Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A county classic!

The Bampton-Tiverton road race is very much one of the classic events on the Devon racing calendar as it was first run in 1946, making it one of the oldest surviving and longest running road races in the country. It has managed to retain its 'no gimmicks' approach by offering exactly what it says on the tin: a race, on foot, from Bampton to Tiverton, covering a total distance of 7 miles 125 yards. With the growing popularity of the metric measured distance of 10k stealing the 7 miler's thunder, these classic distances are getting harder to find these days. Indeed, it was mooted this year that this would possibly be the last opportunity for runners to run on this same original course. Let's hope that it does appear on the calendar again next year.

It provides a fine opportunity for, now usually about 150, runners to blow away the cobwebs of a lazy Easter week-end. This year, with the increasingly popular Yeovilton Easter Bunny 10k attracting over 350 finishers, and with the extremely cold weather conditions, only 99 hardy souls made it across the finish line, which goes to show that unlike the race they don’t make runners like they used to! There were though three Exmouth Harriers seemingly cast from an older mould who were on the bus to Bampton and two of them finished in podium positions.

Ray Elston got the better of long-time rival John Perratt (formerly of Exmouth, now with Sidmouth running Club) in winning the men over 70 category. Ray was 63rd overall in 56:12 (an impressive 8mph on a far from easy course in chilly weather). Exmouth’s Jim Wyatt was 93rd in 64:30 (7 mph, which is not hanging around on foot either) and Jim was 3rd man over 70. In 42nd place was young Andrew Johnson (actually in the men age 45-49 group). Andrew’s time of 51:36, just far enough in front of them to no doubt have had time to be waiting with a cup of tea each for club-mates Ray and Jim on their arrivals!

Andy Johnson ploughs on through the cold conditions.

Ray Elston pulls away from a younger rival.

Super vet Jim Wyatt striding out.

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