Exmouth Harriers: Reflections on Running in 2020

Exmouth Harrier Hannah Bown on the podium after her third place finish at the 2020 City Runs NY5 mee

Exmouth Harrier Hannah Bown on the podium after her third place finish at the 2020 City Runs NY5 meeting. Picture: EXMOUTH HARRIERS - Credit: Archant

Thinking back on 2020, Exmouth Harriers have had another really good year but probably not in the way that we had expected when we started in January. 
Obviously, the Covid-19 situation put a halt to most races and for some it also meant a serious curtailment of their training sessions.  
Harriers own events were cancelled; the Exmouth Express 5 Miles planned for February couldn’t be run due to the ongoing flood prevention work on the seafront and the Bicton Blister planned for November was called off due to the Covid-19 situation and a second lockdown. 
During the first three months of 2020, Exmouth Harriers clocked up a number of notable results in local and National events, including Tom Merson winnning the New Year 5 Miler in Exeter in 24.22 and Hannah Bown was the third Lady in 32.50. 
There was a big turnout from Exmouth Harriers in Exeter’s 1st Chance 10km with Rob Ellis gaining third place in 33.08 and Mike Musgrove coming in firstst M50 in 35.54. 
The Exmouth Harriers also performed very well at the First Chance 10km. 
Brian Sansom ran 1.27.31 in the Farnborough 1/2 Marathon and qualified to run for England Masters in the Celtic Challenge later in the year. 
Sam Kelly was 2nd overall in Seaton’s mega-tough Grizzly in 2.32.08. 
In the following six months, there was a lot of individual activity, as we weren’t allowed to train and / or race with others. This restricted training to solo sessions and racing to virtual events creatively put on by race organisers, such as Exeter’s City Runs.  
There were even a few virtual relay races that certainly took some organising by the team captains, and the Harriers had successes in a number of these events, including the Men’s team winning the Erme Valley Virtual Relays and the Lady’s team placing third. 
The final three months of the year saw a gradual and tentative return to organised training sessions and “real” racing, including a number of marvellous achievements by Exmouth Harriers in the following events: 
Lisa Hatchard performed brilliantly to be the first Lady in the Dartmoor Trail Marathon in 5 hours 32 minutes 7 seconds. 
James Kelly was third in the North Coast 110km race in an incredible 14 hours 55 minutes. 
Hannah Bown was first Lady in a new personal best time in the Shepperdine Marathon near Bristol in 3.08.32, which was an amazing achievement, 
Chris Murrin ran his 80th Marathon in the Plymtrail Marathon in October in 3.57.21 and ran the race again in December in 4.28.48, along with Kelly Thomas finishing in the same time. (Chris is aiming to complete 100 marathons within the next two years). 
Lisa Hatchard finished in a tremendous 13th place overall in the Gloucester 24-Hour Track Race, running an outstanding 101.16 miles (407 laps of the track). 
Scott Jamieson was fourth overall and 1st M40 in Bridport’s CapTEN 10-mile fell race in 1.20.34. 
Tom Merson won the inaugural Exmouth Seafront 5 Miler in 24.35. 
Rob Ellis (32.23), Oliver White (34.45) & Scott Jamieson (35.32) all set personal best times at the Fast Friday 10km at Exeter Racecourse, with Rob finishing in third place overall.  
The final race of the year for Exmouth Harriers saw Hannah Bown and Tom Packer compete in the Indian Queens 1/2 Marathon on December 20. 
Hannah finished in 35th place overall and she was third Lady and 1st W40 in 1.31.02 Tom wasn’t far behind in 51st place in 1.35.25. 
Exmouth Harriers would like to thank the race organisers for giving us a variety of events to challenge us during the 12 months and we look forward to better times for everyone in 2021. 
Despite all the restrictions and obstacles runners have had to face in a torrid 2020, it is great to see so much success and enthusiasm for the sport at Exmouth Harriers. 

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