Exe-rated runners!

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

Monday, 10 March 2014

PBs galore at Bideford and Bath and a silver for Susan!

Sunday 2nd March saw two big half marathon races take place in the South West - the Bath Half and, nearer to home, the Bideford Half in North Devon. Those wanting a big city half with lots of crowd support on route and who don't mind the hefty £40 entry fee or mind jostling for position with 11'000 other runners, opt for Bath; for those preferring a smaller, lower-key, cheaper affair, Bideford is the one for them. What both events have in common though is that they both offer fast, flat PB potential courses, and many Harriers seized their opportunity to achieve just that.


Eight Harriers lined up in a field of over 11,000 competitors to complete 2 laps of this historic and architecturally stunning city. For our home club, the most impressive performance was by Susan Hill, who had a phenomenal run to finish a superb 2nd of over 80 runners in the Women Age 55-59 category, in a new personal best time of 1:41:13. She was also well inside the top 2,000 of those 11,000 finishers. Susan has only just entered this 5 year age category and, if this is anything to go by, we can expect to see a lot more success from her as the season progresses. A PB and a podium place at such a huge event: Susan could not have wished for anything better than that. Very well done Susan!

Three other Harriers came close to their PBs: Chris Dupain was 621st in 90:57, improving on his season's best from last month's Exeter Half by about 2 1/2 minutes. Showing a remarkable turn of consistency and spot on pacing, Ben White was 1330th in 98:46, just 4 seconds faster than his run at the Exeter Half. Jane MacDonald placed 1854th overall and 22nd of 439 women aged 45-49 in 1:43:03, just shy of her PB of 1:42 set at the Chippenham Half last Autumn. 

Hannah Bown’s and Emma White’s performances meant that the three Dupain siblings all finished within 10 minutes of each other: a little family rivalry never does any harm for teasing out some consistent performances! Hannah was 567th overall, 77th of nearly 5,000 women & 8th of nearly 600 women aged 35-39 in a time of 90:47. It should be mentioned that Hannah missed a lot of training due to a lengthy winter virus so this time is all the more encouraging and shows that, when back to full form and fitness, another sub 1h30 clocking is comfortably within her grasp. Emma White was 1493rd overall and 180th female in 1:40:00. Again, a good time considering that running is really her second sport after hockey: the endurance of running and speed required for hockey appear to make for a good combination! 

Nicholas Brown finished 1951st of all competitors in a consistent 1:43:18 and was 228th of nearly 600 men aged 40-44. Amanda McCann was timed at 1:46:18, also close to her PB, and was 2350th in the whole race but, 40th out of nearly 600 women aged 40-44.

What was most impressive is that of these 8 runners, 6 are due to participate in the Grizzly race the following week, so well done to them!


Nearer to home, in Bideford, four Exmouth Harriers took on the challenge of running 13.1 flat miles around the quay and along the Tarka trail in his North Devon town. Nearly 1,000 completed this year’s race - not bad numbers considering the event was competing for entries with the Bath Half and also the last round in the Westward Cross Country League. 

Adrian Kearns was 125th and 23rd of 101 Men Age 40-44 in 90:17, about 5 minutes shy of the Personal Best he ran set at the Burnham-on-Sea Half Marathon in 2010. Since then he has consitently run at least one half marathon every year and his times have always been under 91 minutes. 

Andrew Johnson was 200th and 15th of 63 men aged 50-54, his time was a solid 95:16. 

It was good to see Roger Riggs donning the blue and yellow vest once again after a string of injury problems over the past year or so and his position of 743rd and time of 2:07:18 give him encouragement that he is well on his way back to full fitness. 

The performance of the day here though came from our super-vet, over 75 athlete, Mick Allen. Mick was 719th overall and a comfortable winner of this category that contained 3 steely competitors and was clocked at 2:06:15. Well done Mick and all the Harriers.

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