Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

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?!

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