Exe-rated runners!

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

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Runners set a blistering pace at the Blister!

On Sunday 24th November that time of year had come around once again: the date of our annual Bicton Blister race. This event has been going for some years but has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years that coincides with a recent general trend in the increased popularity of off-road, trail races. If mud, hills, stunning scenery and countryside fresh air are your thing, then the Blister race is right up your street. It certainly seemed to be up the streets of the 500 runners who contested both the main 10.25 mile event and its little brother, the "lite" 4.5 mile version. Some runners were even overheard as saying that the course was too dry for their liking this year and they preferred the floods and knee high muddy water of last year! Either way and whatever the weather, this course always offers something to challenge even the hardiest of trail runners and this year's assembled field was one of the most competitive yet.

Leading the challenge was Bristol and West runner, Andy Chambers, who covered the tough, hilly course in a time of 61:21. As an indicator of the difference the underfoot conditions made the winning time was over 3 minutes faster than in 2012; although, it should also be highlighted, that Andy is a talented runner and with a strong field this year, he had to work hard for that time nevertheless. The Men’s team prize was won by Exeter harriers, with Axe Valley a close second. Ami Yetton of Plymouth Harriers was a worthy winner of the women's race. Making a rare appearance on this sort of terrain - she is predominantly a road and cross-country specialist - she made light work of the course to finish in a superb time of 1:11:54; again, this time was up by 5 minutes on the winning female time from last year. 431 runners completed the main race.

Due to the need for marshalls and officials, only a limited number of Exmouth members actually "ran" the event. The Harriers have a policy that in order to run in the race you have to find a substitute marshall to stand in your stead. For those of us lucky enough to be able to do that, we all enjoyed the opportunity to race on our usual training ground, over the beautiful terrain of Woodbury Common. One marshall did point out that ten tough miles of running was probably a much more pleasant way of spending a Sunday morning than being stood still, shivering, directing the runners, on such a cold, frosty morning, but those marshals are vital on a course which winds and climbs and twists and turns around our local mini-wilderness.

Tony Hatchard was the highest placed Harrier runner, following his excellent race at the Drogo the previous week with another solid performance, placing 6th place in 64:46. Running the Drogo and the Blister events in back-to-back weeks is no easy feat, and performing well and finishing in the top 10 finishers at both is certainly no mean feat, so hats off to Tony for showing he and his legs are made of tough stuff!

Next in, in 38th place overall and second woman in 73:24, a minute and a half behind the winner, Ami Yetton, came myself, Ellie Sutcliffe. This was the first time I've done this race as I've always marshalled it before, but now I am hooked! I loved every minute of it... well, apart from the slight wobbly moment at about mile 8 when I experienced a sudden blood sugar crash: thanks must go to Haldon Trail runner, Tom Bates, who was running near me and let me have a swig of his electrolyte drink! Without him, who knows, I may have collapsed, or worse, conceded my 2nd place! Now that would have been a catastrophe! ;-) 

Richard Bishop is really getting back into the racing groove. He also did the Drogo-Blister double and was once again in the thick of the front running action, placing 52nd over all and pretty high up in his Over 45 category in a time of 75:31.

Lorraine Gilson was unsure at the start of the race whether or not she would be able to go the whole Blister distance. She's been blighted by plantar fasci-wots-its-name issues for the best part of the year and is only recently getting back into competing again. She planned to run as far as the race split, assess how she felt, and decide there whether to carry on with the full race or opt for the "Lite". As it turns out, she must have felt on top form, as she not only completed the full Blister but she did so in a commendable time of 1:38:34 and her efforts earned her 241st place overall and 2nd in the new vet category she has just edged into: women Over 55. 

Lisa Broad was the third and final female Harrier competing in the full Blister race, finishing 306th in 1:43:00, and well inside the top 75% of finishers. Lisa's time is all the more impressive when we consider that it was her first ever race off-road and that she stopped en route to help an injured runner and added a little bit onto the 10.25 miles by doubling back to alert a marshall. Lisa says: "Thank-you lovely Harriers for an amazing experience! I'm very happy with my 1:43 finish as it was a very eventful race - (1st time off road, first time merrily splashing my way across a river, 1st time stopping to run back up a hill to call St Johns for a man who went down in front of me!) - I DEFINITELY need help to train, train, train for the Grizzly - no way I could do double the distance where I am currently. Oh well, time to pop the trainers on (when they're clean again) and get back out there (especially with my snazzy new head-torch!) Fab marshalling and support. A great event. x" Glad you enjoyed it Lisa, and we think you'll be fine for the Grizzly!!

In 78th (79:49) and 81st (80:14) places were Chris Dupain and Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan, having another one of those intra-club battles, which went right to the line, with Chris edging out Scott by about 50 metres. If the grins on both their faces were anything to go by as they crossed the line, both looked as though they had enjoyed the race and the rematch of a similar tussle they had last week as they finished closely together at the Drogo. 

The real hard work on the day though was done by all the Harriers and their families, and also the Exmouth Cadets and St John's Ambulance crew, who gave up their Sunday morning to stand in the cold and ensure that the event went ahead safely. We have heard this week that the Plymouth Hoe 10 mile race, an iconic race in the county and one of less than a handful of opportunities to race at the 10 mile distance, has been cancelled for next year due to problems with road closures and runner safety. This could well mean that the popularity of off-road events continues to boom and, who knows, next year we may see closer to 600 runners completing the Blister races. They certainly seem to be popular with the local off-road running fraternity, but the race can only go ahead with the combined efforts of club members. So a big thanks to everyone involved!

The huge array of trophies and prizes to be won!
Photo (C) Charles Whitton Photography

Lots of superb photos of all the runners out on the course and of the prize winners were taken by Charles Whitton Photography. They can be viewed and purchased via his website, here: http://www.charleswhittonphotography.com/

Monday, 25 November 2013

Dave and Dave run 26.2 miles for a pasty!

Dave stone and Dave Wright made their annual trip to the Duchy last Sunday (17th November) for the Cornish Marathon. This is one of the toughest marathons in the country in terms of hilly and rugged terrain and the fact that it is staged in November doesn't usually bode too well for good weather. This year, however, was the exception, as runners were blessed with balmy conditions for the time of year with virtually no wind, even up on the higher parts of Bodmin Moor around Jamaica Inn. This is a low-key, friendly, but well organised race, staged by the East Cornwall Harriers. The rewards for runners are plentiful with a tee-shirt, medal and Cornish pasty awaiting all those who complete.

Dave Stone, our 26.2 specialist, went one better that last year, when he was just pipped to the finish line in a final sprint finish, and run out of the placings. He made up for it this year though with a comfortable 3rd place in a time of 2:50:28; one of his fastest times on the course. He was first Man Aged 40 – 44.  

In recent years, Dave Wright has joined Dave Stone on his annual pilgrimage to Kernow Country and this year, despite struggling during parts of the race with a hip injury that Dave reports flares up whenever he really ups his mileage for marathon training, he showed real grit and determination in battling on to the end, even though in discomfort, to finish in a respectable time of 3:35:15. This placed him well up in the overall rankings, 67th, and well up the pecking order in the MV50 section (7th).  Dave's time was only 2 minutes slower than when he last ran the race in 2011 and he stated that, but for the injury, he felt fit and full of running. Hopefully he can get on top of that niggle and 2014 will see him setting some personal best performances.

Around 300 athletes took part in the event. Well done to both our Harriers for being in the thick of the front-running action!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Harriers men top the Drogo podium!

The Drogo ‘10’ is a challenging trail race on woodland tracks and paths around Castle Drogo and the Teign Valley at Drewsteignton. This year it took place on Sunday 17th November on an overcast but mild and windless day, making for ideal running conditions. Despite the name, the race actually measures in at 9.6 miles but offers plenty of climbing within that distance with 3 killer hills to challenge the runners but also to provide some superb views of the valley and river below.

The race is always a highlight on the local running calendar and this year we once again fielded a large team of Exmouth Harriers; fourteen altogether who lined up along side a field of over 500 other runners. Turning out for his home-town club, Tom Merson was the first of that 500 to cross the finish line. He was certainly pushed hard the whole way though as last year's winner, Ceri Rees, along with Tom's training partner, Andy Chambers, all broke the 1 hour barrier: no mean feat at this event which involves around 1500ft of climbing! Tom’s time of 58:17 was also a new course record. 

Tony Hatchard was next in, having a superb run, to finish 6th in 63:40 and comfortably inside his own personal target of making the top 10 in a field that was stronger than usual this year. Adam Miller was a little further adrift of Anthony than he would expect to be on the roads, but, as he recognises, off road technical terrain is Anthony's strength. Adam nevertheless helped the Exmouth team to the first male team prize with his time of 68:28 in 23rd place, with just the 3 runners to count, ahead of a strong Exeter Harriers team.

A further four from the club were inside the top 100 finishers. Marc Cox was 33rd in a solid 70:31. Richard Bishop made a welcome return to racing after a year of so away from competitive running, but he has been putting a solid block of training in recently so we can expect to see his times improving again over the coming months. He was 63rd in 75:27. Richard Hawes was a creditable 69th in 76:10 and looked full of running at the finish. He was followed shortly by Exmouth’s first female, Hannah Bown, who was 74th in 76:48. Hannah also claiming the 3rd female spot, having had a good battle for second with a by-now familiar female rival from South Devon AC: a dual that seems set to run and run as these ladies are very evenly matched and seem to target the same races! 

One dual that Hannah will have been pleased to was the ever-exciting brother-sister battle with Chris Dupain. Chris finished 101st in 79:46 with two more Harriers packing in tightly behind him and crossing the line within half-a-minute, Jon Garrity 103rd in 80:05 and Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan, 105th in 80:22: a little inter-club rivalry always speeds up that last few hundred metres and gives the chance to work on that sprint finish! 

Martin Richards, making a rare racing appearance, was 220th and just outside the 90 minute mark (a tough barrier to break on this tough race) in 90:48. Lisa Hatchard was 250th in 92:55 and Dawn Teed placed 281st in 95:24; both ladies were right in the middle of the finishers. Finally, for those mathematicians amongst you, while Lisa’s was the median performance of the day, Diana Richards, in 343rd in 1:41:28, sneaked into the inter-quartile range (top 3/4 of finishers).

The winning Harriers' male team: Anthony (6th), Adam (23rd) and Tom (1st)

Well done to all the Harriers. Great to have such a good turn out and show our blue and yellow vests off!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Things are hotting up in the XC!

On remembrance Sunday, 10th November, Exmouth Harriers once again headed to Cornwall to take part in the second round of the Westward cross-country league. This month the fixture was held in a high school in Newquay over a 6k course for the women and a 9.6k course for the men. The event also incorporated the Cornish County XC Championships and so, although not eligible for this race within a race, our Harriers had stiffer competition to face than in the previous round in Redruth, with entry numbers up across all the races.

Once again we managed to field a team that offered both strength and depth in the men's event. Although we lost Rob Orton, who has now returned to his winter home and job in the Alps, Tom Merson stepped in as a more than adequate replacement. Backed up by a battalion of some of our club's speedsters, this ensured that we were able to remain in contention in the team competition and consolidate our third place established in round 1.

In a very competitive field of over 160, Tom won the 9.6 km Men’s race in 33:45. The next three scorers were packed close in behind: 20th (Dave Stone 36:48), 22nd (Tony Hatchard 36:50) and 31st (Adam Miller 37:42). Completing the scorers was Jamie Pearson in 51st place (39:00). Marc Cox was 72nd in 40:10 but don’t forget that there were rival scoring runners behind Marc who each scored a point less because of his efforts, making his - and indeed any non-scoring Harrier member's - presence at the event crucial to the overall outcome in the team contest. Cornwall AC Lead the men's team event on 2901 points, ahead of Bideford AC (2888) and then us (2775). Now that the events move north to Devon, it's still all to play for.

The welcome arrival of Cathy Newman into the team meant that the ladies had a sufficient number of counters to close in a team this round. They were 10th on the day and are lying in 12th overall, but really need to get at least 3 ladies to each event from now on to ensure any chance of climbing higher. In a field of over 70 females, Cathy Newman was a creditable 8th in 25:59 and comfortably first FV50. Recently voted in, new ladies captain, Carly Miller, was 37th in 30:23 and out-going captain extraordinaire, Dawn Teed, placed 52nd in 32:51.

The next round is closer to home, at the Exeter Arena Exhibition Fields, on Sunday 1st December. It would be great to field a strong men's and women's team and to repeat (or better!) the success we saw here last year as it is the Devon County Championships. Not forgetting that teams for the South West Intercounties and the National Intercounties championships are decided upon based on your finish position at this event, so get your Devon County entry forms in asap!!!

The boys are back in town! 

Men's captain, Adam Miller, in action in the 9.6km men's race

Opening stages of the men's race, with Dave and Tom out front

Small, but perfectly formed: our ladies team

Lorraine yomps her way to 2nd spot!

In the Harriers, the name 'Croome' has almost become synonymous with the words 'mud' 'off-road', 'hilly', 'tough' as these are the types of events that our multi-terrain loving pairing John and Lorraine most enjoy. Unfortunately, John has been injured of late and so Lorraine has been going it alone and seeing considerable success on the local off-road racing circuit. On Saturday 2nd November, she was in East Devon tackling the Axe Valley Runners organised 'Yarcombe Yomp'.

Lorraine was the sole Exmouth runner at this event, which is run over a two lap course and measures in at around 10 miles. Perhaps a victim of several diary clashes, as this race had to compete with the Templer 10 and Bideford 10 races, both of the same distance and on the same weekend, it only attracted 48 runners. Lorraine nevertheless did well to finish as 2nd lady and 22nd overall in a time of 95:00 on this very tough, hilly course. Perhaps the event should be called the YarCROOME Yomp from now on?!

A Templer 10 triumph for the Harriers!

When runners cross the line of the Teignbridge Trotter's organised Templer 10 race, they usually have 3 comments about it: 'that wasn't 10 miles'; 'I expected it to be hilly - where were the hills?!'; 'what a superbly well organised event'! I think each of the 10 participating Harriers at this year's race would all concur with these observations.

I think the title of the race was chosen more for its alliterative properties than for it's numerical accuracy as the race in fact comes in someway short of 10 miles (about 9.5). It sure manages to pack a lot into that 9.5 miles though, with country lanes, fields, woodland paths, stony lakeside tracks and a nature reserve all adding to the variety of the event.

It never seems to attract the same numbers that the other Teignbridge Trotter organised races do - perhaps because some do not like the 3 miles of road involved or the flat profile of the course - but those who do participate seem to head back year on year, so it certainly has a niche cult following! Amongst that following are members of Torbay AC, who target this event every year en masse and invariably take a clean sweep of the podium places in the men's event. They did so again this year but they didn't quite have the same luck in the ladies event as the top 3 ladies podium spots were all occupied by members of...... the Exmouth Harriers!!

To the best of my knowledge - and certainly for as long as I have been with the club - this is the first time we have managed a 1-2-3 in race. With a number of other Exmouth ladies also finishing high up the overall pecking order, this gave us a comfortable win the female team competition (with 4 to count) and also gave us a 4th place with our B team, which further highlights the strength and depth that we have amongst the ladies at the moment.

As with the Tavy 7, unfortunately we were just lacking enough testosterone to field a men's team, with just the two stalwart representatives there. This did not stop them from being competitive though, with Jim being first in his rather exclusive vet 75 age group and with Scott producing one of the finest sprint finishes of the day as he tussled for the line with 3 other runners... all of whom had longer legs than him! ;-)

Mention too must go to Jane Macdonald and Susan Hill, who both had superb races just 2 weeks after their PB performances at the Amsterdam Marathon: talk about good recovery powers and dedication to the cause! And well done to Hannah Bown, who managed to even the score with a female rival from South Devon AC who just pipped her to the post at the Tavy 7 last week: clearly the longer distance played to Hannah's strengths.

The finish positions and times of the Harriers were as follows:
Ellie Sutcliffe: 1st lady, 16th overall in 61:34
Cathy Newman: 2nd lady, 1st FV50, 19th overall in 63:22
Hannah Bown: 3rd lady, 1st FV35, 25th overall in 66:08
Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan: 8th MV40, 39th overall in 67:38
Emma White: 17th lady, 75th overall in 72:36
Jane MacDonald: 88th overall in 74:54
Lisa Hatchard: 93rd in 76:00
Susan Hill: 99th in 77:15
Dawn Teed: 103rd in 78:08
Mick Allen: 1st MV75, 189th overall in 94:07

Well done to all the Harriers on good runs in what were tough, muddy underfoot conditions.

Team Templer!

The victorious ladies' team with our winning wine :-)

Harriers embrace the club's track running roots!

With the Exeter Arena stadium due to be closed for refurbishment shortly, the Ironbridge Runner Winter 3K Series, now getting on for 30 years old, will be squeezed into just 3 events over six weeks this winter. The first races of the 2013 series were held at the arena track on Monday evening, 28th October, when there was an excellent turn-out of 90 runners, a dozen of whom were Exmouth Harriers.

There were five graded races, each with a field of 17 – 19, providing for a good level of competition for runners of all speeds. In the A race, Exmouth based youngster, Jason Drew (running for Sidmouth Running Club as we don't have a junior's section) set a fierce early pace, but it later transpired that he had been a little over-zealous and had over-cooked slightly, allowing Exmouth Harriers' man-of-the-moment in terms of current form, Rob Orton, to reel him in. Rob them finished a comfortable winner in a time of 9:08. Had he not run the a fast parkrun on the Saturday and a 38 minute 7 mile at the Tavy 7 on the Sunday then a sub 9 minute time would surely have been his for the taking. As it is, this makes for a useful taregt for Rob at his next outing over the 7.5 lap distance. 

In the ‘B’ race Cathy Newman was 5th overall and fastest female on the night, once again putting her younger rivals to shame, with a time of 11:00 dead. Richard Hawes flew down the home straight in his customary fashion to bag 6th place in the B race but started his finishing burst just too late to go under 11 minutes, his time 11:05, second fastest male over 45 on the night, was still a PB for this ever-improving athlete. Also in the ‘B’ race, and also running her second race in two days, was Hannah Bown, who was 11th in 11:27 and second woman. 

There were four Harriers in the ‘C’ race. Andrew Johnson enjoyed the close competition in the middle of a pack of runners and was hauled along to 9th overall in 11:52; he was second fastest MV50-54. Ben White could only recall school sports days in describing his experience of track running but he seemed satisfied to finish 15th in the ‘C’ race with 12:04. Dave Eveleigh was just behind Ben, 17th in 12:05 and second fastest MV55, in what will be his last outing in this category before next week's big 6-0! 

Carly Miller looks quite at home on the track now and she took 14th place in the ‘D’ race with a time of 12:37; a new Personal Best in what she describes as her 'best paced 3k yet'. Lee Russell though was a little disappointed with his time of 12:58 for 17th place in the ‘D’ race. 

 The ‘E’ race saw Nigel Dupain finish 7th in 13:17, just 6 seconds behind the winner of his MV60-64 category. There was then a bit of a gap to Dawn Teed who was 8th in the ‘E’ race in 14:01, on weary legs from her Tavy 7 exertions, but a valued part of the team as usual. 

The remaining two races in the series are at the Arena on 11 and 25 November. £5 entry on the night. Races start at 7pm.

Harriers do the double at Tavy 7!

To set the scene: imagine a remote, rugged, wet, windy and wild field in the middle of Dartmoor and, picture in it, a gathering of small white tents and marquees, a row of blue portaloos and 333 multi-coloured runners in various club and charity vests milling about and you have the Tavy 7! To set a date at the end of October for a race that is run out of a field a good 2 miles from the nearest form of civilisation (not including the resident sheep!) seems slightly bizarre, and yet, year on year, the Tavy 7 goes off without a hitch and offers runners one of the best organised races on the local running calendar and a superb value for money experience. The tents and portaloos even stood up to the wrath of the worst storm to hit the UK this year and only added to the experience of what is already an atmospheric and dramatic 7 mile moorland race.

This year the Harriers decided to target the race as a team as there were plenty of prizes on offer, with team awards for the top 3 men's and women's teams. Unfortunately, we did not quite manage to field a men's team, but we did have more than sufficient runners for a women's team and the journey across the moor in the wet and blustery conditions was by no means a wasted effort. Read on to find out why!

The first success for the Harriers came from Rob Orton. Continuing his rich vein of form of late, Rob stormed to an easy win in an amazing time, given the conditions, of 38:04. Rob won here last year too but this year managed to better his time by over a minute in tougher conditions. He was a comfortable winner with a margin of over 3 minutes.

I, Ellie Sutcliffe, then secured a double for the Harriers in winning the ladies event in a time of 44:36 in 15th place overall. This was also an improvement by over a minute on my winning time from 2011; however, I had to work hard for the victory as I trailed super-veteran athlete, Ann Luke from Tamar Trotters, for most of the race and only managed to get past her in the last half mile.

Our ladies team then packed in tight behind to gain valuable points towards the team competition and to claim some category podium places.

Hannah Bown was 37th overall and 5th lady in a time of 47:46 - just out-sprinted to 4th by Michelle Moore from South Devon AC. Hannah did, however, claim top spot in the vet 35 category - an age group she has only recently moved into and in which she will no doubt be seeing considerable success for some years now to come.

Terry Oldham was our next athlete home. Although the men lacked the 4th counter needed to field a full team, this didn't mean that Terry just coasted around on a nice Sunday afternoon jog across the moors. He raced the event to the best of his ability and posted a fine time of 53:26 for 5th spot in his MV55 category and 93rd overall, comfortably inside the top third of finishers.

Dave Eveleigh was the next Harrier home and was quite rightly pleased as punch with his performance as his time of 55:31 as it was a full 5 minutes faster than his time of the course set in 2011. Dave was 123rd overall and 7th MV55; however, it should be highlighted that he was very much at the top end of this category with a milestone birthday coming up in a couple of week's time. Things look very promising for Dave in 2014 and the other vet 60 year olds had better watch out if he keeps this vein of form up!

Terry's wife, Lorraine Gilson, and Dawn Teed, had another of their now legendary epic battles for the line. Although Dawn went out hard and looked to have this little duel sewn up, she had not bargained on Lorraine's endurance enabling her to claw her way back up to her friend, club mate and category rival towards the end of the race. In the end it was a tussle to the line and the two of them crossed it together, being given the same time of 56:52, but Lorraine was just given the nod over Dawn in terms of positions. This meant that they were 156th and 157th overall, so inside the top 50% of runners, and they placed 2nd and 3rd in the FV50 category respectively.

In terms of the female team placings, it was very tight as just two points seperated us from South Devon AC. But a win is a win and so our ladies team can add this accolade to a fast expanding list of team triumphs this year.

Well done to all the runners who braved the elements on Dartmoor. The fantastic array of reasonably priced cakes, bacon baps and teas and coffees that we indulged in after were highly deserved!

Team Tavy!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Harriers sat in 3rd spot after XC opener in Redruth

The Westward League Cross-Country got underway on the 13th October with the first of 6 fixtures of the season being held at Redruth School, in Cornwall. At over 100 miles each way, this may seem like a long way to travel for what can amount to only 20 minutes of running, the level of competition at the Westward League events is unlike any other you will find in the South West and the support from fellow team mates makes it a great club day out. 
Harriers laid down the hammer for their local rivals with a set of solid performances over the rather uninspiring, but tough 8km course with a series of short, sharp climbs and descents. Most of the Exmouth athletes were running on tired legs as they had already taken part in the Parret Trail relays the previous day. So, bearing in mind the less-than-ideal preparation for this round and that both an individual's and a club's weakest score from the six fixtures can be dropped for the final rankings, the results were extremely encouraging.
Individually, for the women, over a two lap, 4.9 km, Carly Miller was 26th in 23:37 and Dawn Teed 35th in 25:22. With my (Ellie) calf playing up slightly from the previous day's exertions, causing me to withdraw on the morning, this unfortunately left Carly and Dawn short of a full scoring trio of counters in this first round, but with the option of dropping a fixture’s score later and an awful lot of points still on offer, all is by no means lost for the ladies team. 
The men raced over 8.1.km. Rob Orton was our first finisher, seventh in 28:35, with Tony Hatchard 16th in 29:31 and Dave Stone 20th in 29:55. This trio were supported by a slightly under-the-weather Adam Miller, 35th in 31:01, and the recently returned and not yet at full fitness Jamie Pearson, 36th in 31:05. These five were the team counters and brought the team home in 3rd place overall, behind strong Bideford AC and Cornwall AC squads. 
Although outside of the 5 counters, other Exmouth runners are still vital to the competition, as they can push rival team members down the standings and prevent them from gaining points. Playing their part in the team effort were Hugh Marsden, who completed the race in 33:42 for 65th, and Jim Wyatt (puzzlingly labelled as Over 55, although in fact over 70!) was 20th in 46:30.
In the Veterans competition Stone was third Over 40, Marsden fourth Over 50 and Wyatt seventh Over 60 (although in fact over 70). 
The next event is in Newquay on 10th November. It would be great to get another strong men's team to this event to defend our third spot and try and make some headway on 2nd and 1st. Having a full compliment of ladies there too would also be great. We car share and petrol is claimed back off the club. It's a fun day off with fellow teamies and there are no entry fees as these are paid for by the club, so you literally have nothing to lose by giving the cross-country a go!

The men's team at Redruth.

And the depleted ladies' team!

Adam is the bioMic man at Eden!

The imposing and impressive structures of the Eden Project glass biomes sure make for a unique backdrop to a race and Adam showed that he wasn't so much the bionic man as the biomic man when he raced to a 2nd place podium finish at the Eden Project Half Marathon on October 20th.

After a year out, the Eden Project Marathon and Half Marathon events were back with a bang this year, boasting a new and improved course. I'm not sure whether or not Adam would agree that the course was "improved" but he'd certainly say that it was tougher, incorporating more hills and off-road, technical sections that were muddy and heavy going underfoot. In light of this, Adam's time of 81:08 was very impressive and saw him run in as a comfortable 2nd place in the 13.1 mile event, 3 minutes clear of the 3rd placed athlete. However, the winner of the race - also the winner of the opening round of the Westward League Cross-Country in Redruth, Peter Le Grice of Mounts Bay Harriers, was equally as untroubled and secure in first. I think Adam's good-humoured acceptance of the situation explains it best: 'Yes, I came second, but it was close; a real fight to the line. We were sprinting for it, but he eventually held me off with just an 8 minute cushion'!! Le Grice will be one to watch for the Westward League title at this rate! But that it not to do away with Adam's achievement as he still had to fend off some handy athletes and very much deserved his 2nd place, which was 2 places and 2 minutes better than his previous outing here in 2011, and on a tougher course. Well done Adam of Eden!

Adam in front of the biomes with his prizes at Eden.

Our super-vets impress at the Dart-Vale races

The Dartmoor Vale races, organised by the Rotary Club of Dartmoor in conjunction with the Sibelco clay works, consist of a trip of races of three different distances: 10km, half-marathon and a full marathon, all on the road, around Kingsteignton (for the 10k) and further up the Teign Valley to Chudleigh (the half and full, which is two laps of the half). 

Dave Stone was the lone Harrier representative in the 10k race and had dual motives for doing well in the event. Aside from his usual competitive nature which always drives him to give his all and try and mix it with the leaders, he was also mindful that he held just a 0.02% advantage over Mike Musgrove in the Harriers' Club Championship. Thi race represented a final opportunity to put a cushion between himself and Mike and ensure a victory by the time the championship wraps up at the end of October. It was mission fulfilled for Dave on both counts as he completed the 10km route in a swift 35:26, which gave him 2nd place overall in the race, just 50 meters behind the winner, and earned him some valuable age-graded percentage points to lift him clear of Mike. 

Mick Allen, born in 1938 and being 75 years of age, is fully entitled to the description of Super-Veteran in more ways than one. He competes sparingly and here took on the half marathon. The course is far from an easy one, being undulating throughout and with one particularly steep hill out of Chudleigh, so he did exceptionally well to complete in a time of 2:11:58 for 180th overall out of 236 runners and 1st MV70. 

Les Turner, a young whipper snapper in comparison to Mick, but still an over-70 veteran himself, completed the full Marathon in 4:55:41 for 123rd of 132 and was also 1st MV70. As this race also incorporates the Devon County Marathon Championship, Les now finds himself as the proud title holder of county champion and can await the arrival of a shiny gold medal coming through the post as just reward for his efforts. Les has shown himself to be nothing if not versatile this year as he has had a go at every distance from 100m sprinting up to the 'Big Daddy' of endurance events, the marathon. He's even found time for a sport of tripple jump, javelin throwing and parkrunning too: talk about a 'have-a-go' attitude! He puts us youngsters to shame!

Well done to all three Harriers representatives for doing the club proud once again!

Harribelles are ringing in Amsterdam!

A quartet of 'Harribelles' (a new term coined for the members of the Exmouth Harriers who also run with the Exmouth Belles Running Club) travelled to Amsterdam on the weekend of October 20th to take part in the annual marathon in the city. Billed as a fast, flat course with PB potential, our four ladies were planning to do just that: beg themselves a pan-full of PBs as a Dutch souvenir! 
After overnight rain and early morning fog soon lifted to give way to a sunny, autumn day which made for ideal marathon running conditions.
The race started and finished in the 1928 Olympic Stadium. After the elite runners had set off, some 11,000 runners followed in their wake in in the mass participation event. Long distance running, as a spectator sport, does not seem to have been embraced in Mainland Europe with quite the same passion and fervor that we have witnessed at events such as the London Marathon in the UK. This meant that, in certain parts of the course, especially along a 10km dog-leg by the river, support was thin. Nevertheless, our four ladies - Susan Hill, Jane MacDonald, Amanda McCann and Lorraine Kirby - dug deep and never lost sight of their goal. They maintained their target pace right through to the finish, on the track inside the old Olympic Stadium. The dearth of support on some quiet corners of the route was more than compensated for within the stadium as Susan describes running in to be greeted by an atmosphere that was ‘incredible’.
All four runners finished well inside the first half of finishers. Susan was timed at 3:49:00 for a massive personal best; Jane at 3:49:26, also for a personal best. Amanda ran 3:56:22 - again, a PB. These three were delighted to break the pinnacle of barriers for many female club runners: the magical 4 hour mark! Although Lorraine just missed out on that target by a hair's breath, her performance was perhaps the most impressive of all as she came very close with her 4:03:52, despite suffering illness in the week before the race. All four acknowledged the value of training with both the Belles and the Harriers for their success in Holland. Having seen the dedication these ladies have put in on training nights all season and having seen them improving their times at the monthly 'Sandy Bay Time Trial', this fantastic set of results is just reward for all their hard work and efforts: well done ladies!