The course profile is predominantly down hill, as it starts at the Princesshay Shopping Centre and then drops down to the quay, where runner complete one full loop of the First Chance 10k course, and finish on Haven Banks, so they do not have to regain the initial height they lost. Fast times were therefore up for grabs for those tough enough to brave the icy conditions.
Four Harriers were and for each of them wrapping up and running proved a worthwhile Sunday activity as they all achieved some great results, with personal bests and category wins across the board.
Dave Stone finished first in this event a year ago. This year, despite posting a faster time of 34:41, he had to be content with 6th place, highlighting the tough level of competition this year that was headed up by a familiar name and face, Tom Merson! He was, nevertheless, comfortably first man over 40 and this sub 35 minute time will give him a massive confidence boost as he prepares to tackle a World Record fancy dress attempt at the London Marathon for the 3rd year running.
With a number of keen Harriers based in the village, Lympstone seems to have become something of a training hub for the club and Richard Hawes is showing the benefits of being up and running with that little group and benefiting from some training sessions with our Ethiopian guest, Berihu. On Sunday he took another sizeable chunk from his 10km PB - not forgetting here that he's only been running for about a year now! - recording 38:46. This meant that he only has to find 90 seconds in order to break the 10 mph barrier for 10km. Richard was an impressive 34th overall and he too won his age group (men over 45).
Dave Eveleigh has been enjoying a fantastic start to 2013 so far. Following on from his 44:40 clocking - one of his fastest times in recent years - at the First Chance 10k in January, he has now obliterated that with an impressive 43:25 time at this event. This placed him comfortably within the top 100 finishers, in 82nd spot overall, and gave him a well-deserved and easy victory in the MV55 category, thus bagging the the third age group win for the club of the day. With this giving him an age-graded result in the high 70s, things are starting to get very interesting and highly competitive in the men's club championship!
Catherine Gentry was the only female representative from the Harriers at the event but she did the ladies proud by finishing well up the field, in 132nd overall, and with a superb time of 47:16. This gave her a well-earned second spot in her women over 40 category. It should be pointed out that Catherine's finishing position seems all the more impressive when you learn that in this race there was the rare phenomenon of having more females finish than men! A sign that the times are a changin', perhaps?!
Well done to all the Harriers for wrapping up, running and braving the cold. We may only be a small club with a smattering of entrants at each event compared to some of the larger clubs, but we always punch well above our weight!
Dave, having just crossed the finish line in 6th overall and as 1st MV40!