THE first of the spring marathons took place last weekend with Okehampton Running Club having runners at both the Taunton and the Manchester Marathons.

After all the bad weather of the Easter weekend the conditions on Sunday were just about perfect for marathon running with light winds and no rain.

At Taunton just one ORC took part in the full two lap marathon with three doing the one lap half which takes the runners along pleasantly undulating country lanes with no steep hills. In the marathon Rob Kelly enjoyed a terrific run to record his second fastest time ever, finishing in 3 hours 04 minutes 48 seconds and running the second half of the race faster than the first.

In the half marathon there were personal bests all round for the ORC trio of runners. First home for the club was Paul Carter, incredibly setting a new PB at 51 years of age, finishing in 1.20.16 to come sixth overall. Ed Dumpleton is finishing every race with a new PB at present and he continued the theme here by knocking 1 minute 45 secs off his previous best to finish in 1.33.57, despite not having done any long runs for over six weeks.

New member Hayden Bond also had a great run to improve the time he set at the Bideford half by a minute, coming home in 1.34.53.

Further away Gaz Williams was running his second marathon, taking part in the Greater Manchester Marathon which has a finish in the Emirates Old Trafford, the home of Lancashire Cricket Club. Gaz’s previous marathon had been at Bournemouth and he improved on the time he’d set there by seven minutes, finishing in 5.04.05.

At the Exe to Axe 22 mile race on the South West Coast Path two ORCs, Stephen Gentle and Andrew Thorne, took on this ‘point to point’ race which is in fact tougher and longer than the iconic Grizzly, though it lacks that race’s status among runners.

Stephen had a brilliant run, coming 19th overall in a good time of 3.21.26 while Andrew Thorne completed in 4.23.22.