Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Cathy is the 'yellow jersey' winner of Le Tour d'Exeter!

On the weekend of 26th / 27th / 28th a brand new and exciting running event took place in and around Exeter. Keen to capitalist on the popularity of and British success in the 'Tour de France', I.B.R. Events staged the inaugural 'Tour de'Exeter', based on 3 different styles of race over 3 consecutive days. Pete Ferlie of IBR had toyed with the idea a year ago and had launched it under a 5 stage format, taking inspiration from the 6 stage Tour of Tameside (of which Exmouth Harrier member, Cathy Newman, is also a former winner!). However, that proved to be too much of a committment for most Devon runners and so this year, stripped down to just the 3 events, around 50 racing snakes liked the idea and signed up. Amongst them were 4 (and a few "extras") Exmouth Harriers.

~~ All pictures courtesy and (c) Pete Newman.

Group shot after the 10k race on day 1 of 'Le Tour'!
L - R: Mike Musgrove, Cathy Newman, Dawn Teed, Hannah Bown, Chris Dupain

Ladies Captain, Dawn Teed, running a fine 10k.

Mike Musgrove: strong opening performance with a sub 38 min 10k.

Chris Dupain: enjoying a fine vein of form at the moment.

Cathy in the yellow jersey on day 1, which she retained throughout the 3 days!

The first race, on the Friday, was a 10k road race, staged over a 4 lap circuit of Flower Pots playing fields and the river bank. The second stage moved out to Haldon Forest and used the Dawlish Coaster's Forest Flyer 5 mile course; this stage also incorporated the 'King and Queen of the Mountains' competition, a.k.a. the polka dot jersey! The final stage took place on Sunday morning at Exeter Arena, with a 5000m track race rounding off the overall proceedings and deciding the winner of the 'sprint' competition, or green jersey. 

The overall race was decided on cumulative times and Cathy laid down the gauntlet on the opening race with a winning performance in the ladies 10k race in a time of 40:58. Cathy was, however, mindful of a pool of talent queuing up behind her - chiefly, that was veteran talent in the form of Tiverton's Caroline Hewitt - snapping at her heels and waiting to pounce in the next couple of rounds if Cathy faltered, meaning that she couldn't afford to relax too much in the Haldon 5 mile race or the final 5000m track race. Going into the Haldon 5 mile race wearing yellow, Cathy was the one to beat, but she again ran strongly to win the stage outright in a time of 34:44 for 16th place overall. A very fine 19:30 time over 5,000 metres on the track on Sunday, where her position was 22nd overall, firmly cemented her position in yellow and crowned her as a worthy overall victor of Le Tour! Bravo Cathy, félicitations!! In fact, veteran women totally stole the show at this event, with the top four female places all being awarded to athletes over 45. This just highlights the sheer depth of talent we have in the female vet categories in the south-west.
Cathy, in yellow, on stage 2: a 5 mile trail race at Haldon forest.

Hannah Bown: always strong on the hills, had a good race at Haldon.

Hannah Bown was 6th female overall at the end of the 3 day contest and 2nd senior female. Her 10km run gave her 31st overall and 5th female in 43:41, Saturday’s trail race concluded with a very steep uphill mile but Hannah accepts the “no pain, no gain” argument and she hung on for 28th and 5th woman 36:33, getting the better of senior rival, Naomi Flanagan, on this occasion, thus highlighting Hannah's strength on the hills. Hannah was a little isolated in her 5,000m heat, which never helps when racing on the track, but still managed to cling on for overall 32nd in 20:43. 

The Exmouth men were well represented with Mike Musgove finishing his début 'Tour' in 2nd place in the MV40 category in a cumulative time of 88:15, behind the vastly experienced Mike Feighan of SWRR. Mike was 7th in 37:37 over the 10km Flower Pots race; 7th in 32:43 in the 5 mile trail race and 8th in 17:55 at the 5,000 metres track event. This highlights some very consistent and sensibly placed running and the fact that he was able to come out and run a sub 18 minute track 5k after 2 hard races over the preceding days must give Mike confidence that his calf niggles that caused him some problems earlier in the season are now behind him. Mike's next challenge is another 3 stage race over 3 days but is somewhat longer as he prepares to tackle the Atlantic Coast 3-marathons-in-3-days challenge in the Autumn.

Mike tries to stick on the shoulder of his category rival, Mike Feighan, on stage 2.

Chris Dupain was the other Exmouth male representative and he also put together a fine portfolio of races over the 3 days. He finished 11th out of the 20 Senior men who completed all three events. His times and race positions were: 10km: 16th in 40:21; 5 mile trail race: 25th in 36:18 and track 5,000m: 20th in 19:19 (where he managed to finish 2nd in his heat). Chris has been competing a lot this summer and has seen a real improvement curve as a result, so we can look forward to seeing some more strong performances from him as we head into the Autumn; maybe a PB over the half-marathon distance beckons?!

"Guests" were allowed in individual races to boost numbers and competition and Dawn Teed took advantage of  this in the 10k race to bag herself some valuable points for the Exmouth Harriers club championship. She was 46th in a time of 48:55 over 10km. Berihu Tesfay, meanwhile, opted for a little leg stretch on the track and was a comfortable winner of the 5,000m in 15:54: a superb time considering he was soon isolated with no other runners to work off. Finally, in 41st place in the 10km in 45:43 and listed as an Exmouth Harrier, was the Iberian sounding Tiago Bandiera Da Lima about whom, as yet, we have no information: could be a clerical error, but please watch this space!

All the Exmouth participants praised the organisation of the event and the camaraderie amongst the runners. With a small but select field rocking up on 3 consecutive days, it afforded an opportunity to get to know the competition and interact with all the other participants. Hopefully the event will be retained on the running calendar next year and will continue to grow in popularity as it's the only event of this kind currently in the country!
A very determined-looking Berihu, cruising to a comfortable win in the 5000m track race on day 3.

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