While close to a dozen Exmouth Harriers were running 10km at Woodbury Moira Glen and Ellie Sutcliffe took a rare opportunity to line up in an all-female field, writes Dave Eveleigh.

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That was at Newton Abbot for the Teignbridge Trotters organised Ladies 10k. It was wet, windy and there were unavoidable ankle-deep puddles, but the days of the fragile female are long gone (they are at Exmouth Harriers anyway!) and the Harriers’ pair were joined by another 180 women.

By a kilometre into the race Sutcliffe was in a leading group of three, the others being speedy Plymouth veteran Ann Luke and Alison McEwing from Erme Valley.

Glen was in the chasing pack or peloton to coin the cycling term. By around 3km McEwing was tailing off but Luke had a loose lace to deal with. Sutcliffe leavened the morality of foot-racing with a little pragmatism and slowed rather than stop, enabling Luke to use a short burst to catch her, thus avoiding both of them being caught by McEwing.

At 6km Luke, (who at 55 is more than 20 years Sutcliffe’s senior!) pulled away but the Harriers runner kept her in sight and was delighted to record a time of 39:22 and take second place, finishing just 13 seconds behind the winner.

Meanwhile, back in that peloton Moira Glen and very experienced local runner Marilyn Blair were swapping places. In the end Blair eked out a seven second lead to leave Glen finishing 11th in 44:07, but receiving the prize for first woman over 45.

Behind Sutcliffe in fifth was Olympic Modern Pentathlon medallist Heather Fell from Tavistock, her presence adding a little more to the already rather special format of the event. Interesting to note that when Luke was the age Sutcliffe is now an Olympic 10000 meters for women had yet to be run!

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