Exe-rated runners!

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

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Harriers females are dashing!

Well, that was never in question, right?! But what I should perhaps qualify that statement with is that on Thursday 5th June, they were not simply dashing, but 'Dawlish Dashing', as they took part in the 4 mile multi-terrain Dawlish Coastal Dash race.

Although Exmouth looks almost touchable from the end of the course, a trip up and then back down river was necessary for the participants who line up at Dawlish Warren for a 1 mile leg stretch along the beach, hurdling over and ducking under approximately 20 wooden groynes as they work their way along.... and then doing the same as they turn around and come all the way back again. From here the run continues on along the sea front - thankfully opened just this week, Network Rail kindly adhering to their promise to have the storm-damaged sea wall repaired in time for the race. Runners then cross the railway footbridge just before they reach Dawlish town centre and return to the Warren along the cliff top path.

I, Ellie Sutcliffe, was the only Harrier entered under the Harrier's name, but several Harribelles (Harriers who also run as Exmouth Belles) were out en masse in their red racing vests.

I had a good race against some quality competition in the form of Tiverton's Serane Stone and Teignbidge's Helen Anthony, but managed to use the off-road beach section to my advantage to forge an early gap on the road specialists behind me, which, at a race of this short distance, was good enough to see me home to the finish as first lady. I was pleasantly surprised by my time of 24:19, which was 1 minute up on my 2012 time - the only other time I've done this event. So the fitness is coming back.... slowly! Pleased with the prize too - a meal voucher for 2, with drinks, at the Mount Pleasant Inn (the race sponsor). I might treat Matt for a change! ;-)

The Harribelles also had some great runs between them, with many of them seeing a vast improvement on their times from when they ran this event last year.

Susan Hill brought them home in 29:53, carving almost 2 minutes off last year's time and this despite going up an age category to the FV55 section: a great run for Susan who keeps getting better and better.

Lorraine Kirby ran 32:00 to finish inside the top two thirds of finishers and, overall, there were some strong runs and course bests from the 9 members of the Running Belles who raced.

144 finishers. The race was won, for about the 6th time running(!), by Torbay's Pete Monaghan, in 21:14.

The Dawlish Dashers, making their way along the Warren beach, with Exmouth in the background.

Inter-club battles spice up Run Exe 5k

A bit of friendly competition can go a long way to bringing out the best performances in an athlete. When club bragging rights are in question, the stakes are raised even higher, meaning you can sometimes dig just that little bit deeper still to pull a good performance out of the bag. That is certainly true of our 7 Harriers who lined up for the June Round of the Run Exe 5k, organised by Iron Bridge Runners, and this time incorporating the InStep Devon Championships. Of those 7 runners, 6 were involved in a two-way tussle with a club mate for a down-to-the-wire finish.

The first little mini-battle came from Mike Musgrove and Pete Fletcher. This wasn't the first little duel for these two, merely a continuation of a friendly rivalry initiated at the Hope 24 relays, where they - along with men's captain Adam Miller - tussled for the fastest leg time. The rivallry continued at club nights and spilled into the 1 mile time-trial and was consolidated via a new game that they are all playing on Strava whereby you go out and aim to beat other peoples' times at various courses they have set up and recorded on the website. So, ding-ding, seconds out, round 4.... On this occasion, Mike had that little bit more strength-endurance required for the 5k and took Pete's scalp as pay back for Pete beating him at the shorter, more explosive, 1 mile time trial the previous week. Mike finished in 9th place on a time of 17:17, taking top honours in the MV45 section, just 3 seconds ahead of him namesake and category rival, Mike Feighan, from SWRR. Pete finished just 1 second adrift in a very pleasing 17:18, chopping a whopping 31 seconds off his time from last month: a sign of his fast improvement and of greater things to come perhaps? Watch out Mike!

A short way behind this tussling pair came the equally closely locked duo of Jon Garrity and Chris Dupain. On paper Jon would appear to be the fastest, but Chris has been on a massive improvement curve over the past year and showing a particular strength in the 5k distance, so it was really either runner's victory for the taking. On the night, Jon's stamina won out over Chris' speed and he stole the advantage in the final lap, finishing in 14th place overall, as 4th MV40, in 18:27, a mere 4 seconds ahead of Chris who clocked a fine 18:31 for 15th place.

Sandwiched and somewhat isolated in the middle of all these mini-battles was the ever consistent Andy Johnson. Doing his own thing and continuing to pace himself well (as well he might as he has done so many of these Run Exe 5k runs now he must now every pothole and divot on the course!) he ran yet another 20 minute time (20:32) for 45th spot.

Our final battle of the night was for the honours in the MV70 section. There were just two athletes vying for the top spot in this category and both of them were Harriers. In the end, Mike Keep's storming PB run of 24:52 for 77th place overall proved to be just too hot a pace for his team mate and rival, Les Turner, to live with. Les though still had a solid run himself to clock 28:35 for 89th overall, only 1 minute slower than the times he was clocking for the distance 4 years ago when he was a youthful 66 years old!!

Well done to all the guys (no female representation, we'll have to do something about that next round!).

Check the InStep Devon Championship webpage at the start of next week to see how this has effected your standings in the competition! http://www.instepdevon.org.uk/instep-championship.html

Monday, 2 June 2014

It's quality, not quantity for the Harriers May bank holiday weekend

There was limited competitive activity from Exmouth Harriers over the Bank Holiday week-end: perhaps most members are still recovering from running in the region of 40 miles in one weekend at the Hope 24 two weeks ago?! However, whilst we were poorly represented in numbers at events across the region, we, as always, managed to make our presence felt in terms of quality.

Most of the weekend action took place at opposite ends of the compass, with Harriers competing at events in Plymouth and Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Marathon

Up in Edinburgh, two club members - Jamie Palmer and Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan - were taking on the mighty challenge of the marathon distance. The the ever popular event forms part of a weekend long running festival, held each year on May Bank Holiday weekend, in the Scottish capital. Traditionally this race has been struck by soaring temperatures, so thankfully, a rather balmy but semi-overcast day greeted the participants this year as they made their way along the course that starts and finishes in Hollyrood Park, near St. Arthur's Seat.

Both our guys had pre-race targets that they wanted to achieve; for Jamie, it was it first ever marathon (hard to believe, given his vast experience and years of running, but true), and for Scott, his second, and so he was looking to build upon his previous time of 3:34, run in London in 2012.

For some reason, the organisers have opted to protect people's personal details by not publishing a full list of results this year, so we don't know Jamie and Scott's official chip to chip times, however, they are in the region of 3h10 for Jamie (he was hoping for close to 3 hours and so, for a first attempt at this distance and on the back of a winter of disrupted training following a nasty fall whilst running on Woodbury Common), this is extremely encouraging and shows the promise of a sub 3h clocking in the near future.

Scott was aiming to just duck under 3h30 and, we hear, ever so narrowly missed this, his time approximately 3h31. Still a great effort and showing that our 2 Trigs is just as at home on the roads as he is grinding out a rhythm uphill, in the mud on our Devonshire cliffs!

Devon County Track and Field Championships, Plymouth

Perhaps the enforced change of venue for this year's championships, following the recent temporary closure of the Exeter track, meant that we had less members competing at this year's county championships, held on the track at Brickfields Arena, Plymouth. Nevertheless, for those who did opt to trek off down the A38 on bank holiday Sunday, the journey proved worthwhile, as all three members came away with medals, PBs and/or SBs.

Second claim member, Tom Merson, stormed to unchallenged victories in both the 3000m (8:49:99) and 1500m (around 4:13:89). 

Adam Miller, always keen to have a crack at new events and distances and to lead by example in his role as men's team captain, took on his first Senior 1500m race. Inexperienced at this distance - indeed, at track events as a whole - Adam ran a very astute and tactically clever race to cross the line in silver medal position (behind Tom) in 4:25:43. With Merson disappearing into the distance, half-a-dozen other men were left to battle it out for the silver. Adam positioned himself well in the chasing pack and pushed himself to the limit down the home straight to finish second, also picking up an Over 35 Men’s Gold. 

In a mixed 3000m race, Dave Eveleigh was towards the back of the field but had a really good battle with local category rival, David Phillips from SWRR, for the spoils in the over 60s men section. Although he narrowly missed out on the gold, Dave was thrilled with his time - an excellent 11:59:35: a time which eclipses most of the times he ran for this distance when he was in the vet 55 category. The time was well inside the 13 minutes standard which entitled him to collect his well deserved silver medal, even against limited opposition.

Muskies Madne5.5, Plymouth

Nope, not a typo, that is 5.5 that you read in the title of this race which also gives away it's distance: 5.5 miles. I, Ellie Sutcliffe, was the lone Harrier representative at this multi-terrain race, held on the Saturday evening from King's Tamerton, on the outskirts of Plymouth. Billed as a trail race, the run was unfortunately only 1 part trail to 2 parts Plymouth housing estate. Had I have known this, I probs wouldn't have made the trip down there. Nonetheless, it was a well organised race by the Plymouth Muskateers (you know, the ones who wear those lovely turquoise running vests?!) and I had a good race, having a really competitive tussle with 4 other females for the top three spots. In the end, I finished 2nd lady, just 10 seconds behind first, and having been given a confidence boost that my calf can now handle fast descents on tarmac: good to know!