Whilst the main event of the weekend in the region was the South-West inter-counties cross country at Killerton House (see previous post), for the mud-dodging, tarmac loving contingent, there was another option on offer in the form of the South West Road Runner's organised First Chance 10k. So called because it offers runners the "first chance" of the year at running a 10k race (if we gloss over the Chard Flyer 10k on New Year's Day...), for those looking to avoid mud and water, this year's event was sadly not the one to sign up for. It became the latest victim of the flooding and recent tidal surges, like its bigger bother, the Exeter Half Marathon was the previous year. Due to the course location, on a flood plain, sandwiched between the River Exe and the Exeter canal, it would appear to be ever thus. However, SWRR did their best to come up with an alternative route, to allow the race to go ahead and to avoid disappointing the 500 or so runners, although it measured in short of 10k (approx. 9.6km / 6 miles). You would typically look to add on 90 seconds to the times for an indication of a 10k time.
Exeter based Exmouth Harrier, Andrew Johnson, lives only a convenient warm-up jog away from the start of this race. It is a firm favourite of his and he consistently runs it year in year out, and his times and performance match that consistency. He continued his good form since turning 50 with 3rd place in his age 50-54 age group with a time of 41:08 for 83rd place overall. Nicola Musgrove was making a rare racing appearance, often allowing her running to take a back seat in a family in which both husband and wife enjoy the sport, and she placed 298th overall in a time of 53:57. Super-Veteran Jim Wyatt (Over 70) was 352nd overall, finishing comfortably under the hour in 57:05.
This event was the first of 10 in the new InStep Devon championship. As such, Andy Johnson finds himself leading the MV50 section and Jim Wyatt the MV60. They will now need to plan their other 4 races carefully to try and keep themselves in contention. For more information on the championship go to: http://www.instepdevon.org.uk/instep-championship.html