Exmouth Harriers Roger Rowe and Ellie Sutcliffe travelled to Plymouth for the Hoe 10 mile race, which incorporated the Peninsula Challenge (Devon versus Cornwall) and the Devon 10 mile championships, writes Dave Eveleigh.

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Conditions were perfect, cold, but sunny and with little wind. Add this to the fact that the organisers had altered the course this year to make it faster and less complicated and fast times were expected.

The organisers had also promised there would not be a repeat of last year’s marshalling fiasco when many of the lead runners were sent off course.

Roger set off hard, tucked in behind the leader in his Vet 65 category. He was just waiting for the moment to strike and reel him in when, four miles in, Rogers’ hamstring tightened on the climb up to the Hoe and he took the sensible decision to retire and not risk a full on pull.

Meanwhile Ellie was running with the added incentive of proving her credentials to the Devon team manager who had not picked her for the county ladies team!

She tucked in behind the fourth lady from the team for the first three miles and then made my move on one of the hills.

Having increased the gap over this runner to 300m those reassurances about marshalling came back to haunt the organisers.

At mile seven Ellie, and a fair few runners in front of her, were sent the wrong way at a roundabout. By the time the error was corrected, Ellie’s county team rival had caught her up. Ellie though worked hard over the last three miles to regain a lead over her and ended up in eighth place - the seven women in front of her being all Cornwall and Devon team runners. Ellie estimated the marshalling mishap cost her about 30 seconds but she still knocked exactly a minute off her Personal Best to finish in 64:18 and 58th overall out of 483 finishers.

Ellie was also eighth female and third Devon senior female, giving her a bronze in the county championships.

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