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.