Despite the overall downhill profile of the course, a very stiff headwind in the last 2 miles of the course, along the river back towards the piazza, counteracted the benefits of the earlier downhill section. In gusts of up to 30 mph, second claim Harrier, Tom Merson, clad in Harriers home colours, did well to run a solo race from gun to tape in a time of 31:38.
He was followed by men's captain, Adam Miller, in 6th place in a fantastic new PB of 34:55. This is the first time Adam has officially run a sub 35 minute 10k, although he has done it as a 10k split within the Bath Half Marathon last year. Adam hoped for an outside chance of a PB but wasn't sure if he'd get it given the windy conditions. Luckily for him he managed to get in with a group of 3 runners who all finished within 10 seconds of each other, which definitely helped him to stay on target in the latter, windy half of the race.
Cathy Newman was the next Harrier home having yet another superb run, coming in 3rd lady overall in an amazing time, given the tough conditions, of 38:21. It goes without saying that she was a comfortable winner of the FV50 category and earning a richly deserved podium place overall in a race which proved to be rather competitive at the sharp end, with two Exeter University athletes running sub 37 and sub 38 minute times for 1st and 2nd spots respectively. Well done Cathy!
Next in, and racing for the first time in months after having struggled with a string of illnesses and viruses over winter, was Richard Hawes. His time of 39:55 was a minute down on his 38:46 PB, set at this same event last year, but for a comeback race, in such windy conditions, he should take confidence from a sub 40 minute clocking and his fantastic 38th place overall and 5th MV45 placing. If he stays illness and injury free and get back to some structured training then he can expect to see that time come down over the coming season.
I, Ellie Sutcliffe, was the next to cross the finish line for the club. I had already entered this race before my calf tear back in January. I have only been back running a couple of weeks and so, not wanting to risk any further injury, I decided to just tempo run the race as I had the place anyway, and so I ran a controlled and comfortable pace that brought me to the finish line in 41:00 for 54th place overall and 5th female. It was a refreshing change to be able to enjoy the race and admire the scenery without gasping for breath, being in pain and spending the entire race desperately urging the finish line to appear!
Then there were three Harriers all crossing the finish line within 1 minute of each other. Lorraine Croome, having already expended a huge amount of energy cycling down to the race, into the stiff headwind, knew exactly what sort of conditions to expect in the last 2 miles along the river. Despite the tough bike ride warm-up, she still managed a PB of 47:18 for 154th place overall, 26th female and 4th FV45. Good going!
The ever-improving Susan Hill was hot on her heels, also bagging herself a sparkly new PB of 47:56 for 169th place overall, 34th female and 2nd FV55. However, when we consider that the only other FV55 athlete to beat her was the truly age-defying, local super-hero, Karen Cook of SWRR, Susan's 2nd place is all the more impressive and would have been good enough for the win in ordinary circumstances.
Dave Eveleigh was not far behind these ladies.A recent knee niggle meant that he was some minutes down on the outstanding 43:25 clocking he ran on this course last year, but, for a vet 60 athlete - which he now of course is - a time of 48:00 for 175th place and 7th in his category was still very respectable.
Well done to all 8 Harriers for battling the winds and, once again, doing the Harriers colours proud!
Start of the Exeter Age UK 10k, outside Debehams in Princesshay Shopping Centre.
Tom Merson, Adam Miller and Cathy Newman are already to the fore.