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.
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!