The Teignbridge Trotters were out in force on Sunday, in various parts of the South and South West. Twenty five club members attended the Drogo 10, at Castle Drogo near Drewsteignton. The mainly off road event, organised by South West Road Runners and sponsored by Ironbridge Runner, is run through National Trust property and this year attracted a record number of entries.
The circular 9.6 mile route includes the infamous steeply graded Hunters Path near Fingle Bridge, which very few competitors are capable of running throughout. Weather conditions were almost perfect after the gales of the previous two days, but the course was consequently very muddy and waterlogged, with much debris underfoot.
Man of the moment was club Chairman Roger Hayes, who led the team home in fine style, 17th overall in a field of 517 finishers, with a time of 1:12:24, winning 1st MV40. Garry Smart was very close behind: 18th in 1:12:40, with Wavell Vigers 3rd Trotter home, 36th overall in 1:15:46.
Other runners were: Ewan Walton (1:16:39), Chris Cleave (1:16:44), Mike Eveleigh (1:20:08), Ian Langler (1:22:51), Howard Cotton (1:24:41) and John Skinner (1:25:16). Stuart Moulson, running his first race since the Dartmoor Discovery in June, with a personal best time of 1:26:35 was joined by Bruce Campbell (1:27:47) and Alan Boone (1:28:12).
Fell runner Ian Bowles, complaining there was insufficient mud, passed the post in 1:30:47 and was followed by remaining runners: Jim Donovan, on good form with 1:35:01, Graham Penn (1:36:46 PB), Julia Proctor (1:45:38), Stephen Wallace (1:46:51), Tina Caunter (1:48:12), Elizabeth Steeves (1:53:27), Marsha Garrard (1:56:03), Amanda Milverton (1:58:21) and Sarah Schutte (1:59:16). New member Mary Goulden, running her first race for the Trotters, with a time of 2:03:41, Vicky Hales (2:05:23) and Marion Witham (2:06:28) completed the royal blue line up.
Continuing with the off road theme, four further Trotters were competing in the Brooks Westward League cross country at Penrice School in St Austell. Daryl Milford, showing his versatility, was first Trotter across the line, 69th in a field of 123 runners, with a time of 41:37. He was followed by Gary Caunter (45:24), John Caunter (45:55) and Syd Willocks (49:33). The next stage is on Sunday 17th January, at Bideford.
Lone Trotter Tracy Elphick had meanwhile wandered across to Dorset for the Wimborne 10 mile road race. Organised by Wimborne AC and in its 12th year, the event was also receiving record entries. A pre start downpour of rain gave way to ideal conditions over the scenic rural course, with Tracy posting an admirable 1:17:33, 212th in a field of 567 finishers.
Not to be outdone, Dave Tomlin and bride-to-be Sharon Bowman were even further East, at the 24th Gosport Half Marathon in Hampshire. Hosted by Gosport Road Runners, the event, starts at Bay House School in Alverstoke and has a flat course, with good PB potential.
The route heads out through Lee-on-the-Solent and includes service roads of an airfield, which were ankle deep in water partly due to a heavy shower, 45 minutes after the start of the race. The high winds accompanying the rain did little to deter Dave as he stormed across the line in 25th position out of 1211 finishers, in a time of 1:16:52. Sharon posted a respectable 1:54:42.
Photo (Graham Penn):
L to R: Vicky Hales, Marion Witham, Marsha Garrard, Elizabeth Steeves & Amanda Milverton after completing the Drogo 10.