Saturday saw the inaugural running of two new races by Outer Edge Events: The Pagan Trails Midwinter Marathon and Half Marathon. Starting and finishing in Chagford, where mythical, mystical Dartmoor meets the lush valleys of the North Teign and Bovey Rivers, the Pagan Trails visit many of the stone circles and pagan sites of this part of north Dartmoor, steeped in ancient history and legends. Neither race was a walk in the park, with the marathon at approximately 28 miles with over 1400 metres of ascent and the half at approximately 14 miles with over 700 metres of ascent. Both races started with a tough climb up Meldon Hill before heading out across the moor.
The runners were lucky with the weather: though still chilly and breezy over the high ground the potential rain held off. After the recent cold snap the ground was still mostly frozen hard with some icy patches to negotiate. With few boggy sections to sink into, it made for faster running conditions, though this was quite battering for the feet! Chris Turner added: “We were lucky the race took place in a calm weather window – so it was dry and a bit gusty. Ground frozen solid, what would have been sloppy water and mud was slippy and rock like so the feet took a battering!”
Claire Watkins was the only ORC running the marathon finishing 2nd lady in 5hrs 14mins.
Six ORCs took on the half marathon challenge with Chris Turner finishing 2nd overall in 2hrs 03; Ian Ripper finishing in 2hrs 29; Sarah Marvin, Molly Marvin and Angus Farrelly finished together in 3hrs 07, followed by Gill Spinney in 3hrs 14.