On Sunday 24th March, the 4th Club Championship race of the season took place at Okehampton. The Granite Way 10 and 20 mile races were staged, although the shorter distance race was the points decider!!
The start and finish of the races were at the station. The route followed the Granite Way cycle trail, 5 miles to Lydford, before returning to Okehampton. There were fantastic views of Dartmoor along the way. The runners crossed the Meldon Viaduct, built in 1874 and spans 165 metres over disused mineral sites. The views from the viaduct across to Meldon Dam and the reservoir were magnificent with the glorious sunny weather enhancing the scenery.
The race organisers were Exeter City Community Trust, and they produced a great event which was superbly organised. The marshals were all very supportive as were the water station staff.
Thirteen Trotters lined up for the 10 mile event. The leading club runner home was Roger Easterbrook finished third, and earn himself a place on the podium. Roger crossed the finish line in 1:01:00. Gary Smart chased Roger all the way to the line, finishing 4th in a time of 1:01:37.
There were some great performances from the other Trotters.
Bob Small ran a blinding race to win the 70+ age category and also post a new personal best by over 90 seconds!! What makes this feat even more remarkable, was that Bob has been nursing an injury for six weeks! His rapid recovery has shocked him, and he is hoping to show more improvement as the year progresses.
Scott Knight also ran a new PB, smashing his previous best at this distance by 4:50 secs! James Saunders also lowered his 10 mile PB by a staggering 14:58 secs!!
Other Trotters positions and times: Lance Mason (10, 1:06:38), James Saunders (12, 1:10:24), Annabelle Evans (13, 1:10:34), Kathryn Steemson (28, 1:17:01), Bob Small (36, 1:19:51), Scott Knight (48, 1:22:58), Peter Kirby (52, 1:26:09), Sally Ingledew (60, 1:29:05), Graeme Baker (66, 1:31:31), Kay Shillabeer (96, 1:39:41), Sharon Still (107, 1:44:25). There were 120 finishers.
Four Trotters lined up for the 20 mile race. Mathew Steele finished a fine 9th place, recording an impressive time of 2:19:02. Susanna Goffe finished in 28th place in a very respectable time of 2:38:09. Rachel Steele also ran well to post a time of 2:45:44 in 38th position, and Lucy Payne used the race for her London Marathon training, finishing in 93rd place with a gutsy time of 3:18:58. The race was won by Christian Hewitt in a superb time of 2:00:24. There were 140 finishers.
The Tavy 13, a very popular Half Marathon, was held on Sunday. Tavistock AC were the event organisers. The unique experience of starting and finishing on the athletics track was an added attraction. The runners travelled through the streets of Tavistock before heading out into the country lanes.
Unfortunately, our merry band of ten Trotters were made to wait in their bid for glory due to a serious car accident on the race route, causing a one hour delay!! The lovely Spring day meant that the inconvenience was lessened quite considerably. Before the eventual start, there was even an impromptu round of applause from the runners to the race director, for how he handed the delay and kept the runners informed of what was going on.
It was a really tough test with over 1300 feet of elevation. From the start to the 8 mile point, the runners climbed to the highest point of the course, before descending back down to the finish, with one lap of the athletics track to finish.
The half marathon was won by Ben Neale, representing Tavistock Run Project. Ben broke the course record, winning in a great time of 1:15:06.
Martin Randall was the clubs leading runner, crossing the line in 1:34:42 to earn himself 47th place.
Jacki Woon won silverware, by winning the FV55 category. Jacki finished 129th overall in a time of 1:46:03.
The other Trotters positions and times: Sam Crowe (81, 1:39:55), Graydon Widdicombe (94, 1:41:59), Paul Sharples (103, 1:42:54), Sarah Pike (183, 1:51:38), Dan Graves (196, 1:53:45), Eamon Crowe (296, 2:04:35), Sharon Sharples (305, 2:05:49), Lucy Evans (357, 2:11:58).
The weekends racing got underway on Saturday 23rd March, when Joe Hornsby and Emma Donovan travelled the short distance, to the wonderfully named Piddledown Common, which is on the approach to the iconic Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton. This was the 3rd running of the Deep River Trails, an event organised by Puretrail. This year attracted a record number of entrants for the two races on offer.
The Deep River Trails included a 10k race and a half marathon. The setting was high above the valley in the most wonderful woodland, the Big Woods of Fingle. The trails were deep and steep and took the runners to the depths of the Teign River, before rising back up above the Fingle treeline.
There was a mandatory kit that every runner had to run with. This included a survival/space blanket and a bottle to carry at least 250ml of liquid. The runners risked disqualification if they were found not to carry these items!!
Joe ran superbly well in what was a pure test of endurance. The elevation gain was a massive 871 metres!! Weather conditions were good with over cast conditions.
Joe finished in 9th position in a very respectable time of 1:56:16. Emma also completed the half marathon distance posting a time of 2:55:51 to finish 113th. There were 152 finishers. Race winner was Matthew Hart, clocking a time of 1:39:09.
The first running of the Tamar Bridge 10k was held, setting off from the Kings Tamerton Community Centre. This was the first mass participation event held on the bridge since it unofficially opened in 1961, but was officially opened by the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on April 26th, 1962.
The race route gave the runners chance to run across the Bridge, crossing from Devon into Cornwall and back, twice. Due to the problem of parking around the start/finish line, the organisers arranged a bus service to ferry the runners to the event from different areas of the city. A great idea, especially for events of this magnitude.
Two Teignbridge Trotters made the short trip to Plymouth. Mark Wotton finished in a very good time of 55:40 to finish in 327th place and Marie Farrelly posted a time of 1:08:32, crossing the line in 709th place.
First place went to Sam Yearling, representing Plymouth Harriers, winning in a rapid time of 36:00. There were 900 finishers.
An incredible turnout, and most certainly captured the imagination of the running world.
Andy Distin was the Trotters sole representative, competing in the Weston Half.
The start was on the Marine Parade at the entrance to the Grand Pier. The runners set off, taking in the historic sites of Weston-Super-Mare, before running through some of Somerset’s picturesque villages and countryside.
The one lap course was run on closed roads, and due to the comparatively flat route, great for beginners and runners wanting to achieve personal bests!
The piece de resistance was to finish a quarter of a mile out to sea at the end of the Grand Pier!!
Andy ran another solid race, finishing in a time of 2:29:23 to earn himself 1339th position, in a field of 1545. Good work Andy and another medal to add to his mounting collection!!
Colin Snook won the event for Cornwall AC, posting a time of 1:12:04.