Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It's 'girl power' at Dornafield!

For those lady Harriers not wanting to travel up the M5 to a half-marathon this weekend, there was the shorter and more local option of a ladies only 10k race, held at Dornafield Caravan Park, near Newton Abbot. Organised by the Teignbridge Trotters, this race represents one of a very limited number - and perhaps the only option in the local area - of opportunities for women to have their own race and cross a finish line in pole position overall. 

The course, held on quiet country lanes around the villages of Ogwell and Denbury, is an undulating one and, for the past two years, it has not been blessed with the best weather conditions. This year it at least remained dry, but was very blustery nonetheless, but the runners did not have to paddle their way through two 20m long, knee deep swimming pools that had formed in the lanes as we did last year! But, as we know, us females are made of stern stuff, and the Harriers ladies in particular were not going to let a few puffs of wind stop them from racing hard.

Start of the Dornafield Ladies 10k, with Cathy to the fore (front right)
(C) Pete Newman

When it comes to running and 'girl power', Exmouth Harrier's Cathy Newman is perhaps the best example we have of a 'tough and talented cookie'. She has been in this running game for longer than most members of the club and has seen massive success and recorded some incredible times and performances over the years. Perhaps even more impressive is that, at 51, she is still doing so. She is still placing in the top three outright in races and still setting some times that many senior athletes could only dream of! In Sunday's blustery conditions, she clocked a time of 41:05 to take 2nd place behind runaway winner Serane Stone from Tiverton (40:00 flat), so she of course ran out a comfortable winner of the FV50 category.

Cathy pushing on through one of the villages on the undulating, rural route
(C) Pete Newman

And with her unique prize for placing 2nd lady: a commissioned print by a local artist
(C) Pete Newman

The next Harrier home was Julie Gellender, who finished 15th overall, 2nd woman aged 40-44, in 46:11. If that name sounds familiar to any Harriers, Julie used to run with us a few years ago until she went to Germany to live for a couple of years. She's now back and training with us again and so it was great to have her back racing with us - and racing so well - on Sunday. Welcome back Julie! 

Carly Miller, boosted by her fine run at Yeovilton on Wednesday, placed 17th in a time of 46:42. This was her second PB of the week, carving 20 seconds off her previous best, set at Ivybridge in May. Carly prefers undulating to flat courses but admitted that she could still feel Wednesday's efforts in her legs on the hills, and so this time is all the more promising in light of that.

The clock doesn't lie: it's another PB for Carly!
(C) Pete Newman

Carly and Lisa Hatchard are pretty evenly matched over the 10k distance. At the last couple of outings Lisa has gotten the better of Carly, but sadly for Lisa, she did not quite manage that today. However, she was not really running on her preferred surface, so ran well to place 21st in 47:42 and score some vital points for the ladies team: Cathy, Julie, Carly and Lisa all made up the Exmouth 'A' team, which came a very close second behind the host club, Teignbridge, who had 30 member in the race. Normally it is not easy for organising club to turn out such a good team because help is needed on race day, but at this event the men step up to provide that help, enabling the women to run.

3 of the 4 members of the successful ladies team (Julie missing).
Put some clothes on Lisa: Tilly looks horrified!!
(C) Pete Newman

Exmouth women’s captain, Dawn Teed, was a highly respectable 29th overall in 49:04 and 5th Woman aged 50-54: a very strong category on the day, headed up by our own Cathy Newman; while Joan Mason made a welcome return to racing after illness forced her to withdraw from the Torbay 10k at the last minute. Joan finished one place inside the top half of runners, placing 81st of the 164 finishers in 56:09 and, in so doing, totting up some useful points for herself in the Exmouth Harriers club championship.

All of the participating Harriers ladies
L - R: Julie, Dawn (captain), Joan, Cathy, Carly, Lisa - and mascot, Tilly!

The ladies reported great cameraderie at the event and great cakes afterwards (even Hugh indulged!). It is superb that we are getting so many ladies teams out to local races now and every time we do, we seem to come away with something. We must thank team captain, Dawn, for motivating all of us ladies and encouraging everyone to try out new races. Lots more opportunities to field teams at events this Autumn, with the cross-countries, the Templer Ten, the Drogo 10 and the Tavy 7 all coming up. Come on ladies - give them a go!!

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