Male competitors of age 65 and over competed in the same race as the females, which was held over a 3 mile circuit, which each member completed once. Our vet 75 guys acquitted themselves superbly, coming away with the gold medal for the team event and with Ray picking up a silver for the second fastest leg of the day in his age category. The boys even got themselves a mention in 'Athletics Weekly', where, the article reports, that the runners-up, Bingley Harriers, are gunning for them next year and will be trying to promote themselves from silver to gold: best get training now then guys to make sure that doesn't happen and the medal once again heads south and not north!!
Thanks to Les Turner for the following fantastic report on a day of stellar performances and great team spirit from our super-vets.
On a beautiful day the only thing hotter than the blazing sun was the performance of Exmouth Harriers' Super Vet Over-75 team. Once again the magnificent trio of Ray Elston, John Perratt and Mick Allen succeeded in raising their game and repeated their gold medal-winning triumph of 2009.
Elston is back running after a cycle accident last year and Perratt has been coping with serious illness. Despite this, Elston established a massive 1st stage lead of 19:29 with his time of 23:40 and Perratt conceded just 1 minute and 25 seconds of this when he recorded 25:05. Finally, Allen’s time of 25:37 allowed Bingley Harriers’ Fred Gibbs, the fastest man in this age group, to pull back just 3:01. This team total of only 74:22 meant that Exmouth Harriers had beaten runners up Bingley Harriers by over 15 minutes – a stunning performance! Congratulations to all three on their overwhelming victory; the older they get, the tougher they get! Elston’s time was also good enough to earn a silver medal for the 2nd equal best individual performance in this age category. So well done again, Ray!
On to Exmouth’s lesser “young pretenders”, the Over-65 team of Les Turner, Roger Rowe and John Reader. With an average age of 70, they were conceding significantly more years to many of their younger rivals. Despite this, however, they managed to finish 14th out of the 19 teams in their highly competitive group. Turner completed the first leg in 2:39; Rowe’s time of 23:38 was excellent for a man with serious knee problems and Reader’s anchor leg of 26:53 another runner returning from injury was a very encouraging debut for this "promising youngster”. The team total of 78:10 seconds, though inferior to that of their illustrious seniors, was not without some merit.
Many thanks go to former Exmouth Harrier Mandy Marvin for travelling all the way from Cambridge to support the teams. They also go to official photographer and cake provider, Mary Rowe, for her unfailing support, once again.
Both the over 65 and the over 70 teams at the relays: all apart from Roger, the guys are all 70 plus. They are the the proof that age really is no barrier to running competitively!
Our gold medal winning vet 75 team: Mick Allen, Ray Elston and John Parrett.
P.S. Not too sure why the yellow shirts and not the standard issue blue - must be an age thing ;-)