On Sunday 17th November, Club Championship points were at stake at The Drogo 10.
Twenty three Trotters lined up for an exciting and challenging 10 mile multi-terrain race that started and finished at Castle Drogo, taking in views of the stunning Teign Valley. From the castle, runners headed down the driveway for 600m and across the grass and through the woods on Piddledown Common, before descending steeply to Sharp Tor and the main downhill track to the river. This is a long, occasionally narrow and steep section where overtaking proved a tricky manoeuvre. Ahead lay the new bridge, built after the old one was washed away by floods several years ago. At this point the course levelled out, winding its way through woods, tracks and paths. At 3 miles the runners encountered the first major hill. Half a mile of twists and turns, so knowing where the top finished was difficult to judge. Near the top, an unexpected but welcome sharp left took the field back downhill. The track then got narrower and steeper as it plunged down towards the river before a sweeping bend to the right marked the start of the long haul up the far side of the gorge. This was when the runners needed to dig deep, because although not as steep as the previous one, their legs are still complaining about the last one!! A steep downhill, back to the river greeted the runners, a welcome rest bite. A two mile flat section then led them back along the Teign. Eventually the athletes reached Fingle Bridge and a water station. Fluids were advised in preparation for the famous Hunters’ Path hill back to Drogo. The path then suddenly flattened out and a stunning view of the Teign Valley provided the runners chance to recover before the final undulating half mile to the finish. A last few steep steps, across a flat woodland before the tired runners emerged back at the castle and the finish line.
Roger Easterbrook was the leading Trotter home, on a course he loves. Despite a few niggles of late, Roger keeps grinding out results. He finished in 13th place in a time of 1:08:51, and also won the MV45 age category.
Gary Smart again put in a great performance to not only finish 36th overall in a time of 1:13:22, but also win the MV55 age category prize.
Mandy Wheeler was the Clubs first female home, clocking a great time of 1:24:20. Mandy crossed the line in 102nd position, and won the FV45 category.
Not to be our done, Jacki Woon also took the honours in the FV55 competition.
The other Trotters positions and times were: Ian Langler (53, 1:16:39), Duncan Knight (96, 1:23:45), Susanna Goffe (112, 1:25:28), Jacki Woon (171, 1:32:30), Andrew Ferguson (176, 1:32:36), Neil Rutley (196, 1:34:00), Alex Lyons (209, 1:35:19), Jim Donovan (214, 1:35:45), Joanna Randall (218, 1:36:10), Kim Knight (239, 1:37:58), Sarah Pike (264, 1:40:57), Bob Small (271, 1:41:47), Paul Sharples (273, 1:41:55), Ruth Johnson (303, 1:45:46), Sharon Sharples (333, 1:48:25), Sarah Burningham (338, 1:48:58), Lucy Evans (376, 1:54:27), Eleanor Taylor (384, 1:55:33), Lucy Payne (397, 1:58:41), Graham Baker (492, 2:25:49).
The race was won by James Baker, representing Chichester Runners. His winning time was 1:01:37.
A special mention for Bob Small, who unfortunately took a nasty fall about half a mile from the finish. He said he lost concentration just as he was closing on the two athletes ahead of him! Bob picked himself off the floor and gallantly crossed the line, with nasty wounds to his face, elbows and knees!! St Johns Ambulance patched Bob up, having given him the appropriate treatment.
Three of the Clubs hard-core runner’s travelled to Taly-bont-on-Usk in South Wales, to take part in the Brecon Beacons trail marathon. Both this race and the longer established Beacons Ultra took place on Saturday 16th November. Roger Hayes, Derek Skinner and Christian Robinson combined to form a strong looking team.
The weather at start time was misty and slightly chilly. The course varied in gradients as did the underfoot conditions. After a flat stretch along the local canal, the route steepened over Tor-y-Foel, a grassy hill (551 m) which gave the runners a taste of things to come. Next to test the field was a long steady climb through forest to the open expanse of the Brecon Beacons. Unfortunately due to snowy conditions on the approaches to Pen-Fan, the organisers decided that conditions were too dangerous!! To make up for the lost distance, it was decided to add another 6 miles along the canal to the finish.
Roger Hayes led the Trotters trio home, finishing in 17th place in a time of 4:14:54. A great time considering how challenging the route is. Christian and Derek backed up Roger superbly to finish in 37th (4:40:52) & 69th (5:05:28) respectively. There were 200 finishers.
Their considerable efforts won Teignbridge the team event, having won the event last year. The prize was free entry into next year’s race!! Sounds more like a booby prize to me??
On Sunday 17th November, Suzie Mills and Alexis Marsh travelled to Plymouth to take part in the Lopwell Loop.
This was the second running of this 12k event, organised by Storm Runners. The race was a challenging, hilly road race with some lovely scenery along the route. The race started at Tamerton Foliot, before the runners headed towards Broadley, and then down to Lopwell Dam, before3 heading back to the finish. There were 8 major hills to overcome, but thanks to the numerous friendly and supportive marshals, the ordeal was made a wee bit easier!! The weather on race day was dry and cold and all finishers were treated to a pint and flapjacks!!
It was a great family day out, with 50 children taking part in the fun race. Over £600 was raised for St Lukes Hospice, through the selling of cakes and donations.
Our two ladies ran very well. Alexis finished in 101th position, completing the tough race in 1:15:33. Suzie set yet another personal best for this course, clocking a time of 1:22:27 to finish in 136th place. Suzie was 7 mins 46 secs quicker than the time she set at last year’s event!! A great improvement.
Adam Holland retained his title by winning in a time of 00:46:12.