Exe-rated runners!

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

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Yeovilton 5k: Round 3, 3 runners, 3 PBs!

On Wednesday 14th June, 4 Harriers made their merry way up the A303 for their monthly bout of pain at the Yeovilton 5k series. The observant among you will note that I just stated that 4 runners went up, but the title of the blog says 3 runners.... well, one of them made the journey only to be thwarted in his attempt to toe the start line by dodgy equipment (this time it is ok to blame the tools the not the workman!). Poor Jon Garrity only realised upon arrival that he had been sold a pair of stability racing shoes that week when he is a neutral runner. Knowing he needed to return them and that they would be no good for him and could potentially wreck his legs, he had no choice but to forfeit his run. Instead, the organisers found use for him as a marshall: not quite the evening Jon had in mind, especially given the superb PB of 18:12 he set in the previous round that he was keen to better. But hey ho, these things happen, but Jon will probably buy his running shoes online next time and stick with what he knows!

And for the remaining 3? Well, Adam and Carly Miller and myself, Ellie Sutcliffe, were all running in our second round of the series. All of us were keen to better our round 1 times and maybe sneak some 5k PBs in the process. Very blustery conditions and a heavy downpour before the race again greeted us at this "summer" 5k series and buffeted us from all angles around the course. Nevertheless, all 3 of us managed our target of series best times and PBs.

For Adam, this meant his first ever sub 17 minute clocking, 16:53, for 13th place overall. He came close to breaking 17 mins in round 1, but his London Marathon effort was still in his legs and he missed it by 11 seconds. This time, feeling fresher, he waged a good battle with a talented under 17 athlete from Wells City Harriers and pushed all the way to the line to secure this PB and no doubt the first of what will now be a series of sub-17 minute clockings for our reigning male athlete of the year.

Carly did a new course best and official 5k best time of 22:26 for 97th spot. Carly was, however, a little disappointed with this time as she has previously run 22:07 at a flat 5k parkrun and so she had hoped to get near to the 22 minute mark. The blustery conditions and strong headwind on the 3-4k sector will not have helped matters though and, besides, the way she is progressing this season, it is surely only a matter of being patient and waiting for better conditions in subsequent rounds before that sub 22 minute time is realised.

As for myself, well, I knew I was approaching the race injured, having aggravated my achillies yet again (groan) at the Poole 10k 10 days before. As if I wasn't already aware that this was a 'make or break' race, the last words of my coach on the start line - 'enjoy it, as this will probably be your last for a while' - were a stark enough reminder! He was indeed right. I started to feel the injury just doing strides in the warm up and it got worse the whole way round. At the 2 mile point it was stiffening up but I knew that pace wise, I was still on for a good time. I had wrecked it by then anyway and stopping now would not change that, so I thought, 'if I'm going to end up injured again and having to rest, I'm bloody well getting a PB out of it'! So I dug in and, at 4k, overhauled a young female who had gone out hard, and raced to the finish in a new PB time of 18:15 for 1st lady and 29th overall.

Next round is July 10th. I think Jon has some unfinished business with the course and I'm sure Carly and Adam will be trying to further improve on their times. I likely won't be there.... but never say never!!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Harriers' vets fly the flag at the S.W. vets track champs

Traditionally, Exmouth Harriers A. A. C. is first and foremost an athletics, not just a running, club. With the loss of our beloved Exmouth track and the move to the tennis center a few years ago, and with more and more members opting for the increasingly popular multi-terrain running, this can easily be forgotten. However, in the past few months there has been a mini-resurgence into the track and field arena, with a steady trickle of Exmouth Harriers making their way to events at Exeter Arena this season. On Sunday (16th June) it was the turn of our veteran members to shine as they took part in the annual South West Veterans A.C. Track & Field Championships on home turf, at Exeter.

Richard-have-a-go-Hawes can certainly not be accused of being a one-trick pony. He has been running competitively for less than 2 years and during that time he has had a crack at racing on about every surface going and over distances ranging from 100m sprints to the endurance challenge of the half marathon. On this occasion, he lined up in the 10'000m track race and, over a difficult and mentally demanding distance to run on the 400m rubber circuit, he maintained his concentration superbly. This resulted in him recording a best ever time over the 10k distance of 38:29; more than 2 minutes faster than the track time he recorded in September last year and giving him the silver medal in the 40 - 44 years category. Just a few weeks before he had put his sprint legs on when he had a bash at some rather shorter distances at the Exeter Harriers open meeting, posting times of 13:74 and 27:79 for the 100m and 200m respectively. A new nickname is born for this man who is up for having a go at anything the running world has to offer!

Super-vet MV70 athlete, Les Turner, was in action on the track in the 100m, where he posted a time of 19:31. This is a superb time by a man of this age group, as the fast twitch muscles needed for sprinting, like everything, tend to twitch rather more slowly with age; but unfortunately, it was just 0.31 of a second shy of being of medal standard, even though Les finished 1st in his category. Les then lined up for the 200m where he finished just shy of a category podium place, in 4th, with a time of 41:36. His third and final outing of the day was in the 1500m, where he finished 2nd in a time of 7:41:71. He was also in action in the triple jump, where he recorded a best distance of 5m93. In total, he competed in 7 events, 5 of which counted towards his pentathlon score. Although his 100m and triple jump performances were well down on last year, his overall pentathlon points were up on 2012. Les clearly found it difficult to stay warm between those seven events and maybe it was that physical discomfort that led to him losing concentration in the late afternoon, resulting in him losing count of his laps in his last event of the day, the 1500m, making a mad dash for the line a lap early, though he recovered from his embarrassment to complete the race and gain his valuable points. 7 events in one day: a lot for any athlete, but our super-vets are clearly made of stern stuff!

In his 75th year, Mick Allen recorded 54:28 for 10,000m and just short of 11km (10,941) for the 1 hour run which was incorporated within the 10k race. (What it says in the tin: run for 1 hour, cover as much distance as possible). This placed him 1st in the MV70 age group and easily within the medal standard, which was set at 1h05 mins for the 10'000m.

The ladies were more than adequately represented in the form of former G.B. athlete and Harriers star, Cathy Newman. Having raced sparingly this year (Bideford Half in March and a couple of parkruns), Cathy was raring to go and had plenty in the tank to draw upon. She lined up in the 3000m and produced one of the best performances for some time by an Exmouth Harrier. Despite inclement weather she won the Women’s 3,000m outright, fending off some much younger competitors, and the gold medal in her 50 - 54 age category. Her time was 10:49.70. This was a new SWVAC Championship Record, obliterating the previous mark by over a minute. It is also believed to be the second fastest time in the country in that age group this year. A fantastic achievement Cathy, we are very proud of you!

All the athletes performed well in their respective events and showed the great spirit of 'having a go' and trying new things, often being rewarded for their efforts with some PBs and shiny silverware! 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Lisa rises to the challenge in Plymouth

On Sunday 9th June, off-road lover, Lisa Hatchard, was off down the A38 to her old stomping ground to participate in the 7 mile multi-terrain race, the 'Plym Valley Challenge'. This race is organised by Lisa's former running club, the Plymouth based Instinctive Sports, and it advertises itself as follows:

"7 country miles from Tor Bridge High, Estover, to Plym Bridge Road and Wrigleys, then into the beautiful Plym Bridge woods.

You follow old tram tracks and logging tracks out to Hatshill Wood, below Bickleigh Village, and then return along the river valley navigating 2 disused rail bridges. You then run along the old canal before turning right over Plym Bridge and back into the woods and up the hill, returning to Tor Bridge High and the finish."

This was Lisa's second year of running the event, after targeting it last year as her first race back after giving birth to her daughter. What a difference a year's worth of training makes! Last year, Lisa posted a respectable time, considering she'd only just started running again, of 1:18:58 for 72nd place overall. This year she knocked a whopping 10 minutes off that to finish in 1:08:02 for 61st place overall, 8th female and 2nd FV35. This massive improvement is testament to Lisa's hard work and committment to her training over the past 12 months and shows just what can be achieved, despite having to juggle the demands of family life, the home and a job. Well done Lisa!

Lisa on way to knocking 10 minutes off her 2012 time at the Plym Valley Challenge

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Date for your diaries: Harriers host Woodland Relays. Read on!

The Woodland Relays are an annual event, very informal, with just a select handful of clubs taking part: Axe Valley, Honiton, Sidmouth, the Met Office and us. Last year Axe Valley staged a superb event at Colyton, with the Harriers performing very well with their 3 teams of 3 entered. This year it's our turn to host the relays and Mike Musgrove has kindly volunteered to head up the organising of the challenge and has devised a super route on Woodbury Common. The route is just a shade over 2.5 miles and is mostly flat, with just one small hill. There will also be a shorter version of the route for childrens' teams. 

The Harriers need you! If you want to run, you'll need to get in touch with Dawn or Adam, our team captains, and put your name forward to be in a team. The teams are juniors, mens, womens, mixed and vets (50+). If you don't fancy running, Mike could definitely use your help on the night with marshalling, organising, hearding, parking duties etc! Please get in touch with him to volunteer your services. Below is all the key information:

Woodland Relays, Woodbury Common 
Date: Weds 3rd July 2013.
Start time: 19:00.
Registration: from 18:00.
Entry fees : £2 for adults, £1 for children (absolute bargain!)
Location: Wheathill carpark on Woodbury common. (Grid ref SY 04052 84766)
Teams of 3 (just give your name to your respective captain and they will sort out the teams).
Age categories: 11 and under; 15 and under; senior mens (16-49); senior ladies (16-49); mixed team; vets team (50+)
The route is a lovely figure of eight of approx 2.5 miles. To see a GPS upload of the route, click here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/305533685#.UaWkrIRb9yg.facebook

Everybody will complete the first loop of approx 1 mile; the under 11s will change over at this point whilst the other teams will continue on a second loop of approx 1.5 miles and then hand over to the next runner.
As you are aware, we will be on the common, so no toilet facilities!

This is a very low key relay event with the emphasis on having fun, but the whole route will be taped and well marshalled to avoid confusion.
Any questions please contact Mike Musgrove. 

On behalf of the club, thanks to Mike for organising this: it should be a really fun evening, bringing everyone together. Let's keep our fingers crossed for good weather!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

5 Harriers in top 20 at the Umborne Ug!

Main Race

The Umborne Ug, held deep in the East Devon countryside, between Honiton and Axminster, is another of these delightfully low-key but deceptively tough little off-road races, organised by our mud-loving neighbours, the Axe Valley Runners. This particular race is a fund-raiser for the building of a new community hall in the charming tiny village of Umborne. Instead of a fixed entry fee, the organisers ask simply for donations towards this project, and they tempt you to give more money in exchange for a delectable array of cakes that are on offer after the race!

It was held in the evening on Saturday (8 June) and saw eight Exmouth Harriers in attendance in a field of just over 100. It is about 10km long and, in current parlance, is described as multi-terrain as it takes in a mixture of country lanes, farm tracks and fields.

Mike Musgrove, well rested after tweaking a calf muscle at the Run Exe 5k four days earlier, found the softer surface more to his liking than the harsh and unforgiving tarmac that has done for him in the two recent races when he has had to retire through injury. He was timed at 45:03 for 4th place but he was a clear winner of the MV40 category.

Mike's bessie-buddy, Richard Hawes, is in a rich vein of form of late, and backed up his 5k PB from Tuesday with a fine run for 7th place overall in Umborne with a time of 46:50 (nearly 4 minutes faster than when he ran the race in 2012, having not long before taken up the sport seriously). This placed him as 2nd man over 45. However, Richard was perhaps more thrilled with the performance of his wife, Karen, was was taking part in her first race as a Harrier. The Umborne Ug is by no means an easy, flat 10k and so she did well to complete it in a time of 72:25 for 80th place, particularly after spending the first half of the race feeling nauseous. One brief vom-break later and she was back running and pushing on towards the finish: what a trooper! That sort of attitude will get her far!

Hannah Bown was 15th overall in 49:56 and first woman by a margin of several minutes. This is Hannah's 2nd consecutive win in these tough, hilly Axe Valley races, having triumphed at the Beer Blazer last month. She'll be starting to get herself a reputation as a gritty off-roadster soon!

Not far behind, it was nice to see Scott Jordan back racing again, other commitments having eaten into the time available for running for a while. It was particularly good to see him running so strongly, finishing in a time of 50:44 for 18th place overall. Having Hannah in his sights will have prevented him from straying off course and getting lost ;-) (Sorry, couldn't resist!!)

Diane Richards showed that she is now well recovered from her London Marathon run by covering the undulating 10k course in a time of 61:47 for 61st place overall. Meanwhile, the under-rated Nigel Dupain, racing for the 2nd time in 4 days, was 63rd in 62:02 and second MV60.

Junior Race

There was also a fun run staged on the same evening, with many of the Harriers off-spring and future stars of the club taking part. Cameron Bryson and Phinn Musgrove both had excellent runs to finish 6 seconds adrift of each other in 4th and 5th places respectively; however, the children who beat them were all over the age of 13, whereas Cameron and Phinn are only 9! Dominic, Ethan and Connor Hawes all had good runs, as did Aiden and Niah Bown, Max and Scarlett Richards and Hattie Musgrove. It's fantastic to see so many of the club members' off-spring getting involved already and enjoying their running. Seeing their parents doing so well in the main race must have really spurred them on! Congratulations to all our youngsters!

Perfect conditions bring a pan-full of PBs at Run Exe 5k

On Tuesday (4 June) seven Exmouth runners lined up for the second round of the Ironbridge Runnner Summer 5km Series races held on the usual “pancake-flat” course at Flower Pots playing fields in Exwick. In complete contrast to last month, where the runners were greeted with blustery conditions and an almightly downpour before the race that had left some sizable puddles to navigate on the course, this month conditions for running could not have been more perfect. A warm - but not too hot - evening with clear skies and about as little wind as you will ever get on the river bank meant that fast times were up for grabs if the runners were prepared to work for them. The excellent conditions lured 107 runners out from their lairs and, as might be expected, for runners who were tackling their second race in the series, their times were considerably improved from the May round.
The talented Johnny Gilby was a runaway winner, but Harriers' new signing, Rob Orton, paced himself intelligently and emerged out of a chasing pack of 3 to surge onward in the final kilometer claim 2nd spot in a fantastic sub-16, new PB time of 15:51. Unfortunately for the Harriers, we are about to lose Rob almost as soon as we have acquired him, as he prepares to head back to France for the summer season. Before the Erme Valley Relays as well: kuh! Talk about bad timing! ;-) But he will be back later in the season and, with some good summer's training behind him, we should see more super fast times from this new kid on the block!

While it is unlikely to be a question which troubles Richard Hawes himself, his Harriers club-mates might want to speculate as to whether they see him as the singing runner or the running singer. On Friday night, Rich was entertain friends and club members with his other past time by performing some fantastic live music at the Swan Inn in Lympstone. On the Tuesday evening though, Richard was chalking up another running success as he set yet another new PB over the 5km distance with his first ever sub 19 minute clocking; 18:57 for 27th place overall and 4th MV45 (a tough category on the night, headed up by the ever-consistent Mike Feighan). 

Chris Dupain has been racing regularly recently and, if tonight's perfomance is any indication, he must have been training very regularly too as his time of 19:12 - giving him 30th place overall - was also a new PB.

Chris was followed home by Andrew Johnson, who takes part in this 5k series year on year and is always consistent with times that never get any slower, despite the passing years. On this occasion he ran very strongly to clock 20:19 for 43rd spot and 5th MV45. 

Emma Dupain was 60th in 21:23; this was a massive improvement on her round 1 time of almost a minute and, if the grin on her face at the finish line was anything to go by, she was justifiably pleased with her performance. 

Dad, Nigel Dupain, runs a little in the shadow of his offspring these days, but his time of 23:27, putting him in 63rd place for 5km, is in fact very good for a man over 60 and would give his progeny a run for their money on an age-graded scoring system! It will also be encouraging for the junior Dupain generation to know that they have good genes and that they could still be competitive at this running lark in 30 or so years time!

Encouraged / persuaded / told (delete as applicable, depending on who you get the story from!) to have a go at a fast, flat 5k for her club championship portfolio, Dawn Teed ran a stormer to post a time of 24:18 for 82nd place overall and 2nd female over 50. May this new category that she has just ventured into bring her much success and increased age-graded percentage points!

Unfortunately, Mike Musgrove was forced to retire with a calf pull: a sensible move as he caught it early on before he did any real damage to it.... some of us (myself at the top of that list!) could learn a lot from him!

Well done to all the Harriers who ran: next round is Tuesday 2nd July. Remember, section 2 of the club championship is 5ks: points up for grabs!

Happy Harriers after the sunny June round of the Run Exe 5k
L - R: Andy Johnson, Dawn Teed (ladies captain), Emma Dupain, Nigel-Pops-Dupain, Chris Dupain, Rob Orton