National honours for ORC runners

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

It was a weekend of great performances by Okehampton runners, from juniors to the most senior members.

The National X-Country Championships took place over an incredibly muddy and sticky course at Loughborough, which made for very tough going. Jo Page ran a strong 10k Ladies Race to come 4th of the Devon runners, with Matthew Richards also running very well to be 4th in the team in his race and Sam Priday 8th.

Geoff Hill returned to the Lee Valley Stadium in London, this time for the British Masters Track Championship where he followed up his gold in the 800m two weeks ago with a silver medal in the 400m, clocking a time of 57.63secs. Geoff won his final but the winner of the second final finished just one tenth of a second faster and so took gold.

There was a good turnout of ORCs at the
Bideford Half Marathon. Prize money for the first five male and female winners attracted some top runners to this fast and flat race where there were 1,550 entrants. Conditions were good once the torrential downpour that started as soon as the starting klaxon went off had passed!

The first ORC home with a superb run was Hayden Bond, finishing in an excellent 16th place in 1.17.00, knocking a minute off his PB. Claudine Benstead was the first ORC lady home in an incredible 1.33.12, winning the FV60 prize by a huge margin and setting a new club age category record. Steve Sincock was another category winner taking the MV60 prize with an equally impressive 1.24.05, also for a new club age record. Paul Carter was 3rd MV50 in 1.24.27 while Kathleen Sincock was 2nd FV50 in 1.41.59 and an age category club record.

Just a minute behind her was Karen Vallance in 1.42.56 for 3rd FV50 and a three and a half minute PB. Ged Fitzgibbon took the 3rd MV70 prize in 1.54.29 and set a new MV70 club record. Andy Vallance finished not far behind Hayden in 1.17 25, good enough to set a new MV40 club record.
The iconic Grizzly also took place. Jeremy Tandy ran the full 20 mile Grizzly, finishing in 2.50.25 to be 26th out of 1,385 finishers.

Christine Fritsch had to make the decision to drop to the shorter distance, the Cub, when she became unwell out on the course. Taking it slowly she still enjoyed the race, finishing in 2.12.23.

On the weekend of the 14th/15th March, four ORCs travelled to Arlington Court in North
Devon for the North Devon Road Runners
Arlington Court Canter 10K trail race.
With the still rain pouring at registration it was a relief as it dried up for the race itself. 3, 2, 1 go – we all set of at speed following the well-marked route around the Arlington Court grounds, through the woods on forestry tracks, across fields, up and down steep muddy paths – many of which were flowing with water like streams!

With sprint finishes, Jeremy Tandy and Jo Page finished in podium positions – 3rd overall and 1st female (20th) in 41.18 and 47.52. Ian Page finished in 59th place (56.36) and Karen Gear in 65th (57.35). A great fun race – big thanks to NDRR for running the event and not cancelling like so many other races!

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