Exe-rated runners!

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

Friday, 23 May 2014

Harriers go all night long at Hope 24

On the weekend of the 10th and 11th of May, no less than 26 Exmouth Harriers were down in Newham Park, in Plympton, to take part in a new event that was also an all-new concept to club members too. The Hope 24 relay, as the number in the title suggests, is a 24 hour event in which competitors may compete in teams of 8, 5, 3, as a pair or, for the utter-nutters out there, as a solo entrant, and the objective is to run as far as you can within a 24 hour period.

The event followed a testing, hilly, off-road, 5 mile loop around Newham Park. Steep climbs, exposed fields, wooded bluebell-lined paths, stream crossings and a lot of mud all had to be negotiated over the 5 mile circuit.... and then negotiated again... and again... and again. For some of our team members, as many as 9 laps were completed over the course of the event, which began at midday on the Saturday and continued all throughout the night to finish at midday on the Sunday.

The idea to support Hope 24 came from men's team captain, Adam Miller, many months ago. Some of our local running friends, including second claim Harrier, Tom Merson, had already taken part in a 24 hour relay race organised by Adidas, called the 24 hour Thunder Run, last summer. The concept of going en masse, as a club, camping over and doing something that would generate real team spirit and cameraderie proved to be a popular one with our members and so, within no time at all, Adam had signed up 4 teams: 2 teams of 8 runners and 2 teams of 5. Inevitably, as time drew nearer, injuries and other committments meant that a few last minute team changes had to happen, and so thank you and well done to Adam for managing to get 4 full, (relatively!) injury-free teams down to the race on the weekend.

Hope for Children supports orphaned, poor and exploited children in both the UK and developing countries. The event was primarily a charity one and so no prizes were awarded for the top teams; however, that did not deter the Exmouth contingent from being competitive in their respective categories and we certainly made our presence felt in the top half of the leader board.

Our “Famous Five” team, captained by Adam, managed to complete an impressive total of 38 laps (equivalent of 190 miles) over the 24 hours to finish first overall, beating many teams of 8 in the process. This team was composed of Hannah Bown (its lone female representative, holding her own with the guys!), Pete Fletcher, Hugh Marsden (a last minute swap from a team of 8 as Tony Hatchard had to withdraw due to injury - so thanks Hugh!), Adam Miller and Mike Musgrove.

In 4th place overall and second in the teams of 8 category was the “Exmouth Excellent Eight”. This team was made up of Chris Dupain, Rebecca Fagg, Jon Garrity, Sarah Jackman, Cathy Newman, Richard Pyle, Ellie Sutcliffe and Emma White. Between use out team completed 34 laps (170 miles), although, in reality, we actually did one extra lap and 5 miles more than this as one of our change overs seems to have been missed.

In 6th place overall was our second team of 5 runners: the “Almost Famous Five”, who completed a mighty impressive 31 laps (155 miles), on very little or no sleep; team members being, Lisa Hatchard (like Hannah, the only female in the team), Scott Jordan (using this as a last long training run before the Edinburgh Marathon in 2 weeks time), Bob Keast, Terry Oldham and Ben White.

Our other team of 8 chalked up 28 laps between them - the equivalent of 140 miles - to finish 13th overall. This octet, the “Equally  Excellent Eight” consisted of Nigel Dupain, Lorraine Gilson,  Joan and Stan Mason, Alison Milborrow, Carly Miller, Dawn Teed and Amy Tew.

Around 30 teams and getting on for 40 individuals took part and so to be within the top 13 teams was an excellent achievement and is testament to both the quality of the runners we have in the club, their determination, but, mostly, their sense of team work and not wanting to let their other teams members down, which kept them going - in the words of Lionnel Richie - "all night long"!

And now, to relive the event in pictures...

Newcomer, Rich Pyle, throws himself into action for his team of 8

Alison Milborrow dusts off her trainers for her first outing since injury at the relays

Hugh Marsden - competitive to the hilt, a stalwart team player, and now famous throughout Devon and the South Atlantic for his age-defying red shorts!

Sarah Jackman: 2nd relay event for the Harriers since joining the club this year

Friendships were forged and bromances blossomed at the Hope 24!

Finishing with a flare: Nigel leads his team of 8 home conga-style at the end of the 24 hours

Team Hope, team Harrier: a group shot at the end of the event: it went on so long that Chris even had time to grow a mohawk whilst there!

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