getting stronger as we neared the crater, until finally at 7.15am we were there!!

The views from the summit were simply stunning, the crater opened up in front of us with visible smoke rising from it’s core. After 20 minutes we collected ourselves together and started to make our way back down. The cut off time for summiting is 8am. After that there is not enough time to return down the slopes before the snow is softened by the sun and the risk of avalanche is significantly increased. Fortunately we made it down without incident – tired but happy. An incredible experience and the toughest trek I have ever done, the perfect ‘holiday’ before the next trip begins.

Katie on the glacier

Exhausted but exhilarated at the summit of Cotopaxi

Monday, 21 January 2013

PBs a plenty as Harriers grab their First Chance 10k!

50% seemed to be the statistic of the day for the Exmouth Harriers at the First Chance 10k. 50% of the 8 Harrier participants smashed their PBs and all 8 Harriers finished within the top 50% of overall finishers. The only thing that wasn't 50% was the effort put in to achieving some amazing times, which was of course double that percentage! In what was arguably one of the best quality fields on both the men's and women's side in the event's history, Harriers did themselves more than proud to be well in the mix.

After some doubts about whether the race would go ahead earlier in the week, fortunately the snow that has hit the rest of the country and seen many events over the weekend of the 19th / 20th January cancelled, First Chance was able to go ahead... albeit in sub-zero degree temperatures.

At 10.30am, 8 shivering Harriers braved the cold and lined up on the start line at Haven Banks to take on the two lap riverside course. Although flat and offering the promise of PBs, a stiff wind can easily have a detrimental effect upon that and the gravel section too can further slow the times (is it me or did that gravel seem thicker in sections than in previous years?!). Neither the wind, the gravel nor the cold affected the Harriers though as 4 of them not only set new PBs, but all 4 obliterated them by over a minute!

First Harrier home, smashing his previous PB of 36:39, was Adam Miller. In a superb quality men's field, Adam stormed around the course to post a time of 35:02 for 15th place overall. Agonisingly close to skipping over the 35 minute section and diving straight into the 34s, but with this vein of form a sub 35 min time looks like a distinct possibility later in the year. Either way, this can only be a great confidence boost as he gets stuck into his London Marathon preparation.

Next in was myself, Ellie Sutcliffe. Aware that I had dropped some fitness over the course of an over-indulgent 3 week holiday, I knew this one would hurt! However, I was pleasantly surprised with how well my sports asthma coped with the bitterly cold conditions and to find that I haven't lost too much fitness, but just some speed-endurance. After holding 2nd place for the first 4k I was overhauled at the end of the first loop (always a mental barrier for me on this course!) but managed to hold onto 3rd female spot and 39th place overall in 38:06. Agonisingly just 2 seconds shy of my PB set on this same course in August 2011.

The next Harrier to clock a shiny new PB by another huge margin was the talented newcomer, Richard Hawes. Not forgetting that Richard only took up competitive running last year and that this was only his 4th attempt at the 10k distance. At his first outing on the same course last August he posted 41:35. At the Devon County AA 10'000m track champs in September, he reduced this time to 40:32. This time round he shaved over another minute off to stop the clock at 39:12 for 54th place overall and 5th MV45. With a progress curve this steep, we can only marvel at what else might be to come!!

And how's about another PB? Well, next up for the challenge of PB obliteration was current female athlete of the year, Hannah Bown. Having smashed her long-standing half marathon PB back in October in Cardiff, Hannah now felt that her 10k time needed an overhaul. She not only knocked 2 minutes off her previous best but set a sub 40 min clocking in the process with 39:57. This gave her 69th spot overall and 10th female, though it should be pointed out that the field was much tougher this year as a record 10 women dipped under the 40 minute barrier. Last year Hannah's time would have been good enough for 3rd place!

Not managing a PB on this occasion but managing a highly respectable time and position nonetheless was Adrian Kearns. Not a regular racer, whenever Adrian pops up he makes a good job of it and on this outing he ran 40:24 for 84th place overall and 15th MV40 (always a tough category!).

Andrew Johnson is a big fan of the fast, flat 10k and 5k races held on the river banks of Exeter and usually turns up to them all to give it his all. Showing no signs of getting slower year on year, Andrew again posted another solid time of 43:06 for 121st place overall and 17th MV45.

Harriers' press man, Dave Eveliegh, was next across the line, having a superb run and looking very comfortable at the finish to cross the line in 44:40. This was almost a minute faster than his time over the same course at the Exeter 10k in August 2012 and almost 3 minutes faster than his time at the same event in August 2011. Great news for Dave who digs deeper than most of us to train hard and race hard in order to finish well up the overall standings: 157th overall and 7th MV55.

Returning from a long injury spell, Roger Rowe was treating this race as his longest run for some months and so had a nice canter around this familiar course to finish in 46:27. Well down on his more impressive times of recent years but still good enough for 2nd MV65 on the day and 196th overall, 2 1/2 minutes behind his category rival, Keith Belt of South Devon AC.

And let's go out on a high with yet another massive PB. This time the honours go to Carly Audritt who has reduced her 10k time from 53:29 in 2011, to 49:21 in 2012, and now to 47:03 in 2013. Not a bad record considering that she's only ever participated in those 3 events over the 10k distance! This gave her 206th spot overall and 17th senior female. Judging by the beaming smile she had on her face as she shouted across to me at the passing point halfway round, it also looked as if she was enjoying the experience!! Perhaps a welcome break from the mud of her usual Killerton stomping ground?!

DISCLAIMER: Just redone the math and realised that makes 9 Harriers, not 8. But if we accept 9 then my 50% opening line doesn't work, so I am employing poetic licence and leaving it!!

468 finishers.
Winner: Tom Merson (B&W) in 31:32.
Female winner: Lucy Commander (SWRR) in 36:51.

Well done to all the Harriers in what were tough conditions and an even bigger well done to all the Harriers' course-side supporters in what must have been even tougher conditions for spectating!

If anyone has any decent pics, please send them to me as my Mum's camera didn't work very well in the cold!!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Oh my Obelisk!

Whilst a battalion of Harriers were in action on the north coast of Devon on Sunday 13th January, a smaller squadron of them converged upon the south coast, at Dawlish, for the Oh My Obelisk! multi-terrain race. The only similarity to the Westward Ho! XC meet was that both events contained an exclamation mark in their title, as otherwise, these were 2 very different types of races, but equally tough in their own right.

Although billed as a 10 mile run, the Obelisk event usually measures in over that distance at 10.7 miles. However, this year, due to the extreme rainfall preceding the event, the route had to be changed and took the runners further up one of the main climbs, making the route not only tougher but also longer: it came in at 11.5 miles on the Garmin. So times from previous years are well down and not to be compared.

Run over a varied mix of terrains, which include tarmac country lanes, boggy fields, muddy tracks, green lanes and twisting forest paths with tree roots and stones to negotiate, this race is multi-terrain in every sense.  Runners climb up for most of the first half, to the Obelisk monument way up in Haldon Forest, and the latter half of the race is predominantly downhill to the finish at the Dawlish Leisure Centre.

I knew this would be a tough test of fitness for me, Ellie, as I had just returned from a 3 week holiday, during which I virtually had a complete break from running. My fitness level wasn't too bad but my endurance certainly wasn't there and my legs felt heavy and tired just 2 miles into the race. I managed to get around on my usual mix of determination and competitive spirit and I successfully negotiated all the technical off-road sections, but then, just 2 miles from the finish, I turned my ankle on a pothole on one of the few tarmac stretches and went crashing into the hedge! I managed to get home on it but slowed dramatically, dropping several positions overall to 22nd, but thankfully managing to hold on to the top female spot in a time of 86:20.

Next in was Nicholas Brown. Always up for a tough, off-road challenge, Nicholas didn't let the very muddy conditions bother him and got stuck in - quite literally - to the course to finish in 81st overall in 1:40:40.
Lisa Hatchard, fast gaining a reputation as the Harriers' multi-terrain queen, finished just over a minute behind Nicholas, 86th overall and 10th female. 
Alison Milborrow was 150th overall, so in the top 75% of runners, and comfortably inside two hours in 1:57:53.
We thought we should have had a chance at the team prize, with 3 ladies to count, but after discovered that one of us (we won't name and shame!!!) hadn't put their E.A. number on the entry form and this being an E.A. licensed event, with an E.A. referee in attendance, this was a fixed requirement to count for a team. However, now that more and more Harrier ladies are regularly competing, we're sure that it won't be too long before we are once again in the mix for team prizes.
There were 213 finishers which included a large female field of nearly 80.
The race was won by David Tomlin of the Teignbridge Trotters in just under 1h15.

3 happy Harriers ready to tackle some serious hills and mud!

Off we go to Westward Ho! for more XC action!

On Sunday 13th January, Exmouth Harriers went cross-county to get to the cross-country as the latest fixture in the Brooks Westward League series took place right up on the north coast of Devon, in the uniquely punctuated town of Westward Ho! (Refer to Samuel Beckett for further information...)

Conditions in one part of the course across Northam Burrrows were too wet, even for cross country, so a shorter than planned loop of about a mile was used, the men repeating this five times, the women three.

The course was flat save for a handful of ditches to tackle on each lap, to be leapt in one or jumped into and climbed out of, according to the size of the ditch, level of fitness and of course age!
Carly Audrit and Dawn Teed represented Exmouth in the Women’s race, frustratingly short of a scoring team of three.
Audrit was 27th in a field of 46, and, with a time of 22:02 was just 12 seconds outside of a top half finish.
Teed looked comfortable in 32nd place in 24:05 and was third woman aged 45-49 as she begins to show the benefits of training for her second bash at the Falklands marathon in March.
Men’s club captain Adam Miller led the way in the male race where there were eighty-two finishers.
He was 22nd in 29:10 and now lies 12th overall in the open category.
Mark Cox is getting to grips with these sort of races now and was 29th, just over a minute behind Miller.
A welcome new addition to the team, having re-joined the club now that he has finished at university and is back living in Exmouth full time, was Dan Morley. Dan was 61st in 34:36. 
Unlike Dan, this was not Dave Eveleigh's first outing across the country this season and on this occasion he  was 75th in 38 minutes, and 5th man aged 55-59.
Running his first cross country for some years, Kurt Margison certainly got stuck in, was 80th overall and 7th man aged 40-44 in a time of 42:30.
Jim Wyatt was 81st, sixth man in the over 60 category (though he is in fact over 70!)and was timed at 43:38.
When considering these positions it should be remembered that these events are contested, for the most part, by hardened "old school" runners, and with not a tutu to be seen in the way of fancy dress: just plenty of Ron Hill trackies and weather-worn spikes that could, in some cases, pass for antiques... as could the years of accumulated mud fused to the bottom of them!!
The Westward Ho! men's XC team: Dan Morley, Marc Cox, Adam Miller (captain), Dave Eveliegh, Kurt Margison, Jim Wyatt

And the ladies team, slightly depleted in numbers this time, but supported as always by the faithful duo of Dawn Teed (captain) and Carly Audritt

Harriers ladies are Bicton XC mob-match champions!!

Exmouth Harriers got the new year off to a flying start when, on Sunday 6th January, they turned up to Bicton College for an event for which, for a change, they didn't have the responsibility of organising! 

The South West Cross Country Championships were dealt with, very efficiently, by the recently established South West Athletics Academy. Thus no fewer than 22 runners from our home club were there for these Championships, which incorporated inter-club and inter-county team competitions, as well as those for the various age groups, including veterans and juniors. 

The Harriers women raced over 6.5 km, men over 8km on a muddy multi-lap course which had some short but challenging hills. The courses took the runners along the edge of the Bicton lake and in front of the main house: not that participants would have had time to admire the views along the way!

The presence of County teams helped ensure an overall high standard. Three of the four senior inter-club team competitions were won by an ever-strong Bristol and West AC. However, the Exmouth Men’s team of five finished in sixth place with the women’s team of four finishing seventh.
The other two inter-club races were for new trophies for the winners of male and female ‘Mob Matches’. In those the Exmouth men’s team of twelve were third but again it was the women who shone, winning their competition for teams of eight and lifting the very impressive silver tray and ensuring that 'Exmouth Harriers' is the first club to have its name engraved upon it!
First woman from Exmouth Harriers was Hannah Bown who was also running in the Devon County team. Hannah was in the top third of finishers in a strong field: 21st of 69 athletes in 28:12.
Completing the team of four were Carly Audritt (55th in 32:05), Emma Dupain (56th, 32:10) and Lisa Hatchard (61st, 34:04).
Four others together with these four made up the winning eight-woman team. The others being, Dawn Teed (64th, 35:15), Lorraine Gilson (65th, 35:18), Lucy Hodgson (6th, 35:54) and Alison Milborrow 68th 38:09.
The Exmouth men’s team of five consisted of Dave Stone (41st of 130 finishers in 30:21), Adam Miller 48th, (30:57), Tony Hatchard (56th, 31:26), Mike Musgrove (65th, 32:03), and Mark Cox (70th, 32:32). The following then contributed scores to the twelve-man team: Jon Garrity (77th in 33:36), Richard Hawes (94th, 34:50), Dave Wright (97th, 35:04), Chris Dupain (108th, 36:28), Scott Jordan (117th, 37:58), Dave Backway (119th in 38:20) and Terry Oldham (126th, 40:19). Also competing were Dave Eveleigh (128th, 45:57) and Jim Wyatt (130th, 47:02).
(Report adapted from Dave Eveleigh's press article.)

Just 3 of the 8 victorious members of our ladies team receiving their 'Mob-Match' trophy from guest of honour, 5 time Olympic race-walk champion, Chris Maddocks

Our Harriers men, watching the ladies in action.... comments on a postcard!