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Glorious weather, unprecedented numbers, thunderous drumming from Tano Taiko and a wonderful range of costumes combined to make last Sunday the best Honiton Sport Relief day so far. The steady trickle of entries over the last few weeks gradually built to a flood on Sunday morning as mums, dads, children and grandparents poured into The Mackarness Hall to join the event. Honiton Running Club was hard pressed to keep up with taking money, issuing numbers and serving cakes. One couple had come up from Torquay to take part because they said that the Honiton Mile had been such a friendly atmosphere. Eventually over 530 participants were registered – 130 on the day. The Mile participants were put through their paces in a warm up by Tracey Strawbridge before making their way to the start. At 10:30 they were given a rousing send off by Matt Young from Radio Exe and the front of the crowd sprinted off down the High St. Spectators were treated to a great sight as Honiton Primary school runners in blue tops, dodged round Sylvester the cat, a large green hippo, Bob the Builder and a jogging banana. Fairies and princesses competed with Batman and Robin, and Mario and Toad. The sprinters were way down the High street by the time mayor Vernon Whitlock in full regalia sedately crossed the start line in company with the other walkers. One very young child hitched a lift on her dad’s shoulders but most of the children were way ahead of their parents. As they approached New St they were cheered on by a crowd of spectators and the strong rhythmic Japanese-style drumming of Tana Taiko. It was not long before the first runner, Stephen Crompton came sprinting down New St to the finish, quickly followed by Honiton Running Club junior Jordan Roe-Lavery. Then came charging children with red-faced parents puffing along behind - – “ I never knew she could run so fast and so far” said one exhausted mum about her 6 year-old daughter. Medals, bottles of water and real bananas were handed out and the runners enjoyed the sun and the stunning performance of the drummers. An hour later it was the turn of the 3 mile and 6 mile runners, to set off. They did a loop down the High St and round the top of the town via Tesco and St Michael’s church. Lots of juniors from Honiton Running Club took part with Rowan Westall coming in second, followed by Harry Whitely and Lydia Clapp. The young lad who came in first was quickly recruited to the club by leader Richard Harvey. First home in the 6 mile event was Dominic Schneider of the Axe Valley club. It was a great occasion and a fitting climax to weeks of preparation by Honiton club members, particularly Warren Oak, and also to the many Sport Relief activities by local schools and other groups. £561 pounds was raised by the street collection so with the entry fees, sponsorship and other fund-raising activities we expect to exceed the £7505 donated in 2010. Photos of the event are available to see and download from Honiton Running Club website at www.honitonrc.com.
Honiton Running Club held its AGM and awards evening recently when deserving members were awarded for their efforts during 2011. The Captain’s cup for male runner of the year went to Nick Bradley-Carter and the female version went to Julie Payne. Bruce Strawbridge took home three awards which included the Members’ Member of the Year Award, the Points’ Trophy and the Cross Country Award. Olivia Higginson did almost as well winning the monthly Handicap Cup as well as the Runner Up Points’ Trophy. Brent Dicks was the runner up for the monthly Handicap and Clare Melbourne was voted by the committee as the Most Improved Runner. The Chairman’s Cup was awarded to Paul Lowman for his work on the website for many years. Flowers and chocolates were awarded to individual members who have helped with organising events or generally helping the club behind the scenes. The committee of 2011 was dissolved and new members elected. The 2011 officers were all reinstated for another year meaning that John Burgess will once again be Chairperson until the next AGM.
Honiton Running Club junior members have been taking part every month during the winter in the Exeter 3k series run on the track at Exeter Arena. The final round of the series finished with some great personal best times and the juniors collected overall category prizes in nearly all the age categories. The end of season awards are for the best 4 position finishes within their age group and our juniors proved that they have been training hard over the winter. Layla Felgate and Becky Matthews took the top awards in their age group with Katie Davey achieving a very respectable 2nd place in the u17 age group. Florence Swan and Lydia Clapp took the 2nd place in very competitive age categories and should be pushing to win them next year. Jack Elsom and Ian Ross were 2nd and 3rd respectively in the largest age group (U13 boys) with Harry Whiteley very close in 4th. The under 15 boys’ category was another hard age group with the Honiton boys producing some great results. Henry Riddle came home with the 3rd place and Reuben Heeler-Frood and Jake Harvey tying for 4th. Honiton RC is the largest participating club in the Exeter 3k series with an average of 16 juniors competing at each event and they are all a credit to the club and themselves in the way they compete and support their fellow athletes.
Julie Payne was the sole Honiton runner at the Gloucester 20 mile race last Sunday and she was thrilled to finish in exactly 2 ½ hours which must be a real boost of confidence before she tackles the London Marathon.
At the club AGM last night the trophies for 2011 were awarded:
Julie Payne: Female runner of the year
Bruce Strawbridge: Points Trophy, Cross-country trophy and Members Shield
Nick Bradley-Carter: Male runner of the year
Brent Dicks: Handicap Trophy - runner up
Olivia Higginson: Handicap Trophy and Points Trophy runner up.
Clare Melbourne: Most Improved
Paul Lowman - Chairman's Good Egg Trophy - years of work managing old website
Honiton Running Club managed a good turnout for Axe Valley Runners’ 25th anniversary Grizzly & Cub runs on Sunday. The Grizzly boasts it is an extremely tough race of twentyish miles taking in plenty of mud, hills, bogs and beach and runners were definitely not disappointed. Although, arguably, the course was a little kinder this year with not as much beach. The weather was unseasonably warm for the time of year and, at times, runners did find it a little hot and even managed a sun tan.
Ian Stewart was first back for Honiton in exactly 3 hours, knocking an amazing 31 minutes off his time from last year. Richard Harvey also had a cracking race coming in next in a time of 3:13 and he also managed to knock an incredible 34 minutes off last year. Steve Davey has been beaten by Bruce Strawbridge with monotonous regularity in recent races but today it was Steve’s turn to come out on top finishing in 3:26, two minutes ahead of Bruce. Steve’s wife, Judy was next back very pleased with her 3:32 finish. She had overtaken Julian Gigg and Richard Harris during the second half of the race as they were both suffering with fatigue. They finished in 3:35 and 3:40 respectively. Stephen Boyes was next back in 3:42 followed two minutes later by Vernon Gillard. There was a bit of a gap until the next Honiton runner made an appearance at the finish line in the form of Howard Bidmead in 3:53. Rod Inglis pushed himself to finish in exactly 4 hours after only obtaining a Grizzly place earlier in the week. This was Helen Davy’s first Grizzly and she found it tough finishing 2 minutes after Rod. Olivia Higginson and Nick Bradley- Carter were also running the race for the first time and ran much of it together before Nick’s wheels dropped off so Olivia pulled away to finish in 4:06 just 2 minutes ahead of Nick. Warren Oak has been training for London Marathon recently and has obviously got used to road running as he struggled with this race to finish in 4:14. Wayne Spiller also struggled to finish in 4:39 as he has just finished a cold but Tracey Strawbridge was very pleased with her finishing time of 4:44.
The Cub run is a little under 9 miles and still challenging without the bogs. Runners are still treated to a fair stretch of beach right at the start which saps the energy of even the fastest runners. Pippa Westall was delighted to be first back for Honiton in 1:25 followed by Sarah Warren five minutes later. Pete Lyus enjoyed his run to finish in 1:46 and this was by far the toughest run young Becky Matthews had completed finishing in 1:49. Louise Saunders finished the line up for Honiton to finish in 1:55.
Thanks to AVR for organising the race, especially Race Director Garry Perratt. Also the cheerful marshals, some of whom were out for over 6 hours, as well as the landowners for allowing thousands of feet to churn up their land.
On the same day but on very different terrain, Graham Reeves completed the Bath Half Marathon. He finished in 1:35: 45 seconds: not quite another P.B. The weather was fantastic and the course was nice and fast. The race was won by Edwin Kiptoo of Kenya setting a new course record.
Congratulations to Heather Foundling-Hawker who has been selected to represent Great Britain in the world 100km championships to be held in Italy later this year following her win at the 40 mile track race of the Welsh Ultra Championships last weekend. Well done Heather!
On Sunday a small group from Honiton Running Club set off for Bideford in the torrential rain unaware of the astonishing performance they were about to witness. By the time they arrived in Bideford thankfully the rain had cleared and the town was taken over with well over 1000 runners from all over the South West to take part in the Bideford Half Marathon. The route is slightly undulating on the way out but the route back is on the Tarka Trail, a disused railway line, and therefore almost flat which can lead to good times. Honiton runners have a habit of doing fast times and gaining PBs on this course (e.g. Nick Bradley-Carter, Pete Ruhen to name but two) and today was no exception. First back for Honiton, after battling against the wind over the last couple of miles, was Julie Payne who managed a PB at 1:35:19 and was 3rd in her category confirming her excellent form at the moment which bodes well for the London Marathon. Second back was Roger Saunders in a time of 1:37:18 closely followed by Grahame Rooms at 1:37:24 though both were unaware of each other. For Grahame this was a new PB so he was well pleased and Roger was within a minute of his run last year. Next came the amazing performance of Brent Dicks who absolutely smashed his previous PB by 17 mins to finish in 1:42:51 thanks to all the hard London Marathon training he has been doing. Warren Oak followed in Brent’s wake in 1:49:32 also training for London. Vanessa Glyn Jones, also running the London Marathon finished in 2:15:29 which was 10th in her category so a very respectable time. So with 3 PBs Honiton runners returned with smiles on their faces glad they had braved the rain and enjoyed the Tarka Trail.