Bats Race Report: New York, Bideford, Templar & Lordshill

Taking part in the New York Marathon last weekend and wearing her club vest with pride, was Bere Alston Trekker, Natasha Ayres.

The 26.2 mile course travels through all five boroughs. The starting line is in Staten Island and participants run through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx before crossing the finish line in Central Park.  As runners wind through the various neighborhoods, they pass an average of five different bands every mile, playing everything from jazz to reggae to rock n’ roll.

Following months of training with her husband Steve who also ran with her, Natasha achieved her life’s dream of visiting the Big Apple. Running the marathon was an added bonus as Natasha has only been running for 18 months.  Both runners also secured a place in the parade of nations to carry the Union Jack at the opening ceremony.

Sprinting to the finish line to run under 5 hours is a massive achievement and the rest of the club, family and friends are very proud of Team Bat New York Marathon 2015 (official time 4.58.58).

Natasha and Steve are pictured proudly wearing their medals.

Other races this weekend.

Well done to Andrew Bowden who ran the Bideford 10 miler as part of his winter training in a time of 1.11.28.

To Matthew Head who ran the Lordshill 10.  Matt Set a goal of 67.30 and achieved a fantastic chip time of 65.30

And to Lai-Yin Wong and Matt Luckham who completed the Templar 10 in 1.54.05 and 1.35.02 respectively.


Bats – here, there and everywhere

Club members took part in three events over the weekend.

Locally eleven club members took part in the Armada Network Autumn Trail at Newnham Park hosted by kind permission of the Cobbold Family.

This eight mile undulating off-road event, with 4 river crossings, was run over the same course as the popular Frank Elford Sports Autumn Trail, which was last held in 2011. First BAT home and in 9th place overall, was Steve Hill in a time of 48:46, Jennifer West first lady BAT 1:09:31, whilst Pam Adams ran as rear sweeper.

Team Bat – Autumn Trail 2015 are pictured with their times. Steven Hill 0.48.46, Martin Head 1.05.30, David Adams, 1.07.47, Matt Luckham 1.07.47, Jennifer West 1.09.31, Lisa Birch 1.11.33, Fran Morgan 1.15.28, Kate Glanville 1.19.59, Phillip Adams 1.25.30, Hilary Head 1.40.37 and Pam Adams 1.45.24.

Further afield in North Devon, three Bats made their way to Barnstaple to take part in the half and full marathon.    Both routes are almost entirely flat making it a fast course with every possibility of a personal beest.

Both races start and finish at Rock Park in Barnstaple and head down Ladies mile onto the Tarka trail all the way to Fremington an onto main road all the way to Yelland from here runners head back to Barnstaple on the Tarka Trail and cross the old bridge and head onto the Strand where the race splits. The half marathoners head back to the finish and the full run all the way along the Strand to the Civic Centre car park where they accessed the Tarka trail again.

Next comes the exciting bit, running across the base at Chivenor! As runners enter the base they are confronted by 22 Squadron – The Wessex helicopters of the Search and Rescue team however, from here the route now becomes a lonely trek around the perimeter track. There are no spectators allowed on the base for obvious reasons but there are marshals, a water station, first aid and some snipers provided by the base. Apparently if runners drop below their goal speed the snipers will offer some encouragement……

All the way back to the park, it is a straight run in.

Team Bat – Barnstaple 2015 are pictured: (left to right) Julie Page 4.25.11 (full marathon), Laura Hogan 2.08.15  (half marathon) and Emma Dooney 4.25.10 (full marathon) and third in her age group – other finishing times not available at time of print.

Much further afield and way up north, two Bats took part in the Loch Ness Marathon. This marathon starts on the high ground between Fort Augustus and Foyers and drops down to the banks of Loch Ness at Foyers . From there, the route follows the loch’s south eastern shore, heading north east towards Dores on the northern tip of the loch. From Dores, the race heads directly into the centre of Inverness turning left over the main road bridge and left again for the last half mile along the River Ness to the finish at Bught Park in the centre of Inverness, the route offers great views.

Finishing 5th lady overall and with a new personal best of 3.02.47 was Rebecca Mingo.  Becky’s husband Paul also ran the event to finish in a time of 4.13.33.

Bats and the Treggy 7

Today saw a dozen Bere Alston Trekkers (BATs) head into Cornwall for the Treggy 7.

The race itself followed the same route as in previous years, starting in Launceston’s town square and taking in seven undulating miles of picturesque countryside, with a triumphant finish on the Castle Green.

Launceston Road Runners have a reputation for putting on this professional, well organised but above all, thoroughly enjoyable event and the atmosphere and buzz on this year’s Treggy 7 was no exception. First BAT home, and 17th overall was Steve Hill with Sally Dunn being first Lady BAT home – coincidentally both were 4th in their respective age categories and well done to Julia Page who ran a 4 minute personal best.

Some of Team Bat – Treggy 7 2015 are pictured: Steve Hill 43.31, Andrew Bowden 52.25, Sally Dunn 56.32, Julie Page 57.05, Martin Head 57.22, Emma Dooney 01.02.19, Fran Morgan 01.04.56, Ralph Elmes 01.07.03, Mel Greaves 01.09.45, Kate Glanville 01.11.40, Jo Vella 01.16.58 and Hilary Head 01.24.09.

Team Bat - Treggy 7

A big well done also to Murray Turner, Rachel Wood and Francis Dix who completed the 50+ mile pre-ambulation yesterday (Saturday 5th September), full race report and photographs to follow next week.

More Treggy 7 pics:








Bats take on the Rat!

Saturday 15th August saw a team of 12 Bere Alston Trekkers (Bats) took on the Mud Crew Roseland August Trail. The Races are named the Plague, Black, Red and White RAT. The Black Route 32 miles, The Red Route 22 miles, The White Route 11 miles and The Plague (green) 100K – 64 miles! The Plague starts and finishes in Porthpean and the other distances are all bussed to their start points to make their way back to Porthpean.

No matter the distance all races are extremely brutal, with steep ascents and descents, narrow paths, and hundreds of steep steps, each route the terrain getting harder the closer to the finish. Completing any distance is a challenge. Over 64 miles the Plague, runners gain approximately 10000 feet of ascent, half that for the Black RAT, 3500 on the Red RAT and 2100 feet on the White RAT.

Plague runners were – Francis Dix Who finished in 16.46.09, Murray Turner and Rachel wood both started the event but sadly had to retire for medical reasons. Rachel Wood after 2.32.19 and Murray, well past the half way point after 36 miles in 10.09.27. The plague is such a challenge that about 25% of all starters were unable to complete.

Sam Lake finished the Black RAT in 6.13.56 to become the 4th lady home. Sarah Cohen finished in 9.59.10.

Fran Morgan was the only BAT to take on the Red RAT, finishing in 5.13.14.

Matthew Head finished the white RAT in an incredible time of 1.38.06, in 10th position overall. Andy Bowden finished in 2.11.38, Martin Head in 2.17.30, Emma Dooney and Mel Greaves in 3.04.57 and Hilary Head in 3.35.14.

A massive well done to all Bats taking part in this tough event and on such a warm day.




Bats Club Trip 2015 (+ Snowdonia & Burrator)

This weekend it was time for a large colony of Bere Alston Trekkers (Bats) to pack their overnight bags and head to Petersfield for this year’s club trip.  The event this year was the South Downs Half and Full Marathon.

The South Downs Marathon is a scenic point to point race over the beautiful South Downs.  The South Downs Marathon has its 10th Anniversary in 2015 and is now a classic trail run from Slindon College, through the Slindon estate to join the South Downs Way at Bignor Hill. From her it heads west to finish at the bottom of Butser Hill in Queen Elizabeth Country Park for the classic marathon distance 26.2 miles.

The South Downs Half Marathon was launched in 2012 to offer a shorter trail race to the Marathon.  Traditionally the route has started with a stiff climb up Butser Hill however, the route ran from the village of Chalton up on to the South Downs Way to accommodate the Ditcham School mountain bike event.  From there runners followed the Sussex Border Path from the railway bridge at Woodcroft Farm up to the South Downs Way. This brought runners out further East on the South Downs Way than before so they had a longer run back to the joint finishing line.  It has to be said that neither of these courses were easy with both including steep hill climbs and descents, stony tracks and runner made tracks through the hay fields.

Taking part in the full marathon were nine members of the club, with four running the distance for the first time.  First home for the Bats were Sam Lake who was also second lady overall and her running buddie Steve Hill to finish together in a time of 3.46.07. Jenny West ran her first marathon for the club to finish in a great time of 04.52.29.  Julie Page, Mel Greaves and Emma Dooney also ran their first marathon.

For the half marathon, first male Bat home was Phil King who ran a great off road event and was chased across the line by Dave Adams.  Club veteran Ralph Elmes was the next man home and finished third in his age group.  Lisa Birch was the first lady Bat home.  Stew Barwis made his debut for the club and a special well done to Philip Adams who ran his first ever half marathon to finish third in his age group.

Team Bat South Downs Trail Half & Full Marathon are pictured with their finishing times: Full Marathon: Steven Hill 03.46.07; Samantha Lake 03.46.07; Francis Dix 04.26.36; Jennifer West 04.52.29; Matthew Luckham 04.53.42; Julie Page 05.15.59; Sarah Cohen 05.30.05; Melanie Greaves 05.58.36 and Emma Dooney 05.58.36.

South Down Trail 2015 (8)

Half Marathon: Philip King 02.04.26; David Adams 02.05.15; Ralph Elmes 02.14.29; Lisa Birch 02.16.35; Andy Cowden 02.16.37; Marcia Macey 02.19.24; Pam Adams 02.28.58; Mike Smith 02.30.05; Heather Smith 02.30.06; Natasha Ayres 02.31.32; Alison Greaves 02.35.57; Janice Fuller 02.41.02; Philip Adams 02.41.02; Steve Barwis 02.45.42; Jade Alford 02.47.12; Lai-Yin Wong 02.51.51; Jo Bourton 02.57.32 and Jo Vella 02.57.32.

South Down Trail 2015 (10)

As is often the way with the Bats, many ran together in pairs and crossed the line hand in hand and as they finished the usual clapping and screaming support of the team formed at the finish and waited until the last Bat cross the line some six hours after the starting horn sharing hugs and tears of a job very well done.  Here is the whole team 🙂

South Down Trail 2015 (6)

Also as the weekend lone Bat, Fran Morgan made her way to the foothills of Snowdonia to finish the mountain trail marathon in a great time of 6 hours 16.

Team Bat - Snowdonia Trail 2015

Closer to home a team of five Bats took part in the Burrator Horse Shoe which is a 7 mile moorland run from Meavy and out over Dartmoor, via Burrator Reservoir, Sheepstor Dam, Sheepstor Summit (369m), Guttor Tor Summit (357m), Ringmoor Down and Meavy River Ford which is often knee deep.

Team Bat Burrator Horseshoe 2015 are pictured with their times: Laurence Sargeant 01.00.30; Christine Le Flem 1.05.16; Paul Mingo 01.13.00; Kate Glanville 01.13.42 and Nicky Edmunds 01.14.13.

Team Bat - Burrator Horseshoe 2015 (1)

….and here are some shots of our club trip (all pics can be found on our Facebook page):








Bats – 1 weekend, 6 events

It has been an extremely busy weekend for Bere Alston Trekkers (Bats), with club members taking part in six events.

The big event of the weekend was the Hope 24 with 21 club members returning to Newnham Park for the second year.  The Hope is a 24 hour five mile trail run relay for soloists and teams of 2, 3, 5 and 8, in male, female or mixed categories with all proceeds to Hope for Children Charity.

The course, which was the reverse of last year, consisted of some steep hills, muddy tracks littered with puddles, potholes and tree roots and some beautiful bluebell woods.  The course was mostly un-marshalled making some of the night time runs hard to follow but nothing that the dedicated teams of runners could not deal with.  Team members ran between two and six laps each in order to keep the clock running for 24 hours.  The teams were made up as follows:

Bats in Flight: Dotty King, Philip King, Janice Fuller, Pam Adams, Dave Adams, Fran Morgan, Emma Dooney and Mel Greaves who completed 26 laps / 130 miles.

The Bluebells: Heather Smith, Lisa Birch, Jacqui Stokes, Rebecca Mingo and Mike Smith who completed 27 laps / 135 miles.

Cobra Kai – Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy!: Matt Luckham, Derek Hicks, Toby Rankin, Dan Dooney and Fran Dix who completed 30 laps / 150 miles.

There were also three solo Bat Runners.  Ann Woodhouse who completed 4 laps / 20 miles, Alen Guy who ran 12 laps / 60 miles and Rachel Wood who ran a staggering 16 laps / 80 miles to finish second overall for the ladies.

Ivybridge 10k

Saturday evening, five club members took part in the Ivybridge 10k.  This spectacularly scenic race starts in Ivybridge Station Car Park and finishes at Ivybridge Rugby Club.  The course is relatively fast, despite the steep hill from Bittaford to Moorhaven and the last 6km of the route are almost all downhill, making for a fast second half of the race.

Team Bat Ivybridge 10k are pictured with their times: Andrew Bowden 45:34 a new personal best, Julie Page 50:14, Natasha Ayres 57:01, Laura Hogan 58:43, Hilary Head 1:10:23.

On Sunday morning Andrew Bowden took part in the Bideford 10k and bettered his time from the evening before to run a new distance personal best of 44.42.

Great Manchester Run

The Morrisons Great Manchester Run, established in 2003, is an annual 10 kilometre run through the streets of Greater Manchester and is the largest of its type in Europe with over 40,000 runners.

Taking part this year was lone Bat Steve Hill who ran a 10k personal best of 37.22 to finish 143rd overall.

Whilst most of the Bere Alston Trekkers were participating in Hope 24, Kate Glanville and Sarah Cohen ventured to Cornwall to undertake the Trevonick 10 multi terrain race.

Bere Alston Trekkers were the only club from Devon represented in the race which covers approximately 10 miles, over numerous grass tracks, elements of the North Cornwall coastal path and common land on Cubert common ascending nearly 400 metres.

In extremely blustery conditions, Kate and Sarah both enjoyed the race with stunning views throughout and completed the race in 1.47.25

On Thursday 7th May at 21:00 Martin Head, a member of BATs, left Devonport Royal Dockyard to run as part of a team relay to Twickenham Rugby Stadium to raise money for the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity. The RNRMC was the beneficiary of the annual Army v Navy rugby match (incidentally won by the Army 36 – 18). The team ran a total of 211miles in pairs, over 31 legs in less than 36hours, with each pair running circa 44 miles.

So far the Team has raised in excess of £12,000 for the RNRMC and donations can still be made via or by texting RTT to 70500.

Pictures of the team following their arrival at Twickenham and Martin holding the cheque presented to RNRMC at half time attached.

Well done to all the Bats that ran this weekend.


Team Bat – Bideford Half Marathon

A large team of Bere Alston Trekkers (Bats) made their way to Bideford over the weekend to take part in the annual half marathon road race.  Sadly the glorious weather of the preceding few days was nowhere to be seen and the event was held under a grey sky full of rain.  However, with all the training firmly under their wings, Team Bat were determined to run good.

The Bideford is a great course for achieving a personal best.  The route is slightly undulating on the way out but the route back is on the Tarka Trail, a disused railway line, and therefore almost flat which can lead to good times. Bat runners have a habit of doing fast times and gaining PBs on this course and today was no different.

There were a total of 13 Bats on the course with three running a personal best (PB).

First Bat home and first lady for the team Rebecca Mingo, running very close behind was Rachael Malthouse and hotly on Rachael’s heels was Sam Lake securing the ladies team prize.

First male Bat home and making his team debut was Andy Bowden who ran a great race on the back of last week’s Bath Half Marathon.

Personal bests for the team were run by Emma Dooney by 30 minutes, Becky Rankin by 10 minutes, Rachael Malthouse, Sally Dunn, Natasha Ayres, Janice Fuller and Sam Lake.  A huge well done to Christine Le Flem who finished first in her age group.

Team Bat – Bideford Half Marathon 2015 are pictured with their times: Rebecca Mingo 01.29.36; Rachael Malthouse 01.31.19; Samantha Lake 01.32.19; Andrew Bowden 01.39.42; Chris    Malthouse 01.42.18; Sally Dunn 01.46.00; Becky Rankin 01.54.02; Julie Page 01.55.05; Christine Le Flem 01.57.00; Janice Fuller 02.04.30; Natasha Ayres 02.05.04; Emma Dooney 02.05.22 and Mel Greaves 02.36.44.

Well done to all of Super Team Bat Bideford.


Team Bat Grizzly & Bath Half 2015

Nine Bere Alston Trekkers (Bats) made their way to Seaton over the weekend to take part in the annual race known as the Grizzly.

The Grizzly is Twentyish muddy, hilly, boggy, shingled beach miles of the multiest-terrain in the South West and also offers The Cub (a 9 mile route without bogs) which makes the event all inclusive for the Bats cross-country runners.

This year’s Grizzly was entitled ‘Dash To Delirium’ and the course was almost identical to 2014’s, tough, hilly, some cliff paths with drops to the side, both mud and water potentially up to waist deep but nearly a third tarmac. The start and finish was on Seaton Esplanade.  It was a beautiful sunny day which made the going easier for some.

It was an all-male Bat affair for the full Grizzly which saw Francis Dix finishing first for the team and achieving an event personal best (PB).  Matt Luckham was the next Bat home and also ran a fantastic personal best.

Making their cub debut were Jennifer West who was first home for the team and was chased home by the other debut runner Laura Newton.

A big well done to all Bats who took part in this very tough event which bought into play all their hard winter training.

Team Bat – Grizzly 2015 are pictured with their times.  Full Grizzly: Francis Dix 03.49.54 (PB); Matt Luckham 03.52.06 (PB); Derek Hicks 04.29.21 and Tobias Rankin 04.29.52.  Cub: Jennifer West 01.47.17; Laura Newton 01.50.12; Julian Setterington 01.58.59; Emma Louise Dooney 02.19.54 (PB) and Mel Greaves 02.19.54.

Also running at the weekend was Ben Neale who ran a fantastic time of 1.19.17 at Bath Half Marathon finishing in 124th place overall out of 15000+.  Ben is pictured with his well-deserved medal.

Team Bat - Bath Half 2015
Team Bat – Bath Half 2015
Team Bat - Grizzly 2015
Team Bat – Grizzly 2015