Eight Honiton Running Club members joined the thousands of other runners to take part in the recent Virgin London Marathon. Several were running for the Club’s charity this year of The Baton whose founder is the Running Club’s president Alan Rowe MBE. The charity raises and maintains awareness of life for service personnel in the armed services and their families. The runners would like to thank all those who sponsored them generously.
Fran Bond was first Honiton runner home in 3:18 having run a race with very even 5k splits throughout the 26.2 miles. She finished within the first 3000 places which is a great result with a very similar time to when she last ran it 2 years ago. All the Honiton runners have been training extremely hard for the event and Julie Payne was definitely no exception. She has seen some personal best times over recent weeks for races over different lengths and she managed another pb at London knocking 10 minutes off last year’s time to break the magic 3 ½ hour mark in 3:28.
This was Brent Dick’s first marathon and although he was nursing a cold and suffered during the second half, he managed a respectable time of 4:14. Amazingly he finished just 5 seconds quicker than Claire Pomeroy. Claire went really well until about 20 miles when a recurring foot problem came back, plus blisters and a bit of dizziness, so lost a lot of time from then but nevertheless was still pleased with her time.
Nicola Campbell finished next in 4:24 and Warren Oak was not too far behind. Warren took part last year and was determined to have a better experience this year. He set himself a realistic pace and managed to stick to it for about 18 miles. He did manage to beat last year’s time to finish in 4:33 but despite appreciating his family supporting him, he still felt a little disappointed.
Denis Costello found the congestion particularly challenging and crossing the finish line was definitely a highlight. He completed in 5:15. Vanessa Glyn-Jones finished three minutes later finding it too long and hard and vowing never again.
All Honiton runners really appreciated the cheers and encouragement of their fellow club mates particularly on Tower Bridge which gave them a massive boost particularly at the point when they were at a particularly low ebb having run over 20 miles.
By contrast, the previous weekend Stephen Boyes and Ian Stewart ran the hilly Brighton Marathon in a cold wind. Ian Stewart was running his first marathon and finished in 3 hours 38 minutes whereas Steve has run many more and finished in 3:42. Both the men’s and ladies’ course records were broken by Kenya’s Peter Some in 2:12 and Belarus’s Sviatlana Kouhan 2:29 respectively.
On Easter Monday three Honiton Running Club members took part in the Easter Bunny 10k based at Yeovilton. This is a fast flat course with the first half going through West Camel and Podimore before the final 5k which follows the route of the summer Yeovilton 5k series circling the air base. The race attracts the novice runner as well as the personal best time hunter. The Honiton members were all of the latter group and were not disappointed as there were pbs all round. Julie Payne was first back in 103rd position in the fantastic time of 42 minutes and 1 second. This proves her good form ready for the London Marathon in a few weeks time. This was Steve Briggs first race for the club and he was pleased with the 198th position in 47:56. Clare Melbourne has been improving rapidly and confirmed that she was justly awarded the most improved runner award at the Club’s AGM recently. She came 257th in 53:28. All runners were rewarded with a very welcome Easter Egg as they crossed the line making the run worthwhile even if a pb wasn’t achieved! Kevin Heywood of Bideford AAC won the race in 30:19 and there were 373 finishers.
The inaugural running of the Kilmington Kanter on Good Friday saw a good turnout of Honiton Running Club members. The race is a multi-terrain 7 mile race in the woods, fields and roads around Kilmington with money raised going to the primary school. The race boasts 2 hills of about a mile long each although the Honiton contingent felt they had known a lot worse. Kevin Hawker was first home for Honiton in 4th place overall in 45 minutes 38 seconds but he would have finished higher if he hadn’t taken a wrong turn. Bruce Strawbridge and Steve Davey had a battle throughout the race and ended up sprinting together at the finish only to be given exactly the same finishing time of 50:33. However, Bruce did just get in front and came 18th to Steve’s 19th place. Richard Harris was next back in 25th place in 52:29 with Howard Bidmead finishing one place behind, having had a great run, to finish in 53:31. Vernon Gillard finished 29th in 54:13. The next three were vying for positions throughout the run and swapping several times. Nick Bradley-Carter was the eventual victor coming 36th in 56:17 with Judy Davey 37th in 56:26 and Pippa Westall 38th in 56:59. John Burgess treated this as a warm up for the Easter Bunny 10k in Yeovilton and was delighted to finish just under the hour in 59:55. Olivia wasn’t far behind coming in 31 seconds and 3 places later. Tracey had her usual fantastic sprint finish to come in 64th in 72:29. Tom Merson of Exmouth Harriers won the race setting the target for future years of 39:07. There were 81 runners.
There was also a 2.5 mile fun run and junior race on offer which was a challenging course through Kilmington woods. Honiton’s Rowan Westall took part coming 9th in 21:55. This was the first run for Wendy Williams after a knee operation and she was pleased with how it went coming 18th in 27:51. There were 20 runners.
On Saturday three Honiton runners decided to participate in a once in lifetime experience to run through the brand new London Olympic Park and finish in the new Olympic Stadium. The Olympic Park Run was organised by the National Lottery as a tester event for the games and 5000 runners were selected to take part. As luck would have it for the runners the unseasonal heat wave came to an end and so it was cool, ideal for running. Princess Beatrice (running herself) got the 5 mile race underway and the runners then looped round most of the venues in the park though some were still in the final stages of construction. Entering the stadium in the final mile involved running in a subterranean service tunnel for half a mile before emerging into the stadium with 10,000 spectators cheering you on which was an inspiring experience. Julian Gigg finished first in 384th place with a time of 34 minutes 3 seconds for the 5 miles and closely followed by Roger Saunders in 743rd place at 36:22. Greg Axsel was taking lots of photos around the course so had a more leisurely run finishing at 42:51 as the 2352 runner to finish. Roger and Julian found themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sally Gunnell and Steve Backley at the finish. The event no doubt tested out things and on arrival there was a huge queue through Westfield Shopping Centre to get through the airport style security but it moved fairly swiftly. Roll on July when the elite runners get into action there!
On Sunday with the weather warming up again 6 Honiton RC members took part in the Taunton Half Marathon posting some great times. First back was Vernon Gillard in 1 hour 37 minutes followed not too far behind by Nick Bradley-Carter in 1:40. Olivia Higginson had a great run finishing in 1:47 and next back was John Burgess who was having a good run until his legs cramped up at 11 1/5 miles. His target was 1:55 but he just missed this to finish in 1:56. Nevertheless, John was pleased as this is the longest distance he has run for 18 months. John had passed Clare Melbourne within the first mile and was waiting for her to overtake him at any point. This didn’t happen but Clare was delighted with her time just 1 minute after John of 1:57. These times meant personal bests for Nick, Olivia and Clare so well done to them. Helen Davy also took part but she was running with a friend and finished in 2:13. They were treated to delicious cakes after the race, courtesy of Clare. Wayne Spiller bravely took on the two lap challenge to run the full marathon. The two races start at the same time so the second lap does get a bit lonely. Wayne should be pleased with his time of 4:18.
Also on Sunday, four other Honiton runners took on the huge challenge of Sidmouth Running Club’s Exe to Axe which starts at Exmouth and follows the coastal path all the way to Seaton. The route is all but 21 miles and took runners through Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Weston beach, Branscombe and Beer. The race boasts over 4000 feet of climb (more than the Grizzly). Bruce Strawbridge came in first for Honiton getting his own back on Steve Davey who beat him in the Grizzly. Bruce finished in 26th place in 3 hours 28 with Steve coming 32nd in 3:30. Judy Davey was next back and was delighted to manage not only to find her way without deviation but she finished as 3rd lady. She finished 44th overall in 3:39. Howard Bidmead, the final runner for Honiton, took it fairly easy to finish in 90th place in 4:32. There were 101 finishers and Tom Merson won the race in an incredible 2:26.