Trio of Exmouth Harriers represent the England Masters

Harriers basking in the sunshine at Escot

Harriers basking in the sunshine at Escot - Credit: Exmouth Harriers

Three Exmouth Harriers have been selected to race for England Masters against the Welsh Masters in the Wales Half Marathon on Sunday, July 3. 

Tom Merson will be racing in the Men’s 35 age category team with husband and wife Alison and Des White in the Women’s 65 and Men’s 65 category. 

The British Masters Half Marathon Championships will also be held within the same race so there is also an opportunity for the three Harriers to win a British Masters medal whilst covering the 13.1 miles from Pembroke to Tenby. 

Tom will be running his third Half Marathon in 14 days after winning the Plymouth Half Marathon in 68.08 on Sunday and being a leading contender for the Torbay Half Marathon this weekend. 

Tom will be wearing an England Masters vest for the 2nd time after running in the England Masters Half Marathon Challenge in Wokingham in Maym where he was the overall winner in 67.08. He will also be defending his title of British Masters Half Marathon Champion that he won in Caterham in 70.21 in July 2021. 

Alison and Des will both be running for the fourth time for England Masters, having run in the 2019 Half Marathon and the 10km Celtic Challenges, plus the England Masters Half Marathon Challenge in Wokingham.   

Jenny Reay and Terry Oldham raced in the tough Umborne Ug multi-terrain 10km. The official description of the course is ‘mostly multi- terrain with a couple of hills’. Terry said afterwards: “it really should have been classified as a Fell Race as the hills were brutal.” Jenny Reay 38th 55.51 (1st W60), Terry Oldham 58th 63.18 (1st M65). 

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The event was superbly organised by Honiton Running Club with over 60 teams of three runners from five East Devon running clubs (Axe Valley Runners, Exmouth Harriers, Honiton RC, Sidmouth Running Club and The Met Office Runners) over a 2.4 hilly multi-terrain course in the lovely Escot Park.  

29 Harriers took part in this challenging event and two of the Harriers’ teams were the winners in their category; the Senior Women’s team of Alice Kelly, Paula Hawkins and Hannah Bown, plus the Women’s Over 60 team of Jenny Reay, Alison White and Sue Hill. 

The third race of 10 in the 2022 Dartmoor Fell Race Series was a six-mile moorland run from Meavy out over Dartmoor, via Burrator Reservoir, Sheepstor Dam, Sheepstor summit (369m), Gutter Tor summit (357m), Ringmoor Down and the cooling Meavy river ford. It has a spectacular finish with a nice ford dip and a reception on the village green outside the welcoming Royal Oak Inn. 

Hugh Marsden was first home for the Harriers in 44th position in 51.35 and he was first in the M60 age category. Terry Oldham was next finisher in 90th position in 1.10.49 followed closely by Lorraine Gilson in 93rd position in 1.13.47 and Dawn Teed in 94th in 1.13.47. 

Dawn said: “The heavens opened for the start of the race and it was windy too, but it stopped during the race and warmed up. We then had lovely Dartmoor views plus a finish through the Meavy River ford to cool our feet and legs.” 

Tom Merson once again won the prestigious Plymouth Half Marathon in 1.08.08. This is the fourth time that Tom has been the first finisher overall in the Plymouth Half, breaking the tape on The Hoe in front of Smeaton’s Tower. Andrew Place was running in his first Half Marathon for a while after suffering a knee injury earlier in the year and did really well in the circumstances to finish in 1.45.16. 

A week after completing the 32-mile Dartmoor Discovery Kelly Thomas ran the 14.5-mile Exeter Green Lantern race in 2.14.29, the route followed the Green Circle clockwise around Exeter, through wooded valleys, meadows, bicycle lanes and the banks of the River Exe. 

Tom Merson at the 2022 Wokingham Marathon

Tom Merson at the 2022 Wokingham Marathon - Credit: Exmouth Harriers

Des & Alison White ready to represent England Masters

Des & Alison White ready to represent England Masters - Credit: Exmouth Harriers