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Marilyn’s Meldon Madness, Indian Queens Half Marathon and more

Last Saturday saw the running of the second in our summer race series. This race, previously called the Great West Fell Run, has been renamed Marilyn’s Meldon Madness in honour of former ORC member Marilyn Cooper who died suddenly just over a year ago. A founding member of the club, Marilyn was an outstanding runner over all distances and terrain, but was always happiest when out running on the moors. She had a great love of the moors and an appreciation of how lucky she was to be able to run in such a beautiful area, so it seemed fitting for her name to be given to this lovely fell race, run over the part of the moors that she could see from her home in Inwardleigh. Her husband Paul, and two sons, Peter and Michael, had kindly donated a Dartington Rose Bowl trophy to be awarded in her memory to the first ORC lady home and “the boys”, as Marilyn referred to her adult sons, both ran the race, having their first taste of the type of running Marilyn did.

The weather played fair and gave the runners and spectators a clear if somewhat fresh afternoon to enjoy the spectacular views that this race offers with the climb to Yes Tor and High Willhays, the highest point in the south of England. From there the steep and tussocky descent to Black Tor claimed a few fallers, but thankfully this resulted in nothing more serious than some muddy kit. There was a good turnout for the race from both visiting runners and the club, everyone enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of a small, friendly fell race and the excellent post-race tea and cakes provided by club members. The first to finish was Rob Hicks, rarely to be seen running anywhere other than on the moors and the combination of his speed and familiarity with the terrain bringing him home in an superb time of 39.19 for the 5 mile course. Equally at home on the moors, where the family farm provides a base for her running holiday business, is Katie Littlejohns, who was not only the first ORC lady home for the new trophy, but was also the overall first lady in a time of 51.36.

Other ORC times; Chris Turner; (4th) 43.53, Andy Vernon; (7th & 1st M40) 45.49, Mike Baker; 49.44, John Binns; 54.14, Ed Dumpleton; 54.18, Robert Richards; 56.34, Phil Read; 58.48, Chris Aylen; 59.33, Ang Martin; (1st F40) 1.01.29, Christine Fritsch; 1.01.29, Danielle Fullford Brown; 1.05.41, Karen Vallance; 1.06.49, Jo Turner; 1.06.49, Debbie Bryant; 1.12.33, Janet White; 1.17.52.

Michael and Peter Cooper ran their first fell race together, and despite a lack of training and the fact that one ran in borrowed shoes and the other in road shoes, they finished in a very respectable 57.01.

We would like to thank the North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team who always attend this event.

On Sunday the Indian Queens Half Marathon threw up an unusual result for two club members when Paul Carter finished ahead of training partner Roger Voaden. Usually finishing a couple of minutes behind Roger, Paul overtook him at mile ten an held on to this lead to come home in 1.26.45 ahead of Roger in 1.27.25.

Ged Fitzgibbon was the only club representative at the Totnes 10k on Sunday. This multi-terrain race follows the River Dart mostly on trails and narrow woodland paths, with one big hill encountered in the middle of the race. Ged ran well to finish in 1.00.55 over this attractive but quite testing course.

Senior coach Geoff Hill had been in two minds as to whether to run the Gloucester City Marathon on Sunday having had to pull out of the Exeter 10k three weeks ago with a slight calf injury, but having rested his leg he decided to give it a go. Things went well for the first ten miles, then he started to feel some pain in his leg and his pace gradually dropped away. Determined to finish, he carried on, eventually finishing in 3.48.33, still a very good time, but over half an hour outside the London GFA qualifying time he had been aiming for.

The previous Saturday Ed Dumpleton took the opportunity of a visit to his sister in Lisburn,bNorthern Ireland, to try a new parkrun, and was pleased to run a new 5k personal best of 20.44, coming 10th out of over 300 runners.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report