Two Harriers headed to Dorset on Sunday 4th May to tackle the North Dorset Villages Marathon. One of these was a regular of this race, Dave Wright, and one was a newcomer to it, but not to the marathon distance, Mike Musgrove.
Dave has run this race about 4 times now and returns to it year on year as it is a well organised, lowkey, fiendly event, run along a relatively fast course through the stunning Dorset countryside. Dave performs consistently well here an this year was no exception as he notched up another sub 3h30 clocking with a time of 3:24:51. This gave him 49th spot overall, out of the 290 finishers and 7th male over 50 in a race that was seemingly dominated by veteran athletes, with only 11 out of the top 50 runners being seniors!
One of those top 50 veterans was Dave's club mate, Mike Musgrove. Following all the hype of the build up to London, where he was again left frustrated at what might have been had his on-going calf problem not reared is ugly head again, Mike felt the need to have another bash at the marathon, but in a lower key, more relaxed environment.
Mike was in good shape and set off feeling strong, comfortably churning out some 6:30 minute miles, but at mile 8 he started to feel a niggle in his troublesome calf, and by mile 15 he had totally hit a wall and ended up having to walk much of the latter section of the race. Given all of this, his eventual time of 3:09:34 is not bad at all. Like Dave, he laced 7th in his category (MV40) and 19th overall. Mike reports that he just wants to run a marathon that all goes to plan and then he will feel able to bow out gracefully from the distance and concentrate on some shorter stuff.... but for now, he has unfinished business, so I guess we'll be seeing him at London again next year!
Meanwhile, back in Devon on the nearby Killerton Estate (yes, that estate of parkrun fame!), I, Ellie Sutcliffe, was the sole Harrier taking part in a day of events organised by Relish Running Races, that incorporated a 5k, 10k, half marathon and children's fun run.
Like last year, I opted for the 10k distance. Unlike last year, I am not fit this year, having had a few months of very little training following a calf tear in January, and unfortunately, this is not the most forgiving of courses. It has over 1000ft of climb over the 10k distance, on a stunning route over fields of butter cups, through bluebell woods, and on muddy farm tracks around the wider estate. The added extra of a belly crawl, using elbows, commando style, under a fallen oak tree added to the fun this year.
I completed the race 2 minutes slower than last year, and didn't manage to repeat my win of last year, but was pleased with third place in the ladies section and 12th overall in field of 193 in a time of 46:25. I was also pleased to win one of only 2 spot prizes - some vouchers for a triathlon company. Hopefully this means that my luck is on the turn!
The race was won by the talented, promising Exmouth based, Sidmouth R.C. runner, Jason Drew.
A rather superb aerial shot of the start of the 10k race in front of Killerton House.
Ellie, crossing the finish line of the 10k race in front of the house.