Exe-rated runners!

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

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Harriers top vets at new relay event!

A dozen Exmouth Harriers (3 teams of 4) were at Central Park in Plymouth on Sunday 16th February for a new Relay event organised by West Devon’s Armada Running Network. This event was to replace the annual Plymouth Hoe 10 mile race, which couldn't go ahead this year due to traffic and licencing problems. The relays followed the format of the now familiar Erme Valley event, held in July every year, but had the added advantage of being contained within the park and so in a traffic free environment. There were four legs of 2 ½ miles on an undulating route around the paths in the park. The sun made one of its increasingly rare appearances on the day and so runners, marshalls and supporters alike were able to benefit from the balmy conditions; however, it also meant that this lured the world and his wife to the park, meaning that there were plenty of perambulating Plymouthians and their dogs to dodge.

This time it was the turn of a male veterans’ team to be in the limelight. The over-60 quartet of Steve Merry, Phil Bater, Dave Eveleigh and Nigel Dupain recorded a total time of 77:39 to finish 39th overall of 48 teams and 1st in their age category. Although they had limited opposition, the old adage of 'you've got to be in it to win it' very much applies here as it should not be underestimated how difficult it is in a club the size of Exmouth not only to find 4 runners of this age category within the membership but a) to find 4 that are available on the day and b) to find 4 that are both available, fit and niggle free. In the case of Steve Merry, the event marked a welcome return to racing for the first time for some years, and for Phil Bater, for some months. I did try to helpfully point out that the first one back is always the hardest and they can only get easier from here on in, but a very red faced Steve did not seem to agree as he exclaimed, "You are assuming there will be a next time?" Well, we hope so Steve; please stick at it!!

Our vet 60 team give us the finger(!) as today they were number 1!
L - R: Nigel, Steve, Phil, Dave E.

The Senior Women’s team were a very creditable 3rd, claiming the female bronze medal, and they placed 27th overall in 70:53. Cathy Newman recorded 15:15 for her leg, the second fastest female leg of the day, with new member Sarah Jackman, running her 3rd race in 3 consequetive weeks and more than proving her worth to the team, ran 18:12. Lisa Hatchard, helping the team out though not at full fitness due to an injury sustained whilst swimming, did 19:04 and Carly Miller anchored the team home, fending of a closing Tamar Trotters lady, to secure the bronze medal in 18:22.

Our senior ladies team placed 3rd overall.
L - R: Lisa, Cathy, Sarah, Captain-Carly

Our senior men's team were 4th overall but were in fact the 2nd club team, 1st and 2nd places being taken by carefully selected scratch teams. Berihu Tesfay gained 50 seconds on the eventual 3rd placed Torbay A.C. team when he ran the fastest time of the day of 12:39 on the final leg (50 seconds is impressive over just 2.5 miles), but he ran out of the distance needed to overall the South Devon based outfit, ending up 25 seconds adrift. The total time for this team was 54:34, the other three runners being Tony Hatchard who lead them out with a swift 13:28, captain Adam Miller on the second leg with 13:57, and Mark Cox on the third with 14:30.

Our senior men's team, who finished just out of the medals in 4th, despite all having solid runs and Berihu posting the fastest leg of the day. Next time ay lads!?
L - R: Berihu, Marc, Adam (Captain), Tony

It was a great event and one that was really enjoyable to watch as you can see the whole event unfold and the positions change with each lap. Hopefully it will continue to grow year on year.

Photos to follow shortly: check back next week.

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