Last Wednesday evening, the Okehampton Running Club was well represented at the Ivybridge Three Tops Fell Race which was resurrected by Erme Valley Harriers last year, writes Paul Evison.

The race is approximately 10k long with about 450 metres of climb. As with all Fell Races there is plenty in the terrain to challenge the runners.

There are some sheep trods to follow but good route selection through the off-piste sections is essential for a fast time. There is a quicker stretch after the climb to Weatherdon but then a scramble over tussocks to Glasscombe Ball. Two stream crossings, one either side of the sharp rise to Ugborough Beacon, add to the test. Finally a chance to ‘empty the tank’ on the tarmac to the finish.

ORC runners had a really good evening – especially the men who took the team prize. First of the team home was Tom Poland in 54:53, followed by Joe Lane in 57:03, Daniel Heggs in 63:50, Will Seviour in 69:15 and Hannah Susorney in 93:42.

The Lane boys did a great job representing the club in the junior races, Jacob in the U9 (11:15) and Arthur in the U11 (11:45). Their efforts now will surely be rewarded as they move through the age groups to more senior levels. Well done to them.

l Robert Richards completed the Tarka Trail from Okehampton to Barnstaple last week.

This was an unsupported run without any event label but one he had been planning for some weeks, completing it all on his own.

He started in the dark on Wednesday morning, leaving Okehampton via Abbeyford Woods. Robert followed the lanes and byways passing through the valley of the War Horse at Iddesleigh to reach the village of Dolton where he had his breakfast. A well earned fueling for the trip.

Leaving Dolton he joined Cycleway 3 which follows the old railway track bed to Barnstaple. Robert stopped for a hot tea and some more fuel at Great Torrington before passing through Bideford and Instow, enjoying the views along the Torridge Estuary.

Upon arriving at Fremington he was rather worse for wear but he made the final few kilometres in good time to catch the train back to Okehampton. A full 72-kilometre run with some walks for good measure – a truly mammoth feat and one that he should be proud of.

l Claudine Benstead produced another fast run at the Exeter Riverside Parkrun on Saturday. Her time of 20:29 for the 5K gave her an age grading value of 98.97 per cent, which improves the course record she has held since 2019.

We get used to her setting the standard for others to follow but this really is world-class running!

l The Dartmoor Crossing and The Great Escape races are intertwined in so far as the Great Escape (named for the start at Princetown) uses the last part of the Crossing route. Both races also benefit, if that is the right word, from the vagaries of the Dartmoor weather. A flavour of which is given later.

The Crossing is an aspirational baby Ultra Marathon. Although it is intended to be an introduction to Ultra distance trail running it is far from easy! The start is at Belstone and en route to the villages of Postbridge and Bellever the runners cross the high moor, visiting two 600-metre peaks. There is 1119m of ascent in all.

Jo Page was the only ORC to take part and selected this one as her first Trail Ultra. Jo’s sole aim was to complete it, so she was surprised to find herself racing the last three miles in a battle for a podium place. With a sprint finish, she crossed the line at Ivybridge as second female in a time of six hours and 14 minutes.

The Great Escape started in horrible conditions with rain coming in sideways and not feeling at all like mid-August much more like Autumn. After about 4miles the rain eased to Dartmoor mizzle but the wind was still howling.

It was not until the runners had crossed a lot of open moor, rivers, bogs and streams that the sun tried desperately to shine through. This was most welcome as the runners finally made it to the finish at Ivybridge Rugby Club.

Two ORC ladies took up the challenge and battled the Dartmoor weather.

Claire Watkins had another incredible run and in the latter stages was in a battle for first position. Within the last half-mile she took the lead on a steep technical downhill section. Fortune favours the brave and she was able to maintain that position finishing as first female in 2:13:47.

Karen King had an enjoyable and social run, crossing the line in 2:56:51.