Axe Valley Runners wallow at Drogo

PUBLISHED: 09:11 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 00:34 16 June 2010

Axe Valley Runners ready to do the Drogo!

Axe Valley Runners ready to do the Drogo!

On Saturday evening well over 1,000 eyeballs were glued to the weather forecast hoping the weather for the Drogo 10 race on Sunday morning was good.

On Saturday evening well over 1,000 eyeballs were glued to the weather forecast hoping the weather for the Drogo 10 race on Sunday morning was good.

"Heavy morning showers" was the gloomy prediction. A collective groan went up amongst runners and organisers, but their hopes were realised as the sun shone on Dartmoor, showing the Drogo forest in all its autumn glory. The route is as hard as it is spectacular, with the recent heavy rain hammering down the brown ferns like a load of upturned sailing boats and an odd waterfall enhancing the whole experience.

Mark Hopkinson of Taunton AC made light of the conditions winning in 1:02:13, an incredible performance. There was some AVR success with Eleanor Wood the ladies' over 50 champion, 113th out of 517 in 1:24:10. Graham Newton was the men's over 60 champion, 106th overall in 1:23:50.

There was a close fought battle between the first three AVR's with only 17 seconds separating them. John Blackledge was 27th, 1:15:01, Chris Keeffe 29th, 1:15:15 and Bernard Fry 30th, 1:15:18. Dominic Schneiders was next, 75th in 1:20:51. It seems Paul Johns can only beat Richard Hale at the Drogo and so the tradition continued. Paul was 130th, 1:25:29 and Richard 146th, 1:27:00; they were split by Owen Mansfield, 136th in 1:26:06. Mark Hilder had a fine race, 201st in 1:31:54. Sue Campbell glanced over her shoulder near the end to spy Andy Sayers looming. She put a spurt on and finished 219th, 1:33:29 with Andy 223rd, 1:33:43. Klara Pritasilova chose the tough Drogo for her comeback and ran in brand new shoes, usually a mistake, but trounced many other competitors finishing 235th in 1:34:42.

The rivalry twixt Dave Mutter and Peter Hughes continued this week. Dave snuck an early blow by starting a tad further up the grid and by the time the single track bridge was reached was able to give a cheery wave to Pete. Pete's signalled reply was not that cheery. After the single section Dave had Paul Tolchard and Gary Davies right behind him and held on to that lead until the first major climb, where he managed to pull away. Gary was delayed by shoe maintenance and was overhauled by Pete and Paul, but redeemed himself by overtaking Paul later. Final positions were Dave 274th, 1:38:02; Pete 320th, 1:44:00; Gary 335th, 1:46:08 and Paul 370th 1:49:13.

Susie Pitt had just returned from a Moroccan mountain bike adventure with AV Pedallers, but still put in a fine performance to finish 431st in 1:56:07.

Thanks, once again, to South West Road Runners for putting on another fantastic race and the National Trust for allowing Castle Drogo estate to be run over by a gang of marauding "athletes".

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