Recent Bats Race Reports...courtesy of our wonderful Race Reporter, our Bat in the North Andy Cowden.
Two Bere Alston Trekkers, Jim Medhurst and Pete Kenvin travelled the relatively short distance to Saltram to take part in the Muskie Madness 10k.
Not for the faint hearted this multi terrain route has more than it's fair share of ups and downs as it travels trail paths through Ham Woods and alongside the river along with roadside pavement sections.
The energy sapping course was complemented by some energy sapping hot weather this year but that didn't stop Jim Medhurst finishing in 52:15 and Pete Kenvin crossing the line in 1:06:55.
In a results round up, Jim Medhurst ran in the popular Plymouth Half Marathon the previous weekend and despite an ankle niggle was happy enough with his finishing time of 1:42:16.
Trekker Andy Cowden took part in the Alderley Edge Bypass 10k. More used to carrying the expensive motors of famous footballers from Manchester and Merseyside who live in the area the road is closed so that around 1,500 pairs of running shoes can take to the tarmac. The outlook is better than it sounds as the road passes through pleasant countryside and is definitely not flat but certainly a quick course. Andy finished in a time of 52:27.
The following Thursday Andy entered the Killer Mile at Mow Cop in Staffordshire. Mow Cop has a castle folly atop a hill and runners have to run a mile from the bottom of the hill to the Castle car park. With a climb of over 550 feet and every single foot of road uphill and gradients of 25% in places this is brutal and brilliant in equal measure. Andy finished in 12:05.
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Hartland Hartbreaker May 2023
Seven Bere Alston Trekkers travelled from South to North Devon to take on the Hartland Hartbreaker.
Starting and finishing at historic Hartland Abbey the Hartbreaker is a demanding trail race that encompasses two distance events either a 9-ish mile route or the full 18-ish mile route.
Both distances offer the best of Devonshire coast and countryside from the coastal path out towards Hartland Lighthouse to bluebell laden ancient woodlands.
Not for the faint hearted the route takes in rough rocky terrain, cliff edges with vertiginous drops, steps, river crossings, steep climbs that require the use of a rope to help you climb and more than enough mud to satisfy anyone.
This is a race where the emphasis is not on speed but on enjoying the albeit it at time’s arduous journey. To help your enjoyment several of the aid stations serve Prosecco, cocktails and beer along the way alongside plenty of food snacks, a kind of running picnic really. An eye needs to be kept on the clock though as the race has two strict cut off limits along the route.
Battling through sunshine and showers a good time was had by all and a mixture of satisfaction and relief on crossing the finishing line.
Running in the 9-ish mile event, Kate and Stuart Medhurst both finished in 2:27:47 with Jim Medhurst a fraction behind in 2:27:48.
Opting for the 18-ish miles, Paul Martin finished in 4:49:11, Lisa Birch in 4:49:13, Christie Campbell 4:49:16 and Lisa Nickel in 5:15:36.
Man on a Mission Bats Jan 2023
Bere Alston Trekker's Jim Medhurst has started this year with a purpose notching a race pb and a distance pb from his first two races in 2023.
Jim achieved a race pb running in the January Jaunt 10k which starts and finishes at Plymouth Speedway and takes in the Saltram Estate running out and back along the River Plym. A tough route that is most definitely not flat but Jim found conditions to his liking and knocked two minutes off his previous best time in this race to finish in 43:53.
The previous Sunday Jim together with Katy Medhurst travelled to Exeter to take part in the Exeter First Chance 10k. The route for this race follows a cycle way and footpaths alongside the River Exe and consists of two loops and an out and back section on the River Exe floodplain. As a result, this fast flat course is ideal for achieving a pb.
Taking full advantage both Jim and Katy notched 10k distance pb's, Jim crossed the line in 43:24 and Katy in 56:17.
Fellow Bere Alston Trekkers Debbie and Paul Ashton took their trio of four legged friends to Newnham Park, Plymouth, to take part in the canicross event, Newnham Bark.
Across wet and muddy multi terrain Rocky, Friuitloops and Denis dragged and aided Debbie and Paul around the course. Timings irrelevant as it's all about fun on the run.
Bat's Navigate in the Dark Nov 2022
Bere Alston Trekkers members, Jim Medhurst and Christie Campbell took part in the Burrator Noir event on Saturday evening. The event run by Wild Running offers a choice of two distances and contrasting terrain. There's a 12-mile trail race and a 10k fast, flat road race around the reservoir with the start and finishes of both near to the Discovery Centre.
Both Jim and Christie opted for the 10k race and successfully navigated their way round the course in the dark as BAT's do with Jim finishing in 9th place in a time of 44:36 and Christie finishing in 56:17.
Fellow Trekker Andy Cowden headed to North Wales to take part in the Conwy Half Marathon.
Voted as one of the top 5 most scenic Half Marathons in the United Kingdom the race starts and finishes under the impressive shadow of Conwy Castle.
The race route takes you out and back to the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno and essentially has only one hill in it although that hill in question is the Great Orme.
As you traversed the Orme you could see the mountain goats clinging to the rock sides from where they famously descended down into the centre of the town during the first Pandemic Lockdown. Also spotted by fellow runners were dolphins and seals in the waters below.
A field of 2,000 runners enjoyed sunny though cool conditions and Andy running in support of another runner finished in a time of 1:58:08.
Coast & Country Sept / Oct 2022
Bere Alston Trekker Andy Cowden travelled to Knutsford in Cheshire to take part in the Knutsford 10k.
Starting and finishing in the grounds of Grade II listed Radbroke Hall which is the home of Barclays Bank's Technology Centre the course for the race is around scenic country lanes in the heart of Cheshire.
The route is a fast and flat one with only 23 feet of ascent along the entire 6.2 miles and takes you past the iconic landmark of the white giant Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank at nearby Holmes Chapel.
A sunny autumnal morning provided ideal running conditions for just over 2,000 runners taking part and Andy benefited by finishing in his fastest 10k time this year in 48:51.
Three Trekkers travelled to Bournemouth to take part in the Run Bournemouth Running Festival which has 9 races held over the weekend. Jim and Kate Medhurst tackled the Half Marathon and Christie Pritchard the 10k.
A gloriously sunny day and thousands of spectators lined the route which followed the sandy shores and took in both Boscombe and Bournemouth piers and involved running out and back along the Boscombe one.
In the Half Marathon, Jim Medhurst finished in a time of 1:44:16 and Kate Medhurst in a time of 2:12:17.
In the 10k, Christie Pritchard crossed the finish line in 57:32.
Bere Alston Carnival, Race the Tide and Antrobus 5k
Bere Alston Trekkers runners donned unusual kit of tutu's and leg warmers as they took part in the Bere Alston Carnival at the weekend for which the theme was 'The 80's'.
Entering into the fun as part of the Walking Carnival Procession BAT's impressed enough with their moves to walk away with a Highly Commended from the Carnival judges.
The club movers and groovers taking part were Quentin and Sam Harte-Latrimoulle, Debbie and Paul Ashton, Pauline Cole, Kelly Shaw, Natasha Hingston and Pete Kenvin
Taking part in more usual activities, Donna Baker and Louise Cheetham ran in the Race The Tide event on the Flete Estate at Mothecombe, featuring three races of a long marathon (29 miles) a long half marathon (15.5 miles) and a watery woodland trail of 8.5 miles.
Donna and Louise ran in the woodland trail which woodland and estuarine trails around the Flete Estate. There were hills at the 4, 6 and 8 mile points and your chance to beat the tide comes at 7.5 miles.
Finishing with slightly damp feet, Donna crossed the line in 1:51:05 and Louise in 1:51:07.
BAT Andy Cowden took part in the Antrobus 5k in deepest Cheshire. A flat, fast course along country lanes that started and finished at the local village hall in the village of Antrobus near Northwich.
Andy finished in his second fastest 5k time of the year so far in 24:08.
Sunday 10th April The Dorset Ooser Marathon
On Sunday 10th April Murray Turner headed to deepest Dorset to take part in the Ooser Trail Marathon.
Starting and finishing at a thatched barn in the tiny historic hamlet of Turners Puddle in the heart of Dorset the runners headed off uphill before following farm tracks across fields, through ancient bluebell laden woodland, old hidden sunken trails on historic drovers routes, short tarmac sections through picturesque hamlets and heathland.
Despite the glorious countryside this race is no pushover with 13 hills giving over 2,700 feet of ascent, a fair bit of mud to lose your trail shoes in, 7 stiles to clamber over and two fords to wade through.
Despite not having run a marathon for over 3 years Murray finished in an impressive 5:18:05.
Sunday 3rd April: Manchester Marathon
Andy Cowden ran in the Manchester Marathon which has just 177 feet of ascent and 26.2 miles of tarmac to negotiate.
Starting between Old Trafford football ground and Old Trafford cricket ground in Salford the route takes you in towards the city centre before heading back out and travelling to Altrincham and then returning to finish outside the cricket ground.
Ideal running conditions of cool but sunny weather with a slight breeze greeted the just over 14,000 field of runners on the start line. The crowds were out in force to cheer runners around the course and Andy finished in 4:39:47 which was a race personal best by just under 17 minutes.
Saturday 26th March: Total Coastal
Three Bere Alston Trekkers headed East on Saturday 26th March to take on the Total Coastal Ultra a scenic but challenging 30-mile multi terrain event along the South West Coast Path with over 6,000 feet of ascent.
Jim and Stuart Medhurst and Dave Dencer headed for the start at Kingswear in South Devon.
The opening flat mile along a country lane belies what is to come as the next nine miles head off road and offer some very scenic though very technical coast path around to Berry Head and on to Brixham Harbour.
From Brixham, it's back off road on to Goodrington Sands where a largely tarmac section takes you on to Torquay Harbour where you once again hit the trails, up and over to Babbacombe Beach. Here you duck under the famous Babbacombe Cliff Railway before heading on to Petitor Downs and a very scenic hilly 6 mile stretch before reaching the finish at picturesque Ness at Shaldon where the river Teign meets the sea.
Finishing times were, Stuart Medhurst 6:52:37, Jim Medhurst 6:52:37, Dave Dencer 7:53:56
Saturday 19th March: Team Ashton
Bere Alston Trekkers duo, Debbie and Paul Ashton took along some four legged help as they travelled to the Boconnoc Estate near Lostwithiel in Cornwall on Saturday.
They were taking part in the Canicross UK’s, Behind The Lines event in a 5k race around the estate. Paul ran with Denis who was taking part in his first official event and he performed admirably whilst Debbie ran with Fruitloops.
The official finish times were Paul Ashton 22:59, Debbie Ashton 36:37
Sunday 20th March: Tavy 13
Four Trekkers took full advantage of glorious sunshine on Sunday to take part in the Tavy 13, a half marathon that starts and finishes on the athletics track in Tavistock.
The route takes in road, country lane and trackway amidst a backdrop of Dartmoor scenery heading out in a loop towards Peter Tavy before heading back via the golf course.
Apart from keeping an eye out on the course for the odd car there was an unexpected meeting with the the local wildlife when a herd of 12 Dartmoor ponies galloped across the road right in front of the Trekkers as they neared the golf course.
Finish times were, Murray Turner 1:55:15, Lisa Nickel 2:29:37, Andy Cowden 2:29:37 and Lorna Mulvihill 2:29:38