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Juniors & ORC is 15!

As we have mentioned before the Running Club is not just about racing. This week we take the opportunity to tell you a little about the junior section and to celebrate the club’s 15th birthday.


On Thursday, as the Juniors were unable to use the college sports hall, as it has been set up for mock exams, they headed out for a session around the town.

The group (10 Juniors, Coach Rob, and parent Joe Lane) met at Mole Avon and jogged down Exeter Road and on to Kellands Lane. They passed through the estate to Baldwin Drive for a spot of Fartlek (a kind of running training which involves random variations in speed and intensity, alternating between bursts of sprinting and slower ‘recovery’ jogging) between the lampposts.

Everyone was definitely warm when the group returned to the bottom of Kellands for the main part of the session, a pyramid hill drill.

The drill worked really well. The Juniors were all together in a relatively small area and able to lead their own effort. The stronger runners pushed hard to keep effort and tempo high while less experienced members could tackle the distance they felt comfortable with.

The session finished as usual with a relay. The runners were split into 2 groups (along with 2 local girls from the estate who saw what we were doing and joined in) and about 30 cones spread closely up to about 60 metres up the hill.

The first runners set off picking up the first cones they arrived at. When that was returned to their team the second runners set off for a cone. The race continued until all the cones were collected.

After cones were counted (a draw, phew!) the group returned to Mole Avon.

Everyone worked really well and gave full effort to the 3 main parts of the session. Joe noticed we had run 4.5 miles before going back to the start. No wonder we were slower on the way back!

The Juniors will continue to train out and about over the coming weeks – keep an eye out for us. If anyone is interested in knowing more, you can email:

ORC is 15

So how did the club start? Back in 1999 Andy Vallance got the bug for running by obtaining a place in the London Marathon. A few more years and marathons later the idea of having a running club in Okehampton began forming in his mind, but without any knowledge of how a club worked it was just a pipe dream.

A chance meeting by Andy with Gavin Punchard at the Cosdon Hill race in 2004 resulted in Andy persuading Gavin to join him and both of them joined Tavistock AC to learn how a club worked.

With additional help from Brian Friend, Roger Voaden, Eric Johnson and Katie Graves, and funding from OCRA the club came together in February 2009.

One of the highlights for the club was in 2012 when 19 members took part in the London Marathon. (It should have been 20 but unfortunately Brian got food poisoning on the way to London and wasn’t able to take part.) It was an amazing feat to have so many members running in this event.

There are several members who have been with the club from the start, Deborah Cunningham is one of them and says:

‘For me it is a great way of escaping from all the pressures of everyday life for an hour. It doesn’t matter what your job is, or if you don’t have one, what your daily troubles or worries are, you can chuck some trainers on and join others that have at least one thing in common with you ie a love of running outdoors (in all weathers!) and you know you will always finish the run feeling better than you did when you set off.

For the more competitive people there has also been a wealth of experience to tap in to as well. For me the London Marathon with 18 other club members was a real highlight!’

Over the years the club has had many coaches and committee members that have helped to make it such a success, runners have come and gone, but the memories and friendships will last a lifetime.

I think this sums it up for us, ‘the friendly club that welcomes runners of all abilities’ – thank you Andy for having the vision to establish the club and here’s looking forward to the next 15 years and beyond!