Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Harriers win the Erme Valley Relays!!

Yes: you read it right! It’s a blog title we could surely only ever dream of for the club: a supremely competitive event such as this, which always attracts the cream of the crop of local runners, with some of the county's strongest athletes often combining to put together a “super-team” to try and win the relays, surely our little seaside based club could never compete with them, right? WRONG! We can and we did! We only went and won the Erme Valley Relays outright and, not only that, also picked up a category win for the veteran women aged 45+ section to boot. Go us!

Harriers assemble: we had an impressive turn out of runners for the competitive annual relays.

Our victorious senior men's team of Dave Stone, Tony Hatchard, Berihu Tesfay and men's captain, Adam Miller.

And our victorious ladies vet 45 team of Claire Baxter, ladies captain, Dawn Teed, Lorraine Gilson and Cathy Newman.

Thanks to Carly Miller for the following report, who has very kindly been helping me to catch up with the blog reports whilst I've been away. It's much appreciated Carly!

The Erme Valley relay is a very competitive event, drawing runners of a high standard from across Devon. The stiff competition does not detract from the festive atmosphere however; it is an incredibly fun event to run, and exciting to watch from the handover point, where runners gather to watch the race unfold and cheer on their club mates. The course is short, but far from sweet! Although measuring slightly less than 2.5 miles, it tests runners with two very challenging hills and some fairly steep descents. Teams consist of 4 runners, who each run the same loop before handing over at the changeover point outside the Ivybridge Rugby Club. 

Our first senior men’s team were fired up for the challenge and determined to take down the competition. First off for the Harriers was men’s team captain Adam Miller, who improved on his time of last year by over 20 seconds to run a fantastic 13:25. Having overtaken two men in the closing stages of the leg, Adam was able to hand over in second position, just 9 seconds behind the leading runner from Erme Valley Harriers. Next off was Dave Stone, running the first of his two scheduled legs. He also improved on his 2012 time to run 13:14 and come in third, just 4 seconds behind the leader from Torbay, and 1 second behind MDNA. This left Anthony Hatchard tantalisingly close to the front of the race as he set off on the third leg, determined to take the lead. Anthony ran as aggressively as ever, completing his run in a great time of 13:36. He held the lead briefly before being overtaken in the final 100 metres by Martin Breslan from Torbay, but was able to hand over to Berihu just 3 seconds behind the leader. Those of us watching waited to see just how much of an advantage Berihu would have over impressive local runner Kairn Stone, who was surely the only person who could challenge Berihu over the last leg. As Kairn set off just 11 seconds behind, the rest of us watched and waited, anticipating a close finish. The two men came round the corner into the finishing straight neck and neck and sprinted for the line. For a worrying moment it looked as if Berihu may stop short of the line, having mistaken some nearby cones for the finishing area but, having been screamed at by his fellow Harriers on the sidelines, he ran on, holding off Kairn to take the victory! His time of 12:23 was the third fastest of the night, and gave the team a very impressive overall time of 52:38.

The next Harriers team to finish was our senior men’s 'B' team. Leg 1 runner Chris Dupain gave them a great start, running nearly half a minute quicker than he did last year, finishing in 15 minutes exactly. Next up was Scott Jordan, also setting a massive new course best time and completing in 16:11, followed by Jon Croome in a fine 15:36. Their final runner was Marc Cox, who was another athlete to improve upon his 2012 time by half a minute to finish in a fantastic time of 13:58. This gave the team an overall time of just outside the hour in 60:45, and put them in 18th position.

Our vet 50 men’s team arrived next, having run a total time of 67:39. They were led off by Dave Wright, who completed his leg in 15:47. Next was Dave Eveleigh in 18:35 and Terry Oldham in 18:26. Hugh Marsden ran a brilliant last leg to finish in 14:51, and bring home the team in 3rd position in the MV50 category.

The first Harriers ladies team to complete was our senior team. I (Carly Miller) ran the first leg in 17:48 and handed over to Lisa Hatchard, who was running the first of her 2 legs for the evening, finishing in 18:17. Next was Emma Dupain, who ran 17:28 and handed over to her sister, Hannah Bown, to run the last leg in a pretty amazing 15:58. All four of us managed to improve significantly on our times from last year, which enabled us to finish a respectable 5th position in the ladies competition.

The fifth Harriers team to finish was a real mix of age groups. The first leg was run by Nigel Dupain in 19:02. Stan Mason followed him, completing the second leg in a time of 21:46. Next up was Ben White, running exactly the same time of 17:05 as he did last year. Dave Stone completed the team, running his second leg of the evening (spurred on by having already secured victory in the competition overall) in a time of 13:38.

Not far behind them was our FV35 team. Joan Mason ran leg 1, improving on her 2012 time to run 21:24. She handed over to Lorraine Croome, who ran the second leg in a time of 18:38. Cathy Newman ran leg 3, her second of the evening, in another fantastic time of 16:19. The team was anchored home by Lisa Hatchard, who was also running for the second time. Lisa completed her leg in 18:39, and brought the team home in a total time of 75 minutes exactly.

In the absence of a MV70 category, our vet 70 men were running in the MV60 category. The team was set off by Jim Wyatt, who ran his leg in 20:49, taking 9 seconds off his time from last year. Second to run was Mike Keep, completing the course in 21:11.Mike was followed by John Goss-Custard, who ran 21:03 before handing over to Les Turner, who ran the final leg in 21:11. The total time for the team was 84:14, which earned them second place in the MV60 category.

Congratulations to all the Harriers, particularly to those who set new PBs on the course, who ran 2 legs, who were giving the event a go for the first time or who were part of one of the victorious teams. This really is a great team event and one that brings the club together in support of every runner. Even the Harriers who weren't running had a good workout of the vocal cords as they screamed and cheered their fellow club mates out and in. It will be hard to top these performances next year but you can bet your life that we will give it a darn good try!

All 9 Harriers 'Beat the Bus'!

Exmouth Harriers definitely have a leaning towards races of the slightly off-beat, quirky variety and Sidmouth Running Club’s ‘Beat the Bus’ race would fit into that category for sure! Proudly advertised by race director, Bill Valentine, as "the only race of this concept in the world", there is the added twist of not only racing other runners but also racing an in-use service bus! Stage Coach, the bus company in question, have been generously sponsoring the race since it started four years ago, and the bus driver behind the wheel of the number 157 bus that leaves Otterton Green at 18:37 always gets well into the spirit of the race.
The runners all lined up for the start at Otterton to await the departure of the 18:37 to race it across the cliffs to Sidmouth and back again. The bus took 58 minutes to complete the round trip this year: would the runners be able to beat it by going 'cross country' and covering a total distance of 9k?!
Conditions underfoot and the weather on the night could not have been more different from last year. Remember the thigh deep, 30 meter long muddy puddles we had to wade through last year? Remember the mist that reduced visability on Peak Hill to less than 10 meters? Not so this year. Clear, sunny skies and hard, arid trails made for much more pleasant running conditions for the 9 Exmouth Harrier members who signed up for the challenge.
When the bus pulled in, bang on time, 39 of the 57 finishers had completed their own return trip to beat it and gain the coveted certificate from the bus company to prove it!
All nine from Exmouth were in that group and the first five of those finished within less than five minutes of each other.
John Garrity’s quiet demeanour does not mean he isn’t competitive and he finished ninth overall and second man aged 40-44 in 41:13.

Jon Garrity tackling a descent.

Hugh Marsden has raced and beaten a train in Wales so he may have a unique double under his belt as he recorded 42:34 to finish 11th overall and second man aged 50-54. Next challenge for Hugh? Perhaps Man V Horse?!
Hugh Marsden on his way to 2nd place MV50.

Then, in 12th (43:59) and 13th (45:02) respectively, came Chris Dupain and Hannah Bown. Hannah was also the first woman home.
Hannah Bown, continuing a strong vein of form in off-road events this year to claim another victory in the ladies race.

 Scott Jordan is enjoying a mini-come-back after a period when he was not able to race much earlier in the season due to various niggles and he looked to be enjoying himself in his off-road element as he finished 16th in 45:45, his time well up on those posted in previous years.
Emma Dupain: descending to claim 3rd female spot.

The other four Exmouth starters were also bunched together, all finishing between 24th and 32nd and within just over five minutes of each other. Emma Dupain was 24th in 49:55 and 3rd woman, Nicholas Brown was 26th (51:13), Lisa Hatchard 27th, 4th woman and first FV35 (51:31) with ladies captain Dawn Teed 32nd (55:01) and second woman aged 50-54. 
Lisa Hatchard, 1st FV35 and 4th lady overall, making it 3 Harrier females in the top 4!

This really is a cracking little event that is friendly, fun and finishes with prize giving in the village pub: what more could you wish for in a race?!

Woodland Relays a resounding success!

The Woodland Relays are a low-key annual event organised on rotation by the 5 participating clubs: Axe Valley, Sidmouth, Honiton, the Met Office and us, the Harriers. Last year Axe Valley hosted a superb event in some woods at Colyton and the Exmouth Harriers who made the trip over there to compete had a fantastic evening of friendly rivalry and good camaraderie with our neighbouring runners. In fact, one Harrier – Mike Musgrove – enjoyed the event so much that he put his name forward to organise this year’s event on behalf of Exmouth.
It was Mike’s first ever attempt at organising a race and even he would not have dreamt that the route he selected – a 2.6 mile figure of 8 loop on Woodbury Common – would be as popular as it was. A record attendance of 52 teams of 3 runners signed up, representing over a 100% increase on the number of teams entered at any of the previously staged events. Luckily the weather was on our side with the sun shining down making the route and the views even more pleasant for runner and spectators alike.

The registration desk was more hectic than expected, with 52 teams all entering on the night!

 There was fierce competition across the different categories which ranged from under 11 boys, girls and mixed (this age group completing just the one smaller loop of 1 mile), under 15 girls, boys and mixed, senior ladies, mens and mixed and over 50 vets ladies, mens and mixed.
Race organiser and director, Mike Musgrove, ensures the eager under 11s are listening to the race briefing!

In the under 11s, held over the 1 mile route, Upottery Boys and Upottery Girls both triumphed, with Sidmouth Juniors taking the spoils (or the chocolate!) in the mixed section. The under 15s gave the grown-ups a serious run for their money over the full course, with Honiton boys placing an impressive 5th place overall out of all the participating age groups, in an accumulative time of 50:34. Honiton girls also won the under 15s section, proving that whatever coaching the juniors are receiving over at Honiton, it is obviously working wonders! They finished in just over the hour in 1:00:31.
The youngsters really got enthusiastically stuck into the spirit of the event and produced some very impressive times showing that we have some potential future stars in our midst!

In the senior races, Axe Valley proved too strong for all their rivals, with their men’s team of Gary Perratt, Tim Lenton and Liam Roberts storming around to a win in an amazingly swift 45:32. Liam also ran the fastest male leg of the evening. Axe Valley also won the senior ladies race, further proving the club’s dominance when it comes to off-road events, with Amy Greenhalgh, Eleanor Wood and Carol Austin taking 57:45 to cover the three 2.6 mile legs. The senior mixed prize went to a team from the Met Office, in a time of 52:54.

The 'B' wave runners gather at the start / finish / change-over area, eagerly awaiting their team mates so they can get underway on their leg.

The vets races were just as highly contested and were dominated by Exmouth Harriers! Our vet 50 men’s team of David Wright, Andy Kernnedy and Hugh Marsden won the men’s section and placed 10th overall in a time of 55:00, with Dave Wright just edging out category rival Hugh for the fastest leg (17:29). Our vet women were not about to be upstaged by the men and put in an equally fine performance to take top spot in their category, with Cathy Newman, Claire Baxter and Susan Hill triumphing in 27th spot overall in a time of 1:02:35. Cathy also ran the fastest female leg of the night outright with a superb time of 17:11, beating the next female (Amy Greenhalgh of AVR) by over half a minute. The vet 50 mixed prize went to Honiton 39ers (so called as that was the bib number they were allocated and when pushed for time, they were unable to come up with another, more distinguishing name!).
 Many other Harriers participated and performed well: Jon Garrity, Adam Miller and Marc Cox came 3rd in the senior men’s race in a time of 48:02, with Adam just edging out Marc for the fastest leg by 5 seconds! The Exmouth Men’s B team of Chris Dupain, Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan and Richard-Have-A-Go-Hawes placed a superb 6thoverall in a time of 52:14.

A very determined 2 Trigs (a.k.a. Scott Jordan) digs in up the final hill to the finish.

Our senior ladies team placed a highly respectable 2nd in their category, with Carly Miller having a stormer on the first leg to set things up nicely for Lisa Hatchard and Hannah Bown to ably finish off. Their overall time was 58:26. Another senior ladies team, composed of Jane Macdonald, Nicky Kelly and Lorraine Gilson placed 5th in their category and 32nd overall in a time of 65 minutes.
The event was well supported by the Exmouth Running Belles – many of whom are also members of the Exmouth Harriers – as they fielded 4 teams and they all finished consecutively, occupying 40th - 43rd positions overall.
After slogging it out around a stunning but physically challenging pebbly and sandy route around the Common, all the runners could treat themselves to some wonderful homemade cakes, with Nic Musgrove being the most popular person at the event, selling the most amazing chocolate cake ever for the bargain price of £1. With all money taken from this event going to the charity Whizz Kidz – a cause dear to the organisers’ (Mike and Nic’s) hearts – it was great to see the event so well supported and to see the cakes being snapped up!
The superb array of home-made cakes were a welcome bonus for hungry runners (and marshalls!) and with the added bonus of knowing that buying one would be donating money to Whizz Kidz, they were also guilt free :-)

Mike says that he’s learnt a few things about organising races, having been thrown in at the deep end! We’d like to thank the other participating clubs for their support, including Sidmouth for the loan of their timing equipment and AVR for supplying the bib numbers and for generally supporting Mike with the organisation. Thanks also to the Harriers who marshalled or assisted in some way with the running of the event. 
Mostly though, as a club, we’d like to thank Mike for putting together such a great little event. The feedback from all the runners has been extremely positive and I think the smiles on the faces of the runners (particularly the kids, who were buzzing and talking about the event for ages after) speaks volumes. What a shame we have to wait a whole year until the next one!

Yet another pan-full of PBs at Run Exe 5k

Flower Pots playing fields, on the banks of the River Exe at Exwick, were once again playing host to the monthly, flat, fast 5k race series on Tuesday July 2nd. The slightly damp conditions suited most people as this round saw record attendance levels (109 finishers) and a plehtora of PBs, including some by the 9 Exmouth Harrier members running in this round.

Perhaps the most impressive run by a Harrier this round was that of Chris Dupain, who smashed his 5k best time, knocking half a minute off it, with his useful 18:38 for 18th place. Chris’ times have been steadily improving throughout the season but this was a massive leap of improvement, indicating that there is still more to come.

Mike Musgrove certainly made up for the disappointment of the previous round, when he was forced to withdraw on the first lap with a pulled calf muscle. No such problems this time as he stormed around the 2 lap course in a fine time of 17:08, for 5th overall and first MV40. This was tantalisingly close to his life time best of 17:01, set in 2011. With a trip to the slightly faster course at Yeovilton, a sub 17 clocking is a highly realistic target for Mike in August or September.

Richard Hawes is also having a fine season with a consistent string of PBs being set on most outings. On this occasion he was 22nd in another PB of 18:53. This gave him 40th place but only 4th MV45: a highly competitive category on the night.

Fourth woman, and setting another personal best, by a single second, but they all count, was Hannah Bown. She clocked 19:50 for 40th place overall and a few more valuable percentage points for her club championship campaign!

Ben White was 59th in 21:49 and just three agonising seconds outside of his best, which he will likely look to beat in the one of the remaining 2 rounds.

Emma Dupain was 64th, not quite matching her storming run of last month, but Em,ma has been racing a lot recently which can often take the mental edge off that is needed to clock PBs, in addition to making the legs a little race weary. Nevertheless, she still posted a fine time of 22:07.

Lee Russell finished 67th in a respectable enough 22:35. He is very consistent in posting 22 minute something clockings, both on this flat course and at the more challenging off-road 5k parkrun event.

Nigel Dupain’s position was 75th, his time 23:24, and he looks to be in line for an overall Series age group prize as things stand currently.

Ladies captain, Dawn Teed, was setting a fine example to her fellow lady Harriers by tackling a type of race that ordinarily wouldn't be her favourite but that she knows will serve her well in the club championship and might encourage some of our other ladies, who are a little nervous about fast, flat road races, to have a go. She was 78th in 23:24 and third FV50. She also tots up some more valuable percentage gains for her club championship portfolio, which is coming along nicely.

Next round is the first Tuesday in August. £7 entry on the night at Flower Pots fields, Exwick. 7pm kick-off.

Harriers Coast (to Coast) it again!

The idea of running from one coast of Devon, across the county – taking in the splendours of Dartmoor en route – as a club relay event was the brainchild of Terry Oldham and the first successful attempt at it happened last year. Keen to repeat the 2 day event, with its overnight camp in Bow, at Dawn and Hugh’s lovely home, Terry organised the relay again this year but with the added twist of running it in reverse this year: North to Sotuh, from Lynmouth to Wembury, as opposed to South to North like last. En route the runners pass through some of the most splendid scenery the county has to offer: Exmoor, mid Devon farmland, Dartmoor, and the woods and farmland of the Erme Valley and South Hams.
As the organiser in chief, Terry Oldham quite appropriately toed the start line on Lynmouth beach with club stalwart Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan at about 8.30 am on the Saturday morning to tackle the first leg. A group of supporting Harriers cheered and waved them off, grateful that Terry was the one clutching the map and in charge of navigation (!) and the pair and the pebble (a.k.a., the baton) started out on their epic journey.

The first task of the day was to choose an appropriate pebble to act as the relay baton. Terry seems to think that he's running an 'Iron Man Coast to Coast' this year!

2 Trigs wanted something that was more to scale so, after a stern exchange of words, Terry was forced to select an alternative pebble.

Terry and 2 Trigs were soon climbing the 1000 plus ft of climb 2.7 miles in and heading towards the hand-over at Coombe Park. Anthony Hatchard and Marc Cox then took proud possession of the pebble before heading off over Cheriton Ridge to Exe Head and the descent to Simonsbath. That sounds simple enough, but this is a tough moorland section of 9.5 miles, and although two of the quickest runners in the club, it took them longer than expected to cover the distance. Waiting at Simonsbath were Hugh Marsden and Adam Miller, itching to get going on a delightful section of the route along the river Barle to Withypool. They scampered along this 7 mile leg in record time, getting the pebble back on track again for its hand-over at Withypool.
Here, it was a family affair, with Nigel Dupain and his son, Chris, and daughter, Emma and Devon (faithful dog and mascot – appropriately named, considering the challenge!), all eager and waiting to begin their six-mile leg to Hawkridge, which again followed the Barle for much of the distance before a steep and challenging climb from Tarr Steps up to Hawkridge.

Team Dupain, ably assisted by their appropriately named mascot, Devon, prepare to embark on their leg to Hawkridge.

In Hawkridge, with the kettles boiling for a brew up for the support team, was Carly Miller and Elaine Kale who took the pebble and disappeared quickly to Anstey Common and struck a bearing south to Knowstone. The sleepy hamlet of Knowstone was woken up by the flotilla of cars and noisy Harriers who were lined up ready to greet Carly, Elaine and the pebble at the end of their eight mile leg.

Elaine and Carly arrive in Knowstone after a successfully navigated and well-timed leg. 

2 Trigs and Chris Dupain, both of whom had elected (or been elected?!) to run two legs of the route on that day, shot off through the churchyard to Knowstone Moor and the waiting village of Witheridge, covering a distance of eight miles. The two runners made superb time and arrived early and they handed over to Lorraine Gilson and Stan Mason with 8.8 miles of mid Devon farmland stretching out ahead of them.
The last leg for day 1 was for Dawn Teed and Joan Mason, waiting patiently at Morchard Bishop, and then away heading over the lanes and byways of mid Devon to the end of their leg at Thorne Orchard some 6.9 miles away. Thorne Orchard is the home of Dawn Teed and Hugh Marsden, and gracious hosts both, they looked after their guests very well with a Devon cream tea to start with and later hot food, a welcome shower and a campsite to rest the weary legs and recharge the batteries before day 2!

Joan, the last runner on day one, carefully hands over the 'baton' to Anthony and 2 Trigs who were the first runners off on day 2, whilst Adam supervises to ensure it's a clean handover whilst sipping his morning cuppa!

Sunday morning dawned and brought with it a rather gloomy presence and grey skies, suggesting that the day was going to be a wet one. First off were Anthony Hatchard and Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan, leaving Thorne Orchard by the back door, they were on their way over the highways and byways via Castle Drogo and the Teign valley to Chagford Bridge. An absolutely stunning section, estimated to be about 11 miles, but the GPS actually read 14 miles at the end. Anthony then handed a quick kiss and a pebble to his wife, Lisa Hatchard, who then, accompanied by Lorraine Gilson, had eight miles of mainly uphill lanes and paths to navigate before coming out on to Dartmoor, near to Fernworthy reservoir and the change over at Bennetts Cross. By this time the cloud was low, so low in fact, that they were running in it and anxious eyes eventually spotted them trudging across the moor to the car park.
At the car park waited Dawn Teed, who was going to be guided over the next five mile section, (via Hookney Tor, Grims Pound and Hamel Down, to the change over at Dunstone Down), by Lisa Hatchard, who had decided that eight miles uphill was simply not enough. The next leg should really have been run by Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan, as Emma Dupain and Carly Miller discovered as they tackled its 8-ish miles in length, at Dunstone Down. Quickly descending from the Down they reached the hamlet of ‘Jordan’, and then on to Ponsworthy Bridge, Dr Blackall’s Drive, New Bridge, Holne, to the change over point at Scoriton.

Top navigation skills were needed by Lisa and Dawn for their leg across the rugged, open moor, which they had to run in some rather atmospheric Dartmoor mist.

Scoriton was the start for 14 miles of hard running for Adam Miller, Hugh Marsden and Marc Cox, including sections of the Abbotts Way, a derelict tramway, and Ivybridge Beacon, before descending rapidly from there to the change over point at Ivybridge Leisure Centre. Uncharacteristically for Hugh, he found himself flagging on this one and so the leg took them slightly longer than predicated. 

The three stooges - Adam, Marc and Hugh - await the start of their tough leg to Ivybridge.

So, Ivybridge Leisure Centre witnessed Ben White and Emma Dupain (yes, running again) eager to get underway. They disappeared down the riverside path towards Yealmpton, some nine miles away. With all participants now re-grouped and the flotilla of cars in convoy, the short journey to the change over point commenced. Some 30 minutes later all were back in Ivybridge having been thwarted by a road closure, and with the occasional swear word en route, the armada arrived in Yealmpton, only a minute or two after Emma and Ben!
At the changeover point, the pebble was exchanged for the last time into the capable hands of Stan and Joan and it soon disappeared up the hill, heading off to the final destination of Wembury.

After having been lovingly cared for and carried across some of the most challenging terrain in Devon, Stan rather less carefully delivers the pebble to its final resting place at Wembury by 'wanging' it down beach!
With cameras clicking, Stan and Joan arrived looking enthused by the run of some seven miles to the finish line. Stan then ceremonially placed the pebble on the beach in its final resting place at the end of its 125-mile journey. It sometimes took longer than expected to cover the various distances and it sometimes took less, but time was ‘not of the essence’. The essential quality of this event was in sharing the beautiful – often verging on darn right stunning – scenery that makes up our glorious county of Devon with some good friends and running club colleagues.
Thanks must once again go to Terry for all his hard efforts on organising the event, and of course, to Hugh and Dawn, for their welcome hospitality when opening up their home for the overnight stay.
The next big Harriers social event is a weekend of running, eating and wine sloshing in a bunk house on Exmoor. Once again, Terry has kindly stepped up and suggested the weekend and reserved a bunkhouse for 16 people, but that can be extended to 26 if enough are interested. It’s the weekend of 4/5/6th October, it’s only £10 per person, per night, and lots of Harriers are already signed up. So if you fancy a weekend of leisurely off-road runs at different speeds and distances, on Exmoor, followed by a retreat to the log fire in the bunk house for good food, wine and company, then speak to Terry and sign up soon.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Blink and you missed it....

missed what? Mike Musgrove in action at the British Miler's Club 800m race, held at Exeter Arena on Tuesday June 25th. It was Mike's first outing over the distance in racing terms, but he's by no means a stranger to bashing out hard 800m reps on the track as part of his wider training regime for the longer distance races. As part of a series of reps, Mike would expect to run 800s in around 2:30 - 2:40 pace. But there is a big difference to running them at 'threshold' pace in intervals and in going eye-balls out from the gun to the tape in a race.

Having no previous time by which to seed him, the organisers put Mike into the 'F' race (the 6th race of 6 on the night, for people with either slower times or no previously recorded time for the distance). This meant that Mike ended up in a race below his ability and so left him isolated from the moment the pace maker dropped out at the start of the 2nd and final lap. Nevertheless, in a lone trial of a race, he dug in deep over the last 400m and stormed home to victory in a time of 2:17:40. Speaking afterwards, Mike said he really enjoyed the experience and said that he felt quite comfortable, so in a more suitably seeded race and people around him to push off, there's no reason why he should not knock a few seconds off that time in a second attempt at the distance.

Well done to Mike for giving something new a go and proving that track races are not as scary as we tend to think they are!
Look at that stride! Mike in full flow at the Exeter 800m BMC meet.

13 Harriers, 13(.1) miles: Torbay Half 2013!

13 Exmouth Harriers took on the 13.1 mile challenge at the 2013 Torbay Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd June. The race is held over a 2 lap course that stretches out along the English Riviera, from its start at the Green in Paington, to the farthest point at the observation wheel by the Pavillions in Torquay. There are 2 small hills on the route, both of which are tackled twice, on the 2 climbs out of Paignton and then back out of Torquay. Some would say that this prevents it from laying claim to being a fast, flat PB course, but the hills are nothing major and PBs are still possible - as some of our Harriers proved this weekend!

Dawn Teed showed that her South Atlantic Marathon victory was no fluke by bringing in the only Harriers win of the day in finishing 1st of 29 women aged 50- 54: a fantastic achievement in a race that always attracts a good quality field across all the age categories. Dawn posted a fine time of 1:48:58 and was 535th overall from a total field of around 1000 men and 500 women.

Dave Stone led the Harriers home with yet another solid performance that saw him place inside the top 15 overall (14th) in 76:30 and this gave him the 3rd spot in the MV40 section: an ever-competitive category.

Giving Dave a run for his money were Anthony Hatchard and Marc Cox. Hatchard looked fresh and comfortable as he eases himself back into top level competitive running, finishing less than a minute behind Dave with 77:28 for 16th place overall. Meanwhile, rising star Marc was 34th, just outside of breaking the magical 80 minute mark, with 80:29. However, Marc himself recognises that he achieved this time on the back of 20 mile training weeks. He now knows that if he wants to see further improvements, he may need to add another quality session in and boost his weekly mileage up to around the 30 mark to see further success over the half marathon distance.

Hugh Marsden knocked off what, by his standard, could be described as an acceptable performance. He was 85th overall and 4th of 83 men aged 50 – 54 in 87:34, but this time was some 4 minutes down on what he produced here last year. His recent calf problems could well have contributed to this as a road half is never the most forgiving on legs that already have niggles.... as I know only too well! Hopefully Hugh will get on top of this problem soon and return to racing to his usual high standards.

Meanwhile Ben White and Mike Keep each took a thick sliced off of a time recorded earlier this year. Ben was 356th overall in 1:43:10, well over 7 minutes faster than he took at the hillier Tavy 13 race in March. Mike took 5 minutes off his time at Plymouth in April as he finished just inside the top half in 752nd, in what is believed to be an outright PB of 1:54:34. This gave him 9th of 18 Men Over 65, but once again, it should be noted, that Mike is in fact in the Over 70 category. It also highlights the strength and depth of veteran runners in the region that so many over 65s should be producing sub 2 hour finishing times.

Les Turner was 1149th overall but 11th in the same age group as Mike, and recorded a time of 2:07:58. This shows a quite remarkable breadth of athletic ability, not forgetting that just last week he completed a 100m, a 1500m and a triple jump - among other events - as part of a pentathlon!

The Dupain siblings were once again out in force with Hannah Bown (151st overall and 12th of those 500+ women in 93:24) sandwiched between brother and sparring partner Chris (138th overall in 92:14) and younger sister Emma (357th overall, 29th woman in a time of 1:43:10). All the Dupains have been busy bees on the racing circuit of late, with this event following up runs at the Michelmores Exeter 5k, the Run Exe 5k and the off road Umborne Ug: showing that they are all versatile and willing to get stuck into any challenge that comes their way!

Lisa Hatchard is on something of a roll this year as she keeps churning out some very satisfying performances. Two weeks ago she was 9th of 61 women at the Plym Valley Challenge. At this half-marathon event, which, it should be noted, is perhaps not held on her favourite running surface, Lisa was 410th overall and 6th of 87 women aged 35-39 with a time of 1:44:23. Also quite notable was the fact that this was the first race that the Hatchards have both competed in together since the birth of their daughter, Tilly!

Catherine Gentry looks to be in good shape and follows up her successful run over the 10k distance at the Exeter Wrap up and Run event earlier in the year with an impressive 1:48:39 for 543rd place overall and 15th of 98 women aged 40 – 44.

Once again, a great showing for the Harriers who were well represented in both sexes and across all the age categories from senior up to 70+! The half marathon season is on pause for a while as the summer races tend to be over shorter distances, but we will be sure to see many of our Harriers tackling the tough 13.1 mile distance again once the races pick up in the autumn.