THIS week, Okehampton Running Club’s Tom Poland took part in the Manchester Marathon.

The start and finish is near Old Trafford, home of the world famous Manchester United Football Club, with the route travelling into the city centre. Runners receive ‘unrivalled support’ from the crowds as they make their way around the course. The hugely popular race – which is second only to the London Marathon in terms of entry numbers – is described as ‘the UK’s flattest major marathon, with huge support on route and great potential of setting new personal best times.’ This is exactly what Tom came away with; a new personal best of three hours and 24 minutes amongst a crowd of more than 32,000 runners. It was a fantastic day of running from Tom.

Tom was not the only member of Okehampton Running Club racing to achieve new records; Claudine Benstead ran the Clacton on Sea park run on Saturday and achieved first female in a time of 20 minutes and 42 seconds. The park run is exactly five kilometres long and starts on the top promenade. Runners head south towards the lower promenade and turn for the pier. Just before reaching it, they head back up the slope to the top promenade and return to the starting point. They do this three times before heading onto the undulating grass for the finish.

Claudine explained that this was a ‘warm up’ for the Bromley 10 kilometre race which was back for the eighth time raising money for local charities.

The race is another one described as having ‘great personal best potential’ and is a clockwise lap of a road course through the Essex countryside. Claudine was ‘very pleased’ with her run, achieving a new Okehampton Running Club record over a 10 kilometre distance with an astonishing time of 40 minutes and 18 seconds. Even more impressively, Claudine’s five kilometre split time was an incredible 19 minutes and 52 seconds.

Elsewhere, having a slightly more leisurely run was Lucy Gooding who took part for the second time in Climb South West’s Sid Valley Ring Half Marathon.

With an uphill start from Sidmouth sea front, the route takes runners through quiet country lanes and footpaths and climbs to a height of 236 metres before dropping down into Sidbury. Further back lane running brings runners to Harcombe – ‘the Valley of the Hares’ – before a steep climb towards Dunscombe cliffs and the South West Coast Path. The final downhill section into Sidmouth provides fantastic views and a much needed reprieve!

Lucy came home in a solid time of three hours and 25 minutes and, despite some pretty fierce hill climbs, thoroughly enjoyed the event.