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Oke Croak, The Crossing, The Great Escape and More

In a complete turn-around from what normally happens at a Bank Holiday, the dismal grey clouds vanished and hot and sunny weather prevailed. This wasn’t however ideal conditions for the tough off road races that many ORCs were taking part in over the weekend. The third race in our summer series, the Oke Croak, was held on Saturday. Traditionally held on the Bank Holiday weekend, this race has seen the full range of conditions, from heavy rain to thick mist but this year the heat caught everyone by surprise. Starting in Simmons park the runners follow good paths out to the moors at Chapel Ford, then the well named Goat Track takes them on to pick up a path that continues on to Oke Tor, where they have to run through a natural stone arch. After a descent down to the military ring road the going gets tougher, as they then run across open moorland, contouring East Mill Tor before climbing to the top of Yes Tor. From there it is all downhill to Moorgate and back to Simmons park via Klondyke corner and Ball Hill. There was a good turnout of ORCs who took on this challenging 10 mile race. First home for the club was the off road specialist Rob Hicks, who ran a strong race in the heat, but was beaten into second place by Dartmoor Runner’s Robert Waddy, who was not the only runner to mistake West Mill Tor for Yes Tor. Realising his error, he retraced his steps, climbed Yes Tor and overtook Rob Hicks on the run in from Moorgate to come first in 1.25.48, with Rob Hicks a good second in 1.27.02. Club member Jo Bradford’s husband Paul was third male in 1.38.30. The next ORC home was Mervyn Rice in 1.58.56, while his daughter Jenny, on a visit to her parents, took the first Lady prize in 1.51.42. New member Gill Spinney was the second lady in 2.21.15.

Other ORC times were; Jean Paul Quertier and Jason Ewing; 2.03.36, Phil Read; 2.10.15, Phil Spinney; 2.21.13, Debs Crome; (3rd lady) 2.31.18, Hannah Ramsey; 2.31.19.

There was an even tougher challenge on the same day for the ORCs who took part in PureTrail’s 34 mile ultra marathon, The Crossing, and the shorter half marathon, The Great Escape. These races are run on paths and well marked trails, with The Crossing starting in Belstone and literally crossing the moor from north to south, while the Great Escape starts in Princetown and encompasses the later stages of The Crossing, both finishing in South Brent. While there is an overall downhill profile to both races, within the course there are many climbs, river crossings and the paths were technical in places with care being needed on uneven stoney tracks. The last section was in woodland which provided some welcome shade. Five ORCs ran The Crossing, with Chris Turner, Charlie Galley and Lucy Marrison all taking on a trail ultra marathon for the first time. Charlie had completed the Three Peaks Challenge the only the weekend before, and he and Chris ran together, finishing in a very good time of 6.43.26.
Lucy ran with Jo Turner who had previously completed a 32 mile ultra, and despite the warm conditions, they enjoyed the experience and the beautiful scenery they were running through, completing in 8.46.20. Experienced ultra runner Ang Martin has only returned relatively recently from an injury she acquired at the Exmoor CTS Ultra in April but ran an impressive race to finish in 7.24.37.

The Great Escape saw eight members taking on the half marathon which started two hours later meaning the whole run was in very warm conditions. Dartmoor specialist Katie Littlejohns was the first ORC home in this race running well to finish in 2.00.36. Mags Jarvis was the second ORC home running a terrific race to finish in 2.37.01 and coming 2nd FV60. Mags has Parkinson’s Disease and she decided to use this run to fundraise for the Parkinson’s UK charity, to raise the profile of the disease and help with research into the treatment of it. Mags’ daughter joined her for this and came down from her home in Liverpool to run the race too, finishing an impressive 4th overall and 2nd lady in 1.43.26.
Mags continues to inspire us with her determination to keep doing what she loves best, and her ability to keep training hard and achieve excellent results despite the onset of this debilitating illness is just outstanding. To date Mags has raised a great total of £2,350 with some more donations still coming in.

Other ORC times; Chris Fullford Brown; 2.40.32, Alison Holliday; 2.49.26, Danielle Fullford Brown; 2.52.19, Carole Cornwall; 3.00.58, Katy Speak; 3.02.19, Claire Sprague; 3.29.40.

The following day, ORC Ed Dumpleton took part in the Battle of Sedgemoor 10k, a well established fast and fairly flat race that takes the runners through the scenic rural countryside of the Somerse levels. Ed ran well and finished in 40.36 to set a new PB by 40 secs.

The previous weekend, lone ORC Andrew Vernon travelled down to Torquay to run the Torba Regatta 10k. Despite a strong headwind and a fall during the race, Andy finished in 40.34 to com second in his age category MV45.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report