Twenty two Teignbridge Trotters headed up the M5 to Taunton on Sunday, for the 26th Taunton Marathon and Half Marathon. The circular mainly rural Half Marathon route, undulating in places, passes out through Norton Fitzwarren and then heads back east to the finish through Bradford on Tone. Marathon runners are required to complete a second circuit.
Three Trotters took up the challenge of the full 26.2 miles: Dave Tomlin raced home in an incredible 2:42:32, in 3rd overall position. Ewan Walton was next across the line in 3:11:41 and 29th position, followed by Roger Hales in a time of 3:35:00 and 78th out of 186 finishers.
Amongst the Half Marathon times, there were several PB`s and two Silver awards, on what proved to be a most testing event, with clouds only obscuring the sun in the latter stages of the race.
Chris Cleave lead the Royal Blues home in 1:23:45: 46th position overall, in a field of 1193 runners. John Tweedie followed in 1:28:02, 77th overall and knocking a massive 3:50 off his 2008 time. Mike Eveleigh, 88th across the line in 1:28:49 collected the award for 2nd Male Veteran over 55, whilst the 2nd Female Veteran over 35 was Tracy Elphick, in a time of 1:34:47.
Other runners battling the high temperatures were: Howard Cotton (1:31:20) and Tom Burman, with a personal Half Marathon best of 1:32:19. Close behind was John Crocker (1:32:26), then Mark Hamling (1:37:41), Clare Youngman (1:38:38), Mark Wotton (1:45:05), Graeme Baker (1:45:48), Michelle Willocks-Watts with a PB of 1:47:37, Sharon Bowman likewise, in a time of 1:49:43 and improving on her 2008 performance by 3:39!
Stephen Wallace, another regular Half Marathon runner, finished in 1:55:44 and was followed by Jan Caunter (1:57:13), Steve Rawlinson (1:57:32), Paul Scholfield (1:58:15), Julia Proctor (1:59:58) and Samantha Gee (2:26:33).
On Saturday 4th April, Dave Dunn, always with an eye for a bargain, ran the 10th Bath Beat from the Ralph Allen School at Claverton Down, Bath. Primarily intended for walkers and renowned for its good value, the relatively small and little known event does however welcome members of the running fraternity.
Self navigation is the name of the game on this off road 26.7 mile event. The undulating course with 3,200 feet of ascent, in the countryside to the south and east of the city also follows part of the Kennet & Avon Canal. The fine weather helped tremendously, giving Dave a time of 5:20, which was a 36 minute improvement on his 2008 result, when rain and low temperatures adversely affected his performance.
Photo: Stephen Wallace at an earlier event (Bideford Half Marathon)