Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Half-marathon fever hits the Harriers!

This weekend it was all about the 13.1 mile half-marathon distance as, in addition to the iconic Great North Run, three other large half-marathon events took place in the south-west, with Bristol, Cheltenham and Chippenham all hosting their events on the same day (22nd September). Exmouth Harriers had representation at two of those three events, with the Harriers men heading to Bristol and the ladies to Chippenham.


Bristol saw in the region of 11,000 runners toe the start line of the race that was celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. First home for the Harriers was Tony Hatchard, who placed a spectacular 55th of those 11'000 in a time of 75:57. Tony has really rounded into form this summer and was chasing the very tough London Marathon Championship qualifying mark of 75 minutes. He will have been disappointed to have missed out by just 57 seconds and, perhaps given an extra month of training under his belt, he may have achieved it, as he said he felt strong for the first 10 miles but just lacked the endurance to see the pace through to the finish and he dropped below his target pace in the last 3 miles. It was nevertheless a strong performance and he can take encouragement from that as he heads into the cross-country season.

Marc Cox is another athlete who has really found a solid vein of form this season and has been obliterating his PBs with every outing. He set an already impressive mark of 80:29 at the Torbay event and was chasing a time in the region of 76-77 minutes at Bristol. Like Tony, he perhaps just lacked that necessary speed-endurance to hang on in the closing miles but he fought hard to cross the line in a massive new PB of 78:40, giving his a top 100 finish (84th), which puts him comfortably in the top 1% of runners: not a bad result for Marc, who has only been running competitively for 2 years!

Dave Wright was our only veteran representative in Bristol and he ran a solid race for 668th in 91:54: an ecellent time for someone in their 50s. Dave may well be using the race as part of an autumn marathon build up, as he did last year. Dan Morley, making a rare appearance on the race circuit - only his second outing this year, after the Yeovil Half in March - was also well up the field with 1469th place with his time of 99:18.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that Exmouth Harrier member, Cathy Newman, is a two-time former winner of this event, in 1991 and 1999, highlighting what a formidable talent she once was (and indeed, still is). This year the female race was again won by a south-west runner, with Cornish veteran runner, Emma Stepto, taking the win in a superb 73:40. 


Just a little way east of Bristol, three female members of the Exmouth Harriers mirrored the men's success in Bristol and had a good day over the 13.1 mile distance at the Chippenham Half, in Wiltshire. In a smaller field than Bristol (just over 1300 runners contested the race), all three runners returned home to Exmouth with sparkly new Personal Bests.

Jane Macdonald was 353rd in 1:42:35, Susan Hill was 359th in 1:42:47 and Lorraine Kirby placed 394th in 1:44:03. As anyone trying to clock a sub 1:45 time will tell you, it is not easy. You cannot hang around, you have to keep pushing on the whole way, and you certainly cannot "jog" it. All 3 ladies are now proud members of that exclusive sub 1h45 club: great work ladies, very well done! A testimony to their increased training efforts over the past few months and perhaps a sign of greater things to come?

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