Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Taunton Marathon and Half Marathon (the two are held simultaneously) is one of the more established fixtures on the South West running scene, writes Dave Eveleigh.
For Exmouth-based runners it is just a short drive up the M5 and as forgiving a course as you could hope for over 13 or 26miles around here. Five runners from Exmouth were there last Sunday for this year’s races. Emma White and partner Ben went for the full Marathon. Emma came away with a new personal best time of 3:46:21. In a field of 224 she was 90th overall but 8th of 51 women to finish and second in her Women Under-35 category. Ben was 160th in 4:12:26. The performances of the pair would though, look far more impressive at a mass participation marathon, as in London for example, Taunton is much more a club runner’s race. Considering the context enables us to say that the three local runners in the Half Marathon were all successful in their own way. Mick Allen is in fact nearer 80 years old than 70, but he still claimed third place in the Men Over 70 Age Group, frustratingly just missing a time under two hours (2:02:44), but in a field of well over 800 he was home before nearly 300 younger runners in 547th pace. A good third of the field were female (317) and Alison Kelly was 16th of those to finish (141st overall) in an excellent 97:19. The race was won by locally based Tom Merson, in his Bristol singlet, but he was followed home by Harriers men’s captain, Adam Miller who was timed at 78:55 very nearly 10 mph for 13.11 miles.
A little further south John Perratt who has re-joined Exmouth Harriers was the club’s lone representative at the Honiton Hippo race. As well as allowing for the obligatory alliteration the race name also seems to suggest (presumably accurately) that feeling comfortable up to your armpits in mud might be an advantage for entrants. John has only been competing occasionally recently so it is good to see his name in the results, the septuagenarian finished in 140th place in a field 225 strong, his time being 92:43.