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Into the Valley – 18 July 2010

Reporting from Tarrant Monkton.

There has been a summer race from Tarrant Valley for many years. Originally it was a 10-miler, but there had also been an option of a 5 mile race in the past. In 2006 the course was changed to a 10k – that year just three WACers took part. Bob Caines was one of them, Bob is, I believe, the Wimborne runner who has stood on the start line at Tarrant Monkton more often than any of us. Also on the start line for 2006’s inaugural 10k was Barb Frampton, it was Barb & Norman’s move to Tarrant Monkton around that time that really put this race on the WAC radar. From that point on the number of red shirts taking part has soared. 2007 saw 31 WACers in the 10k, in 2008 there were 25 of us taking part, and 27 of us last year. We were down in numbers a little this year, with 21, but we had a very good excuse!

The village has also been staging a one mile junior race and red shirts had been taking part in that too in the last three years, including a race win for Callum Kennedy in 2008. Last year WACer Sharon Hutchings won the girls’ prize, but Callum came off second-best to local (Tarrant Launceston) lad Ryan Walbridge. Within a short time Ryan was to become a WACer and by the start of the 2009/2010 cross-country season he was competing in league races in red. This further strengthened our link with the race and it meant that in the junior event our squad of young endurance runners were totally up for it!

I mentioned a very good excuse that saw reduced WAC numbers taking part – and diminished performances from some of us who did. On the night before, a good many WACers had been over to Tim Box’s farm for a fantastic summer’s evening barbecue with music, both live and a disco. It was a wonderful night, tug of war early evening was a riot, later when we were gathered around the camp fire it was magical. Nicki Roe produced some glasses and poured out her home-made rhubarb schnapps, which seemed like a great idea at the time. Quite a few WACers camped over, and for those who stayed overnight it was around 3am before we crawled into our sleeping bags. Hardly the best preparation for a race the next day! I woke up on Sunday morning not feeling too clever, having had around four hours sleep. I had made a big deal about how I was going to party all night and then race 10k the next day – for that reason only I dragged myself to the start line. Breakfast consisted of a couple of Nutrigrain bars, a few glasses of water and two Nurofen – I was good to go! Not!!

We made our way to the start line, Tim had worked his socks off over the previous 48 hours to ensure the great success of the party. Me and Tim were competing to see who could turn up at the start line looking the roughest! At 10:30 the 10k runners were off. Needless to say I was taking it pretty easy at the start. After less than a mile there is a steady climb along the main road out of the village, before the route kicks up on quite a severe climb on a footpath that runs alongside a coppice.

Meanwhile back in the village the one mile race was being assembled on the start line. A lot can happen in a year, and since Ryan’s race win in 2009 he has established himself in the Dorset County cross-country team (as have some of his team-mates) and he was the only WACer selected to compete in the National Schools Cross-Country Championships in Manchester. Quite a few Tarrant locals were up to speed with Ryan’s running achievements as he had been the subject of a piece in a local journal. If Ryan was to win this year’s Tarrant one mile race he was going to have to withstand a strong challenge from his training partner Piers Copeland (Callum having moved up into the seniors’ 10k race). Sharon was on the start line hoping to make it two wins in a row, along with WACers Chloe Morris and Grace Copeland. There were 30 runners taking part and our five reds finished in the top five places. It doesn’t get better than that! Both Ryan and Sharon claimed their wins. As expected Piers really pushed Ryan, meanwhile Grace won the prize for first under-10 girl (she actually finished more than a minute in front of the first boy in her age group). Chloe wasn’t feeling very well, which didn’t become apparent until she was running. She finished feeling distressed and made a hasty departure after the race. Despite this she still came 5th, a full 46 seconds ahead of the next finisher. All in all, a fantastic performance from our young WACers. It’s a shame that the junior race starts after the seniors’ race, as cheering our youngsters home, would certainly have lifted our spirits prior to us racing.

Out on the tracks and byways of the Tarrant Valley the 10k runners were tackling the undulating multi-terrain course. Up to around the 8k mark there feels like there is more climb than descent. The last 2k see the runners finally able to open their stride and take advantage of a falling ruling gradient. Slowly I was managing to run off that ‘morning after the night before’ feeling. After a slurp of water at the last water station at around 7.5k I finally found the confidence to push on and finished strongly, taking 2 minutes out of a runner I had run with until then, and making up about a dozen places. The early part of my race had been so slow though, that red shirts that I am normally racing amongst still finished well ahead of me. I am pretty sure this is my PW for a 10k. A little further down the field Tim was also recorded his PW after the exertions of the weekend.

Some WACers are made of tougher stuff, and a pair of party animals – Jerry Shield and Roy Long – managed top ten finishes. The next cluster of WACers home were three-quarters of our junior men’s team which would record a win at the Wayfarer’s relays just six days later. David Long, Callum Kennedy and John Hutchings had a ding-dong battle over the 10k. Despite David taking a wrong turning, his racing nous and endurance won out over his team-mates. Steve Guy was riding along on the coat-tails of these three and finished just 10 seconds down on John.

Dave Wild’s outstanding form this year continued – he won his age-group (M60). Lynn Hutchings had a fine race and was just pipped at the end for the final podium position. The Tarrant Valley 10 has often seen reds make their WAC debuts here. This year was no different, Kim Brackley ran her first race as a WACer. Ruth Parker and Andy Keal have been training with us over the last month or so, and hopefully it won’t be too long before we see them in red shirts too. John Guy was the final WACer in, it’s great to see him back running again after a difficult time with injury.

Although the party of the night before had reduced our number of competitors, it did mean that we had magnificent support in the village with many WACers who were still recovering out there cheering us on. Thanks for your support guys.

The race itself continues to be a friendly and well-run affair. It is a non-profit making event with proceeds being distributed to local charities. WACer Barb Frampton is actively involved with Riding for the Disabled (the local group celebrated its 40th anniversary this year) and they were over the moon when £700 was passed onto them from the race organisers. Other benificiaries were Naomi’s House and Jack’s Place (both hospices). It’s wonderful to have such a great day out in the Tarrant Valley and know we have played a small part in raising money for these local charities.

Ian K

WACers results:

1 mile race (30 runners)

1 – Ryan Walbridge – 6:53
2 – Piers Copeland – 7:15
3 – Sharon Hutchings – 7:48
4 – Grace Copeland – 7:52
5 – Chloe Morris – 8:00

10k race (117 runners)

7 – Jerry Shield – 38:22
8 – Roy Long – 38:33
18 – David Long – 42:22
20 – Callum Kennedy – 43:16
22 – John Hutchings – 43:33
24 – Steve Guy – 43:43
28 – Dave Wild – 44:53
29 – Paul Teck – 45:13
33 – Lynn Hutchings – 45:32
34 – Graham Whiffen – 45:33
38 – Gerry Hutchings – 46:07
55 – Andy Keal – 50:35
58 – Ruth Parker – 50:42
64 – Ian Kennedy – 51:05
87 – Kim Brackley – 55:50
88 – Wendy Kennedy – 55:56
97 – Bob Caines – 58:10
103 – Annmarie Pearson – 61:41
106 – Tim Box – 62:33
109 – Celia Ireland ­ 63:48
112 – John Guy – 66:43


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