On Sunday 8rd March, a huge contingent of Teignbridge Trotters travelled to North Devon to take part in the very popular Bideford Half Marathon. They travelled up in private cars and even a ‘Love Bus’!! Unfortunately, the bus only got as far as Kingsteignton, before returning to the Rec!!
This was the 26th running of the event organised by Bideford Amateur Athletics Club, locally known as the Bideford Blues. The club was formed in 1870 as a gymnastic club, but it wasn’t until 1980 that the running club was formed.
The course start and finish was situated very close to the athletics club, and took the runners through magnificent countryside alongside the River Torridge between Bideford and Great Torrington. The course was run half on roads and half on the Tarka Trail. The runners also had to negotiate a tunnel at the 10 mile point. The race would be described as moderately flat, with one small hill section at mile 4 to 5.
There were some fantastic performances and times achieved, with some notable performances.
First Trotter home was Ian Langler, clocking a great time of 1:25:35, to finish in 78th position. Ewan Walton also finished high up the leader board, finishing in 82nd place posting a time of 1:25:37.
Stan Hayes is really starting to show what he is capable of! Stan claimed 1st Junior Male, finishing in 123rd position, breaking the magic 90 minute barrier along the way. Stan’s time was 1:29:35.
1.43.56 was a PB by just under 4 minutes, eclipsing David Taylor's club age group over 70 record of 1.46.35 - an improvement of 2 minutes and 39 seconds. This ranks me 17th in the UK at this early stage in the season.
Bob Small won the MV70 age category award,and in doing so smashed the existing Club record for the age category, held by David Taylor, by 2 minutes 39 seconds!! Bob's finishing time of 1:43:56 beat his own previous best by just under four minutes. Bob finished in 327th place and is now ranked 17th in the UK at this early stage of the season. Bobs performances are so inspirational and will encourage us all in the coming season.
There were other age category prizes for Debbie Hart – 3rd FV60 & Alan Boone – 3rd MV60. Debbie posted a great time of 1:53:52 to finish 533rd and set a new personal best by 8 minutes!!
There were also new PB’s for Kevin Sampson, who sliced 5 minutes off his time at this course three years ago! Scott Knight completed his next Half Marathon (one per month challenge), and in doing so achieved a new PB! Scott beat his previous best by 4 minutes, 2 secs. The ever improving Alex Lyons also ran superbly, setting a new PB by 2 minutes, 38 secs.
The other Trotter positions and chipped times were:
Roger Hayes (125, 1:29:36), Christian Robinson (130, 1:30:33), Alan Boone (150, 1:32:47), Kevin Sampson (1:32:49), Tim Hassell (188, 1:36:05), Andrew Rattlidge (207, 1:37:04), Nigel Barnett (246, 1:40:05), Jack Bishop (257, 1:39:24), Bon Rymel (260, 1:40:39), Claire McKenna (293, 1:42:50), Jason Trevenen (295, 1:42:50), Travis Wood (321, 1:43:52), Paul Sharples (333, 1:44:01), Peter Blakesley (352, 1:45:18), Neil Rutley (384, 1:47:04), Alex Lyons (388, 1:47:12), Scott Knight (410, 1:48:00), Kirsty Bowman (437, 1:48:33), Kat Ashburn- Scott (469, 1:51:11), Sharon Sharples (483, 1:50:57), Kate Williamson (551, 1:55:11), Alexis Marsh (766, 2:05:55), Alison Clayton (783, 2:06:35), Simon Durant (810, 2:08:50), John Tweedie (821, 2:09:32), John Skinner (852, 2:11:58), Julie Webb (958, 2:21:58), Teresa Holmes (1055, 2:31:55), Maggie Bishop (1092, 2:38:21).
There were 1143 finishers.
Ronnie Richmond, representing the home club, took the honours in a time of 1:07:39.
Graydon Widdicombe completed a couple of marathons this weekend, starting off with Groundhog Day, a track marathon in Telford, organised by How Hard Can It Be Events. This event beat Graydon last year when he struggled around, as the number of laps involved, messed with his head a bit. 10k into the race, there were still eighty laps to go. Mind numbing to say the least! There’s not too much to say about the scenery really, but this is a well organised, chip timed/counted event with a good aid station each lap. Running conditions were reasonable, although in the second half of the race the wind decided to blow the 3 gazebos over! This resulted in the RDs scrambling around to resurrect them, which did provide some entertainment for the runners as the laps ticked by. Graydon returned to this event hoping for better than last year, and he completed the 105 laps for the marathon in a time of 3:56:26, approximately 28-mins quicker than last year. Afterwards, Graydon promised himself that he never has to set foot on a track again, if he doesn’t want to!
His second marathon of the weekend was at Dorney Lake Marathon, organised by Running Miles. In comparison to the previous day this was only 10-laps, and the event started off in good running conditions. Graydon eased into the event and soon was in his stride and ticking the laps off quite happily. He did have a bad spell around laps 6 to 7 where he felt a bit dizzy, but fortunately that did pass. He managed to latch onto another runner on lap 9, and chatted with him until the finish. Incidentally this runner, Craig Lovelock, completed 100 sub-4s in a year a couple of years ago. Although the rain came down in the last couple of laps and the temperature dropped, Graydon was pleased to complete the event marginally quicker than the day before, finishing in 3:52:11.
White Star Running hosted the Larmer Tree Races this weekend, comprising of 4 different length races ranging from 10 miles to the marathon. The Rushmore Estate invited WSR to create these races around the grounds set on the Wiltshire Downs. The tough hills meant that the scenery was breath taking.
Suzie Mills and Karen O’Brien travelled to Tollards Royal, near Salisbury to take part in the marathon on Sunday.
The marathon got under way, and it wasn’t long before the runners hit the first section of trails and the dreaded mud! The course is made up of about 80% off road in total. There were two notable climbs in the race, the first at 10 miles and the second at 23 miles. Both of which brought runners to their knees! But don’t let that fool you, there was a total of just under 4000 feet of elevation, making it one of the toughest on the racing circuit.
Both our intrepid runners defied all that faced them and completed the gruelling course in superb times. Karen led the duo home, finishing in 191st position, posting a great time of 6:26:09. Suzie came home in 202nd place, recording a time of 6:31:29. Well done ladies.
Ed Hounsell travelled east to take part in the 6th running of the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon, on Sunday 8th March.
The race village and start was at the Woking Leisure Centre. The scenic loop route took the runners south of Woking via Worplesdon and Hook Heath. Places of interest along the way included Sutton Green golf club, Whitmoor and Westfield Common.
Conditions were perfect, in dry and sunny weather. There were live bands, hordes of enthusiastic supporters, great marshals and the organisation was superb.
The feed stations included caffeine bullets and seaweed water capsules!
Ed ran well, to clock a time of 2:14:44 to finish in 2930th position. Ed was pleased with his run, and more importantly caught up with some of his old running friends from when he used to work in Surrey.
Paul Pollock, representing Kent AC, won the race in a time of 1:06:23.
Nine Teignbridge Trotters took on The Grizzly (2020 Hills Aplenty), or the 9 mile Cub Run on Saturday 7Th March. This was the 33rd running of the event, with Axe Valley Runners as the race organisers. Over the past 32 years, £425,000 of race proceeds have been donated to local charities, clubs and organisations.
The race is renowned for being tough, and also the odd tumble and scrape can be expected along the way!! With over 3000 feet of ascent, two stretches of beach to cross, two energy sapping waist high bogs, the infamous “Stairway to Heaven” and a steep path up the side of a cliff to negotiate, this was a challenge that needed to be given respect!
Kris Ward completed the test in a very respectable time of 3:14:40 to finish 148th.
Helen Anthony also ran strongly to finish 14th in the female race. Helens time was 3:18:30, 142nd overall.
The other Trotter positions and times were: Susanna Goffe (224, 3:26:02), Jimmy Donovan (406, 3:54:46), Daniel Graves (533, 4:03:48), Kim Nicholls (1017, 4:55:54), Lucy Evans (1188, 5:21:01), Tamsin Cook (1329, 5:46:27). Emma Donovan unfortunately had to retire, but fair play to her for even attempting such a tough event!!
There were 1461 finishers. All the competitors received a goodie bag and technical T-shirt made from recyclable plastic!!
In the Cub Run, Paul Dean clocked an impressive time of 1:39:58, to finish in 93rd position. This race also included part of the Grizzly course, including the “Stairway to Heaven”. There were 585 runners.