Exmouth Harriers Male and Female Athlete of the year Awards and even the President’s Award are valued because they reflect the opinion of your club-mates, writes Dave Eveleigh.

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This year though there has been the opportunity to take part in a competition where your final ranking has been in your own hands. The brainchild of Ellie Sutcliffe, the new club championship requires athletes to come up with performances in four of six different race sections from marathon down to track races under 5km.

The clever bit of the contest though is that scores are age adjusted. A performance gets a percentage score where 100 per cent is the world record for the age of our athlete.

The ‘level playing field’ is at the end of the rainbow of course, but this field is flatter than most!

The presentations for this competition were made at the Club’s Presentation evening recently.

Ten men and seven women came up with the required spread of performances, all of whom receive a small memento for that commitment.

For the men seventh to tenth places scored between 60 per cent and 75 per cent and were filled (in alphabetical order, with their single best performances) by: Marc Cox (Exeter 5K in 16:41), Chris Dupain (Exeter 5K in 18:38), Dave Eveleigh V55 (Devon 1500m in 5:33) and Les Turner V65 (Killerton 5k in 27:15).

In sixth place was Richard Hawes who averaged 77 per cent, his best race being the County track 10K event which he did in a time of 38:28.

Hugh Marsden’s highest scoring race was the Burnham Half Marathon where 84:04 scored 82 per cent, but his average was just short of 80 per cent and he took fifth place.

The top four men all averaged over 80 per cent.

Adam Miller’s best individual run, a little surprisingly perhaps, was a 2:09 800m in Exeter and his final average was 80 per cent.

That left him just short of Rob Orton’s third place winning final score of 81 per cent.

Orton was another athlete who had his highest scoring race on the flat and fast Exeter 5K course, and he squeezes most of his races into summer and autumn - like Hugh Marsden Rob is out of the country for part of each year. Mike Musgrove finished his campaign with an 82 per cent scoring track 10K of 35:45 and his final average was 81.1 per cent.

This left him in second place, only 0.6 per cent behind the winner of the inaugural Exmouth Harriers in-house championships for Men, who is Dave Stone.

Now if Mike and Dave were racing head to head this club championship win would equate to him being ahead by not much more than 100 metres over a half marathon, less than 100m over the 10K and less than 40 metres over the 5K!

In the female section Carly Miller and Emma White each managed to fit in a wedding as well as the races needed to gain a club championship placing!

However, there were no bonus points for that, and, together with Lisa Hatchard, they filled the places outside the top four, all three scoring very close to 67 per cent.

Each did have, though, an individual performance that stood out: Carly and Emma were both very close to 70 per cent for a 5K time, Carly with 21:25 at the Yeovilton 5K, Emma with 21:23 in Exeter while Lisa’s best result was just under 69 per cent with a Fulfords Five Mile time of 36:19.

In fourth place was Dawn Teed, averaging 72 per cent.

While Dawn’s Falklands Marathon win was her most memorable performance the windy Falklands is not the place for a fast time, leaving her pre-marathon Bideford half time of 1:43 scoring her highest percentage (73 per cent).

In third place with an average of 73 per cent was Hannah Bown, her best performance at the fast and popular First Chance 10K were her time was 39:57 and worth 76 per cent.

Ellie Sutcliffe was comfortably clear of Hannah in the runners-up spot, but was less than one per cent short of 80 per cent!

Her best race was a Yeovilton 5K run in 18:15.

If there was an overall first place the Cathy Newman would fill it. For the moment though, she is the first female winner of this new club championships with a whopping 89 per cent and a single best race, on that Yeovilton 5K course again, of 92 per cent for a time of 18:32.

No doubt there will be some changes to this intra-club championships format but it has been workable and enjoyed by those who completed it and will surely be contested by more during the coming year.

For those completing the event this year there are, if they wish, new targets to motivate training. Some of these are obvious, such as 75 per cent for Cox, Eveleigh and Bown, 80 per cent for Sutclife and 90 per cent for Newman but this club championship format can provide new motivators for everyone.

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